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Investigation into Consciousness
Rev. Olin K. Smith

A Small Beginning

So what is an investigation? In answering that question I found that deep inside the memory are the questions W5 and H1: who, what, where, when, why and how. I was taught that those questions were the key to any successful investigation. The use of these key questions is still very popular, and if you want to discover how popular, simply Goggle the series on the Internet. Here we will be using this series of questions to investigate and hopefully open up just a bit, the mystery of consciousness.

Consciousness is a very large subject, and it must be separated into some individual smaller packets. For our needs we will first discuss individual consciousness. Second we will discuss the collective consciousness so we can cover both you and me. Of course the collective consciousness is much bigger than just you and Me, and that will have to be part of further discussion. And—God Consciousness—we will not brave that discussion, although it will necessarily be found in the back of our collective minds as we read and contemplate this very short investigation.

First, the question: Who am I? Well, I know; but how do I tell you? How do I tell you what is inside? How can I explain something that I know but have no words for? Now, if I can’t explain who I am to you, do I really know who I am? I can feel things in my heart, and in my gut—is that who I am? “Perhaps”

Perhaps “Who am I?” is too tough a question? Perhaps we should start with the question: “What am I?” Now that is an easier question: I can start with noting that I am skin and bone. I can start with the physical world and not become tangled in the metaphysical. Now I can start to consider some synonyms known in the physical world for something I feel—like love or touch—and begin to approach what I know is who I am.

What I am in the physical world is for certain, an important question independent of the question who I am. This important question needs to be dissected in as fine a detail as necessary, while all of the time striving to yield some hint of answers to the question: “Who am I?”

Next one has the question: where am I? Now that is not hard—or is it?

Many years have passed since this lesson was received from one of my most revered professors while attending a class in chemical engineering design. Prof asked one of us where he was? The simple answer was: “I’m sitting in this chair.” Next question to another student: “Where are you, and the chair?” Well—in this classroom; came the answer. Then followed a long series of questions and answers: “In the building. On the campus. In the City. In the State. In the US. In North America. In the Western Hemisphere." And, on and on until we reached the farthest galaxies. Here Prof stopped asking the questions; he had made his point about the importance of clearly placing the design’s location as precisely as necessary. What about me? What about you? How precisely can we locate ourselves and how important is it? What about the nonlocality properties of quantum mechanics? Where is our conscious being?

When? When, implies time. Do we count time in seconds, minutes, hours, days, years—or is it simply past, now, future? One of my favorite lectures to a congregation is about how the now is squeezed between the past and the future to the extent that we cannot describe now in terms of our normal measurements of time. The future becomes the past the instant our mind collapses a thought. When then becomes “When Will” and/or “When Did” and cannot stand, alone. So what is the click click of the clock? At this point one can easily venture into the metaphysical or into quantum physics.

Why am I? Why are You? These are the tough questions that fall next to the end of any investigation. The question is perhaps correctly stated as: why am I conscious? Or, why/how does parts of you and me function while we appear to be unconscious? For our everyday investigations the why and how are straightforward and easily handled in the normal physical world. But, we are attempting to investigate consciousness and that presents a much different problem.

Continuing on, we will need to investigate the W5H1 in our collapsed realm and as far as we can into the metaphysical realm, and the non-locality realm of quantum science.