Being, consciousness, existence, self-awareness.
It would be fair to say, a lot of philosophers, theologists, linguists, psychologists, neurologists and other accidental or deliberate ontologists have expended a great deal of time, thought, ink and small patches of electromagnetic difference on this topic.
The current secular physiological stand is roughly that a complex patternated network of neurons with differentiated potential transmission capabilities along the pathways within it, gradually forms in response to stimuli and that this is a knowledge representation of the world, in which the constant activity eventually also forms a representation of the self as part of this world-model. The relating of the self-portion of the model to the rest of the world-model, constantly necessitated through the interactive experience of agency (tocsin – reticulating actions in babies*) as part of this learning of the self), causes the emergent phenomenon we call consious experience.
This is of course a wholly self-referential system. As such it gives me some cause to question whether such a flying by pulling on ones bootlaces model is really sufficient to explain consciousness. Is it rather that the current theory just cobbles together the few bits of information it has into a partial theory that scientists hope is right and hope to be able to make more robust as more evidence, hopefully supporting it, comes along. Well of course it is, as that is what all scientific theories do. However, as such incomplete things, all scientific theories also have to suffer the slings and arrows of logical objections picking them apart, offering alternative explanations, and demanding a re-think. I present my slings, arrows and demand.
The self-referential emergence (I’ll shorten that to SRE) theory of consciousness does not really drill down into that nub of the question we all really want to get at: Who or what is it that experiences being? SRE just says, in effect, “It is me that experiences being me.” This kind of answer does not satisfy, me.
Generally wholly self-referential answers are deprecated in science, logic and philosophy. The whole thrust of these branches of enquiry is to constantly seek what the next underpinning layer is, with perhaps some vague vain hope that eventually there will be some irrefutably logical underlying truth. The secular scientists of today hope of course that this will not turn out to be some supreme deity forever beyond their understanding. That would bring a whole heap of consequences that society after thousands of years has only just managed to stop worrying about.
The problem is that firstly there is unlikley to be any end to the secular process of scientific burrowing because the answer would need to be sustained by logic and the question is then: “But what sustains logic?”
Are we to arrive at yet another self-referential answer – logic sustains logic? This would seem very unsatisfactory. Despite many attempts to burrow to the bottom, nothing more fundamental has yet been obtained.
We are given clues however. The problem is these clues point to the theistic explanation. One such clue is the etymology of the word we use “logic.” This greek word means “that which is spoken; the word.”
We are burrowing down to look for the bedrock, the underlying truth, the progenitor of being, the foundation upon which logic itself rests.
Let me tell you, anyone that is willing to hear to the (initially) difficult (in terms of personal and social consequences), THIS truth. We have arrived at the bedrock!
It is there written for all to see. Logic (the word) you seek. The spark of being that experiences consciousness you seek. The basic original progenitor you seek. Your answer was already written with absolute clarity by the man who was given all the answers 2000 years ago. He was told to tell them to us. His name was John and he tells you what he was told to tell you, then he tells you who he is, that he is just an ordinary man given a mission to hear the truth and pass it on, then he explains why people will find it hard to believe him. He does not say anything in this immediate answer part, about the consequences of you knowing this truth (that information comes later), he simply answers these ultimate existential queries that we all harbour.
John 1 King James Version (KJV)
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
You can stop digging only if you are prepared to yield that there is a God, that God underpins everything, including space and time so you cannot ask what was before God or where did God come from. The answer is not however self-referential for us, as it refers us and our world to something beyond. It refers us to God. God may seem self-referential to God, but we cannot apply logic to God as God is logic.
If you seek some Biblical confirmation – you will find that important things are usually stated in the Bible more than once – I can refer you to:
Colossians 1:17 King James Version (KJV)
And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
There are numerous cross-references of course:
John 8:58 “Truly, truly, I tell you,” Jesus declared, “before Abraham was born, I am!”
Hebrews 1:3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His nature, upholding all things by His powerful word. After He had provided purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.
Colossians 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
Proverbs 8:22,23 The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old…
Isaiah 43:11-13 I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no savior…
1 Corinthians 8:6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, …
Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
Revelation 1:8,11,17 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, said the Lord, …
Psalm 75:3 The earth and all the inhabitants thereof are dissolved: I bear up …
John 5:17,18 But Jesus answered them, My Father works till now, and I work…
Acts 17:28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also …
Hebrews 1:3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his …
Finally, why am I spending my time telling you this? Because all my nearly 60 years I have enjoyed having an enquiring mind. “Why, why, why?” has been my way of thinking. Finally God came into my life and supplied answers. Incredible answers. Answers to questions that everybody asks. Answers that can be very hard to beleive, but there they are anyway. Finding answers is joyful and it is my joy to share them. In Mathew 7:7 you find the famous “Seek and ye shall find” passage. Matthew actually tells you that if you seek answers from God, He will give you them. John actually told you the answers already because God knew you would ask those questions. There of course many other questions people have, some very philosophical, some personal, some socio-political, some moral and ethical, and some very scientific. Pretty-much the answers to these are actually already in the Bible, and usually in shockingly more detail than you might suppose.
Today, instead of being in Sunday morning church (usually I am but not today), I have instead read some Bible and chosen to pass on some information, in the hope it might bring joy, enlightenment and blessing into your life. I cannot think of a better thing to do with that freely given by God than to share it.
Enjoy Being as God intended.
God Bless You. Amen.
* The presence of repetitive movements, described as the repetition of the same movement multiple times, is considered a necessary step for the development of voluntary purposeful movements and seems to have an adaptive role during limited temporal windows of psychomotor development.
(Thelen E. (1979). Rhythmical stereotypies in normal human infants.
Anim. Behav. 27 699–715. 10.1016/0003-3472(79)90006-X [PubMed] [Cross Ref])