Reem With A View

"Names and attributes must be accommodated to the essence of things, and not the essence to the names, since things come first and names afterwards." – Galileo

Taz Hameer: On the nature of Consciousness

Taz (or Dr.Taz as I prefer to call him) is one of my best friends and a brilliant final year medical student. The short article below is written by him in an attempt to tickle our thoughts on life and cosnciousness and is not intended by the author to provoke any person who beleievs in divinity.


On the nature of Consciousness

Taz Hameer

The nature of consciousness has always intrigued the thinking human. Various religions of the worlds and schools of thought have speculated on the nature of consciousness, in particular,
human consciousness. On par with the nature of human consciousness, the idea of a Supreme Consciousness(es) as a supposedly existing Creator(s) has also intrigued the human species.

I do not wish to speculate on nature of the Divinity(ies) since
personally I believe, with all respects to the believers of the various faiths (I really mean that. No sarcasms intended), that s/he/they are non existing entity(ies) and a primitive fabrication of the human race in a humbling attempt to explain the reason for their existence and find some comfort and hope in a world and universe that is void of good and evil, right and wrong, one without morality, one that is indifferent.

However I would like, not to speculate but to explain atleast to some degree, the nature of human and animal consciousness based on the findings of Science which I think is very obvious. I would like to address the claim that consciousness is eternal and continues after death. This is one of the basic teachings of the various religions of the east and the west.

I believe that science shows us that the above is not true.
Consciousness is not eternal and ceases to exist after death. To justify this, I will define my understanding of consciousness.

I consider consciousness synonymous with awareness of one’s
surroundings. Nothing more.
Awareness of one’s surroundings in humans is possible only through the following pathways:

* Visual
* Auditory
* Olfactory
* Tactile
* Taste

Now, damage to the visual pathway whether in the intraocular structures or on the retina, the optic nerve, optic chiasma, optic tract, lateral geniculate body, optic radiations, or broca’s areas 17,18 and 19 of the occipital cortex, will result, depending on the extent and the site of damage, in to either partial or complete unilateral or bilateral blindess. If blindess is complete in both the eyes, then, the visual aspect of awareness will cease to exist.

The same for the hearing pathway. If fully damaged, the result is
either conductive deafness or sensorineural deafness or both depending on the nature of the cause and the site of damage. And the auditory aspect of awareness ceases to exist.

This axiom, if I may call it, applies to the remaining aspects of
the olfactory, tactile and taste pathways. Destroy each of these pathways and the respective aspects of awareness ceases
to exist. Destroy all of them and awareness (consciousness) no longer exists. You no longer exist.
I think thats what happens after death. The existence of consciousness depends on the anatomicaland physiological functioning of the human or animal body. After all, we are nothing more than automata.

This realization makes most of us uncomfortable since it goes against our beliefs and consequently we reject it. Those of us brave enough to accept it are initially saddened since instinctively like most of the animal kingdom, we want to survive and live. I would not be surprised if that was one of the reasons, if not the prime one, for our species inventing of god(s) and life after death.

What? Is Man merely a mistake of God’s? Or God merely a mistake of man’s?”
– Nietzsche

Knowing we will one day be “turned off” forever is scary initially. But after sometime, we realize its nobig deal. We learn to appreciate life more and value its preciousness.
We learn to make the best of our lives and try to help others do the same.

Taz can be contacted at

Filed under: Arts, History & Social Sciences


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