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How are consciousness and energy related?

  1. May 26, 2005 #1
    I just read this and I wondered about it

    How are consciousness and energy related? We have three options:

    (1) Consciousness is a physical form of energy (even if it is very, very subtle energy);

    (2) Consciousness is a non-physical form of energy;

    (3) Consciousness is not any form of energy.

    (1) Consciousness as a physical form of energy: If we say that consciousness is a form of energy that is physical, then we are reducing consciousness (and spirit) to physics. And few of us, unless we are materialists, want to do that.

    (2) Consciousness as a non-physical form of energy: If we say that consciousness is a form of energy that is not physical, then we need to say in what way psychic energy differs from physical energy. If we cannot explain what we mean by “psychic energy” and how it differs from physical energy, then we should ask ourselves why use the term “energy” in any case?

    (3) Consciousness is not any form of energy. Our third alternative is to say that consciousness is not a form of energy at all—either physical or nonphysical. Unlike energy, which is some kind of “stuff” that spreads out in space, consciousness isn’t made of “stuff,” and is not located in space. If this is true, then consciousness would not only be different from energy, it would be nonlocated.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 26, 2005 #2


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    Consciousness is a state of mind, as in being aware of ourself. It is indirectly related to energy, in that we require energy to be alive, which is requisite to be conscious.

    (Perhaps this thread would be better under the topic of psychology)
    Last edited: May 26, 2005
  4. May 27, 2005 #3
    Consciousness is based on the phenomenon of transduction; we know our relative position in our environment based on the energetics of our environment. Light, heat, even the collisions of molecules making air give us an idea of displacement. Secondly there is a molecular basis of consciousness as it is an amalgamation of protein interaction within us, to understand it is rather complex. I would suggest you look at the two major views in psychology on consiousness; one that it is an integration of various subsystems that work together inorder to process information; the second that its a continually flowing mechanism that is higly volatile and therefore is never constant. Both of these views are somewhat rejected in the current opinions of psychology as now the focus is on the molecular basis of consciousness rather than the aesthetic understanding of it. I feel that it has a direct correlation with energy as firstly you cannot think unless your using energy, secondly our responses and perception is based on the dynamics of various forms of energy. Both of these are important components of what we call consciousness; i.e. the input and processing of information.
  5. May 27, 2005 #4


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    I think that the only answers that are appropriate to consider here are the ones to option (1). Basically the energy used in your brains is chemical or electric; and the chemical is fundamentally electronic - swapping electrons between molecules. The subject called "Neural Correlates of Consciousness" discusses research programs for accounting for consciousness in terms of physical energy flows. Google should give you plenty of stuff to look at.
  6. May 27, 2005 #5
    consciousness is best studied in chordates rather than neochordates, its a more simplified expression. However as descartes put it that cognition is extremely mechanistic and that animals are also capable of cognition however we, human beings have much more complex features that make the "operating system" of our persons. Of course the idea is not empirical, yet it appeals to me lol.
  7. Jun 10, 2005 #6
    Wow! Y'all are hittin' on all the biggies of the philosphical questions! What fun!
    Consciousness is what distinguishes organic life from all else. Organic life doesn't mean consciousness, but, in relation to EVERYTHING else, only organic life, as far as we know now, is capable of consciousness. What is it? Partially, it is the ability to distinguish self from non-self - or distinguish at all. Is it significant? Significant to what? All else? Yes. Consciousness is very unique and as such might be the most important thing in existence. Volumes of such questions can be written. But the question of consciousness leads to among the most important of all philosophical questions.
    Simply, consciousness refers to a being's awareness of self and non-self. What one does with that knowedge and capability is the real quest of life, eh? I say we all work together for the benefit of consciousness development and that is our guide.

    Peace & love,
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