The Nature of Consciousness

Piero Scaruffi

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These are excerpts and elaborations from my book "The Nature of Consciousness"

The Removal of Consciousness

In the process, something else had also happened, something of momentous importance, even though its consequences would not be appreciated for a few centuries. Galileo had fostered the mathematical study of nature: science is about creating a mathematical model of a natural phenomenon. René Descartes had introduced the "experimental method": science has to be based on experiments and proofs. Descartes started out by defining the domain of science. He distinguished between matter and mind, and decided that science had to occupy itself with matter. Therefore the schism was born that would influence the development of human knowledge for the next three centuries: science is the study of nature, and our consciousness does not belong to nature. Newton built on Galileo's foundations. Physics, in other words, had been forced to renounce consciousness and developed a sophisticated system of knowledge construction and verification that did not care about, and therefore did not apply to, consciousness. Scientists spoke of "nature" as if it included only inanimate, unconscious objects. No wonder that they ended up building a science that explains all known inanimate, unconscious phenomena, but not consciousness.

The Austrian physicist Erwin Schroedinger, one of the founders of Quantum Physics, identified two fundamental tenets of classical science: object and subject can be separated (i.e., the subject can look at the object as if it were a completely disconnected entity); and the subject is capable of knowing the object (i.e., the subject can look at the object in a way that creates a connection, one leading to knowledge). There is a subtle inconsistency in these two tenets: one denies any connection between subject and object, while the other one states an obvious connection between them.


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