Yes, that's right... mere days from my last post, I am here yet again with another update! I am now safely home in Brampton, Mai Lan is now safely home in NY (her exam went well!) and all is well with the world... as well as it usually gets anyway!
The purpose of this post is to immortalize an idea I just had about consciousness! Perhaps most of you are already familiar with my idea that consciousness must arise from something outside of matter (with me postulating a soul as an observer of matter). This is still my favourite answer... yet the argument isn't wholly convincing. As my brother (and perhaps others) have pointed out... I'm basically saying that since I can see no way to subdivide consciousness, consciousness must be indivisible... and therefore either be a property of all matter, or of something external to matter. It's an argument from ignorance/lack of imagination (or argumentum ad ignorantiam for anyone interested in the official latin name)... I was browsing wikipedia. While I still see no way for consciousness to be subdivided, I decided to try to list my assumptions and see if I could find some feasible alternative assumptions.
However, instead of doing that fully, I'll just post this one alternative to my favourite theory before heading to bed. One of the wikipedia examples in their entry for "Argument from ignorance" is this: "A thousand-ton piece of metal could never float. Ships need to be made of wood, or at least something that floats."
This example seemed particularly relevant when I thought about it in terms of my views of consciousness... a person is conscious, therefore they must be made of something that is conscious on its own. This doesn't work for boats and metal, so I tried to stretch the analogy a bit further to see if I could figure out a similar solution to the boat/metal problem.
So why does something that is so heavy on its own and normally sinks float? There are the ideas of distributing weight and surface tension. Then I realized the main idea was that floating wasn't really a property of boats or metal or anything at all! Floating merely describes the relation of something(like metal) to the liquid (like water). There's no inherent "floatiness" to an object. Perhaps consciousness is the same way... what we call consciousness is just our relation to the universe; we "float" through a universe that supports us... our consciousness isn't a thing in itself, it is the interplay of matter on the fabric of the universe. If you stretch the analogy further, you could say that the way our brains are physically designed enable it to be lifted up to the top of the universe... and from above the sea of matter, we can actually see what lies beneath us. Again, stretching the model, by being raised above the fabric of the universe, we are partially outside the laws of the universe... enabling things such as choice, which really are outside of the laws of physics.
Viewing consciousness in this way supports the idea that our consciousness is part of one underlying consciousness... the surface of the water.
I'll have to think about it some more, but it seems like an interesting alternative to the view that consciousness is due to a soul that is external to matter.
I better get to bed... early day ahead tomorrow. Donny's coming home tomorrow, back for his work term, so I need to help move him and all his stuff back. For anyone who read through the post, I'd love to hear your thoughts, and I hope it wasn't too boring. Goodnight to you all!