Kenneth Chan wrote:There is no evidence that consciousness even arises from something else, let alone arise from physical matter.
You don't believe that dependent origination applies to consciousness for some reason?
Context, context, context! Actually, I was already half-anticipating that you would insist on taking this out of context. Here, I am referring to the conventional notion of consciousness being derived from some other entity. There is no evidence that this is the case.
On the other hand, if you are looking at it from the viewpoint of the ultimate truth, every perceptual mind arises in dependence upon causes and conditions, and upon the object that it perceives, and this is already discussed in my paper (http://kenneth-chan.com/physics/direct- ... -mechanics
). For your benefit, I will reproduce that section of my paper here below:
5.6 Emptiness of Mind in Quantum Mechanics
Let us now take a closer look at this emptiness of the mind that is suggested by the formulation of quantum mechanics. We must realize, however, that quantum mechanics only involves one of the two possible kinds of mental experience. These two kinds of mental experience are the perceptual and the conceptual. A perceptual mental experience is an experience in which the mind accesses its object directly and involves the senses. A conceptual mental experience does not require the mind to access its object directly through the senses.
The experiential events
that quantum mechanics deal with are only those that involve the perceptual kind of mental experience. Clearly, quantum mechanics does not deal directly with our conceptual mental experiences. The reason for this is evident. Quantum mechanics is a formalism that is designed to correlate with the results of our experimental measurements. Since our scientific equipment cannot measure or directly involve our conceptual thoughts, the formalism of quantum mechanics does not deal with our conceptual mental experiences. Conceptual mental experiences are nonetheless real, only they are not accounted for in the formulation of quantum mechanics. Let us now look at what quantum mechanics tell us about our perceptual mental experiences.
What quantum mechanics tells us is that the experiential events, represented by the eigenstates
and their corresponding eigenvalues
, actually constitute our primary reality. So if an object is dependently originated in an experiential event, so is the perceptual mental experience. This mind, in the experiential event, arises in dependence upon causes and conditions, and in dependence upon the object that it perceives. In this sense, the mind is also dependently originated and hence is also empty of inherent existence.
Thus, in Madhyamika philosophy, both the mind and the so-called “external world” are dependently originated and both are empty of inherent existence. This means that we do not have the situation of solipsism where only
the external world is empty of inherent existence. If both the mind and the “external world” are empty of inherent existence, we cannot say that one is real while the other is not.
That is why Madhyamika philosophy is the “middle way” philosophy that steers clear of both materialism and solipsism. All things are empty of inherent existence, but there is
still a reality. Our reality is like an illusion, but there is
nonetheless a reality. Both Madhyamika philosophy and the direct experiential interpretation of quantum mechanics
are telling us that this is the case.
Unfortunately, quantum mechanics cannot provide any information about conceptual mental experiences, since our scientific equipment have no access to this aspect of the mind. And because quantum mechanics is specifically formulated to fit the data from our scientific equipment, quantum mechanics can only provide information on the perceptual mental experiences, and not the conceptual ones. In order to investigate the conceptual mental experiences, we need make use of the mind itself as a direct probe. There is no other way to access this part of our reality but to train the mind itself for this purpose. That is actually a key purpose of training the mind in deep meditation—it is to examine the very nature of the mind itself.
Backed by this deep meditational insight, the Madhyamaka masters also reach the same conclusion that the mind—as well as this notion of the “self”—is empty of inherent existence. That this is true can fortunately also be proven intellectually by very precise logical analysis. Some prominent examples of the deep logical analyses, used by the Madhyamaka masters, are the seven-point analysis
, the diamond slivers
or refuting the four possibilities of production
, and, of course, the analysis based on dependent origination
(which is the analysis that we have been discussing).