I breathe air, you breathe air. . is the air we breathe the same? . . . The consciousness/identity issue is something like that . . . we have a 'lease' so to speak on consciousness, a lease granted when we took occupancy of our bodies, of our lives.
Wait, so that implies something that inhabits us, lives within us, is on sometimes, off at other times. It varies, with sleep, wakefulness, how much we're paying attention.
Or does it? If consciousness is always 'on' what vacillates our subjective perception of it? We've hit some kind of circular argument, consciousness relying upon itself to know it is there. Like attributions to a divinity, could early concepts of "God' simply have been the projections of an elevated form of self-awareness in early man?
Yet consciousness exists. But where? The question asks if there's materiality to something that doesn't possess a material dimension.
Egyptians regarded the heart as the organ responsible for consciousness. The brain, a reservoir of mucus, was removed and discarded before the rest of the body was embalmed for a journey to the stars.
We're looking for where consciousness lives! If consciousness resides somewhere, does it have a locus? A focus?
In an early anatomical drawing by Leonardo of a dissected brain, his note in cryptic Italian reads "Is this where the soul resides?". There's a small arrow pointing to a spot just above the pineal gland.
'Soul' doesn't mean 'consciousness' in the same way to modern psychologists seeking solutions to the hard problem, the subjective "I". Soul doesn't carry an ego-driven 'conscious' label with it; the soul isn't about itself.
Carl Jung and followers tried to caution against Western science's stampede into the conscious sphere claiming that the soul, or subconscious was being overlooked, misunderstood, and frankly ignored at the peril of our very left-brained society. Modern cognitive psychologists for the most part haven't even listened to the Jungian dialogue, representing it as 'artsy', based on myths, and not accessible to the neurologist's probing electrodes. Jung, Hillman and others countered that the greatest hazards posed to the modern world were almost entirely of man's conscious creation, resulting perhaps from his biggest tragedy, failing to know himself.
But whose soul is it? Should we take clues from Jung who introduced us to the collective unconscious? Heightened states of being attained by yogis and Buddhists practice at emptying the mind, clearing it of conscious thought. Doesn't this imply freedom is found away from the subjective conscious experience? Isn't the most powerful 'consciousness' one that is unencumbered, and doesn't require the serial tool of subjective identity?
As always, science has arrived late to a definition of the problem, and even more poignantly, has missed the solution entirely. The West chases a phantom machine, an apparatus lost somewhere in the body of matter.
It may be the soul is everywhere, but that 'consciousness' is fugitive, never setting up shop for more than a few microseconds in one place, characteristic of most illusions.
If we are speaking of a greater consciousness not centered on the ego, where does it disappear to after we die? Is it even ours to begin with? Can it be be possessed, or owned by some other being? These hands that are typing are 'my' hands, attached to me. Without the rest of me they can't work. Man has found ways to transplant body organs, eyes, hearts, kidneys, but not consciousness, not the soul, nor the contents of memory.
If this greater consciousness is fugitive does it elude attempts to locate or entrap it? A. Is the deer in the forest alive without the forest?
The natural root of language indeed produces something useful. Consciousness is language, and one byproduct of that language may be science itself. Science verifies the subjective conscious experience that created it, producing technology, enabling our economy of rising populations, that has made our civilization possible. The Gods are with us, or rather, the myth of science seems with us. For now.
Yet we are in neglect of a greater consciousness, that which we share with all nature. Is our subconscious, our soul, simply a victim of repression by a new sort of self-flattering parasite that has taken over the wheel? We're enamored of the subjective experience, the language using, category creating, diary writing effacer of the earth. Yet what we are, that is a question we do not like to ponder. Is western consciousness, if we dare call it such, a belief based mythos, an illusion, not a truth?