Is consciousness a bubble in a medium we have not yet discovered?
This post will explore the strange relationship between paranormal activity and consciousness. My case is going to be that all the evidence seems to indicate that supernatural/spiritual intelligent things (I do not know what word to use to describe them) have been interacting with human conscious experience for as long as we have recorded human history and that this seems to indicate that consciousness itself exists in a medium that science does not have tools to understand. My hypothesis would be that consciousness itself is an emergent property of living beings and that its structure is in a medium (similar to a gravitational field) orthogonal to the material realm in which all of our science operates. As a result, this is why we are unable to influence consciousness itself without messing with the underlying structure - our physical brain. Just as a configuration of iron atoms can produce a magnetic field, so a configuration of neurons (or other substructures in our living brain) can produce a conscious "field".
Before I begin, I feel it best if I give a little background on the material I have read. I have a fairly strong understanding of evolutionary science, evolutionary psychology, and the more modern thinking around the differences between the biological studies of consciousness and what has been coined the hard problem of consciousness. I recognize that neurons play a role in consciousness, that the effects of drugs - particularly psychadelics - on consciousness indicate a material basis for spiritual emotions, and that scientists are fast on track to understanding how our consciousness can be turned on or off via anesthesia. Recent studies have gone as far as to attempt to pinpoint the exact mechanism that turns consciousness or off. It is not a bad proposal that science is fast on track to identifying a material source of consciousness, and I generally agree.
There is a clear distinction between neuronal activity and the qualia of consciousness. Red and redness can be distinguished from eachother. Red is a particular band in the electromagnetic spectrum and redness is the subjective experience that I - or you - experience when we see a red thing. However, it is impossible to compare the subjective experience itself. The red I see might not be experienced by you the same way. If I were to ask you what red is to you, the only way you can show me is if you grab a red thing and show it to me. Of course, I will also see it as red, but the qualia of our experience is impossible to describe without an external prop. So it is impossible to compare qualia unless I could simultaneously experience my own and your subjective qualia simultaneously - and how would I prove that I had actually done this without encountering the same problem!
There is a strong correlation between human and animal consciousness that lends consciousness to a material origin. We all sleep, dream, have the same types of senses (in various degrees), and react to many drugs in a similar fashion. It is reasonable to conclude that a horse that eats magic mushrooms is probably tripping balls and consciously swimming in a sea of chaotic but beautiful qualia - just like Woodstock did. Religious arguments about humans having a unique soul - or unique conscious experience of the world - seem to fall flat on the surface. Studies have gone further to show that even our human conscious experience of the world might differ in large part between human individuals. Color blindness, it seems, is not the only way in which we can experience the world differently through our senses. It appears that these differences might go so far as to extend to our entire internal experience of the world through emotions and subtle sensations. Conditions like synesthesia, for example, indicate that neuronal structure can construct an entirely new set of sensations that others may never be able to experience. Consequently, all of these seems to suggest that conscious qualia themselves might be a combination of phenotypes influenced by our genetic makeup.
In short, the hard problem of consciousness is our inability to identify and reproduce the source of conscious qualia. The difficulty runs so deep that some like Daniel Dennett have staked a large portion of their research on the argument that consciousness itself appears to be an illusion. The best evidence for this in my opinion are scientific experiments that observe a person's brain waves while they observe something. Scientists then measure the time gap between when the person's brain waves indicate a thing happened and when the person says it happened. The neurons seem to fire before the person says they experienced the event. If we assume causality, this is good evidence that neurons cause conscious qualia.
Then why, in heavens name, do so many paranormal experiences - even with thousands of simultaneous observers - seem to indicate another conscious being is influencing or playing directly with the qualia of the observer while skipping the physical realm entirely? It is as if these beings are capable of bypassing the normal physical realm to get directly at our subjective experience - thereby leaving no physical traces in the observable physical world.
Iron atoms, when aligned in tandom, produce a magnetic field that extends far beyond the distance of the strong magnetic force. However, this does not imply that iron atoms cause a magnetic field. One could argue they are simply distorting a neutral field that already exists everywhere. And it would be absurd to propose that iron atoms are the only thing that can distort this magnetic field. The field itself is in a medium independent of iron atoms. My proposal is that consciousness itself is similar to the magnetic field. Our neurons can produce a "bubble" in this consciousness field (I picture a ball in a bedsheet like those gravity examples), but it is possible for this field of consciousness to be influenced by something else. Smacking a magnet with a hammer can cause the magnetic field to change by jostling the iron atom alignment. So smacking a brain with a hammer will cause the conscious field to change by messing with the neuron activity. However, that does not mean that the magnetic field is only or entirely produced by the iron atoms. And this therefore means that consciousness itself might not only be produced by neurons. It is through this other undiscovered medium that I propose all paranormal phenomena originates, including UFOs.
It is worth noting that this theory allows for the simultaneous existence of mental illness and "spiritual" external influence. If our conscious qualia exist in a bubble in a scientifically unknown medium that also can be influenced by other undiscovered mediums, then poor configuration of our neurons and external "spiritual" activity can screw with our conscious experience. Your depression could be caused by both physical ailment and a "spiritual" problem simultaneously. And this would be predicted by this model.
Just as the magnetic field can be influenced by things other than just atoms, so this model would make it possible for the conscious field to be influenced by things other than genetically-based physical living creatures on earth. If there were multiple worlds or universes, why could there not be other more advanced beings in these other universes that share - or able to cross into - our conscious field?
It might be good to give some examples. In my ghost story Rick and myself heard a disembodied sound. He heard a strange "utterance" or "whooshing" or "breath" (his words) sound, while I heard a distinct female voice. In the story of Fatima, thousands of observers saw a terrifying sight of the sun "dancing", but their qualia seemed to range from just colors changing to the sun falling from heaven. Even in the Bible, this strange phenomena occurs. In one case a voice from heaven is heard, but others nearby said they only heard thunder. Thousands of stories within Christendom talk about people who hear a person speaking in a language that the other person did not know. In Diana's book, a couple had a simultaneous angelic encounter but the two of them describe seeing a different shape in the same location. I could go on, but hopefully this is enough to wet your appetite.
This theory opens up an entire world of possibilities. It would imply that there could be incredible ways to influence conscious creatures that we cannot even imagine. Symbols, imagery, and even unremembered dreams could play a role in our conscious experience of this world. It also implies that it might be possible to maintain a conscious structure in this medium independent of the existence of our body. If we extrapolate this playful idea out, just as we can do so much with electromagnetic fields, technology or living beings that exist that are more advanced, complex, or powerful in this conscious medium might have capabilities that we cannot even possibly comprehend. Qualia could be to them as physical objects are to us.
There is nothing to indicate that consciousness in this field would be localized to physical objects, either. Just as atoms can be entangled and influence eachother at great distance, indicating that there is a medium through which information can be "transferred" that does not involve a wave-form medium like light or soundwaves, so one could postulate that conscious beings could be intertwined in some way through this medium. The mechanism for this, of course, would not be known. But this would explain why both humans - and animals - have so many instances of an awareness of the death of a loved one even at great distances.
Now, with this background, it would be foolish to fill our gaps of knowledge with a particular "God". Just because we do not know where consciousness comes from, does not mean that we are allowed to fill the knowledge vacuum with our favorite spiritual explanation. I am tackling this from a philosophical and admittedly pseudoscientific perspective. This is just a playground of ideas, I am not proposing this is true, it is just the best explanation I have been able to conjure up to help myself understand at this time.