What Is Consciousness?

I like this quote from a Stuart Hammeroff, a medical doctor specializing in anesthesiology who has studied consciousness for the past 30 years:

Stuart Hameroff
Most people think that consciousness emerged over eons as a byproduct of random mutations and the inherent complexity of natural selection, but I look at it the other way around. I think a fundamental field of protoconscious experience has been embedded all along—since the big bang—in the [quantum realm], and that biology evolved and adapted in order to access it and to maximize the qualities and potentials implicit within it. . . I think that when you meditate and attain nothingness . . . it isn’t quite nothingness. You move more deeply into the basic fabric of the universe and actually become more consciously a part of it.

What Is Consciousness?: Stuart Hamerhoff and Deepak Chopra Video Discussion

In a previous blog post, I referenced a quote by Stuart Hameroff about the nature of consciousness. In the following video, Hameroff and Deepak Chopra discuss this topic in greater detail.

An important point is that consciousness does not arise at a certain level of complexity but is embedded into the very fabric of the universe itself. This point of view can help us realize the oneness we share with the world around us. (As differentiated entities in nature, some are more complex than others, some are more aware than others, but none are "better" than others; that would be like saying an organism is better than a cell).

Another important point is that humaness (i.e. consciousness) cannot be reduced to simple bio-chemical processes in the brain. Consciousness is not just a product of neurons in our brain acting as on-off switches, which, at a certain point of complexity create consciousness. (As a side note: the de-humanizing effect of this view point in the world of technology is the topic of a good book by Jaron Lanier called You Are Not a Gadget.)

Here's the video: