How do you prove that the people around you are real people who have, if you will, an identity? Am I the only consciousness and others are figments of my imagination? Is the imaginary friend who was the Hobbes to your Calvin as a child any less “real” than the tangible children you may have gone to school with?
Everything that appears to me is just how my mind is programmed me to perceive it, but nothing actually exists. The truth is that we all perceive reality differently enough that it should be no surprise that each individual in a set of triplets shows a distinct personality of his or her own even when they’ve had similar life experiences.
Let’s take dreams as an example. The dreams we experience while asleep are purely imaginative states of the mind. However they appear so real so most of the time we do not realize that we are in a dream. Once we wake up from our dream everything turns out to be a figment of an imagination, with no consequences. Are we living in a dream? When will we wake up?
In fact, the theory of consciousness has long been a realm of philosophers and is beginning to get into the realm of science as scientists attempt to decipher which parts of the brain that consciousness comes from.
Neuroscience specialist Christof Koch once said of it, “The only thing you know is, ‘I am conscious.’ Any theory has to start with that.”
A few philosophers have tried to disprove this theory. They did a test where a person closes his eyes and kicks a rock in front of them. They mentioned that if we do not know of obstacles or rocks how do they exist when we cannot see or know about them. They however failed to understand that we are only scratching the surface of what our consciousness comprises of. After all, not many years ago we thought we just had five senses.
When the only evidence we can truly rely on is the evidence gathered by our own senses, how do we even know that the universe exists at all, let alone any other consciousness?
Like the existence of God, or gods if you prefer, the existence of other conscious life-forms can not be easily proven or disproven. We just aren’t very well equipped to do much more than infer the existence of another consciousness through our interactions with other people of our kind.
Half the arguments between two people happen not because there’s a disconnect in language, but because there’s a disconnect in consciousness that causes people to misinterpret what we say. We may all have the same functioning cerebral cortex, but not the same level of consciousness that makes it easy for some people to deal with the same issues as we do.
This isn’t stupidity as it has been traditionally used because the other person may have an IQ nearly an identical to yours and passed all the same high school classes that you did. This is simply dealing with somebody who may or may not be as self-aware as we are.
Does everything on Earth simply exist in your imagination. Being the only consciousness means seeing no practical proof that other people and things exist. Is the brain fooling around with us?
It is usually difficult to convince other people that they may be functioning on a different level of consciousness than other people if they are conscious at all. It is certainly difficult to even mention it without sounding like you’re insulting them on some level.
However, as Peter Russell put it, “When mystics say, ‘I am God,’ they are not talking about an individual person” in the sense that they are putting their human bodies on the same level as a supreme deity when such a thing may well be impossible, even putting aside accusations of blasphemy.
They are simply talking about a pure awareness that could be considered nearly the same as a supreme deity in the sense that the awareness creates and interprets its own reality. That reality can, in many cases, be quite shallow compared to another person’s reality or the awareness perceives only a fraction of what other, deeper states of consciousness can perceive.
In ancient philosophy, the Great Greek philosopher Gorgias attempted to explain this in his perception; first, he thought that nothing really exists at all. Secondly he thought if at all there’s anything that exists then nothing can be known about it, and lastly that if at all anything can be know about what exists, then there is really no way this can be passed on for others to understand.
Gorgias was simply giving a philosophica l proof to the fact that all that exists in the world is a perception of the mind, a figment of imagination.
In Star Wars terms, “You perceive only a fraction of the Force” compared to what other Jedi can perceive, and might not even realize that there are levels beyond what you allow yourself to sense.
It may be that you are the only consciousness, or it may be that there is some kind of “super-consciousness” that is embodied in multiple carbon-based life forms to explore the many forms of existence that can occur.
Some say that life that has developed physical senses and a brain that is complex enough to interpret what they sense may be the universe’s way of observing itself. It may be that humans are barely self-aware at all or other complex life-forms like elephants and dolphins may be as conscious as we are.
Such a thing is difficult to measure in the same way that a Jedi might measure a midichlorian count, so it’s hard to prove in any way other than indirect observation and our interactions with other, supposedly conscious life forms.
All we can say is that we “bags of mostly water” (if I may give a quote from Star Trek equal time) are doing the best we can with the senses and awareness that we have.