Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Consciousness: Excerpt

Mr g by Alan Lightman

Although it had happened quite on its own, I was fascinated to understand how consciousness had arisen in the new universe. What an amazing and unexpected phenomenon! You start with some dull lifeless material, you let it knock about on its own, bumped around and shaken by other dead stuff, you let it change and evolve by haphazard events, and suddenly it rears up on its hind legs and says, "Here I am. Who are you?"

Certainly I understood all the energies and forces in atoms. They were just my laws and principles. But consciousness--this cooperative working together of individual cells to create a sensation of wholeness, of being alive, of existence, of I-ness--was something else. It was a collective performance that went far beyond individual pieces. It was strange. It was wonderful. It was almost a new form of matter. How had it happened? And how many cells did it take to make consciousness?

Page 122
Published by Pantheon Books - 2012