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Connecting meaning to structure

The physical world is permeated with meaning through conscious experience. Making love or dying a painful death have intrinsic value. Every conscious moment of every sentient beings' existence has positive or negative intrinsic value.

Connecting physical structure with conscious experience is the starting point for integrating science and spirituality. In doing so we do not seek an explanation for consciousness. Science ultimately explains nothing. The fundamental laws of science are the simplest known description of a wide range of phenomena. Science makes no claims to explain why those descriptions are correct. The power of science comes from the ability to model and thus to manipulate a wide range of phenomena using relatively simple descriptive laws.

The nature of existence is a deep and profound mystery that cannot be solved. For any explanation depends on assumptions which themselves must be explained in an endless regress. At best one can develop the simplest possible assumptions consistent with what we know to be true as science has done with its assumptions about physical structure.

The simplest possible assumption about consciousness is that all physical structure exists as direct conscious experience. The essence and totality of the existence of physical structure is immediate conscious experience. Any other assumption must distinguish between conscious and unconscious structures in a way that adds unnecessary complexity. An embryo, fetus and then infant develop into a conscious being in a continuous process. An adult conscious mind gradually fades into an amorphous simplicity through Alzheimer's disease.


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Next: Levels of consciousness Up: Overview Previous: Structure   Contents


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