Hard-line scientists tend to think of consciousness merely as a byproduct of the central nervous system. In this point of view, consciousness is derived from the physical body.
However, the actual human experience in the world fails to line up with this position. The average person sees their own consciousness as the crux of who they are. It even goes beyond determining the complex choices that we make every moment; at times our experience can be so profound as to invoke a spiritual awakening that seems to transform our lives.
What’s more is that we can decide to spiritually awaken by directing our consciousness back at ourselves. How can the scientific community dismiss this as a byproduct of biology? Well, according to evidence, they can’t.
The growing movement among consciousness researchers has its origins in the 1970s. Materialists such as Christof Koch have had to refine their hard-line stances on what awareness actually is, where and how it is produced, and the implications of those findings for the destiny of our species.
This movement has also derived encouragement from the failures of neuroscience and psychology to adequately explain the biology behind conscious thought.
Consciousness has been explored by philosophers since the dawn of history, yet the rise of scientific inquiry has brought us no closer to solving the greatest questions regarding our own inner spaces. The scientific community has, therefore, remained mostly quiet, hoping that some proof will one day support a physical explanation of consciousness.
There are a steadily increasing number of reputable scientists who ask their colleagues to rethink their stances on consciousness. One of the most exciting theories is that of the Quantum Mind, which hypothesizes that consciousness actually creates reality. This does serve as an extreme swing in perspective the other direction, and requires a large leap of faith to rationally consider. However, there are newer theories that do not require such a leap, and which could force us to reinterpret consciousness as a tool with which we can shape our reality through the decisions that we make.
Consciousness As A Force In Evolution
The recent debate between Deepak Chopra and Richard Dawkins is a good illustration of the divide between new ideas on duality and old-guard materialism. Dawkins argues a Darwinian interpretation of consciousness, that is, that human consciousness gives us an edge in survival from an evolutionary perspective. In other words, our ability to plan, anticipate and think creatively has allowed our species to survive in the face of grave threats.
Chopra’s view, that consciousness drives evolution, draws the skepticism of many. However, he may have a point. For example, we know that stress kills, and there is a growing body of evidence that it can cause cancer.
However, if Dawkins’ perspective that biology controls consciousness is correct, then we should not be able to affect our own biology with our stress, nor should we be able to lower our blood pressure with relaxation techniques.
We can make a decision to exercise for better health, or abstain from harmful substances that make us unhealthy. These are all conscious decisions that alter our physical bodies.
Even more evidence for the duality model is provided by professor James E. Beichler, PhD, who argues that consciousness not only affects our physical bodies, but it has the power to change species-wide evolution. In this recent paper, published by the International Academy of Consciousness, he outlines evidence that our brains’ neural connections change by merely thinking. Therefore, consciousness is the one doing the acting, not the one being acted upon.
Even more profoundly, a recent articlein Scientific American reported that a person’s DNA can be changed just by meditating.
This is the climax of numerous studies which have shown that changes in the brain can alter one’s DNA through a process called epigenetics. If consciousness can change our genetic makeup, and these changes are then passed on to future generations, then it is true that consciousness can affect the evolution of the species.
Don’t take our word for it, though. Check out this video of Sir Roger Penrose’s viewpoint on the subject:
Source : thespiritscience.net