The Nature of Consciousness, the Universe and Everything

An inquiry into emergent consciousness from microbe to humans and beyond

by Alex Milov

 

 

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preface

 

This book is an inquiry into the nature of consciousness.  There is good reason to seek understanding.  When consciousness is properly understood, healthy life choices become apparent.   To understand consciousness, we need to understand several related subjects.  The journey is challenging but very much worthwhile.  The information compiled here allows for nothing less than an awakening as to who we are in the universe.  Though the evidence comes from naturalistic observations and the methods are based on the principles of science, the destination is ultimately spiritual.

 

Though I didn't know it at the time, I began writing this book as a psychology professor at a small private college years before sitting down to compose it.  I enjoyed teaching.  I wanted the course material to be both useful and exciting.  Teaching the same subjects day and night over several years, I began to see new connections between psychological constructs.  What today seems obvious to me wasn't even on my radar screen back when I began teaching.  I think I can help others see.   
 

Occasionally we come upon a map while at the mall or the zoo designed to help visitors find their way.  As we try to understand our situation, the arrow next to the words "you are here" orients us.  Knowing our position and the lay of the land can help us identify the steps necessary to get where we want to go.  Psychotherapy and personal inventories are a lot like the "you are here" map experience.  If you listen carefully, many casual conversations are also like the "you are here" experience.  The social world is essential for our mental health because it helps us stay oriented.  
 

Successful navigation requires valid information.  An accurate map, drawn to scale is invaluable.  In addition to our current location, it is helpful to know where we have been and where we want to go.  Lastly, we should understand the properties of the vehicle in which we travel (ourselves).  Payload, fuel economy, road handling characteristics, service requirements all these play into likely outcomes.  People who consider these things carefully tend to succeed and flourish. 

 

So this book comes to terms with some pretty big questions.  What is the nature of the universe, who am I, what is my purpose, and how do I get where I need to go.  As I look back at the map my own life, it seems the universe has an almost magical way of revealing itself.  I sometimes see associations that appear to be too serendipitous to be coincidence, and one of these occurs to me now.
 

 In my youth I read a book that captured my imagination, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," by Douglas Adams.  It has something of a cult following.  I remember being comforted as I started grad school when I noticed a reference to the book on the wall of my mentor's office.  I was safe; he understood.  Now, many years later, I am in a state of mental goose flesh as I realize I have taken on the audacious task of trying to answer that book's laughable central question: "The Meaning of Life, the Universe, and Everything."  So the title of my book, "The Nature of Consciousness, the Universe, and Everything," is in honor of the joy and insight offered by Douglas Adams.  As I begin the project, it only now occurs to me I just happen to be living on Adams Street!

 

 

The Nature of Consciousness, the Universe and Everything

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