Causality and Consciousness

Eric Hardison (
Fri, 25 Jun 1999 14:07:04 -0400

David Blenkinsop <> wrote:

> Has it occurred to anyone that causality has
> long been considered an essential principle
> of physics?

Absolutely. It is an essential tool of kinematics and dynamics, but those have to do with one particle acting on another particle and vice-versa. Of course it would be nonsense to assume non-causality action in that situation.

But considering a non-causal system that has NO ability to CAUSE anything does not defy physics.

A mind is a non-causal, caused phenomenon. Where does your next thought come from? All you know is that they are strung together in some coherent fashion. And recognizing that FACT is yet another thought that you didn't know you were going to have. Our thoughts are caused by a combination of internal and external forces. We only EXPERIENCE those thoughts.

In that sense, the mind can be likened to an image on a movie screen, while the brain itself is the movie projector. When you consider the image on the screen in the abstract, you can't think of it as a causal phenomenon. It simply exists. And each frame only exists for but ONE moment of time. (In this case, this is movie time -- 30 moments per second. But minds exist in Planck time -- trillions of moments per second.)

Now, my experience as a conscious being is caused. But I experience all of those individual causes (signals in my brain) simultaneously and coherently. So even though there is a visual cortex, an auditory cortex, a linguistic cortex, etc. in my brain, I experience the net sum of all those spatially separated signals simultaneously. They interfere to form a pattern - me.

I theorize that it is only these PARTICULAR signals that overlap because they are all bounded within the same medium -- the medium of the brain. The sensory transducers and actuators of the body isolate the waves/signals of the brain from the rest of the universe. So the superluminal interconnections of the pattern are ALSO isolated to that medium.

And of course, different mediums (electronic as opposed to meatware per se) will associate different patterns (modulations) to the SAME information. So the subjective experience (qualia) will be different as well -- even though both sets of qualia are isomorphically linked to the same set of input data.

As Marshall McCluhan famously articulated, "the medium is the message."

Eric (