the wine of consciousness

Love this guys manner and inquisitive mind. He asks some obvious questions that often get missed because they are so fundamental.

”why is it that all this behaviour is accompanied by subjective experience”

“Why are we conscious? Why aren’t we just robots? Right now nobody knows the answers to those question”.

Well, I think I do. We were made in the image of a conscious God to know him and enjoy him. To be aware of and experience him as he is aware of and delighting in us.

There are a few theories he considers:

1) Consciousness is an illusion. He reckons that comes too close to ignoring the data. Ie we know we are conscious so it’s not an illusion. Fair point.

2) Consciousness is fundamental ie if its not explainable in terms of space, time, mass, charge then it’s a fundamental property of the universe. I think that’s is more on the money. What would that look like? It might look something like having an eternal conscious being who creates us in him image.

3) Consciousness might be everything. ie every system is conscious to some extent. Dogs, cats an elementary particles. Or its linked with information processing, (measured/called by phi – high phi, hi consciousness see IIT). Ie cats and computers. This is apparently the leading theory in the science of consciousness. This view he says “has the potential to transform our relationship with nature and it may have some pretty serious social ethical consequences. Some of which may be counter intuitive.”. Should we not eat conscious things? Should we turn computers off?

Here he makes the point that science has done so well in creating helpful theory’s by working hard to eradicate subjectivness. The challenge comes however when it turns its attention to understand consciousness which is subjectivity itself. We can describe heat in terms of objective particles bouncing about very fast, but we struggle to explain the subjective experience of hotness. He asks “How does the water of the brain turn into the wine of consciousness? As far as the scientific perspective goes, consciousness might as well not be there, from the third person point of view”

“There is what some philosophers have called an explanatory gap. Between the physical level and the level of consciousness.  No number of neurons, Weather 10 neurones, 100 neurons, 1000 neurones 1000 billion neurons. Nothing in that story can ever tell you how anything should even have a subjective feeling to it.” David Chalmers

But there is a bigger story than the one told by the big bang. It’s a story of an all loving, all powerful, conscious, eternal being who made the universe and who made us. He made us to know him and reach out to him, and find him. And in this dark universe the death and resurrection of Jesus shines out as a bacon to all who would come to him. The incarnation fills the explanatory gap between matter and meaning.


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