Somehow, consciousness

Bad trip or what?
Photo: Ken Russell/Altered States

A recent UK Guardian article about films that show how the mind works included an analysis of Ken Russell’s Altered States by psychologist Sue Blackmore. She said that there isn’t really a ‘hard problem of consciousness’*. She said that ‘somehow’, we should see the mind and brain as the same thing.

If we’re allowed to think that something might ‘somehow’ be true, we might also consider the possibility suggested by rogue biologist Rupert Sheldrake that the brain is a receiver for consciousness, which – somehow – exists outside it.

(Sheldrake is written off as “woo” by some, but for those who bother to read him he makes a good case.)

* The hard problem of consciousness
The name given in neuroscience/consciousness studies to the unsolved problem of how and why sensations acquire characteristics, such as colours and tastes.
(See, for instance, this Guardian article on the subject.)

Postscript: I emailed Sue Blackmore. Her reply shows that she’s dedicated to opposing the duality that sees consciousness as something separate. Sadly, she doesn’t think much of Sheldrake’s ideas.

Please feel free to comment.


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