Ok. King Richard III was trapped on the battlefield at Bosworth. His army was defeated and he was at extreme personal risk from his enemies. Shakespeare gives him the immortal line “… My kingdom for a horse!”
Here is the young king (his facial structure was rebuilt from his recently discovered skeleton)
But the problem was not so easily solved. There was no escape. He had to die. And he was killed on the battlefield. But what happened after he was killed? Well, his body lay there, right? But did his consciousness disappear?
Probably not right away. Consider this:
Consciousness After Death: Strange Tales From the Frontiers of Resuscitation Medicine | Wired Science | Wired.com
For those of you who don’t feel like reading the article, it relates to a doctor whose job is to bring you back from the dead —- if he can. And these days, doctors can do this within a limited time frame given the right conditions. And they do it. That is amazing enough. But there is something more weird about this. Those brought back often report that they could see and hear what was going on around their body … while they were supposed to be dead.
What is this? Whatever it may be, it is not neural activity. There is none. It is something else that the doctor cannot explain. And it raises the question about where our consciousness comes from.
Does this matter? Consider this. If King Richard was nothing more than a bag of bones and neurons, his consciousness would have died with him and his story was finished. But if his consciousness existed beyond that bag of bones and neurons, the story was not completely over yet. It may not be over now. So too for all of us.
And on a more day to day level — are we just bags of bones? Or does our consciousness use those bags of bones? Can we transcend our bags of bones in ways not well explored?
Mysticism? ESP? No no. I am not advocating that we start pretending to do stuff that we actually cannot. I am just responding to the data that has been offered to us by the good doctor. Something that we cannot explain — yet.
And we might see the “flow” of experiences that we call conscious thought differently. Csikszentmihalyi exhorts us to focus on doing things rather than being someone. And if our consciousness is larger than that one self anyway, the advice sounds rather obvious.