So, I have been studying for my test tomorrow in my experimental psychology class, and I came across something that happened to coincide with what I had been researching outside of class: science cannot study something it cannot measure. This is simple and intuitive, almost.
Outside of class, I have been spending a great deal of time reading about consciousness. I am a senior year psychology major, and I find that all of my questions come down to this question: what am I? That is, what is this thing that is allowing me awareness and allowing me the ability to think?
Rene Descartes famously put, “I think, therefore I am.”
It is brilliant! Except, it somewhat contradicts with some concepts I learned from Buddhism, which state something to the effect of “I am not my thought.”
These two concepts seem to contradict and much of the literature about consciousness seems to do so.
There is no firm agreement on why physical matter gave rise to this inner world that we live our lives immersed in.
So, the question is: will we ever answer the hard problems of consciousness? I say no because of the simple notion that we cannot study what we cannot measure.
How do we really measure consciousness? Is it the electricity between our neural synapses or the subjective perspective of being aware?
Ultimately, the question is unsolved. So, what does that mean for you and me? It means that we have to make a choice, to make a decision to believe in one way or another: We are all physical. We are all immaterial. We are neither one nor the other. We are both.
I believe whatever is to be decided should be in alignment with your happiness and your potential as a person.
But the question cannot be ignored, for it demands an answer.