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The Conscious Perceiver Inside the Bodily Machine
Consider what happens when a person reads a book. On reading a particular section, he may burst into tears or he may feel joy. He becomes aware of higher-order abstract properties of the patterns of ink on paper that are not directly present in these physical structures. Yet none of these abstract properties actually exists in the book itself, nor would we imagine that the book is conscious of what it records. As shown in figure, to establish a correlation between the book on the one hand and conscious awareness of its contents on the other, there must be a conscious person with intelligence and senses who can read the book. Similarly a sophisticated machine may g° through various states. But the machine is not conscious of the state that it goes through; there has to be a conscious observer to read the states of that machine.The material body is like a machine. As discussed above,the bodily machine cannot be conscious no matter how developed it is, because it needs the presence of another conscious person within the body to experience things. One can then ask how the consciousness of 'this' person inside the body is to be explained. This objection presupposes that an explanation of consciousness must be mechanistic. An infinite regress of this kind is in fact unavoidable unless we either give up the effort to understand consciousness or posit the existence of a sentient entity that cannot be reduced to a combination of insentient parts. The Bhagavad-gita regards conscious personality as fundamental and irreducible, and thus the 'infinite regress' stops with the 'atma' or soul. This atma is endowed with thinking, feeling, consciousness and intentionality.
The Bhagavad-gita provides us with an account of the nature of the conscious being that takes us far beyond the conceptions °f the mechanistic worldview. While supporting the idea that the body is a machine, this account maintains that the essence of conscious personality is to be found in a non-Physical entity that interacts with this machine but is wholly distinct from it. Furthermore, one can know the true ature of this entity only in an absolute context completely Ascending the domain of machines.