Current efforts regarding the development of a science of consciousness appear to be sharply restricted to a study of only the consciousness of the 'thinker', the origin of which can be traced to Descartes' Meditations on First Philosophy. And this consciousness of the 'thinker' or the "self", or the 'mind" is approximately equivalent to what Freud would later call the "ego consciousness".
In other words, the fundamental assumption of Western philosophy, the scientific method, Western theology, and those who are attempting to develop, specifically, a science of consciousness is that there is, in fact, only one dimension of consciousness worthy of consideration; and that that consciousness can, itself, be described necessarily and completely from within its own frame of reference, which is thought (for example, cognitive philosophy, bio-chemistry, neurology, theology, etc).
As indicated in the opening passages of the Second Meditation, however, ("I feel as though I have all of a sudden fallen into deep water. I can no longer plant my foot on the bottom or swim on the surface.") there is, in fact, another dimension of consciousness which is not the consciousness of the 'thinker'; a second dimension of consciousness which is referred to by Western psychology as the 'unconscious'; something which emerges with the collapse of the consciousness of the 'thinker'.
But these words describing the immediate experiences of Descartes not only affirm the existence of a second dimension of consciousness--that is, the 'unconscious'. The very existence of these words, in and of themselves, demonstrates the existence of a third dimension of consciousness capable of describing the immediate experience of that 'unconscious'. And that consciousness is the "observing consciousness".
Thus, any *complete* description of human consciousness must include and address not only the consciousness of the 'thinker'-- which is the proper concern of, specifically, a science of consciousness (within and upon which the vast majority of the scientists of consciousness are currently focusing)--but, also, descriptions of both the 'unconscious' and the "observing consciousness" from the frame of reference not of thought or the consciousness of the 'thinker', but the "observing consciousness" itself.*
A principal difference between the descriptions of and by the consciousness of the 'thinker' and the descriptions of and by the "observing consciousness" which the experience of the 'unconscious' is conveyed (as above, by Descartes)
occurs at the level of language itself; descriptions of and by the consciousness of the 'thinker' consisting of "thought" words (in relation to which it can be said that a person either "agrees" or "disagrees", since this occurs at the level of thought), but descriptions of and by the "observing consciousness" consisting of "picture" words (of which it can be said that a person either "sees" or does "not see", inasmuch as this occurs at the level of observation) as conveyed by poetry, songs, parables, archetypal symbols in art and movies, in novels, in the Eastern esoteric descriptions of the mechanisms of consciousness, in the "'thought' experiments (really "visualization" experiments) of relativity theory and quantum physics, and in the Revelations (but not the theologies, which originate in thought) of the monotheistic religions.
Now, on the one hand, the consciousness of and by the 'thinker', which is described in "thought" words, and the experience of the 'unconscious', which is described in "picture" words, can, together, be referred to as the 'classical' consciousness'; that is, a consciousness which originates in the 'movement' of self-reflection and is at the very foundation of Cartesian philosophy, the scientific method, and Western psychology and theology; all of which originate in thought.
But, on the other hand, the third dimension of consciousness--that is, the "observing consciousness" --which, because it exists prior to both the 'movement' of self-reflection and the thought of the 'thinker', *must* be considered as independent from both the consciousness of the 'thinker' and the 'unconscious'.
This is the consciousness expressed and described in the writings and conversations of such Eastern esotericists as J. Krishnamurti, as well as in and by the Revelations of the monotheistic religions; a consciousness which is referred to in Genesis 1:27 as the consciousness Created 'by and in the image of God'; the implication of which being that that the 'classical' consciousness--that is, the consciousness of the 'thinker' and the 'unconscious'--is, in fact, a 'fallen' consciousness; a particular and *restricted* 'frame of reference' for the understanding of both the dimensions and the potentials of human consciousness itself.
In other words, in order to develop a more complete understanding of all of the dimensions of human consciousness, it is necessary to step outside of and beyond the boundaries of the fundamental metaphysical duality and the other metaphysical assumptions of the scientific method itself; and, in fact, to establish a new paradigm for the understanding of consciousness; a paradigm which includes both the Wisdom of the Eastern religions, the Knowledge concerning human consciousness Revealed in the monotheistic religions, and the knowledge conveyed in music, art, dance, and literature.
And, in this regard, the *new* 'hard problem' of consciousness is not in any way related to the 'hard problem' posed by David Chalmers--which, from the perspective of the "observing consciousness", is nothing more than a re-wording of the metaphysical duality itself (which explains the origin of its power to hypnotize 'thinkers'); but, rather, the *determined* unwillingness of the consciousness of the 'thinker' to acknowledge the existence of not only one, but two additional dimensions of consciousness; and, thus, the severe limitations and restricted frame of reference of a "science of consciousness" originating in self-reflection and thought in the first place.
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- A 'thought experiment' can easily be devised to demonstrate these three dimensions of consciousness:
If a person on a train moving in a straight line drops a ball, he or she has information about the motion of the ball along only the y axis; whereas an observer in the train station has information along the x axis; that is, with regards to the movement of the ball in relation to the ground. And, if the train is going around a curve, the observer in the train station has information about the motion of the ball along the y axis, the x axis, and the z axis.
The person on the train can be likened to a 'thinker'; while the observer in the train station can be likened to the "observing consciousness".
The "observing consciousness" has information about "feelings" (the x axis) as well as the 'movement' of self-reflection and the "observing consciousness" itself (z axis) which is simply not accessible to the 'thinker' on the train.