QR6.3.12 The Nature of Consciousness

A synchrony cascade theory of consciousness answers common questions about it as follows:

1. What is consciousness? Consciousness is the ability to observe a physical event. Human consciousness is the ability to observe nerves processing our body’s physical interaction with the world. Without it, a brain could respond to the physical world but there would be no “I” to experience anything.

2. What causes consciousness? The first cause is that the quantum world created the physical world as a virtual reality that it can observe. Our consciousness arose when nerve synchrony evolved to allow observation on a larger scale, so the brain causes our consciousness.

3. Is consciousness physical? No. Every physical event is an observation result so the observer can’t also be physical as that would be circular. If consciousness was physical, we could put it in a bottle but what causes physicality can’t be contained by it. If consciousness exists in a non-physical electromagnetic field, then it isn’t physical either.

4. Is consciousness continuous? A physical observation is an event not a thing so our experiences are intermittent not continuous, but that which experiences constantly exists.

5. Where is consciousness? If the physical world is a virtual reality, the observer exists outside it just as the player is always outside the game. The observing “I” views the physical world as one observes a glass globe with a snow scene – from the outside. We observe the scenes of physical reality from the quantum reality that contains it.

6. What does consciousness do? Consciousness as the ability to observe, unify and choose, whether at the cell or human scale, isn’t a physical cause because it doesn’t exist in the physical world.Imagine an online game where players discussed “What does the player do?” Those who see only the game see no “player” and so say there is none. If others say the player is the one who observes and chooses, they ask them to point out this “player” in the game. Nothing in the game proves the player exists, but the game only exists because there are players.

7. Why is consciousness singular? Brain areas work in parallel but can only form one synchrony at a time, to give one conscious experience at a time. Consciousness is singular because the brain-wide resonance that creates it is singular.

8. Why does consciousness never fail to give an experience? Brain states that give entirely new smells or body feelings take no more effort than familiar ones. How does consciousness know what to experience each time, without fail? If the conscious cascade builds up from individual nerve observations, the experience is built from scratch each time. Consciousness never fails because every experience is generated from the ground up.

9. Can consciousness change? Consciousness due to neural synchrony can increase or decrease in size as nerves join or leave. This may explain why “I” take a while to fully arrive after waking up. Consciousness increases as the brain works better and reduces as it declines, giving moments of more or less consciousness over a day or lifetime. When consciousness declines, it may divide, as in cases of multiple personalities. A brain-generated consciousness can grow or shrink over time.

10. Can consciousness observe itself? An observation is an observer-observed interaction where the observer isn’t the observed. By the nature of our reality, an observer can only observe itself by dividing into observing and observed parts. A brain can do this, as the intellect can observe what the rest of the brain does, as interpreter theory proposes. But consciousness as an entanglement has no parts to split into, so it can’t do that. The ability to observe per se can’t be observed but it can know that it is observing. To identify with the observer not the observed may be the meaning of the Gnostic saying “Know Thyself”.

Our consciousness makes us special among the animal kingdom but how did it evolve?