Conscience and Consciousness - Part 1 of 3
Conscience and consciousness; does this describe or define our souls? Where do they come from and where do they eventually go?
We are beings made up of the very atomic particles and minerals that existed at the time of, or were created by, the "Big Bang". Somehow, and under the perfect environmental conditions, we became more than just flesh and blood; more than just instinctual animals with limited needs and survival skills, and, perhaps to our ultimate undoing, more than just a partner in the grand scheme of "Nature's Way".
There are many scientific explanations for the development of our brains to a point where our intellect has allowed us to survive unnaturally in a natural environment. And, indeed, this unnatural natural phenomenon has sparked legend, history, the development of religion and government, fierce competition, sexual behavior, love and hatred, intelligence and ignorance; all in a grand concept of manifest destiny, which may simply be a fairy tale among fairy tales in the end.
However, the consequences of this story when viewed from the perspective of our individual selves, or a collection of individual selves, makes up the story of human nature which is as complex as any science, and which leads me to wonder about the why and how of conscience and consciousness.
I have been lucky enough in my life to have had a long standing exposure to two sets of human information; medicine and the law. Within the broader context of life, having a working knowledge of both expands the playing field of thought in general, and, particularly herein, as regards human nature. In both cases the rules are dependent upon the facts. Medicine is dependent upon human illness for it rules and the law is dependent upon human behavior for its rules. And both are driving forces for human progress, whether we think such a thing is good or not. Had there been a real Garden of Eden, there would have been no need for medicine or the law, and humanity would have had no reason to progress; we'd have had all we would ever need. But people ate the apples and still do.
None of this explains why we humans are capable of awareness and guilt. How is it that a specifically sequenced set of chemicals and cells are able to provide us with the ability to see, hear, smell, taste, feel, form sound and form thoughts, thus allowing us to express those thoughts in spoken or written words, backed by leaned information, logic, emotion, misinformation, expressed truthfully or falsely, to be benefit or detriment of others and those others being capable of reading, hearing, interpreting and repeating those thoughts, and on and on? And all of this in a myriad of spoken and written forms.
We know that all flesh must surely die, and we know that accident or illness can bring virtual death to all thought and consciousness. My question herein is primarily aimed at where the energy of a lifetime of thought and being goes when the human vessel is no longer capable of housing such energy?
To begin at the beginning, so to speak, a threshold question to the above question would be where do conscience and consciousness come from in the first place?
For me to try to discuss, or even attempt to answer, these questions, I must ironically delve into my own stream of consciousness going forward and will likely ask or create more questions than answers. If, in the end, all I have done is that, well then I've at least done something.
Photo: Having the Power by Michael Faes, Switzerland