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:

Crusie Ship Shake-Up

A security camera catches the scene in a cruise ship dining room as the ship hits some bad weather:
(If you don't have time for the whole video watch the first 2 minutes and then skip to 5 minute mark and watch for another minute)

Bonus: a cruise ship almost tips over in bad weather

The Greatest Opening Scene in The History of Modern Film?

If you don't recognize this opening in the first couple of minutes you need to watch this film (either again or for the first time).

Click read more below for a bit more commentary.

This clip is from Francis Ford Coppola's masterpiece "Apocalypse Now". In a span of a few years, Coppola directed "The Godfather I and II" and "Apocalypse Now", and also produced George Lucus' breakout film "American Graffiti". Talk about artistic innovation. To actually create Apocalypse took incredible vision and perseverance. The film was besieged by problems "including typhoons, nervous breakdowns, the firing of Harvey Keitel, Martin Sheen's heart attack, extras from the Philippine military leaving in the middle of scenes to go fight rebels, and an unprepared Marlon Brando with a bloated appearance (which Coppola attempted to hide by shooting him in the shadows). It was delayed so often it was nicknamed Apocalypse When?." ( Wikipedia )

Drug use was also rampant among cast members. In this famous scene with Charlie Sheen, Sheen was so wasted, he could hardly stand:

Last Minutes With Oden

Last Minutes with ODEN from phos pictures on Vimeo.

I put my comments below this video so I wouldn't influence your experience of it.....

I've watched it three times now and have teared up every time; it is incredibly sad. But, there is a message and a beauty in the sadness that makes this video something special (it won best video at the 2010 Vimeo Awards).

Of course, the message of unconditional love as taught by the life of Oden is an important aspect of the video. But, for me, the power of this video is in how it forces the viewer to confront emotion, particularly sadness. Our society tends to be hyper-masculinized; promoting the hero as a stoic warrior archetype and, genrally, teaching us to hide our emotion and feelings. Sometimes, though, the difficult emotions need to be brought to the surface. By observing them we can begin to find the truth, goodness, and beauty hidden within them.

In the case of Oden, the truth was that he was in pain and needed to be put down. There was a goodness to Oden's owners doing the right thing despite the grief it caused. And, there was beauty in Oden's life and message being recognized, appreciated, and passed on to anyone watching this video. If the owner, as he put it, "John Wayned" it and put the dog down without feeling the sadness, then the lessons of truth, goodness, and beauty would have been missed.