Sanderson. We seem to be identifying consciousness--any sort of consciousness, however "mere"--with thinking--in the sense of reasoning. What about the consciousness of the lower animals? I doubt whether any of us would call that reasoning or even thinking.
Brodie: Fourth tray?
Burgeon: A Civil Servant used to keep four trays on his desk to put his papers in. The first was marked Incoming, the second Outgoing, the third Pending, and the fourth Too difficult. (WA 43-44)
When we speak . . . about consciousness, about the point at which consciousness arose and so forth, we are speaking not merely about human nature, as we call it, but also about nature itself. When we study consciousness historically, contrasting perhaps what men perceive and think now with what they perceived and thought at the same period in the past, when we study long-term changes in consciousness, we are studying changes in the world itself, and not simply changes in the human brain. We are not studying some so-called "inner" world, divided off, by a skin or a skull, from a so-called "outer" world; we are trying to study the world itself from its inner aspect. (HGH 18)He knew, too, that the assumption "that, because consciousness is contingent on a physical organism, it must be the product of such an organism" (RM 23), though currently common sense, must be incorrect, for "[Consciousness] resembles a spark located within the brain much less than it resembles a diffused light focused into the whole body from without" (LEC 433).
And he was firmly
convinced that the question of consciousness is much more than an abstruse
epistemological dilemma, for
If civilization is to be saved, people must come more and more to realize that our consciousness is not something spatially enclosed in the skin or in the skull or in the brain; that it is not only our inside, but the inside of the world as a whole. That people should not merely be able to propound as a theory . . . but that it should become more and more their actual experience. . . . That, and also the overcoming of the total obsession there is today, with the Darwinian view of evolution--of consciousness or mind having emerged from a material, but entirely unconscious universe. Putting it very shortly, to realize, not simply as a theory but as a conviction of common sense, that in the history of the world, matter has emerged from mind and not mind from matter. (TI 10)