Home Discussion Forum Is self awareness and consciousness merely a trick produced by our neurochemistry?

Is self awareness and consciousness merely a trick produced by our neurochemistry?

Philosophically speaking, if we are nothing more than atoms then why do we die? If the atoms that comprise your body have achieved self awareness merely because of how they are arranged wouldn’t they also be intelligent enough to preserve that configuration indefinitely? Said another way, if evolution has endowed your atoms with enough intelligence to form all the complex systems in your body wouldn’t those atoms desire to maintain that level of complexity. Why is there such a disparity between your intelligence and the intelligence which holds your atoms and molecules together? If you are your atoms, shouldn’t that intelligence be the same.
If you were to ask any of my cancer patients, including the atheists, whether or not they still believe all they are is matter you would get some very enlightening answers. They can all attest to the fact that they have a will to live separate from their apparent molecular composition which is clearly at odds with that desire.


  1. In answer to your second question, no.
    Thought appears to be the effect of a working brain.
    Death is fearful, but the reactions of those in fear of it do not change its nature at all.

  2. You know, I love the bit in “The Silver Chair” by C.S. Lewis, where( to make an excellent story short) the heroes are trapped by the evil witch underground where she proceeds to hypnotize them and tries to make them believe that they have always lived underground.
    They have never seen grass or heard birds singing or watched clouds drift across a blue sky. And worse of all, they have never seen the sun, or felt its light on their faces.
    Finally one of the heroes chimes in with the idea. (paraphrase) “Well if that the truth, then you can have it. My delusion is so much better than what you call reality, that I would rather go on searching my whole life in vain for a way to the surface, rather than stay here in a dark cave with you, forever.”
    We are more than the sum of our parts and we know it. We can kid ourselves and trick ourselves to believing otherwise for a long time, but that simple truth keeps nagging at us for as long as we resist.
    And that more than anything leads me to believe there is a God.
    Hope that helps.

  3. atoms and molecules are not held together by intelligence they are held together by the attractive forces between them. A single brain cell is not intelligent, but if you put a hundred billion of them together you get emergent properties like self awareness.
    The second part of your question is nonsense, no one wants to die we all wish we were immortal but we’re not.

  4. Such a mass of confusion, it’s unsortable.
    Let me try a few threads.
    Self-awareness is the result of evolution possibly going a step beyond what is strictly required just for physical survival. Orangutangs survive perfectly well, as do Apes, and Chimpanzees.
    What we have got in Homo Sapiens Sapiens is Survival Plus.
    Is this a “good” thing?
    Dunno, but it’s our thing, it’s where we are at.
    Would it be likely that an internal dynamic as powerful as survival might over-shoot what is strictly necessary?
    Yes, that would be likely to happen, and it did, so cope with it.
    Self-awareness is not an event at the atomic level. So the idea that self-aware atomic arrangements “should” be able to perpetuate themselves forever is silly.
    It is a bit ironic that brilliant minds die and turn to dust — but that’s all — just an irony of the universe.
    All people always want everything of everything. So do all your patients want to live forever, sure, why not?
    Does this have any meaning?
    Yes, it does. It means that not all people all the times get a first-rate education.
    Aristotle said that wishing for impossible things is not rational. The rational human being wishes only for things that are possible.
    If they knew better, they would wish for less, you see?
    No, of course you don’t.

  5. Wow, I do not understand why those who have responded are so angered by your questions. Aristotle also said that no offense can be taken from a question when asked to an educated, rational mind, for a question is not a statement. Do your homework before citing people out of context.


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