In the book “The Untethered Soul,” the author Michael Singer says, “Consciousness is the highest word you will ever utter” (page 28). Why?
I turn now to my own self. What do I think about this which comes from within me? What do I contemplate, without going to Mr. Singer’s book and reading the answer? I want to know what my thoughts are because it must be what my consciousness has to say to me.
Oh, shoot. The first thing that came to mind was from an article on consciousness found in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. I read there a few months ago on panpsychism: that consciousness is a fundamental and ubiquitous feature of reality that exists throughout reality. I rather liked the idea that consciousness is, and nothing more needs to be said. In my own words, I would say that consciousness is the fabric of existence.
Mr. Singer said that consciousness is the highest word. Others would say that the name of Jesus is highest. Why does the height of the word matter to me? What happens to me when I utter the word consciousness or think it? Does how I feel change? Well yes. In my case, thinking the word consciousness is a prayer of calling. That tells me that I think consciousness is more like a being with whom I can communicate. I think that the consciousness feature of the universe is also relational. From that point of view, then those who say Jesus or Spirit, are communicating with the same feature of the universe that I am.
I think that my consciousness and my soul are the same. I also think that my consciousness was somehow in a non-physical state before I was born. But I can’t prove this and it surely comes partly from the study of other spiritual writers and from my own intuitive thoughts. Consciousness has not yet been measured. We don’t know when it arrives in any physical body or where it goes under anesthesia. Consciousness is not DNA but it probably utilized epigenetics and brain circuitry, and in fact, helps build these from the ground up in a new human apparatus. Some neuroscientists believe that consciousness is just brain circuits arranged in a particular way as a result of experience and predictive simulation. “A mind is something that emerges from a transaction between your brain and your body while they are surrounded by other brain-in-bodies that are immersed in a physical world and constructing a social world” (7½ Lessons About the Brain. Lisa Feldman Barrett, page 100). I think that there is more than just a brain. So I am a philosophical duelist, not a physicalist. Unconscious parts of my brain are still part of my consciousness. The only meaning that human life has is consciousness. There is a difference between consciousness and conscience. My conscience directs me. My consciousness listens to my conscience. But in many ways, my conscience is as mysterious as my consciousness and similar to my consciousness.
I’m not sure that there is a difference between consciousness and love. And so I will have to stop this reflection. Love is ineffable to me.