Friday, January 27, 2012
Do you ever think of things that are strange or really hard (if not impossible) to answer?
For example, what is consciousness? Is it electrical signals firing around in our brain, or do we have some sort of soul? Is it an illusion of all our senses working together, a few of them, or maybe just one? Do we know the exact criteria needed to be met for something to be considered conscious, or is it more abstract? Could planets and stars be conscious without us knowing? What about galaxies or maybe even the universe itself?
Senses are strange things too. Everyone is familiar with the big five (although there are arguably more), and we generally find anyone lacking one of them an interesting person. Most of us can't begin to imagine a life without both sight and hearing. Complete darkness and silence; only left with feeling, taste, and smell. How strange that must be...and unfortunate, if you know how incredible sight and hearing are.
What if a person were mute and lacking all of the senses but were still conscious? Could they be distinguished from a person in a coma? Would they be conscious that they are alive?
We call trees and plants "alive" and "dead". What if they only have the sense of feeling? We wouldn't be able to tell if they did or not. But if we knew they did, would we treat them differently?
I, for one, would probably find a lack of sight and hearing to be a fate worse than death. If you agree, here's a thought to chew on: how do we know we're not in such a state right now?
Before you answer, consider this. A person that has been blind since birth is incapable of fully understanding the experience of sight (without surgery), and a person that has been deaf since birth is incapable of fully understanding hearing (without hearing aids or what have you). Or an easier example to think about; a completely colorblind person has no idea what colors are like.
My question is, what incredible senses (if any) are out there in the universe that none of us have or know of and are thus not capable of comprehending? We can't just say "yeah right, those can't exist". An Earth full of colorblind humans would be wrong to deny the existence of colors.
Assuming there are aliens and keeping with the theory of evolution, what senses would they have if they were millions of years ahead of us? It's hard to even begin guessing. They could be capable of things we can only dream of doing, and have probably conquered death. If such beings knew of us, some of them might even say we are in a state worse than death right now.
Or maybe we're the most evolved thing in the universe.
There's so much more to contemplate, but I'll leave it at that for now. I hope this post gave you something interesting to think about.