I am deeply disturbed to discover what a search on the word “consciousness” produces when you sift through WordPress websites.
Over 90% of the entries reveal websites which can only be described as embarrassing, superstitious and pathetically inadequate. You would have thought that in the 21st Century most of us in the civilized and educated West would have ditched charlatanism in favour of reason and science. And, yes, philosophy. Which of course has had to change much over the centuries as old superstitions were revealed to be humbug and utter hogwash.
Surely to god we are grown up enough to ditch faith healing nutters, snakeoil salesmen and gurus? Even the Buddhists (god bless their yellow robed non-existent atman) are embracing modern science and co-operating with neurosurgeons to establish the neural correlates of the meditative state.
And yet here are some of the headlines and articles to be found on WordPress:
“You are inherently and innately programmed to thrive on all levels of your being” – yeah right, man. Flower power, airy fairy crap. Give me a pill any day. Tell me how qualia work in precise physical terms and how I can move from one end of the pleasure pain axis to the other.
“There is always a counter to the negative. Call them spiritually and technologically advanced ETs, Angels, Ascended Masters etc. “. Yep, well there are fairies at the bottom of my garden and I’m not talking about LGBT+++ neighbors. I mean grow up you lunatic.
“There is a different path of healing, a path, that keeps the balance, a path, that enhances intuition, re ignites love, my answer to this is touch massage….” Great well I’ll just check that out with my GP. Hey, I’m all for meditation and yoga. I’m all for anything, even magic mushrooms, if it works. But I’d like to skip the semi religious twaddle thanks. Metaphor is fine but if I’m feeling like a dead wet hamster in a washing machine I’d like something a little more efficacious than “touch massage” to make me feel better.
Ooh – hang on a minute! I wonder what she is offering? Nah, I’m way too old for all that stuff.
Oh dear. As usual this is turning into polemic so I must stop myself right away.
I have no doubt most (but certainly not all) of these internet messiah’s honestly believe they have found “The Way”. And I love metaphor and poetry and music and art and…..blah blah. And yes sometimes it improves my mood.
But if I want to read about consciousness I want to read Dennet, Chalmers, Tononi. I want to hear it from the neuro-scientists. The Blue Brain Project. Sure even my sagacious GP, if he feels he has anything to say. I do not wish to hear from a bunch of deluded nutcases who can not see from one end of their “chakra” to their waste pipe.
The answer is simple of course: ignore them and move on to wiser counsel without causing offense and upset.