The Brain and Consciousness

The first homework assignment for April’s course, Physiology is Consciousness: Compare and contrast models of brain and consciousness in MVS and in materialism

The MVS model of brain and consciousness understands consciousness as both the source and a functional product of the brain. MVS explains consciousness as twofold: It is the primary source of everything from the level of the unified field, and on another level it is the non-material property of brain activity. From the perspective of Searle, consciousness is a higher-level feature of the lower-level neurobiological system of the brain; in other words, neural networks produce subjective non-material functions of consciousness, such as the sound of a symphony or the thoughts of theorums in Euclidian geometry….“brain processes cause conscious processes” (Searle). This is consistent with Maharishi’s point that consciousness emerges as the non-material products of the material brain.

From the materialistic understanding of life, consciousness does not exist in any real way except as measurable neuronal networks and patterns; this approach does not recognize consciousness as a special emergent property of the brain, but rather a phenomena based solely upon “the minimal set of neuronal events and mechanisms…sufficient for a specific conscious precept” (Koch). Thus, a change in subjective experience must correlate with a change in a neuronal state. This materialistic point of view sees neuronal correlates of consciousness as the sole source of a particular personal experience.

We can see these two perspectives are based on contrasting paradigms. The Maharishi Vedic perspective understands consciousness as immaterial but real phenomena, whereas the materialistic perspective disregards the reality of anything non-material. The self-interacting dynamics of consciousness and its threefold structure explained in the Vedic literature, Rishi (knower), Devata (process of knowing), and Chandas (known), are the baseline for understanding consciousness as both the source and product of brain function. Materialism relies upon the basis of objective scientific knowledge for its understanding and explanation of both brain and consciousness; this objective basis of knowledge does not recognize the possibility of immaterial reality because it is not observable through the lens of objective science.

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