Updated: Dec 19, 2020
If you think anyone knows what consciousness is you are in for a surprise. NO ONE DOES. It does not fit any of the current models of reality and (here is the big one) it cannot be studied objectively! Which means it is outside the realm of science.
Of course because scientists, like ourselves, are caught in their self-generated bubble of assumption, they are convinced that consciousness must originate somewhere and somehow in the brain. This would make sense since the brain is an object that can be objectively studied. But the unmistakable fact is that it is consciousness that is doing the studying.
This ultimate subjectivity is the antithesis of science and, as a result (and I am going to be completely radical here) reveals the scientific method as a closed system and not the explanation of everything. In other words, science cannot study itself.
The fact is, we cannot stand apart from our own consciousness. We cannot study it as an object, like some lab rat. There is no subject/object relationship with yourself. That means that all objective knowledge must, of necessity, be secondary. It's hearsay.
The direct observation of anything, totally free of subjectivity has been the bane of this approach of total objectivity since the beginning. The observer influencing the observed has been understood for 100 years. But with consciousness, it is even more extreme.
In this case the observed (consciousness) cannot be observed directly. Why? Because it is the one doing the observing. It is both subject and object. It is the scale trying to weigh itself.
This is a paradox of the highest order and not a little irony. Objective knowledge about consciousness is simply not possible.
Can consciousness be known?
Can I know myself except through hearsay?
Will self-knowledge always be speculative?
Will I always remain a mystery to myself and have to rely on the opinion of "authorities?"
Let me pose a simple question. “Do you exist?”
Of course, your answer is “Yes.” But how do you know? To what do you refer when you answer in the affirmative so readily and with so much conviction? Given that consciousness cannot know itself objectively, how is it that you know yourself at all?
You just do. You just know, not objectively, not phenomenally, not as one thing looking at another, but with total and pure subjectivity.
Subjectivity has a very bad name in science. it is the arch villain of scientific research. It is equated with opinion, superstition, self-deception and all the evils that unchallenged assumptions can give rise to.
Now this is not without reason. Over the centuries we have been enslaved by unscrutinized assumptions, designed, not to get to truth, but to control and manipulate. Science was a welcome relief from that. But it overstepped its bounearies.
A simple examination of our own being ("Do you exist?") brings us face to face with a subjectivity that is not opinion but the most solid fact. I exist. I am.
There is no power in the universe so clever and deceptive that it could convince me that I existed if I didn’t. The existence of consciousness is self-evident. From the standpoint of non-duality, this is the beginning of true knowledge. The beginning of a new kind of science. We could call it subjective science, the science of self, the science of consciousness or, if you want to get even more poetic the science of mystery.
Whatever we call it, the means of truly “knowing” remains forever in the realm of direct experience, mystical intuitive understanding, knowing without a process of arriving.
And, in this new/old realm of direct experience, you have a as much authority and credibility as the “experts.” More really, because you are examining from the inside.
I picked images of black holes to illustrate this mystery of consciousness because it too is something that cannot be seen but entire galaxies revolve around it. Its gravitational force is so strong that not even light emerges from it. Which means we know it, not from seeing it directly but from the influence it exudes on things around it. What appears to our eyes or satellites as empty is in fact one of the most powerful forces in the universe.