Do you believe consciousness is separate from the brain?

  • Do you trust a neurosurgeon?

    A neurosurgeon who was completely sceptical of this idea had a near death experience. They were brain dead, and yet they could recall conversations of all the nurses around them; even ones out of normal hearing range. They could tell them many aspects of their lives.
    Many people have experienced NDE's and Out of Body Experiences; so is there not a possibility this exists?
    A group of scientists are now genuinely trying to find out if this is real with different experiments.

    Thousands of people have had near-death experiences, but scientists have argued that they are impossible. Dr. Eben Alexander was one of those scientists. A highly trained neurosurgeon, Alexander knew that NDEs feel real, but are simply fantasies produced by brains under extreme stress.

    Then, Dr. Alexander’s own brain was attacked by a rare illness. The part of the brain that controls thought and emotion—and in essence makes us human—shut down completely. For seven days he lay in a coma. Then, as his doctors considered stopping treatment, Alexander’s eyes popped open. He had come back.

    Alexander’s recovery is a medical miracle. But the real miracle of his story lies elsewhere. While his body lay in coma, Alexander journeyed beyond this world and encountered an angelic being who guided him into the deepest realms of super-physical existence. There he met, and spoke with, the Divine source of the universe itself.

    Alexander’s story is not a fantasy. Before he underwent his journey, he could not reconcile his knowledge of neuroscience with any belief in heaven, God, or the soul. Today Alexander is a doctor who believes that true health can be achieved only when we realize that God and the soul are real and that death is not the end of personal existence but only a transition.

    This story would be remarkable no matter who it happened to. That it happened to Dr. Alexander makes it revolutionary. No scientist or person of faith will be able to ignore it. Reading it will change your life.

    Quoted from Amazon, Proof of Heaven, A neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife

  • Out of Body Happens

    You can't just dismiss what is now thousands of 'Near death experiences' as hallucination or the effects of drugs or a trick from a dying brain, all these have been proven wrong. Whatever the 'mechanics' are, there comes a time when the consciousness is 'released' by the body. The problem is most scientists are reluctant to admit to anything that can't be contained in a test tube or reduced to an equation. Those who've had these experiences need no convincing!

  • If it is not, then how can we still experience things when our brains are dead?

    Cardiac arrest patients' brains are supposed to shut down 20-30 seconds after the heart stops. However, there are many patients who still have near-death experiences for up to 6 minutes after losing consciousness. Whether or not these are dreams is debatable, but how can you dream if your brain is dead? More convincingly, some patients accurately recalled nurses conversations and actions (while their brains were inactive) which were later confirmed to be correct by hospital records. Therefore, I believe that consciousness is separate from the brain. The really interesting question is what happens to it once it after death and where does it go...

  • I believe that it is

    The reason why is if science measured OBE and NDE experiences instead of taking them as a joke we might be able to eventually most scientists will agree and start questioning the science of the consciousness itself instead of the brain itself. But here's a question ( I know you wanted an answer ). Is the brain itself conscious ? No it is not it only contains consciousness. Real consciousness would come from something conscious. Similar to cells come from other cells. It seems that all things come from something that already is existing. But there is obviously a reason consciousness leaves, but consciousness is energy is it not. So what happens to " energy cannot be destroyed " . So maybe consciousness is a product of the universe itself. Which means it is separate from the brain

  • Yes, there is a spirit.

    Yes, a consciousness exists separate from the brain, because when a person dies, their spirit still lives. Even though the brain might stop functioning when a person dies, their spirit continues to exist, and the person's spirit is moved from the earth. The consciousness is different from the brain, because one can function without the other. Similarly, the brain can still function, even if a person is unconscious.

  • Self is not an illusion

    The unique personal existence definable as "self" is a force that goes beyond simple physical existence, which conclusion is hinted at through many well-documented human experiences. In a fashion equivalent to energy being conducted along a wire, it is not the wire that is the force but the electricity that is the power. We don't have the vocabulary to adequately express the observed phenomena and thus they are often relegated to the level of mysticism in minds trained to a scientific mode of expression. Nevertheless, those who undertake a sincere exclusion of the intrapersonal space are often rewarded with a deeper understanding. Although one that is difficult to articulate to those without a common frame of reference.

  • Don't Know Mind

    I would like there to be a third option of "Don't Know". I have seen no scientific evidence supporting a consciousness apart from living things. However, until we truly understand how consciousness arises, can we be 100% positive? I am not attached to an answer to this question but am eager for there to be one. What a wonderful field of study!

  • Absolutely not, We only feel like we are inside our skin.

    All the religious heaven and hell types should watch House. The world is only our perception, and we very well could be in a real Matrix. Animals see black and white, in IR, and can smell 600x better than us.. We rationalize our reality the best we can.. Science explains all, whether we currently understand it or not.

  • The mind is directly tied to the body.

    The only thing that enables thoughts for earthen organisms now is the complex organ called the brain. The brain is filled with chemicals and transmitters that form a "feeling" when simulated in certain ways. Everything that the brain thinks is a direct or indirect result of extra environmental causes. The pattern of electrical movements inside of the brain causes "feelings", "emotions", and "thoughts".

    I am not sure of the possibility of free will, since I am not sure whether TRUE-TRUE randomness exists.

  • There is no evidence that it is.

    All evidence indicates that consciousness is simply an effect of brain function. Damage to certain areas of the brain can cause complete personality reversal, or place a person in a vegetative state. If there was an outside force (a "soul", for example) that was responsible for consciousness, neither of these things would be true.

  • There is no reason to believe the mind is not physical or at least the result of physical process...

    Every thing that is explainable of our consciousness is connected with the physical processes of the brain. When the corpus callosum is severed a person(consciousness) is cut into two, brain injuries have changed people entirely, and under brain scans we can see specific parts of the brain working together for specific tasks. By messing with specific functions of the brain that correlate with self and sense perception we can recreate out of body experiences and with the "god helmet" can even recreate personal experiences with god, ghosts, etc. There is no evidence or reason to believe that anything immaterial is interacting with the brain to cause or effect consciousness.

Leave a comment...
(Maximum 900 words)
fractaldreams says2013-07-01T08:14:10.693
Interesting question, alas, it is one of those questions where I need both a yes and a no :)

The brain is necessary for consciousness but consciousness is something we do, it is something emerging and enacted in response to the environment we find ourselves interacting in and with. As one of my favourite philosophers of mind has put it, dance is an excellent metaphor for consciousness, "a dancer is locked into an environment, responsive to music, responsive to a partner. The idea that the dance is a state of us, inside of us, or something that happens in us, is crazy. Our ability to dance depends on all sorts of things going on inside us, but that we are dancing is fundamentally an attunement to the world around us."