Consciousness and neuro-science

Discussion from Quora

(Different from above) Prof. Donald Hoffman – The Case Against Reality .

A professor of cognitive science argues that the world is nothing like the one we experience through our senses.

Evolution has shaped us with perceptions that allow us to survive. They guide adaptive behaviors. But part of that involves hiding from us the stuff we don’t need to know. And that’s pretty much all of reality, whatever reality might be.

Snakes and trains, like the particles of physics, have no objective, observer-independent features

Gefter: I suspect they’re reacting to things like Roger Penrose and Stuart Hameroff’s model, where you still have a physical brain, it’s still sitting in space, but supposedly it’s performing some quantum feat. In contrast, you’re saying, “Look, quantum mechanics is telling us that we have to question the very notions of ‘physical things’ sitting in ‘space.’” Continue reading

The Male Chauvinist Pig in Us!

varahavatara

Varaha avatar – Vishnu’s Incarnation as a Boar

vivekacUDAmaNi is a famous text on advaita teaching, usually  ascribed to Shankara. The very first verse, after the formal salutation for auspiciousness, speaks of the rarity to be born as a male human being. It says:

jantUnAm narajanma durlabham atah pumstvam tato vipratA …

(For all beings, the human birth is difficult to obtain; much more so is a male body; rarer than that is brahminhood…)

Now we have genetic support!

Dr. E.M. McCarthy, a Georgia University geneticist, comes up with a controversial new hypothesis of humans evolution. He says that the genetic evidence overwhelmingly suggests that we are a rare cross between  a male Pig and a female Chimp.

Can 48/2 of Chimps chromosomes + 38/2 of pig = 46 of a man? Well, don’t ask such silly math questions. Who  can remember  what happened after all over 80 million years ago?

So Sitara, Dhanya and Meenakshi, Don’t blame us if we are boastful of ourselves!

(If you are more curious see: http://www.macroevolution.net/human-origins.html#.Upoej8RDuSr)

Q. 354 – Consciousness and reality

Q: I have an odd question, a question that I am not even sure how to formulate, it concerns consciousness. Why does Advaita philosophy insist on calling the ultimate reality consciousness? The word consciousness implies intelligence and thought – how do we know that anything outside of brains is in any way conscious?  Does this mean that physical reality amounts to the “thoughts” of this consciousness? Can the transcendent consciousness send messages to an embodied consciousness? 

 I know that an advaitin will say that there is only a non-dual reality but I mean this (however unreal or relative a reality my individual reality may be from an ‘ultimate’ perspective’) in much the same way that, until you received this e-mail from me, you were not aware of any ‘message’ or meaning from me.

  If I see a figure in clouds or a face in some wood-grain, should I see this as information with meaning? Does the consciousness ‘behind’ or ‘underneath’ everything communicate meaning with physical events (pictures, or ‘my thoughts’ , or even ambiguous hand-writing!) the way we normally communicate meaning with words and concepts? In other words–if the entire universe is consciousness, can anything be truly mindless or meaningless? Continue reading