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If matter is conscious soul stuff and human consciousness
is just special structures of this soul stuff then everything is made of soul stuff . Everything is conscious of its own structure just as human consciousness is a reflection of the structures of the brain, nervous system and body.
To exist is to be consciousness of ones own existence. The essence and totality of the existence of any thing is its awareness of itself. The self awareness of a rock may be a bit like the awareness of a single point in the visual field if we could somehow isolate an atom of awareness . The rich consciousness we experience is the structured combination of the multitude of atoms of awareness throughout our bodies.
Such metaphysical assumptions are not subject to proof or disproof. They are the simplest assumptions consistent with what we know. Perhaps our individuality is an illusion albeit one of enormous practical value. My consciousness is one small melody in the grand symphony of consciousness . The melody is an integral part of the symphony. If played in isolation it would be something other than what it is. It has a beginning and end but may be repeated with variations over and over. Neither the individual notes no any other aspect of the melody is unique to it. All the elements are repeated in a multitude of ways throughout the symphony. So my life is one unique combination of the elements repeated in all lives. For an immense number of practical reasons I must respect and care for my individuality but in the long run it is the expression of universal themes in that individuality that is important and will endure. The work of life is to evolve those themes and extend them for those to come who will be us. We are not reincarnated in the sense that our individual memories are passed as a whole to some new individual but we are reincarnated in every new baby. Our memories our passed to future generations in the work we leave behind and the lives we touch. Our memories are built from the memories of all those that came before who were us. It is good for the ego to think and feel that this is true just as the soul knows that it is true and shapes our destiny accordingly.
To see ourselves as matter and nothing but matter does not narrow or destroy the human soul. It widens the boundaries of the soul to encompass the entire universe. The continuity of matter
and the continuity of consciousness are the same thing. It widens the boundaries in another sense. Our bodies and nervous systems are quite marvelous but they are only the tiniest of beginnings. Gödel 's incompleteness theorem
shows, as we shall see in the next chapter, that whatever marvelous structures of consciousness evolve they will always be only an infinitesimal fragment of what can be. We are only at the first few vibrations of the first note of a symphony that may unfold with unending complexity throughout an unbounded future.
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