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A Conscious Universe. Consciousness East and West

In the previous chapters, we explored consciousness from a broad perspective inclusive of philosophy, psychology, neuroscience, and the cognitive sciences at large. Here we are prompted to explore consciousness from an even broader perspective because it seems as if—despite having found a possible scientific way of delineating how consciousness might be understood—we have been left with a feeling of mystery. In this last chapter, we explore that mystery further. We touched on some of the issues earlier in our thought experiment with Ben the neuroscientist who, after having found an explanation for consciousness, was nevertheless puzzled by the phenomenon and became a mysterian. Let us explore the sense of mystery that he might be feeling further. The plan here is to situate that sense of mystery within scientific naturalism and Eastern philosophical thinking with regard to consciousness. We will also revisit some intellectual figures from the Western intellectual tradition as we explore the question of a conscious universe and how we might fit into it.

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