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Discussion 5 to Meditation 537
Consciousness - every bit counts.

by: Bernardo Arroyo

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Consciousness - every bit counts.

If I understand it correctly, then, every particle would have the property and be at least slightly conscious. The sum of this smallest of consciousness and its relationships would then make an atom somewhat more aware of itself. A molecule would be even more conscious and the progression would continue into more complex structures with higher levels of intricacy and ever more clear notions of being.

We don't know if humans are the most complex structure so far, but, at least from our perspective, it seems that we have the clearest notion of being. Would that make us (as some religions say) the pinnacle of living things? Or is it, as you said, that many animals are as conscious as we are, but just not as intelligent or at least not intelligent in the same rational way we are?

Now, about the loss of cosciousness.

If I were to lose a limb, for example, gone with it would be millions of particles and their respective bits of consciousness. And in fact this is true, because I would be aware of the missing part and I would be conscious of being different and of having one less limb and of having lost some abilities. Whether this new image of myself would represent a "lower level of consciousness" is incalculable, but I am sure that I would not be able to ignore the change in my notion of being. For the ageing process, this property "C" would also seem to make sense. As it has been said, eventhough we change all our particles every certain amount of time, we seem to remain unaffected in our consciousness, but perhaps not completely. Because as we age, we are painfully aware of the changes in our body and our notion of being is continuously affected accordingly. Could this be that individual particles are changing but the relationships are ramaining, therefore making the change in consciousness only partial?

In the end when we die, every particle retains its small part of consciousness, and therefore our consciousness is not really lost. Unless, again, some part of our consciousness comes from the particles themselves and another part from their inter relations. In this case at least one part of our consciousness would be definitely lost. Anyway the idea of a soul, as described by most religions, seems as improbable as always. A notion of being that would keep being aware of its existence, even when not alive, would contradict the idea that every particle that formed us took its own consciousness with it as they disgregated. Or do you, George, think that there is a way that this consciousness might be operational even if the brain is not working and the body is decaying?

Life in bits also.

I've always thought that the difference between alive and not alive is not very clear (unless we define life only in biological terms). Could it be that life is also a property of particles? Do particles respond to stimuli and change evergy levels, for example, because they are a little bit alive? Do atoms and molecules tend to chemically react with one another because that is what life means at those levels? Is life a question of degree or level, and biological organisms are more alive than elements and compounds?

It might be easier to continue this exchange in the UCTAA group in groups.yahoo.com. The discussion can be more dynamic there.