Does Consciousness Exist Outside Of The Brain?

mind and consciousness

The human brain is an extremely complex organ, made up of almost 100 billion neurons. We’ve made enormous strides in understanding brain activity and how it affects human behavior. But have we figured if the mind and consciousness are linked? Or does it live outside of the brain?

Is consciousness actually a property of the universe like gravity or light?

The prevailing consensus in neuroscience is that consciousness is an emergent property of the brain and its metabolism. When the brain dies, the mind and consciousness of the being to whom that brain belonged ceases to exist. In other words, without a brain, there can be no consciousness.

But according to the decades-long research of Dr. Peter Fenwick, a highly regarded neuropsychiatrist who has been studying the human brain, consciousness, and the phenomenon of near-death experience (NDE) for 50 years, this view is incorrect.

Despite initially being highly incredulous of NDEs and related phenomena, Fenwick now believes his extensive research suggests that consciousness persists after death. In fact, Fenwick believes that consciousness actually exists independently and outside of the brain as an inherent property of the universe itself like dark matter and dark energy or gravity.

Related: You Can’t Use 100% of Your Brain and Why That’s a Good Thing

The Human Mind And Consciousness

Hence, in Fenwick’s view, the brain does not create or produce consciousness; rather, it filters it. As odd as this idea might seem at first, there are some analogies that bring the concept into sharper focus. For example, the eye filters and interprets only a very small sliver of the electromagnetic spectrum, and the ear registers only a narrow range of sonic frequencies. Similarly, according to Fenwick, the brain filters and perceives only a tiny part of the cosmos’ intrinsic “consciousness.”

Indeed, the eye can see only the wavelengths of electromagnetic energy that correspond to visible light. But the entire EM spectrum is vast and extends from extremely low energy, long-wavelength radio waves to incredibly energetic, ultrashort-wavelength gamma rays. So, while we can’t actually “see” much of the EM spectrum, we know things like X-rays, infrared radiation, and microwaves exist because we have instruments for detecting them.

Similarly, our ears can register only a narrow range of sonic frequencies but we know a huge amount of others imperceptible to the human ear exist nevertheless.

When the eye dies, the electromagnetic spectrum does not vanish or cease to be; it’s just that the eye is no longer viable and therefore can no longer filter, be stimulated by, and react to light energy. But the energy it previously interacted with remains nonetheless. And so too when the ear dies or stops transducing sound waves, the energies that the living ear normally respond to still exist.

According to Fenwick, so it is with consciousness. Just because the organ that filters, perceives, and interprets it dies does not mean the phenomenon itself ceases to exist. It only ceases to be in the now-dead brain but continues to exist independently of the brain as an external property of the universe itself.

The Human Mind and Consciousness

What’s more, according to Fenwick, our consciousness tricks us into perceiving a false duality of self and other when in fact there is only unity. We are not separate from other aspects of the universe but an integral and inextricable part of them. And when we die, we transcend the human experience of consciousness, and its illusion of duality, and merge with the universe’s entire and unified property of consciousness. So, ironically, only in death can we be fully conscious.

This is not to be taken as joining God or a creator because the cosmic consciousness that Fenwick describes did not create the universe but is simply a property of it. Obviously, despite his impressive body of research into this subject, there is no current way to empirically establish the validity of Fenwick’s cosmic consciousness hypothesis. Ultimately, it aligns more with faith than science. Thus it seems the answer to the question in this post’s title is “No.” There is no empirically established explanatory framework for understanding how consciousness can exist independently and outside of the brain.

Recall the old riddle, “If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, does it still make a sound?” Well, it seems the answer is “No.” Because sound is the conscious perception of sonic or acoustic stimuli that requires a sense organ to experience.

Without an ear to hear and a brain to interpret the stimulation there will be only molecular vibrations but no sound, per se. In the same vein, all of the energies and biophysical phenomena that the brain experiences as consciousness do indeed exist independently and outside of the brain (e.g., physics, chemistry, and quantum events). But the wondrous experience of consciousness itself seems to require a brain to give rise to it and a brain-based mind to perceive it.

Related: 25 Amazing Psychological Facts That Will Boggle Your Mind

Remember: Think well, Act well, Feel well, Be well!

Copyright 2019 Clifford N. Lazarus, Ph.D. This post is for informational purposes only. it is not intended to be a substitute for help from a qualified health professional. The advertisements in this post do not necessarily reflect my opinions nor are they endorsed by me.

References

Fenwick, P. & Fenwick, E. (2008). The Art of Dying. Bloomsbury: London.

If you found this helpful and interesting then share it with your friends and family. Let us know your thoughts in the comments.


Written by: Clifford N. Lazarus, Ph.D
Originally appeared on: Psychology Today
Republished with permission

mind and consciousness pinex
mind and consciousness pin
Ads

— About the Author —

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Up Next

Neuro-Ninja Training: 10 Indoor Brain Strengthening Games For A Sharp Mind

Powerful Brain Strengthening Games For A Sharp Mind

Do you want to exercise your brain in the most fun, interesting, and most importantly, enjoyable way possible? Then you have come to the right place! Keeping your mind sharp and your brain alert is one of the most powerful things you can do. That’s why, we have compiled a list of brain strengthening games for you to try.

These brain strengthening games will boost your brain, keep you entertained and also increase your intellect. No more of those boring games to improve memory and concentration, because these are designed to be fun and exciting.

So, ready to explore how you can train your brain with games? Le



Up Next

15 Provocative Questions To Trigger Curiosity And Help In Creative Problem-Solving

Provocative Questions To Trigger Curiosity

If you are have ever thought how to trigger your curiosity, then you have come to the right place. Embracing curiosity is one of the best things you can do for yourself, and the curiosity questions mentioned in this article will help you achieve that goal. Check out these 15 questions to trigger curiosity and see how it works for you!

KEY POINTS

The ability to be curious generally declines in adulthood.

Curiosity is a portal to increased innovation.

Curiosity can be relearned with the right questions.

Today’s curiosi



Up Next

How Do Some People ‘Hear’ Colors And ‘See’ Sounds? — A Look Into Synesthesia

What Is Synesthesia? Interesting Types Of Synesthesia?

What does the color red sound like? Only those with the power of synesthesia can truly “hear” it. It is a secret power that about 4% of people have – their senses make unexpected connections.

Researchers are now diving into this new world to understand more about these sensory experiences where one is hearing colors and seeing sounds. So let’s dive in and learn what is synesthesia actually.

What Is Synesthesia?



Up Next

What Is Counterfactual Thinking: The Psychological Forces and Life-Altering Impact of ‘What Ifs

What Is Counterfactual Thinking? Psychological Insights

Have you ever wondered, ‘If only I had done something differently, then the results would be different’? This thought process is an example of counterfactual thinking in action. Understanding what is counterfactual thinking involves exploring our minds’ ‘what if’ scenarios.”

We will look at four real-life situations that show how thinking about “what if” can change how we see ourselves and the world around us.

But before exploring the examples, let us first understand what is counterfactual thinking.

What is Counterfactual Thinking?   



Up Next

Understanding The Mind Body Connection Definition: 3 Compelling Benefits of This Holistic Approach to Well-Being

Mind Body Connection Definition | Powerful Benefits

Have you ever felt that the constant noise of modern life drowns out the whispers of your inner self? By understanding the mind-body connection definition you will be able to forge a path of self-discovery and holistic well-being.

Mind Body Connection Definition  

The mind body connection is a fundamental concept that emphasizes the link between our mental and physical well-being. It’s all about understanding that our minds and bodies are not separate entities but work together as a unified system.



Up Next

Understanding Solastalgia Meaning: The Subtle yet Profound Emotional Impact of Environmental Change

Solastalgia Meaning: Environmental Change's Emotional Impact

Have you ever felt a profound sense of loss and disconnection, even while standing in a place you once called home? It is more than just nostalgia! Understanding solastalgia meaning helps us to understand our relationship with our environment.

We will delve into three primary causes of solastalgia. These insights will not only inform but also leave you with a deep appreciation for the relationship between your emotions and the ever-changing landscapes of your lives.

What is Solastalgia?  

Solastalgia, a term born from the fusion of ‘solace’ and ‘algia,’ carries profound significance in our understanding of the emotional impact of environmental chang



Up Next

Are You Living Out Of Sync? 5 Warning Signs of a Disrupted Circadian Rhythm

Recognizing A Disrupted Circadian Rhythm: Warning Signs

When this natural rhythm is disrupted, it can lead to a cascade of health issues. Let’s take a look at 5 disrupted circadian rhythm symptoms that indicate it may be out of sync and provide practical solutions to restore harmony to your internal clock.

The circadian rhythm, often referred to as our body’s internal clock, plays a vital role in regulating our sleep-wake cycle and overall well-being.

When this rhythm is disrupted, it ca