A cat doesn’t use the internet. So does that mean that the internet doesn’t exist in the world of a cat?
We all know that cats exist on the internet, though, so what does that account for?
It’s the same as the age old riddle,
If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?
A cat doesn't have the tools to know that the internet exists. If only they knew how much attention they get on the web. Do they know? Maybe they do. How could we know?
Just as a cat doesn’t have the tools to use the internet, we don’t have the tools to truly comprehend what a cat is thinking, yet. Of course, this doesn’t just apply to cats.
What else is out there that exists but we don’t yet have the tools to measure? If we can’t measure it, does that means it doesn’t exist?
There’s no way to measure consciousness but yet the general consensus is that consciousness exists.
Just because you can’t measure something, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
How would you describe smell to someone born without a nose?
You could relate it to some similar phenomena like taste but is that an adequate description for someone without a nose?
You could try and describe it in physiological terms. Molecules hit the olfactory nerve which sends a message to the brain, this message later gets interpreted to produce a neurochemical response before the sensation of smell is experienced. Do you think they would understand it then? Probably not.
How can you explain consciousness to something without consciousness?
Imagine trying to describe consciousness to a chair.
What if a chair has a level of consciousness that we can’t comprehend simply because we don’t have the tools for it. Just like a cat doesn’t have the tools to use the internet.
Cracking consciousness is perhaps our greatest challenge. Some claim that being conscious sets us apart from other species and other forms of matter. How do we know that? I believe it’s what connects us all.
If everything in the universe, as far as we know, is made up of the same basic compounds as us, how can we say that consciousness is what sets us apart?
Did the universe create us and in turn create consciousness? Or did we create the universe through consciousness?
All of these though provoking questions don’t need answers. We may never know the answer.
Just searching for them is fun, though.
We may not even be capable of answering our own questions. We may have to invent a new level of intelligence to help us. There have been dozens of science-fiction movies about this phenomenon.
What’s important to take away is that having consciousness doesn’t set us apart from anything, it allows us to connect to everything. It’s what allows us to move towards answering the questions we have. It allows us to ask more questions. It allows us to be us.