In this lecture given during a course at Stanford University, renowned brain scientist Dr. Tony Nader takes us on a journey of research on the understanding of consciousness: What happens, really, when we are looking at a red flower?
Nature is structured in layers–it starts with a gross layer visible to the naked eye, and goes down to the molecular level, atomic level, and subatomic level. At the basis of all of that is the unified field of consciousness.
Within that field is a programming code that structures all the other layers of nature.
What is consciousness?
“Science in the past has limited itself to things usually considered ’physical’. More recently, in the past 40-50 years, we realize that there are laws that control and manage not only the physical but also the mental field.
Even consciousness – which is something very abstract – has become interesting to the scientist.
What is consciousness? We can define it as an ability to be conscious of something. But is there then a difference between consciousness and awareness? Alertness? Vigilance? Focus? Wakefulness?
States of consciousness
“In transcending, people can experience not a specific object, but consciousness itself. There are millions of people who have reported this experience – through particularly the Transcendental Meditation technique. That is consciousness looking at its own self,” Dr Tony Nader explained to an audience of Stanford students.
“What is interesting is that in these states you also have a unique physiology. There is different brain functioning.
So we can talk about relative states of consciousness – changing, object-referring states; and about absolute states – non-changing, self-referring.
The question is, for us: Is consciousness something? Or is it just a product of language, brain activity, circumstances, etc?“
“When I look at a red flower, I can tell that there are photons of a certain frequency that travel in the electromagnetic field.
They travel through my eyes, hit my retina, and excite some neurons, which release some chemicals leading to an electrical activity that goes to a specific part of my brain and combines with my memory bank.
After the association, I can know that the in front of me is a red flower.
Yet all of this is an easy problem. Science is well on its way to describing all the details of this process.
The hard problem is: How do I subjectively experience the redness of the red flower? How do I become conscious of what I’m doing? Where comes the abstract reality of this seemingly very physical reality of our nervous system? “