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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Soul Science God Philosophy > Science and Spiritual Quest > Section 2 Machine, Mind and Consciousness > SOME RECENT TRENDS IN CONSCIOUSNESS STUDIES > 4. Unitary Conscious Experience

4. Unitary Conscious Experience


In neuroscience, one tries to find the Neural Correlate of Consciousness (NCC). Once a neuronal pattern for a conscious experience has been established, it is assumed that one has explained  the experience. When there is a severe pain in It is absurd to assume that my toothache is just a neuronal tooth, there is a specific neuronal pattern in my brain. It is absurd to assume  that my toothache is just a neuronal pattern. Neural processing is only a physical mechanism of conscious experience, and beyond this mechanism there is an 'experiencer' or 'knower.' "I" as a  person know what it means to be in the conscious experience of having a toothache. This "I", the 'knower,' the 'experiencer,' is distinct from the body and its mechanism, including the brain. The  study of the mechanism of brain function alone will not be able to solve the problem of consciousness.Sense inputs from various senses are processed in various areas of the brain. This sense  data leads to a single unitary experience. For example, when we eat a samosa, our eyes visualize the texture, the nose smells the aroma, the skin feels the warmth, and the tongue tastes its  deliciousness. Though all these sense inputs are fed to various parts of the brain, there is a unique way in which the different data is bound together to produce the unitary experience of eating a  samosa. The problem of how this sense data is bound to give a unitary experience is known in neuroscience as the 'binding problem'[13]. Efforts have been made to find out the physical  mechanism of this binding. According to the Vedanta, binding does not happen at the physical level of the brain, but at the subtle, internal sense level of the mind and consciousness.