TED Conversations

Farrukh Yakubov

Student, Purdue University


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Where do you think consciousness comes from?

Science can give answers to many things, but consciousness seems to be an unsolved mystery. Why do you think people have consciousness? Where does it come from? Do you think it can be created artificially? How?
You may answer based on anything you know, it does not have to be a proven fact. Thank you.


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  • Jul 11 2011: Hi Farrukh

    The conversation you were having with Bob sparked a question for me. The comment about a beginning point of consciousness.

    From a Darwinian point of view, where was my consciousness before my birth? Did my mom have it or dad?

    I think consciousness or self awareness(as Bob said) is emergent and totally conditioned after conception but then again I already know what I think. What about you guys?
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      Jul 11 2011: I think that consciousness is formed due to some feature of universe itself, that we did not yet discover. Which is some kind of an energy field or a dimension that uses brain to interact with our physical world.
      • Jul 11 2011: Hi Farrukh

        I'm with you there. We're smart monkeys but not that smart.

        I was watching a documentary on the cosmos and it showed an artistic rendering of the clumping of the galaxies and noticed that it' was similar to the artistic rendering of the neurons in the brain.
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          Jul 13 2011: Check out the lattice structure of dark matter, same thing. Energy comes together at certain points within a given space be it macroscopic, microscopic or anthroscopic.
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        Jul 13 2011: Farukh
        Much of the responses to your fascinating question assume the existence of a physical reality outside of the mind. In philosophical metaphysics we speak of this as materialism if that is the only reality, or dualism it is reality combined with a non-physical (mind, soul, spirit) reality. There are major problems with both the materialist and the dualist understanding of consciousness. A third option is that of the idealist, one who believes that all that is, is mind. What we call world or universe is a mental construct. Philosophy has largely accepted this since Immanuel Kant c. 1800. For the idealist, consciousness is a turning of mind upon itself, a turning that seems to happen more easily in stronger minds. Why some minds are more self aware (self-turned) than others remains something of a mystery, but there are some interesting arguments out there. The main point I want to get across is that we need not reconcile consciousness (i.e. mental awareness) with a physical universe, as there is no universe except that which appears to the mind. Instead of attempting to ask where in the physical world we can find the origins of consciousness, we might do better to ask why consciousness exists in the mental universe.

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