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Saturday, 17 November 2012


I am starting two new blog posts tonight: this one and another to be titled: Pol Pot and Solyndra. The second post will be in some ways the more exciting of the two in view of the two one-hundred-million-pound-prizes I shall be offering. The first £100M prize will be awarded to anyone who can demonstrate that any tried statist organisation of society has not resulted in poverty, death and immiseration. The second £100M prize goes to anyone who can show that any government sponsored business initiative has ever been anything other than a catastrophic failure.

Fair enough? The judge’s decision, in each case, will be final and no correspondence will be entered in to.

Back to Consciousness. There may be a million people on the planet who are better equipped to discuss this subject. But this is my blog.

It is very hard to define consciousness. Pascal based his whole philosophy on it. It seemed to him that it was self-evident, to him, that something to which he had access was thinking.

There is a spectrum. You and I believe we possess consciousness. I am not embarrassed to make the claim. If you are, I am doubly embarrassed for you: firstly, I think you are lying; secondly, I think you are incoherent.

At the other end of the spectrum are minerals. If you think minerals possess a rudimentary consciousness, I’d love to talk to you – I don’t actually rule this idea out of court. In fact, I am open to the idea that, in the Big Bang, were created not only Space, Time, Energy and Matter but also the seed of Consciousness. I can even imagine arguments which start with where we are, go backwards and end with that seed. I’m not going there now, or probably ever.

Between minerals, on the one hand, and you and me on the other, are many many intermediate stages. I would be prepared to contemplate crystals. Then plants (simple), plants (complex), animals (single-celled), animals (multi-celled), vertebrates, mammals, humanoids and humans. You can see how unsophisticated I am, how lacking in meaty science. All the same, I am not deviating from intuition by postulating minerals at one end of the spectrum and us at the other. I have just caught myself out in Blasphemy – we are not, according to Catholic Theology, at the top end of the consciousness spectrum. Who knows how many colours there are between you and the Loving Creator/Infinite Father?

Consciousness may be regarded, like Free Will, as an illusion. I must have been all of twelve years old when, accepting the idea of Cause and Effect, I brought Free Will into the focus of the object lens of my pubescent microscope. Yes, I said, there is a reason to suppose that because every effect has a cause, it makes no difference what we do (or think). Minutes later I realised that, according to that logic we have no responsibility to act or think at all. I decided to remain human.

Consciousness either exists or it does not. If we proceed a though it does not, we cut off the bough upon which we sit. A dog knows what it wants: food, comfort, sexual satisfaction. It does not crave coherence. We do, as well as food, comfort and sexual satisfaction.

Good Night!

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