Mountain Math Software
home consulting videos book QM FAQ contact

Completed second draft of this book

PDF version of this book
next up previous contents
Next: Universal consciousness Up: What is Previous: What is   Contents

Unifying external and internal reality

The world seems objective. A chair, a tree, a glass of water all seem to be physical things that we can feel, sit on, climb or drink. We seldom if ever think of our immediate experience and how we translate it into a sense of external reality. We see a chair. We do not see a complex geometric shape and deduce that there must be a chair five feet in front of us.

There is an unconscious process of deciding a paricular shape is a chair. The result enters consciousness when some part of our mind has decided that is a chair. We see the chair as a unity or gestalt and not a pattern of color. Only when that unconscious process is confused do we see a pattern that we cannot make out.

We construct a sense of objective reality for practical reasons. We interact with the external world to get what we want and need. We focus our conscious energy on novel or problematic events. We evolved ways to automatically deal with the routine and mundane. The external world of objective reality seems natural and necessary. We do not think about it much.

The objective external world and experiential inner world seem radically different, Connecting the two has been a deep problem in philosophy for centuries. Is there some special soul stuff that translates the physical processes of our body into the inner experience of making love?

Des Cartes noticed the pineal gland is the only part of the brain that is not part of a symmetrical pair. This led him to speculate this gland provided that connection. As we understand more of the brain we see no evidence for such soul stuff. All that we experience internally seems to be reflected in physical brain structures and dynamic neural processes. Experiments have shown that certain parts of the brain are active when we think about certain things without any external stimulus. Our internal states seem to have a measurable physical existence.

The brain is made of the same atoms and molecules as everything else. Our neurons are elegant but simple switches. They are more complex than the binary switches used to build computers but fully comprehensible as physical and chemical processes. So where does the magic inner world that makes up the ultimate and only reality for each us come from?

Physical brain structures seem to be capable of fully reflecting the structure of our internal experience. As the devices we use to observe the functioning brain improve in sensitivity we should be able to establish this as a scientific fact. For now all the evidence points in this direction. So we assume that our conscious experience is the existence of structures in the brain. We further assume that there is nothing special about these physical structures. We assume that immediate conscious experience is not simply associated with physical structures but is the essence and totality of the existence of physical structures.

Man has long wondered about the existence of an unobserved universe. We see the entire universe as both the observer and the observed. We think of observation in terms of human consciousness but even that exists on a continuum. Think of the birth of consciousness in the human embryo and fetus and its apparent extinction in death or the slow deterioration of Alzheimer's disease. All of these changes mirror changes in physical brain structures. Why not assume these changes are changes in brain structure? Why not assume that direct immediate experience never disappears but is only transformed as matter is transformed.

Adult consciousness involves a limited set of brain structures. Much of the brain operates below consciousness. We are not conscious of most of our body most of the time. Experiences enter consciousness when something notable happens like stubbing a toe. But why not assume all the unconscious activity is also conscious but with a limited connection to what we experience as stream of consciousness? What is left out is as important as what is present. The consciousness we experience is an executive control with a limited capacity to deal with information. So complex filters exist to insure only relevant experience gets through. There is nothing special about the neurons that make up this executive control. Why not assume all the structures in the brain correspond to a consciousness that not simply reflects but is their structure.

Equating existence to immediate experience violates our sense of objective physical reality. That reality is a pragmatic creation of consciousness. In what sense could an objective reality beyond any conscious experience exist?

We are not denying our scientific understanding of physical structure. We are describing the context in which that structure has existence and meaning. The dynamic physical transformation of the universe over time is a transformation of consciousness and nothing but a transformation of consciousness.


Completed second draft of this book

PDF version of this book
next up previous contents
Next: Universal consciousness Up: What is Previous: What is   Contents


Mountain Math Software
home consulting videos book QM FAQ contact
Email comments to: webmaster@mtnmath.com