This is a very powerful book. It doesn’t provide answers, rather it assists the reader to understand where the conversation is today and what the various threads of thought are based around.
Sitting at a little over 100 pages and taking just over 2 hours to listen to on Audible, this book is very accessible and is easily read within a single sitting. I managed to get through it in one day and found it extremely clear and articulate.
On researching the book, before I bought it, I found a lot of people complaining that it just seems to be panpsychism wrapped in modern langue. Having read the book itself, I now find these reviews extremely disingenuous. This book talks about panpsychism and the author does indeed reflect on her thoughts about it, but this book doesn’t just portray panpsychism as the only viable explanation to the phenomenon that is conscious.
The book asks some hard questions. It pushes the reader to reflect on their initial responses and in doing so exposes how deep our intuitions run, for better and worse.
‘The moment matter becomes conscious seems at least as mysterious as the moment matter and energy sprang into existence in the first place.’ Harris, Annaka. Conscious (p. 7). Harper. Kindle Edition. Mrs Harris doesn’t shy away from the position we are in when reflecting on when/how/why consciousness comes into existence.
The topic of free will and determinism is a central thread to this book, which is helpful as we need to reflect on the level of free will and determinism that we believe are in play within the universe to even begin a real conversation about how the conscious can come into existence. ‘Did I decide to write this book? In some sense, the answer is yes, but the “I” in question is not my conscious experience. In actuality, my brain, in conjunction with its history and the outside world, decided. I (my consciousness) simply witness decisions unfolding.’ Harris, Annaka. Conscious (p. 34). Harper. Kindle Edition.
As any reader of this blog knows, I find the whole free will and determinism conversation very interesting. As with all things, I think there is a spectrum, and I can’t help but experience things on the end towards no free will and fully determined end.
_End of Blog Blurb_
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. It has taken me a few years to get to a place where I am able to share my loss of faith and to start writing about the journey that I am still on for you all. I hope you find it useful.
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Grammar, spelling, capitalisation and punctuation: I am massively dyslexic. It has taken me years to get to the level I am currently at with writing and I have done this mainly through reading. I want to be better and ask you, reader, to please forgive any errors in my writing. I hope you notice improvement upon improvement over the coming years.
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Farewell For Now – When Belief Dies
- Farewell For Now
- When Belief Dies #100 – 'Psychedelics, Philosophy & God' with Peter Sjöstedt-Hughes
- When Belief Dies #99 – 'Open and Relational Theology' with Thomas Jay Oord
- When Belief Dies #98 – 'The Take Over' with Daniel Kelly & Roger Bretherton
- When Belief Dies #97 – 'The End?' with Daniel Kelly