The Nature of Consciousness, the Universe and Everything

An inquiry into emergent consciousness from microbe to humans and beyond

by Alex Milov







The Nervous System


To understand consciousness we need to understand the systems upon which consciousness is most directly dependent.  Learning about the nervous system not only offers insight into the nature of consciousness, it will also suggest the best practices for developing and maintaining good mental health.  Just as a physical therapist must understand the form and function of the musculoskeletal system to grasp conditions of the body, we must understand the nervous system to appreciate conditions of the mind. 

Now, the distinction between the "physical" and the "mental" is not at all clear.  Philosophers have wrestled with this since time out of memory.  Monism, the philosophical view that there is nothing over and above physical reality, takes the position the universe is made up of only one kind of stuff, and that stuff is physical.  In contrast, "Dualism" takes the position that a non-physical mind exists apart from the rest of physical reality.  Though the debate continues, the nervous system is clearly a physical structure, and all reliable evidence indicates mind and body are inexorably connected.  People speak of "the mental" with terms like "spirit," "mind" and "soul" as if they could exist independent of the body, but there is no reliable evidence for the existence of mind without a body.  The mind, if it exists, almost surely resides within the body....


The Nature of Consciousness, the Universe and Everything

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