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Discussion 3 to Meditation 537
Consciousness

by: Bernardo Arroyo

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To MvdD's question: Why can't the [soul or consciousness] be a process?

George Rush says:

"- Why not indeed? After all, every consciousness we've ever seen resides in an animal's cognitive system (brain), which coincidentally implements the most complex process we know of."

I would add that, as far as we know, consciousness seems to "disappear" when such an animal's brain dies. Like fields do when the processes which generated them cease or change. Furthermore, as far as our memories tell us, our consciousness "appeared" at some point when our brain was formed or perhaps even as it developed in our first months or years of life. If I am correct, this would point in the direction of consciousness being an effect of a process. However, unless some day consciousness is detected in a lot more detail in our brains, this will remain unproven.

I'm not sure I see C (as identified by Philip van Bergen)

The idea that consciousness might be a property of matter is very interesting and thought provoking, but it sounds to me somewhat redundant. Like saying we think because we can. Yes but how does thinking work? That matter allows us to be conscious seems evident, or could we be conscious even if matter did not allow us to? I inderstand that this is not merely a circular argument, because the consciousness property C would allow even the smallest particle to be conscious or at least to have a "lower level" of consciousness. But then again, if our consciousness is of a "higher level", what makes it so? And which other animals or how complicated a brain needs to be in order to have the type of awareness that we experience as consciousness? Does an "illuminated" person really have an even "higher level" of consciousness as a result of his meditations? Isn't this reasoning, again, going in the direction of the effect of a process? Or am I misunderstanding the concept of this property C?

In regard to the definition of consciousness, I define it to myself simply as my notion of being. But I'm not sure this really qualifies as a definition or simply as a paraphrase, as another way to describe the experience. And I am certainly interested in reading about George Rush's definition.