The Nature of Consciousness

Piero Scaruffi

(Copyright © 2013 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions )
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These are excerpts and elaborations from my book "The Nature of Consciousness"


A lot of what “consciousness” is depends on time. But time is the ever elusive quantity. The Hungarian philosopher Julius Fraser is among those who think that we use the same word, “time”, for different things. Fraser has resurrected the concept of “umwelts” (a term originally introduced by Jacob von Uexkull to refer to each species' unique experience of the world) and applied it to different levels of organization of Nature. At each level the world appears in a different light.

At the lowest level of organization, the level of pure energy, time does not exist: the lowest level is atemporal.

At the quantum level (the level studied by Quantum Physics),  reality oscillates between waves and particles, which means that time oscillates between existence and non-existence: the quantum level is prototemporal. At this level causality is stochastic.

At the chemical level, there is time, and it is the time of classical Physics, the time that we can measure and that is absolute. Classical Physics can be played in either direction, so time has no preferred direction: the classical level is eotemporal. At this level causality is deterministic. There is no "now".

At the biological level, time assumes a specific direction: one can only go forward (live and die), never backwards.  And "now" is a fundamental concept. The biological level is biotemporal. At this level causality is emergent.

At the conscious level, the forward direction is even stronger, because we can even experience time before we existed and after we will cease to exist. The conscious level is nootemporal.

Human time contains all of these forms of "time". Human time is a recapitulation of the evolution of consciousness through all those levels.


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