Daniel C Dennett - Carl Becker - Steven Pinker - Arthur Miller - Michio Kaku - Roger Penrose - Adrian Owen - Martin Amis - Carl Jung - F Scott Fitzgerald - BBC Horizon TV - Carlos Fuentes - Sam Harris - Joseph Campbell - D H Lawrence - Noam Chomsky - Bill Hicks - Christopher Hitchens - Erwini Shrodinger - V S Ramachandran - George Orwell - Alan Wallace - Lionel Tiger - Terrence McKenna - Friedrich Nietzsche - Adam Curtis TV -
2,665. Human consciousness is just about the last surviving mystery. A mystery is a phenomenon that people don’t know how to think about – yet. There have been other great mysteries: the mystery of the origin of the universe, the mystery of life and reproduction, the mystery of the design to be found in nature, the mysteries of time, space, and gravity. These were not just areas of scientific ignorance, but of utter bafflement and wonder. We do not yet have all the answers to any of the questions of cosmology and particle physics, molecular genetics and evolutionary theory, but we do know how to think about them .... With consciousness, however, we are still in a terrible muddle. Consciousness stands alone today as a topic that often leaves even the most sophisticated thinkers tongue-tied and confused. And, as with all of the earlier mysteries, there are many who insist – and hope – that there will never be a demystification of consciousness. (Science & Consciousness & Ignorance & Knowledge) Daniel C Dennett, Consciousness Explained
2,779. The significance of man is that he is part of the universe that asks the question, What is the significance of Man? He alone can stand apart imaginatively and, regarding himself and the universe in their eternal aspects, pronounce a judgment: The significance of man is that he is insignificant and is aware of it. (Universe & Human Being & Consciousness & Anthropic Principle) Carl Becker, Progress and Power 1936
6,641. Consciousness turns out to consist of a maelstrom of events distributed across the brain. These events compete for attention, and as one process outshouts the others, the brain rationalizes the outcome after the fact and concocts the impression that a single self was in charge all along. (Brain & Consciousness) Steven Pinker
59,138. The death of consciousness is the ultimate mystery. (Atheism & Consciousness) Arthur Miller, interview Jonathan Miller, The Atheism Tapes
68,225. Consciousness, there are about 20,000 papers on consciousness with no consensus. Nowhere in history have so many people devoted so much time to produce so little. (Consensus & Consciousness) Michio Kaku
68,185. Consciousness … is the phenomenon whereby the universe’s very existence is made known. (Consciousness & Universe) Roger Penrose
68,186. This opens up a real dilemma if you like in our understanding of consciousness which is that the only way I can really tell that you are conscious is if you can indicate that to me. Somehow we don’t have a magic consciousness meter. Professor Adrian Owen, Medical Research Council
68,190. He was in a terrible state – that of consciousness. Martin Amis, The Information
84,471. There is no coming to consciousness without pain. (Pain & Consciousness) Carl Jung
68,195. He was a great sin who first invented consciousness. Let us lose it for a few hours. F Scott Fitzgerald
68,198. I’ve always wondered are animals conscious? Do they have a sense of I? Does an elephant know it is an elephant? How could I know it knows? Where does consciousness stop? Perhaps it doesn’t. Perhaps it’s a gradation. Could a single cell be conscious? Horizon: The Secret You, 2009, Marcus du Sautoy reporting
68,199. Am I conscious? Or are my neurons conscious? And is there a difference? ibid.
68,200. I’m not sure if scientists will solve the question of consciousness in my lifetime. ibid.
76,623. We like to believe we are in control of everything we do, everything we think and everything we do. But scientists are discovering that at every moment of our lives an unseen presence is guiding us all. Now, they are exploring the world of your unconscious mind. (Genetics & Mind & Brain & Consciousness) Horizon: Out of Control? BBC 2012
76,624. There’s more going on than you can consciously take in. (Genetics & Mind & Brain & Consciousness) ibid.
76,625. Your unconscious is often in control. (Genetics & Mind & Brain & Consciousness) ibid.
76,626. A rose-tinted and inaccurate view of the world. (Genetics & Mind & Brain & Consciousness) ibid.
76,627. Your unconscious mind will re-wire itself to share the load. (Genetics & Mind & Brain & Consciousness) ibid.
76,628. The sophisticated centre of everything we ever do. (Genetics & Mind & Brain & Consciousness) ibid.
68,202. High on the agenda for the 21st century will be the need to restore some kind of tragic consciousness. (Conscience & Consciousness) Carlos Fuentes, Mexican novelist and writer
68,207. Everything we do is for the purpose of altering consciousness. We form friendships so that we can feel certain emotions, like love, and avoid others, like loneliness. We eat specific foods to enjoy their fleeting presence on our tongues. We read for the pleasure of thinking another person's thoughts. Sam Harris
68,208. When we quit thinking primarily about ourselves and our own self-preservation, we undergo a truly heroic transformation of consciousness. Joseph Campbell
68,210. I think the brain is essentially a computer and consciousness is like a computer program. It will cease to run when the computer is turned off. Theoretically, it could be re-created on a neural network, but that would be very difficult, as it would require all one's memories. Stephen Hawking
68,211. Consciousness is an end in itself. We torture ourselves getting somewhere, and when we get there it is nowhere, for there is nowhere to get to. D H Lawrence
68,212. I did used to have nightmares about the idea that when I die, there is a spark of consciousness which basically creates the world. ‘Is the world going to disappear if this spark of consciousness disappears? And how do I know it won’t? How do I know there’s anything there except what I'm conscious of?’ Noam Chomsky
9,948. And if I can take part in it by transforming my own consciousness, then someone else’s, I’m happy to do it. Bill Hicks
68,226. No school of philosophy has ever solved this question of whether being determines consciousness or the other way around. It may be a false antithesis. Christopher Hitchens
68,228. Consciousness cannot be accounted for in physical terms. For consciousness is absolutely fundamental. It cannot be accounted for in terms of anything else. Erwin Schrödinger
68,227. These atoms now form a conglomerate – your brain – that can not only ponder the very stars that gave it birth but can also think about its own ability to think and wonder about its own ability to wonder. With the arrival of humans, it has been said, the universe has suddenly become conscious of itself. This, truly, it the greatest mystery of all. (Consciousness & Universe & Brain & Wonder & Ability & Mystery) V S Ramachandran, The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Quest for What Makes Us Human
65,178. Partly it was a sort of hymn to the wisdom and majesty of Big Brother, but still more it was an act of self-hypnosis, a deliberate drowning of consciousness by means of rhythmic noise. (Big Brother & Consciousness) George Orwell, 1984
76,917. I swear, gentlemen, that to be too conscious is an illness – a real thorough-going illness. (Illness & Conscious & Drunk) Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes from Underground
91,071. Buddhism has a theory of conservation of consciousness that is comparable to the scientific principle of the conservation of energy. And that is you can do all kinds of things to energy; one thing you can’t do to energy is make it become nothing. And you can do all kinds of things to consciousness: it too is one of the core elements of the universe. You can’t destroy space, you can’t destroy energy and you can’t destroy consciousness. (Buddhism & Consciousness) Dr Alan Wallace, author Contemplative Science
95,727. There is a tendency for humans consciously to see what they wish to see. They literally have difficulty seeing things with negative connotations while seeing with increasing ease items that are positive. (Consciousness & See & Optimism) Lionel Tiger, Optimism: The Biology of Hope