“The State of Human Consciousness” by Daniel Gregory
River Ram Press is glad to present an excerpt of “The State of Human Consciousness,” the third and final part of a series of scientific, academic essays by Daniel Gregory. A recently retired medical physician, Daniel has been able to focus more time for his family and writing. “Cosmos to Consciousness,” the second part in this series was published with River Ram Press last year in The Ram Boutique Volume 1, and we are delighted to have him back with us!
There is something incredibly individualistic about consciousness that empowers human beings with knowledge and freedom to journey unbound through space and time, to discover the past and chart the future. This unique gift is the energizing force of our humanity. Without it, there is only the emptiness of the cosmos. The intriguing concept that creativity is fundamental to individual consciousness offers hope that the process of human intellectuality transcends beyond the limitation of matter but does reside within the expanding neural circuits of the human brain. Consider for a moment that humans have the ability to gather and categorize thoughts such that we are stranded alone and lost in a spacious physical universe. On the contrary, available evidence suggests otherwise and indicates that we are an essential constituent of a single whole supported by a stable communication network that integrates the duality of physical matter with biologic life on planet earth.( 1 ) The same natural laws prevailing during that primal moment when a singular enigmatic force shattered the vacuum of space and created a lifeless universe which now extends beyond the most distal star of the cosmos. Our generation is aware that this same phenomenon is active within our own bodies and integrates with the entire universe to fabricate a seamless communication network. The relentless methodology of Science has tracked this relationship back 13 billon years to that instant of the “big bang”. Current data indicates that humans are not only related to the great apes but also to all cabbages on earth and all plankton in the oceans. In fact, a familiar double stranded helix of biochemical nucleoprotein (DNA) weaves throughout the cosmos as a biogenetic information transfer system.( 2 ) This bio- truth of oneness sharply contrasts with any perceived human thought of disconnection that we may sense when crossing that mysterious threshold separating self awareness from creative consciousness. Although human consciousness may have led us to false notions of disconnection, such thoughts actually defy the natural laws of the universe where it is implicit that there exists a deep inter-connected unity. This state of humanity implies that we share a universe complete with living creatures of varying capacities and diverse geographic survival challenges. Even if this conclusion leads to an entire new understanding of life, it should not be considered a new reality. In other words, we have always been a component of a single whole that exceeds the sum of its parts and is greater than ourselves. The missing piece required for balancing the equation of this single whole has yet to be formulated. We do share, however, a universe with a ubiquitous sub-atomic infrastructure from an expanding singularity which unites rather than separates us from that which we perceive as “other”.
I have chosen “The State of Human Consciousness” as title for this challenging final essay in a trilogy of essays to be incorporated in a single volume for presentation in 2017 under the comprehensive title,“From Cosmos to Consciousness”
The Historical Record – Human Consciousness
Greek philosophers, educators and early Christians began focusing on the process of human thought as early as the 4th century B.C. when it was noted in some of Plato’s philosophic publications and student discussions that included Aristotle .(3,4) Five centuries later, the Christian Theologian Thomas Aquinas (1265 A.D.) was of the same mind as Plato and also recorded that the process of human thought was not an activity of the physical brain. He considered it to be a uniquely spiritual entity that departed the body at biologic death and commonly referred to as the ”soul”. Centuries later the French Philosopher, Rene’ Decartes (1596-1650), introduced the concept of dualism and stated that the conscious human mind is made up of a non-physical substance located outside the domain of physical matter.(5) He was convinced of the impossibility that a free mind could ever be restrained within the laws of physics. Through the ages, Decartes has been widely criticized for this characterization, Today, however, in the current era of modern technology and cognitive neuroscience, the case has been made that Decartes, a scientific pioneer and fundamentalist, was ahead of his time with a futuristic vision of a more modern world including physics and the rapidly promising age of biology. In fact, as humans cross the Y2K1.7 time line, we may be encountering a brave new world with remodeled brain neurocircuitry requiring high blood flow for Increased energy demanded by expanding neural metabolic activity, The dynamic process of cognitive thought associated with incredibly innovative theories that individual consciousness is centered in the human brain. In fact, some have suggested that as a species we may be cresting the pinnacle of a new and exciting frontier poised at the edge of a bio-centric universe.
Science Flows Forward
Charles Darwin (1809-1882)
I consider Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein as role models of conscious human thought. Although their lives briefly overlapped at the end of the 19th century, these pioneers of modern science never met.
Charles Darwin was born in Shrewsbury, England on February 12, 1809. He devoted his professional life to studying and observing nature after receiving his Bachelor’s degree from Christ’s College in Cambridge, England. To his delight he was offered a position as Naturalist on the HMS Beagle by the ship’s captain, Robert Fitz, shortly after graduation. He considered this to be an opportunity of a lifetime and could hardly wait to embark on the 5 year world sailing expedition with the diversity of nature as his laboratory.
The Darwinian theories of evolution slowly and carefully emerged from his meticulous notes and scattered observations, especially as he traveled among the Galapagos Islands, where bird species of Darwin’s Finches can still be found. As the voyage of natural discovery progressed, Darwin became increasingly convinced that species mutability was an imperative concept supporting his ideas that competition drove natural selection resulting in survival of the fittest.
After considerable thought, deliberation and consultation he initially published his notes as an essay in 1844. For another decade he continued to refine his ideas, collect more facts, consult additional colleagues and finally, but not without humble reservations “ The Origin of Species” was published in 1859 as a large and complete text.
Sir Julian Huxley, a prominent biologist of his day, introduced the significance of this ambitious book as Darwin’s contribution to the progress of natural science with the following quotation: (6)
“Darwin was one of history’s towering geniuses and ranks with the greatest heroes of man’s intellectual progress”
George Gaylord Simpson
The Meaning of Evolution (5)
In the years following publication of his theories in “The Origin of Species”, Darwin often minimized interview questions raised by a group of promising scientists investigating “the origin of life” with concerns for how their work would impact his theory of natural selection (Presented jointly with Alfred Wallace, Linnaean Society – 1858). He referred to their effort as “some wholly unknown process”, dismissing it as “mere rubbish ”and declaring that, “ I had nothing to do with it”. The ongoing dialogues became more intense and began to effectively challenge Darwinian evolution with competing concepts such as pre-determinism and creative design. Advancing technology gradually probed deeper into the depths of particle physics to reveal new knowledge within the growing intracellular world of quantum biology (6). At the beginning of the 21st century, the forward flow of science was surreptitiously extending the quantum concept of particle physics into organizational plans of single cell development and multi-cellular activities requiring essential prerequisites for advancing “origin of life” studies. Darwin eventually conceded that perhaps resolving the origin of life enigma should be clarified prior to developing new concepts and theories related to mutability of the species.(6-8)
Darwin’s 19th century theories, concepts of evolution, natural selection and mutability of the species developed from his dedicated, disciplined and sustained studies of natural laws that transformed human thought and set the stage which framed future discussions.
Be sure to get your copy of The Ram Boutique: Volume 2 to read the completion of this essay and many other fantastic works!
“My focus is on the written words to bridge the abyss between a half century career in medical science with a deep passion for the arts. I transcend into this challenging new world of creative non-fiction to explore those gaps separating my demanding professional career from those of personal experiences.”