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Friday, May 25, 2012

What Consciousness Is

Here is a simple way to think about consciousness:

Imagine holding a four inch length of electrical wire in your hand. Picture about an inch of the outer coating stripped away so that you can clearly see all of its components at a glance: the metal, any insulating material between the metal and the outer cover, and the outer cover itself.

Consciousness is every component of the wire and every aspect of its manufacture. It is the elements that evolved into the base metal; it is all of the knowledge that went into designing and building the machines that dug and hauled the metal and that is used in the wire factory; it is the science of metallurgy; it is the human intelligence that put this all together; and it is the current that flows over the wire once it is put into use. (Of course, it is also the “you” who is reading and thinking about this piece.)

You get the idea. The point is that consciousness is everything and everything is consciousness. It is the physical, the mental and the spiritual. And from an evolutionary perspective, because the physical predates the mental, and both of these are necessary to perceive the spiritual, the common conception of “spiritual” consciousness being somehow superior to the others is just not correct.

It is my hope that having a more unified idea about what consciousness is will add to everyone’s appreciation of how the universe is put together and what it means that we are all one.

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