As I have shown in my previous article, we can scientifically establish that the notion of life after death is a very likely one. This is based on the logic that if consciousness can be achieved once it can be achieved multiple times, meaning that even if I die, I could find myself conscious again even though it won’t be me, although it’s a ‘me’ in the way I am me who experiences things. (I’m sounding now like Bill Maher trying to explain the Trinity 😉 )
Do not confuse what I say with the Hindu and Buddhist belief of Reincarnation. Reincarnation is based on Karma where the actions in one life determine what life one lives in the next. It is about spirit or soul that travels through time being born into one life and another after death. The difference is that in Hinduism and Buddhism there is the belief that the spirit or soul is eternal while my idea about regaining consciousness is not a real continuation but about a spontaneous event where some being becomes conscious again and is experienced by something we define as ‘me’ for the lack of a better word.
This ‘me’ is not the same ‘me’ as I or you experience right now but it is completely independent yet experienced in the same way so that one could think about it as a continuation of the same ‘me’.
Why does this notion frighten me?
Because it means that although being in a completely new framework, a new being, a new personality, new memories, I still experience consciousness in the shape of this new ‘me’.
However, although I can give a good logical argument for this type of continuance there are also loopholes in it. Even though it is logically convincing it has a flaw and again it’s down to consciousness.
There’s something about consciousness that cannot be explained by evolution. Imagine a machine, a robot like the Asimo, but much more intelligent, so intelligent that we can have rational and emotional communication with them. We can program a robot to make it say and act in ways that resemble a conscious and self-aware person. Once technology is advanced enough it can be done so convincingly that Asimo might fool most people, maybe even Dawkins if he’s still around.
He might even evolve so much that he will be able to replace humankind completely and produce offspring and repopulate the earth, the moon, Mars and the farest reaches of the universe. However, even at the most advanced technological level, will there ever be a point where we could honestly say that Asimo is conscious and self-aware and not simply running very clever AI programs?
Ok, maybe running AI programs is what we humans do, so in a sense we’re just like Asimo, only having arrived at that state via evolution instead of creation.
But maybe consciousness is like a virus. It embeds itself into the physical body and takes over. It adapts to its host and becomes perfectly attached to it stirring and directing it in anywhere it wants. If it’s like that, than consciousness, once it looses it’s host, will move on to find another. Only with a host can it be fully conscious, detached from it’s host it becomes unconscious. How about that for a thought.
Thinking about consciousness, trying to locate and analysing it, can yield fascinating results. In a way one has to step outside oneself and look at the ‘me’ like an independent observer. How does consciousness make us aware that we’re conscious? If it is a physical thing after all, a smart AI evolved through thousands of generations of primeval men, how does it manifest itself and through what? How does it work and most importantly, how does it make us aware?