What is our Consciousness?
Nobody really knows.
There, I said it. Don’t we all feel better now?
Tens of thousands of papers have been written on this subject, spanning over hundreds of years. It’s the 2nd most difficult question I believe we will ever face.
(Yes, the stomach wrenching why are we here is still number one).
For me, always at the heart of Simulation Theory has been The Consciousness.
It’s the question that just won’t go away..
But before we all enjoy a full-on existential crisis, how about we start with what we do know?
In simple terms, consciousness is perhaps the “filter layer” between “our” experience of life and the outer everything else. You could say the consciousness is the middle-man or the interpreter. While we may not often think twice about our nervous system, this is actually the closest place we can say our consciousness really “lives”. So then if our consciousness is “on” and at working correctly, then we don’t really think about it.
Of course, when talking about the C word, we have to be clear that different sciences have differing definitions. Wikipedia for example, has claims from those in various different fields of study including psychology, neuroscience and philosophy. All of which, offer different values and explanations. Little of which really help us on Awlias.com and Simulation Theory ...Or does it?
I’ve always personally defined consciousness as being aware and able to process our environment, and we need to be “awake” to do so. (I will cover the fun that is Subconscious in Part Two in a later Episode).
In general terms, we as humans have simply created a word to acknowledge being awake, alert or alive. Or lots of other A words.
Another way to think about it – in relation to The Simulation – is that Consciousness is perhaps our feedback system.
Okay, so if consciousness is the core of our life experiences, almost the interface/view of being alive itself, then why doesn’t society focus more resources on this area?
Surely there are hundreds of billions of dollars being invested in to learning more about the mystery of our consciousness, right?
While I mentioned the earlier papers, many written in the science fields, there is still little general interest in modern culture or media. Even some of the smartest minds and most successfully people in the world appear to be indifferent.
This for me is where things begin to get a little weird.
Why are we not more curious about possibly the most curious thing that ever existed?
Unlike pondering into distant Galaxies and wondering what is out there, this mystery is far closer to home.
Our consciousness is part of us – it lives inside us alongside our blood, veins and “soul” – and yet we can’t see it in an X-Ray. We can’t know if it’s healthy or compare our consciousness to our peers.
We seem to just accept consciousness and as long as it’s working – i.e. we’re alive – then we don’t – as a society – really care. Perhaps we are too busy to ask if that tree you walk pass every day has consciousness?
Well does it?
It appears that it is the medical and science communities that are currently more interested in the understanding of consciousness, and that mostly revolves around making sure our “consciousness” is working as best as it should be.
Sure, Consciousness is a spectrum. A doctor may test a patient for levels of consciousness.
But in practical terms, that’s the equivalent to me of testing how charged your smartphone is. Almost flat and on battery saving mode is not as good as plugging in, for sure.
Many before us have tried to answer this question, covering hundreds of years.
Yet here we are, still searching for answers and little further along than those who went before us.
Remember folks I’m not claiming to have all the answers here, nor am I discrediting the amazing work done so far by many people much more skilled and experienced than myself. But during my Journey on Awlias.com I hope to go much further in to the amazing and complex world of Consciousness but with a different perspective.
Looking at Consciousness with a fresh pair of eyes as it were.
This will require me to not only study the best papers written on subject but reaching out to smarter people in this field. Part Two will see us cover unconsciousness and subconscious too.
How does Consciousness feature in Simulation Theory?
My basic hypothesis on consciousness goes something like this:
If we are living in a simulation, then the consciousness is the layer we interpret the simulation through.
For believers of Simulation Theory, one cannot argue that consciousness has the hallmarks of a well-designed User Interface (UI) creating the best possible User Experience (UX).
Our consciousness could have almost been designed by an Apple-like company. “Magical” – our consciousness works, easy to use and you don’t often think about the internal workings or software processing of your device. (Side note: I love Android too. And Windows 10 Mobile. Are we Cool?).
There are some limitations to our consciousness that we experience too.
For example, it cannot run 24/7. We need to sleep and sometimes we may get ill.
Just like, maybe… a smartphone or a laptop?
(Again – Sleep with The Simulation is a whole episode in itself.)
Final thought - if I was a conspiracy theorist – which I’m not but - there is a question here as to why the discussion about Consciousness is not more popular?
As I alluded to earlier, we spend billions of dollars sending rockets in to space (and rightly so) but hardly care to explore the depths of our consciousness.
Have we already given up on it?
Consciousness - Summing it up (Part One)
Our consciousness is our feedback / awake / alert system designed to allow us to experience our environment (The Simulation, perhaps?).
If our consciousness is part of a Simulation, then we have to consider that this is a hybrid “view/screen/display” of the experience. Without it, we are no longer experiencing the simulation in real time.
For those still a little confused, I’d recommend learning about how a video game gets created in one of the popular game engines like Unity or CryEngine.
In Unity’s software for example, all of the games objects and art live on one part of the program, the code is accessed on another tab.
However, the main “Game view” is where the magic really happens. When the developer is ready to test the code, they hit Play and the Game View runs the code, brings in the game objects/art/music and allows the developer to play test the game in real time. Once he or she presses stop or pause – so does the game (simulation).
The simulation is viewed not from the folders containing the game nor from the code itself – but from the view game window – without it – it would be impossible to completely experience the game. The Play button – or software execution – is what brings everything to life.
The thousands of coded game files and art are always there, but they require a “middle man” to bring everything together. An experience interface. Just like our consciousness.
Another important point to remember with this example, is that while the developer can see everything – the game characters (and player) only ever see’s the game itself and ONLY when running it.
This is a super fun way to interpret our consciousness in relation to any Simulation.
What are your thoughts?
In Part Two I shall cover:
- Can we “live” without our Consciousness
- Does or could our Consciousness ever be upgraded or put in another human
- Do other objects have consciousness too?
If you enjoy my series on Simulation Theory, then please let me know by Subscribing to my YouTube Channel and I shall make more.