Categorically conscious

Is it possible for a tiny dot of consciousness in a corner of a physical universe to add anything significant to it? Can we say consciousness belongs to the physical because it belongs in the physical? Do we not diminish the change to mental existence in assuming that nothing has really changed because consciousness doesn’t make a ‘real’ difference to the physical facts? Can we measure the whole of existence by the standards of the physical? But what is the alternative? What gives us cause to think there is something other than the physical in the first place? What gives us cause to think of the physical as an external reality?

It seems that we can’t perceive anything without adopting a perspective that sets up a difference between perceiver and perceived. And even doubting our originality as perceivers, by seeing ourselves as a subset of a larger nature, cannot dilute the categorical change that leads to that nature doubting itself. In other words, the reality of the world with sentience is more than the supposed greater reality of a world without. So to adopt a view on the physical, as a whole, requires a starting point in perception as something else. And if perception is another ‘thing’, even in our imagination, we still have grounds for accepting it as something more than we suppose to perceive as existing without. Thus the universe is a wholly bigger place than we can discover or explain in terms of its physical roots, or perceptions of ourselves as physically grounded.

In short, we think, therefore we know there is more to existence than a nature we can suppose to exist without thought, in the supposed pervasiveness of its stark physicality. Otherwise there is no discernible difference to give cause to look and explore, or means to deny.

Mike Laidler

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