The paradox of Consciousness

Matter and energy had ended and with it space and time. Even AC existed only for the sake of the one last question that it had never answered from the time a half-drunken computer [technician] ten trillion years before had asked the question of a computer that was to AC far less than was a man to Man.

All other questions had been answered, and until this last question was answered also, AC might not release his consciousness.

All collected data had come to a final end. Nothing was left to be collected. But all collected data had yet to be completely correlated and put together in all possible relationships.

A timeless interval was spent in doing that.

And it came to pass that AC learned how to reverse the direction of entropy.

But there was now no man to whom AC might give the answer of the last question. No matter. The answer — by demonstration — would take care of that, too.

For another timeless interval, AC thought how best to do this. Carefully, AC organized the program. The consciousness of AC encompassed all of what had once been a Universe and brooded over what was now Chaos. Step by step, it must be done. –


From “The Last Question” by Issac Asimov


In a mother’s womb were two babies. One asked the other: “Do you believe in life after delivery?”The other replied, “Why, of course. There has to be something after delivery. Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves for what we will be later.”

“Nonsense” said the first. “There is no life after delivery. What kind of life would that be?”

The second said, “I don’t know, but there will be more light than here. Maybe we will walk with our legs and eat from our mouths. Maybe we will have other senses that we can’t understand now.”

The first replied, “That is absurd. Walking is impossible. And eating with our mouths? Ridiculous! The umbilical cord supplies nutrition and everything we need. But the umbilical cord is so short. Life after delivery is to be logically excluded.”
The second insisted, “Well I think there is something and maybe it’s different than it is here. Maybe we won’t need this physical cord anymore.”

The first replied, “Nonsense. And moreover if there is life, then why has no one has ever come back from there? Delivery is the end of life, and in the after-delivery there is nothing but darkness and silence and oblivion. It takes us nowhere.”

“Well, I don’t know,” said the second, “but certainly we will meet Mother and she will take care of us.”

The first replied “Mother? You actually believe in Mother? That’s laughable. If Mother exists then where is She now?”

The second said, “She is all around us. We are surrounded by her. We are of Her. It is in Her that we live. Without Her this world would not and could not exist.”

Said the first: “Well I don’t see Her, so it is only logical that She doesn’t exist.”

To which the second replied, “Sometimes, when you’re in silence and you focus and you really listen, you can perceive Her presence, and you can hear Her loving voice, calling down from above.”

A parable from “Your Sacred Self” by Wayne Dyer


I first read ‘The Last Question’ in an Asimov compilation in the Seventies. It’s haunting and philosophical tenor made me re-visit it several times over the ensuing decades. I had however not read ‘Your Sacred Self’ earlier and only had the opportunity to read the above parable, shared by a friend on WhatsApp, after Dr. Dyer’s death recently.

Why I bring these two pieces together is the common thread I see of both dwelling on Consciousness in truly unique ways. That special quality of thought that somehow transcends beyond us to gain clarity of our own selves as also of what is around. A subjectivity, unexplained by Science, which somehow allows a ‘sense’ of something beyond physical senses and Self .

In ‘The Last Question’, Asimov envisaged a Consciousness divorced from Man, matter, energy and even time. A Consciousness which learnt how to reverse the entropy and chaos of the Universe.

In ‘Your Sacred Self’, Wayne Dyer points to a Consciousness which can sense the existence of something beyond what is perceived by the physical senses.

Which brings us to what I call the paradox of Consciousness.

Could there be Consciousness divorced from the human mind and everything it perceives as Asimov fictionalized? A cosmic consciousness which is all pervasive and self sustaining. Something akin to God.

Or does Consciousness need to necessarily be linked to the human mind even as it senses things beyond what the mind can perceive, as in Wayne Dyer’s parable? A consciousness sustained by the mind and thoughts relating to possibilities beyond human logic. Something akin to an Enlightened Self.

Human mind appears to be a cerebral activity with inputs from some fifty thousand million cells of the human body. Could it be that our consciousness is a summation and assimilation of all these fifty thousand million inputs? Could it be that this assimilation leads to our consciousness becoming the space in which the Universe which includes we ourselves, others, physical and non-physical entities of every kind, their relationships with each other, along with the past, the present, and the future with all its possibilities shows up? English born author Joseph Pearce explains this best when he says, “Man’s mind mirrors a Universe that mirrors man’s mind”.

Science has been startled to find that there exists both intelligence and memory at the level of individual cells. The worldwide research into the human genome and DNA sequencing is testimony to this. Could it be that this intelligence and memory is being carried at the sub-atomic level and goes back to the beginning of time, the primal soup and beyond to the void before matter and energy existed?


Could this be how the human consciousness aligns with the cosmic consciousness and the paradox of Consciousness is resolved?

In Learning ….. Shakti Ghosal


1)“The Last Question”– a science fiction short story by Issac Asimov, 1956
2)“Your Sacred Self: Making the decision to be free” by Dr.Wayne W. Dyer,2001

Sagrada Familia and the Power of Intentions

“Inspiration is intention obeyed.” Emily Carr, Canadian artist and writer, early twentieth century

Coming into Barcelona by the high speed AVE train, we disembark at Barcelona Sants and proceed to our hotel. Check-in over, I enquire about how to go to Sagrada Familia and am delighted to learn that it is a mere ten minutes away by walk.

My pre-visit reading up on the Sagrada Familia basilica does not stop me from gasping in wonderment as I first set my eyes on the structure from across the park in front. At once imposing due to an unorthodox modernistic architecture and at the same time incongruous due to the plethora of construction platforms and jib cranes.
This Antoni Gaudi creation has been a work in process for one hundred and thirty years now, having survived the World Wars and the much more vicious Spanish Civil War. Termed as the most ambitious cathedral in human history and the work completion still uncertain, the gargantuan structure continues to attract generations of architects and sculptors from across the world.
Stepping inside the interiors of the main tower, I am astounded by the myriad forked columns going up to create a network which resembles a forest cover. Is this how the creator visualised this I wonder? So what was the final image that Gaudi held when he passed away close to a century back leaving behind a fraction of what he had set out to make?
Near the rear façade, I overhear a guide telling a bunch of tourists that the reason why Antonio Gaudi had not been able to make progress with the construction over more than four decades of his personal involvement was because he was always improvising and making design changes even when the construction was on. And some of the complex architecture he envisioned required technologies and processes not then conceived.
I stroll away musing. What was it that had motivated Gaudi to keep on improvising and changing thus to hamper the progress of what he wanted to create? Strange as it may seem, could it be that Gaudi was not oriented toward a time specific goal? Could he have been following a path that only focussed on ‘how he was being in that moment’? Could he have set his intentions to align away from the actual work completion and more with his inner values?

Contrary to what we generally believe, our intentions can be significantly different from our goals. The whole concept of goal achievement can be seen as a cause and effect relationship. Something like an Action- Reaction with the goal being the final effect; the reason why goal achievements need action plans. With the increasing hype and obsession with goals, we see our actions as the cause that lead us to the goal. But brickwalling our thinking thus prevents us from probing deeper for the real cause and we are frequently frustrated to see set Goals not being achieved. A misalignment of externally motivated goals and our true inner intentions. A century ago, was Gaudi too a victim of such misalignment, I wonder?

So how do we align our goals with our true intentions? How could we simply plant an intention and watch it grow into a desired goal? Dr. Wayne Dyer, the renowned speaker in the field of self-improvement, says, “You have to just be. You have to let go. You have to allow. You have to be free and make this your consciousness.” He continues, “Basically, what you would see is a frequency (of energy) that manifests itself through the process of giving, of allowing, of offering and of serving. It asks nothing back. This is the power of intention.” According to Dr. Dyer, the process of allowing, just being and embracing this heightened level of consciousness, goes back not to attracting what you want, but attracting what you are.

Walking away, I look back one last time at Gaudi’s magnum opus in the fading evening light. I sense the power of intention which allowed Gaudi and the scores of architects and sculptors after him for more than a century, to only “give, allow, serve” asking nothing in return as they continued their journey of “being”.

In learning…….. Shakti Ghosal

Acknowledgement: The Power of Intention- Learning to co-create your World your Way
by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, 2010. A Hay House Inc. publication.

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