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Stephanie's picture

thoughts on consciousness

The study of consciousness brings up similar issues as the study of love (my presentation topic).  First, both love and consciousness cannot easily be defined, and there appears to be no universally agreed upon or single definition for these topics.  Then, the question arises, can something that is not completely defined be studied?  One approach researchers of love have taken, which also may be helpful for researchers of consciousness to take, is to recognize the multidimensionality of the topic at hand and instead study specific components related to the main topic.  For example, when studying love, you can study specific aspects such as commitment, attachment, or infidelity.  

One other interesting idea is to consider if our consciousness survives after death?  I recently was told by a friend who attended a conference at Haverford at few weeks ago about a talk on the survival of consciousness after death.  According to my friend, the researchers performed a study where they interviewed a couple hundred individuals who were brought into hospitals 'dead' and then ended up being revived and brought back to life.  Many of the individuals who experienced this, described that while they were 'dead' they could perceive what was going on still, they saw the emergency room and saw doctors and nurses working on their body.  To make this evidence even more convincing, they also had a blind individual experience the same thing, and the blind individual was also able to see and describe the situation very accurately giving details about the color of the walls and what exactly was going while his or her body was being revived, and details of what was being done to them.  I found this evidence really interesting.  It suggests that maybe our brains create the thing that is consciousness and even once our brains and bodies cease to exist our consciousness lives on some how.  I found a website that describes some the evidence of consciousness surviving after death (i'm not 100% sure this is the same evidence my friend heard presented at the conference, but it seems pretty similar- so it may be the same).  Here is the website: 

I thought the idea of consciousness living on after we die to be an interesting and controversial one, I'm still not sure how I stand, but I definitely am interested in learning more about it.  I'd be interested to hear what other people think about consciousness surviving us after we die.  


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