06/25/13

Only One Consciousness

For my first post I want to establish an idea which I’ll probably be referring back to a lot in subsequent posts. It’s an idea which has been buzzing around my head for about the past three or four years. Although I’m now fairly convinced of the truth of this idea, it will undoubtedly come across to many as whacky-stuff. So strap in.

My whacky idea is this: There is only one consciousness in this universe. Every instance of consciousness (whether it resides in a human, an animal, an alien, or in some-future computer) is in fact your consciousness.

A classic philosophical question one can ask oneself goes something like this: Am I the same person I was five minutes ago? Or has that old-me completely vanished, and now all I have is the memory of five minutes ago? Ignoring how ridiculously ill-posed such a question is, and just responding to it as a child would, there are essentially two answers one can give: yes – I am the same person I was five minutes ago; or, no – a completely new and different person is experiencing this moment.

My whacky idea is this: whatever answer you give, if you take it to the extreme, in the limit, it will reveal to you that consciousness is universal.

Assume your answer is yes – I am the same person I was five minutes ago. Well then, what about one day ago? What about a decade ago? Was that also you experiencing those moments? What about the life your parents lived before you were born? Shouldn’t you consider their experiences to be your experiences also? After all, at what point did their life cease and your life commence? As a system of constantly dividing cells you are continuous with your parents and so on back a countless number of generations.

Assume your answer is no – I am not the same person I was five minutes ago. Well then, take that perspective to the limit: You believe that you exist only for this infinitesimally short moment called “now”. Then it follows that in every moment you are perpetually born, and perpetually die. And every moment comes to you in precisely the same way; arising in your consciousness from a completely unknown source. Therefore, all of these moments are a part of your experience.

To make myself clear, in as blunt a way as possible: You don’t just get to live your life on this planet for 70 years or so and then die. You gotta live the lives of everyone who has ever existed or will exist in the future. Because it’s the same consciousness in which all these experiences are arising.