Speculations on Consciousness 3

The two most important questions right now are:

1) Is the experience of consciousness physical?

2) Is the matrix of consciousness physical?

I am inclined to believe that both answers are negative. However I cannot yet prove either. If the answer to question 2 is negative, this lends substantial support to the notion of a soul or something of the like. If the answer to both questions is negative, this lends even more support. One may be able to use deduction to prove the answer to question 1. The same may be true for question 2. It also may be that proving one answer will enable us to prove the other answer.

There are additional questions raised:

  • Must it be that a physical thing can only have a physical matrix?
  • If something is non-physical, what is it exactly? Questions of where does it exist or what is it’s nature become meaningless, or hold a meaning that seems entirely obscure to us.
  • If both the matrix and experience of consciousness are physical, what room does that leave for a soul? We assume that the soul is a nonphysical thing, but is it?
  • There are, of course, levels of physical that we may not be aware of, that are in no way perceivable, or as yet unnoticed. Is it possible that consciousness or the soul spills over into another realm of physical reality? Possibly a type of ether that surrounds us?

I doubt that the physical can give rise to a non-physical thing, but how would we know? How can we make any sort of speculations whatsoever on non-physical things?

Another important question about consciousness is its relationship to qualia. Is consciousness the backdrop for qualia to arise, as empty space is the backdrop for bodies of mass? Or is consciousness the qualia themselves? Is the experience of consciousness merely the experience of qualia, without which nothing would be experienced? Is it possible or even meaningful to know the difference between consciousness as backdrop for qualia and as qualia themselves? Qualia are, after all, what we generally use to define consciousness and prove its existence. It is through qualia that consciousness becomes visible.

How can something non-physical affect or be affected by something physcial?  At our current state of existence, I do not think it’s possible to know this, and therefore even the vaguest conjecture is impossible.  The limits and properties of the non-physical world are unknown.  Thus, it is impossible to say whether something non-physical can have a physical matrix, or whether the brain can be controlled/influenced by something non-physical.  However, to some limited degree we do understand the physical world and its limits.  (I suppose the “physical” is the set of all things that can me measured?  One could posit that our current understanding of the physical is all manifestations of energy–at least all known manifestations of energy).

Thus, it may be possible to prove whether or not consciousness is physical using a logical argument, such as modus tollens.  Namely, something of the form:

A) If consciousness were physical, then ~~~.
B) However, ~~~.
C) Therefore, consciousness is non-physical.

or the reverse

A) If consciousness were physical, then ~~~.
B) Indeed, ~~~.
C) Therefore, consciousness is physical.

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