MyNews24 is a user-generated section of The stories here come from users.

Comments: 3
Article views: 4
Latest Badges:

View all ZION's badges.

What is consciousness?

13 July 2012, 13:00

I believe that human consciousness is a conjuring trick, designed to fool us into thinking that we are in the presence of an inexplicable mystery. Who is the conjuror, and what can be the point of such deception? The conjuror is the human mind itself evolved by natural selection, and the point has been to bolster human self-confidence and human self-importance - so as to increase the value we each place on our own and other’s lives.   If this is right, it provides a simple explanation  for why we, as scientists or laymen, find the hard problem of consciousness just so hard. Natural selection has meant it to be hard.  Indeed mysterian philosophers, from Colin Mc Ginn to the late ,Pope John Paul II, who would bow down to the apparent miracle and declare that it is impossible in principle to understand how consciousness could arise in a material brain, are corresponding exactly as natural selection hoped they would. - with shock and awe.

    Can I prove it? It’s difficult to prove any adaptationist account of why humans experience things the way they do.  And in this case there may be an added catch. For just to the extent that natural selection has succeeded in putting consciousness just beyond the reach of rational explanation, it will have undermined the very possibility of showing that this is what it has done.     Nevertheless there may be a loophole by which science could still enter. While it might seem-and-even be impossible to explain how a brain process could actually have the quality of consciousness, it might not be at all impossible to explain how a brain process could be designed to give rise to the impression of having this quality. Consider: We could never explain why  2 + 2 = 5, But we might relatively easily be able to explain why someone should be under the illusion that 2 + 2 = 5.

    Would I want to explain consciousness this way, if I could?  That’s a difficult one. If the illusion that consciousness is an inexplicable mystery is a source of human hope,  I suppose there is a real danger that exposing the trick might send us all to hell;.
Acknowledgements:   NICHOLAS HUMPHREYTheoretical psychologistSchool professor - London School of EconomicsConsciousness regained,  A history of the mind, The mind made flesh.
Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Tyler Dean Smith
Students and what they want and w...

To the students of South Africa that think that they have been wrongly promised the a free education Read more...

0 comments 684 views
Submitted by
Lindie Langa
Fees Must Fall No Coincidence nor...

Let me tell you my dearly beloved fellow country men and women, this whole "fees must fall debacle" is not accidental, neither is it purely political or eocio-economic.  Read more...

0 comments 279 views
Submitted by
Enriko Klopper
The not-so-new game of South Afri...

Clicking through the news and trying to compartmentalise all this information is an exhausting task. Especially if you are attempting to remain as objective as humanly possible. Read more...

0 comments 107 views
Submitted by
Asiza Tait
Jehovah’s Witnesses – Report back...

On the 11 August 2016 I posted up an article regarding the Conventions of Jehovah’s Witnesses on News24 that would be running from September through to October in South Africa.  Read more...

0 comments 317 views
Submitted by
Victor van Heerden
Are the FeesMustFall and Decoloni...

Are the FeesMustFall and Decolonisation adherents anymore credible than the SJW’s?  Read more...

0 comments 194 views
Submitted by
'Big Chief' Zuma suddenly meets e...

Zuma might not have had a normal school education, but he is undoubtedly street-smart. As Nkonto We Sizwe's military strategist.  Read more...

0 comments 444 views


E-mail Alerts The latest headlines in your inbox

RSS feeds News delivered really simply.

Mobile News24 on your mobile or PDA

E-mail Newsletters You choose what you want

News24 on Android Get the latest from News24 on your Android device.

SMS Alerts Get breaking news stories via SMS.

TV Get us in your home, on your television.

Interactive Advertising Bureau
© 2016 All rights reserved.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.