Author Box
Articles Categories
All Categories
Articles Resources

Core Controversy Surrounding Consciousness

May 25, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 133

Consciousness is the ability of nature to perceive reality and respond to it. All of us have experienced this natural ability and therefore there can't be any controversy about its existence.

However origin of consciousness is surrounded in controversy. Some say it preceded the creation of universe while others say that it came into being in the course of progressive development of nature and universe. Therefore, it is a horse and cart problem - whether the horse is before the cart or the cart is before the horse.

Matter is divided into nonliving matter and living matter. Majority of thinkers have held nonliving matter to be devoid of consciousness and it has been further held that somewhere along the path consciousness crept into matter to give rise to living matter or life. But this view does not explain origin and source of consciousness.

Majority of religious philosophers have sought to resolve this dilemma by drawing a strict line of distinction between soul and body. They say that body is different and soul is different and accordingly realization of this difference is one of the pious goals of human life. Almost all the religious philosophies except Buddhism hold that soul is eternal, different and separate from body even though residing in body and death means soul deserting the body. Buddhists preach that soul has no separate existence from body and it is all in the ensemble. However even Buddhist leave one question unanswered "Who is the designer?"

Lewes in the first volume of Problems of Life and Mind (1874) endorsed the Buddhist view. He stated that regrouping of physical motion of molecules in to chemical action lead to emergence of novelties and the same is true of vital phenomenon, social phenomenon and psychical phenomenon, there is regrouping, not the introduction of new material, above all not a casting away of old. However I wish to point out that mere regrouping is not sufficient to explain emergence of novelties (not detailed).

However Hegel in The Phenomenology of Spirit (1807) portrayed a self-actualizing universe which came to understand itself through the minds of conscious beings. Hegel noted that in human species mind evolved through discontinuous, ascending perceptive levels.

Jain philosophy recognizes ascending perceptive levels as ranging from organisms with a single sense to organisms with five senses.

Sherrington explicitly described the core controversy surrounding consciousness as two alternatives:-

"We are once more at a crucial parting of ways. And I think at bottom it comes to this. One route leads to the view that mind is emergent in the course of evolutionary history. The other path leads to the view that mind is not emergent. It is not an evolutionary stage in the natural history of the psychical correlates of physical events. It enters the world endowed with an original capacity for apprehending that world, with its several categories, through the use of sense-organs and brains, evolved to that end in a manner which it is for biologists to disclose. This apprehension is part of the mind's inherent activity which with the conduct it sub served, affords instances of a kind of causality elsewhere not to be found in nature. The two views are...irreconcilable."

Therefore, which view is correct has to be decided but direct evidence to decide the issues is inaccessible, since it is not possible to travel backward in time to the conditions that preceded creation of universe. Therefore, one has to rely upon the other two properties of truth i.e. rationality and plausibility to determine and test the truth.

For any particle to keep existence, several mandatory conditions have to be satisfied all the time. There are inherent contradictions among these mandatory conditions which need to be kept resolved all the time through appropriate tools, techniques, controls, mechanisms etc. (Existential dilemma). Hence, for existence of any particle pre-existence of appropriate tools, techniques, controls, mechanisms etc. has to necessarily precede its origin/creation.

Therefore, if we assume for the sake of discussion only that physical universe began with origin of photons, being the simplest of particles, then we find that even photons in order to keep their existence needed to conserve their energy against the tendency to energy flow in accordance with 2nd law of thermodynamics. Therefore creation of appropriate mechanism i.e. oscillating electromagnetic field and time lag to onset of entropy had to necessarily precede origin of photons. This raises a question about the agent responsible for origin of these mechanisms. The agent responsible for creation of these mechanisms can only be consciousness or is consciousness.

This view is plausible in its essence without exception with the entire evolutionary progress of physical and biological universe. It is not being detailed further herein for the sake of brevity. In short consciousness is an original property of the world endowed with capacity for apprehending the world, which is capable of resolving existential dilemma. However as the consciousness has evolved, so has the physical world. Therefore elevation of consciousness is the common thread to the evolutionary history of the world.

Summarizing all above, consciousness had to precede origin/ creation of physical universe, is embedded in its material creations and has evolved to the level of human mind in order to explicitly realize itself.

Consciousness, since origin of universe up to evolution of man has proceeded subconsciously or without self-awareness as a hidden condition behind things and events and has been described as involuntarily consciousness, since its bearer has no control over its activities but in man it has evolved to the level of awareness or voluntary consciousness permitting not only self-realization but also apprehension of the world and individual control. Therefore, it can be readily seen that in universe Involuntary Consciousness has played a much bigger role then Voluntary Consciousness. Even Sachin Tendulkar can not explicitly calculate before hitting a ball, it has to be in his subconscious.

Dr Mahesh C. Jain has written the book "Encounter of Science With Philosophy - A Synthetic View." Consciousness is recognized as one of the three aspects of God or metaphysical/ transcendental influences that had to precede origin of Universe or Nature. It is submitted that evolution of consciousness has proceeded hand in hand with evolution of cosmos. For further details visit

Source: EzineArticles
Was this Helpful ?

Rate this Article

Article Tags:





Existential Dilemma


Origin Of Universe


Evolution Of Consciousness

For gaining entrance in coveted fields in a reputed University, the entrance examinations are the gateway. The purpose of these entrance examinations is to test the potential of a candidate and how

By: Sarkariexam l Reference & Education > Science l December 23, 2012 lViews: 520

Competition is increasing at an alarming level in every sphere. The students have to focus completely on their studies to ensure that they get admission in the line of their choice. What more, the

By: Sarkariexam l Reference & Education > Continuing Education l December 14, 2012 lViews: 1443

'How hard is a PhD'? Many PhD holders have been asked this question millions of times, but there is never any definite answer. We look at those who walk around proudly with a 'Doctor' title with

By: onlineedublog l Reference & Education > Continuing Education l November 11, 2012 lViews: 284

In this fast paced world which is sadly recession struck, it is indeed a good idea to work while acquiring further education. A master’s degree is obviously better than a bachelor’s in almost

By: onlineedublog l Reference & Education > Online Education l November 04, 2012 lViews: 262

An Online Degree Program in Finance is gaining popularity as it helps students to develop a lucrative career. It helps in a competitive business world. This has resulted in more number of students

By: Matthew l Reference & Education > Online Education l October 31, 2012 lViews: 288

Supporting justice is one of the reasons many people get into a career in the legal field. All-inclusive Online Associate’s Degree in Legal Studies assists many in the beginning stage of employment

By: Richard l Reference & Education > Online Education l October 26, 2012 lViews: 222

In many schools, students are checked at the entrance to see whether they are carrying a cell phone or not. The widespread ban on the usage of cell phones in classrooms is because of a number of

By: Jonathan Reynoldl Reference & Education > Future Conceptsl June 14, 2012 lViews: 171

No longer is education limited to just traditional 'brick and mortar' classrooms. Right from kids to adults, everyone is going the online way as far as education is concerned via a series of online

By: Jonathan Reynoldl Reference & Education > Future Conceptsl June 13, 2012 lViews: 162

It would be a mistake to ban cell phones in classrooms. Why? Well, researchers have found that cell phones can create the right environment for learning. Studies have also revealed that 75 percent of

By: Jonathan Reynoldl Reference & Education > Future Conceptsl June 12, 2012 lViews: 172

In the future, it is my estimation that we will have self-healing technologies for ships, aircraft, and perhaps even spacecraft. We might have them for bridges, buildings, and our important

By: Lance Winslowl Reference & Education > Future Conceptsl June 12, 2012 lViews: 179

In the future aircraft will have wings that morph and fuselages which can contort. Why you ask? Because it will make them more efficient, and safer to fly at both high and low speed. This is where

By: Lance Winslowl Reference & Education > Future Conceptsl June 11, 2012 lViews: 195

Intentional communities, also known as cohousing, can make credible test facilities for alternative social and philosophical arrangements. As test beds for the emerging technologies of

By: Laurence Winnl Reference & Education > Future Conceptsl June 10, 2012 lViews: 160

With the evolution of self awareness in human beings, we have been conferred with the ability to voluntarily regulate our sexual activities. We are expected to act prudently and pragmatically but we

By: Mahesh C Jainl News & Society > Anthropology Sociologyl June 26, 2012 lViews: 201

Discuss this Article

comments powered by Disqus