The hard problem

Does consciousness emerge magically out of sufficiently complex matter, or does it pre-exist and encapsulate the real world?

I find it funny that the word magically is appropriate here because science has literally no idea about where consciousness, the basis of our entire experience of life, comes from.

Without our mind’s ability to take in stimuli through our sense organs, and then interpret that information in the context of previous experience, the “real world” doesn’t exist.

We have no idea of what is out there independent of our mind’s interpretation.

The real world as we experience it, which is the only real world that we will ever know, depends entirely on the stories our minds make up.

The real real world is meaningless without us… that’s if it exists at all.

Blind side

We all have one, we just don’t know it’s there. By definition!

It’s easier to see in other people.

Imagine there is something that you take for granted, a significant concept that shapes your life and that you assume everyone shares.

And then you find that someone whom you respect, and look up to, has no idea what you are talking about.

The same is true in reverse. For everyone you know. Significant concepts that influence their every waking moment that you know nothing about, have never even heard of.

Our blind side is actually 360 degrees of ignorance.

And we think we live in a shared world.

Computer says no

Yesterday I spent an hour on the phone trying to convince Vodafone that I wasn’t asking them to give me access to my Dad’s credit card or bank details and that all I wanted was to confirm that someone was going to fix his phone line. At the end of the hour I lost it, completely. I said “I know this isn’t your fault”, but I lost it.

Today I called Daikin to book a service for our heat pump. Something they have done for each of the past four years. The person on the other line asked me to spell my name. Four times. He then said I need to check with someone. He didn’t ask for post code, service reference, unit serial number, anything. After ten minutes of canned music I hung up.

At this rate civilisation will eventually grind to a bleeding halt.

Outraged indignation

It’s almost like sex isn’t it, that rush of adrenalin and blissful release. “How could he!?”, “How dare they?!”, “What on earth is she talking about?!”, “A line has been crossed!”.

The surge of endorphins as our ego fires up for a holy war with some deserving victim. We are justified in letting go, taking the brakes off, casting aside the shackles of the social contract.

And isn’t it great, the internet triggers this every day. It’s like ego porn. We can get all of the rush with none of the risk. “These people are asking for it. Every right thinking decent person should stand up to them.”

But such indulgence takes its toll, it corrodes our self respect, it drowns out our still, quiet voice that knows better.

It’s just as well it is patient and will still be there when we calm down.