(Jared Parker’s response to Ian Johnson’s Schrodinger’s Cat.)
The mind is essentially and entirely my imagination. When I take notice of my chair, whether by touching, smelling, tasting or seeing it, the idea of the chair is, and can only be, formed in my imagination. This is so because my mind is programmed to interpret certain neuronal inputs and readouts as being ‘external’ and others as being ‘internal’, with the internal sensations interpreted at mine. Indeed, even the ideas of ‘my’ imagination and ‘my’ mind are imagined. It is all imagined. In the example of Schrodinger’s Cat, the seeing of a cat and the interpretation of it being dead or alive are both imagined things. Even imagination is imagined.
This makes the idea of an evolved consciousness relevant only within a construct created by consciousness. We are building the framework for interpretation and then interpreting that interpretation. Trying to make sense of one’s consciousness by using one’s own consciousness is a lot like trying to chew one’s own teeth. You can’t get outside yourself to make it happen. The instant we create any sort of framework for interpretation, we’re relying on something that is automatically invalid as a measuring device, as we created the device.
So, to truly have the argument about Schrodinger’s Cat, we have to find a point where consciousness makes no a priori assumptions, as any assumption we make would be made with our consciousness. We cannot even rely on science as a framework, as the root of physics is quantum physics, and quantum physics is reliant on measurement, and measurement, as we’ve seen, has much, if not everything, to do with consciousness. Or to have the argument we need to find a way to get “outside ourselves”, to a point where we can study consciousness objectively. But any interpretation of an objective study would have to be made by a human consciousness, which is by nature subjective (even when studying science. See again: quantum physics). So we are stuck again. We just keep looping back around to consciousness.
But for the sake of argument, let’s say that consciousness could evolve. If so, how would we know if we were to ‘attain’ this level of consciousness? We wouldn’t, because if an ultimate state of consciousness is nondual, then these issues wouldn’t exist, as a dilemma implies at minimum multiple states of things: the dilemma, the solution, the means of solving it, etc.
Here more questions are raised about the nature of consciousness. If current human consciousness evolved from ‘lesser’ states of consciousness, then what is the original state of consciousness from which our current state of consciousness evolved, and why and how did that original state of consciousness first form?
It’s possible the answers are out there, but so far nobody has demonstrated how we might derive the answers even if there were answers. Ah, well.