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Existence consciousness



   

At what moment does human consciousness begin  ? Perhaps there is no moment. Perhaps the cell consciousness  of the sperm and egg merge to a slightly wider consciousness of the growing embryo. Nerve cells grow, connect and start functioning as a brain. Consciousness grows with the complexity and experience of the brain. There is nothing special about the atoms in nerve cells that science is aware of. If we could build a brain from electronic circuits that exactly duplicates the functioning of the human brain  would it not be conscious just as a human is? Perhaps even the rocks and soil from which the atoms of the sperm and egg came were also conscious in the sense that they had a direct awareness  of their own structure.

What, if anything, could it mean for something to exist if there is no awareness of its existence? Our model of the universe implies that most of what exists is beyond the perception of any conscious human observer. Who experiences what happens in the center of the sun? But what does a conscious observer observe? Is it the blue sky, the excited receptors in the eye, the activity of nerve cells in the brain? It would seem that observation is primarily internal as we can simulate almost any perception by artificial means. We are directly conscious only of the nerve activity inside our body. It is previous experience that allows us to relate this activity to assumed external events. The emergence or disappearance of consciousness 

are continuous processes and the same thing as the development or decay of structures in our bodies. Of course we can assume there is some metaphysical magic at the moment of conception  or birth 

that breathes a soul into the body  . Why should we make such an assumption? It seems that the soul stuff 

of life is ordinary matter. This is not an affront to the dignity of humanity but a recognition of the divine nature  of the dust we come from and return to.



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Next: Matter as soul Up: Einstein's Revenge Previous: Assumptions
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