The hard problem

Within this website I explore whether there is a spiritual realm, a supernatural realm, containing God, mind, souls, consciousness with its contents (ideas, emotions, love, reason, etc) — this, from a purely philosophical and unreligious point of view. I first assume there is a spiritual realm so as to explore the implications; then I present my conclusions (in this article and related articles).


Conclusions 

Consciousness is generated by brain function. How this is accomplished is the "hard problem" designated by David Chalmers.


Consciousness — what is it?

Facts (and likely facts) and conclusions:

  1. The best that science can do is to discover the connection between conscious experience and physical phenomena, which will probably be one or more of these occuring in specific circuits of the neural network of the brain:
    • (1) Electric currents flowing, or (2) information moving and changing.
    • (1) Quantum mechanics wave function collapse, or (2) some sort of interaction between quantum mechanics and gravity, or (3) something involving quantum mechanics entanglement; these, triggering an instance of qualia which are aggregated by the brain.
  2. The only way to perform repeatable experiments is to examine brain functioning while a human subject reports he/she is consciously experiencing something. (There is no way to prove that triggering the same underlying physical phenomena in robots actually generates consciousness.)
  3. Can never explain what consciousness is in its essence. Possibilities:
    • The universe allows for consciousness to manifest as it does; consciousness is just as weird as the universe itself is.
    • A supernatural entity manifests or creates it: (1) God or gods, or (2) Superconscious Mind.
  4. Unprovable unknowable supernatural claims:
    • A huge big consciousness (God, One Mind) exists apart from the physical universe (which exists because it emanates from or is created by this God or One Mind). This God or One Mind has power over the universe and interacts with it ongoing.
    • Each focus of conscious experience (human, animal) is united with others via a connection and communication in a supernatural realm.
  5. Postulating God or One Mind is unjustified and unprovable. Claims by religious or spiritual teachers and prophets are merely imaginations and/or hallucinations created by the mind. (And revealed religions and revealed spiritual paths are untrustworthy sources of truth and knowledge.)

What is "red"?

Information = knowing (= consciousness)

Contents of mind and consciousness = geometrical shape (of molecules) + mathematical reality of physicality + everywhere that that information is stored.

What is "red"? It's more than photons at red wavelength. Also, includes information embedded in brain circuits that process "red".

The contents of consciousness and mind is: all the various brain functioning, the structure of brain processing.

What is like to be a bat? This is too hard of a problem. Can better isolate the factors of "what is red"? (And doing so answers the question of what is consciousness and mind.) If you know "what is red"? you can construct a bat's experience.

Can you answer "what is red"? by invoking a spiritual realm or God?

No! It just gives you a mental category in which to place your ignorance. You could just as easily propose Pantheism, with the ignorance = God. Then,... remove God. Having God in the solution provides no benefit whatsoever. (Because now you also need to explain why God is.)

Therefore, the sum total of the subjective experience of "red" is the full set of physical information involved (and therefore the universe must contain consciousness and mind within its essence).

Color-blindness: someone who can't see red. Part of the "red" circuit is mis-wired. (the part having color).


Brain

The brain has 86 billion neurons, each having an average of maybe 7,000 connections to other neurons. Certainly there is enough processing power in the brain to generate all the contents of consciousness. This includes: (1) every kind of experience, (2) every mental and psychological program guiding our thoughts and behaviors, and (3) all memories.


The sleep of death

When you are so tired and sleepy, you long for sleep, knowing full well you will become unconscious. But you are happy about the prospect because of the weariness of extended wakefulness. Experiencing the feeling of consciousness with its contents is no longer worth the drudgery, and you happily drift off to sleep.

Certainly some people long for death if their life has become weary and burdensome. Perhaps a good way to not fear death is to think of it as a kind of unconscious sleep. Or maybe it's better to not think about death at all, to assume it won't happen, to ignore it.


The flow of time

Perhaps the experience of consciousness is: time flowing with information changing. For example, a folded protein has information embedded within its shape. As time progresses, this protein moves around, chemically interacts with other molecules, maybe even dissolves into its amino acids.

In the brain, these changes of information over time are highly concentrated due to the complex biological machinery of the neural network. Perhaps this is what we experience as consciousness?