philosophy

The Consciousness Delusion

The Consciousness Delusion

Wherever you are reading this, take a moment now and notice your body: Are your legs crossed? Is your posture straight or are you slouching? Are you slightly warm or cold? Now notice your surroundings: Is your body in a serene or noxious environment?  Is it being transported in a moving vehicle, rocking slightly from side to side? If you could precisely answer any of those questions, congratulations, you are conscious. How consciousness arises from, as the great neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran mused, "a three-pound mass of jelly that you can hold in your palm" is one of science's deepest enigmas.  

At the Source: Finding Bliss in the Brain

At the Source: Finding Bliss in the Brain

Buddhists call it Nirvana. Literally translated to “blowing out,” it refers to the extinction of desire, aversion and delusion. Characterized by blissful egolessness 1, this particular state of mind (or rather, without-mind) has been obscure ever since a certain Siddhārtha Gautama attained it 2,500 years ago. Thankfully, there are people who experience this state effortlessly when misfiring in their brain gives rise to ecstatic seizures. Facilitated by neuroscience we can finally glimpse what being enlightened might look like.