Sunday, June 16, 2013

We are all explorers... of consciousness!

He looked at his own Soul with a Telescope.
What seemed all irregular, he saw shewed to be beautiful 
Constellations; and he added to the Consciousness hidden
worlds within worlds
                  Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Notebooks

Perhaps the greatest mystery that has always, and still confronts humanity is that of consciousness. What is it to be conscious? How can we describe it?  Where is it located? What possesses it?  Examining consciousness was once described by the psychologist and philosopher William James as trying to see the dark by turning on a light. Yet despite the inherent difficulty in attempting to apprehend such a profound and amorphous concept, it seems the essence of human nature to do so. In this respect we are all explorers... explorers of consciousness embarked upon a journey that takes us to mountainous heights and abysmal depths, through unlit forests and blinding desert landscapes. Each with our own inner compass as guide. In this respect all are equal, as the paths of our thoughts, perceptions and emotions can only be traveled by ourselves. 

So what can it mean then to explore consciousness?  This has certainly been the province of philosophy, science and more recently psychology, but almost any human activity can be viewed as an exploration of consciousness. This also brings us to questions about the possibility of non human consciousness including superhuman consciousness. So with this inexhaustible expanse of directions where can we begin our voyage?