Thinking about the ghost in the machine was an early obsession of mine. A long time ago. In the desert. On the road. In the cafes where I feverously wrote out questions to myself in my journals. “when I will myself to do something, what is doing the willing.”
“What is consciousness and is it body dependent?” “Is the mystic another place or a parallel reality?.” Questions along these lines that were unanswerable. The likes of which had been asked, I imaging, since the human mind formed a concept of self. Twenty five years ago or so, when I was persistently interested in these questions, which, by the way, led into sub atomic physics and the peculiar properties of particles and space (mind you I am no egg head. I only read journalist’s reports and books about what the physicists were doing) I came across a book called The Tao of Physics. This book basically drew comparisons between what physicists were describing in the subatomic universe and what mystics of many different religions were describing as spiritual visions or experiences. There was talk about the super collider. Building a huge electron smashing machine. And hope that such a contraption could bring more into focus. I t amazed me then, and still does today, that we knew so much, could do so much, but had no idea, really, what consciousness was.
Recently I have taken up a mild interest in these questions again and what I am discovering is pretty amazing. In the twenty five years (ish) that I have been doing marriage and kids and a business and all the swirl and din that goes with that, lots and lots of people have been actively perusing the very questions I was pondering. This in a time when there is a coalescence of sciences and technologies that may be creating the reality of answers to questions that have been trapped in the realm of speculation. The experience for me is like putting a question in a big machine, going away for a long time, and coming back to find the machine is producing an answer. It occurs to me that this is a sign of a truly remarkable time in history. Hold on to your hats kind of time. Or hold on to your favorite notions of what you are, or what the afterlife is, or what God is…. It’s going to get interesting.