When we consider consciousness, a number of questions naturally arise. Why did consciousness develop? What is consciousness good for? If consciousness developed to help us plan and act for the future, why is consciousness so difficult to control? Why is mindfulness so hard? And for that matter, if our actions are under our conscious control, why is dieting (and resisting other urges) so difficult for most of us?

Why does it appear that we are observers, peering out through our eyes at the world while sitting in the proverbial Cartesian theater? Why do we speak, in William James’s words, of a “stream of consciousness”? Can we perform complicated activities (such as driving) without being consciously aware of it?

Are animals conscious (and if so, which ones)? Are there developmental, neurologic, or psychiatric disorders that are actually disorders of consciousness?

There have, of course, been many answers to these questions over the last 2500 years. We hope to provide new answers to these and a number of related questions in this paper.

~ Andrew Budson, et al from,

A longer pull-quote than usual for me. But it’s from a 30,000 word article. o_O

That list of questions reads like the Table of Contents from the Owners Manual that my body didn’t come with. It’s a big deal that there might be an answer to just one of them, let alone the claim in the last sentence, “We hope to provide new answers to these and a number of related questions.”

Having now read some of those plausible answers to those questions—including rebuttals and improvements to some others’ answers to those questions—my take away is: Oddly, I am now less interested in those questions.