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10 Questions That Science Can’t Answer Yet


6
Where does consciousness come from?
Brain scans display how active our brains really are, flickering with constant activity as our 100 billion nerve cells ceaselessly fire. Du Cane Medical Imagery/Getty Images
Brain scans display how active our brains really are, flickering with constant activity as our 100 billion nerve cells ceaselessly fire. Du Cane Medical Imagery/Getty Images

We humans have an awareness of our surroundings and also of ourselves. Our minds teem with inner conversations and questions about who we are and our purpose in the world. We are, as far as we know, the only creatures with this sort of active consciousness. We also have no idea where this consciousness comes from.

Our brains, of course, are the central computers of our bodies, controlling biological functions and helping us think our way through all of life's loops and hurdles. Brain scans display how incredibly active our brains really are, flickering with constant activity as our 100 billion nerve cells ceaselessly fire, like a compact yet enormously complex digital network.

But the brain is not the mind. Electrical activity doesn't explain how a physical substance can create a non-physical condition like consciousness. Some religions explain consciousness as a gift from God, embedded into our bodies to guide us through this world.

Scientists veer more towards biological origins — they see consciousness as a collection of biological processes that build towards more complicated thinking that eventually culminates in self-awareness.

Scientists have determined that animals, such as dogs, almost certainly have consciousness, but that it's a lower (or different) level of awareness than that of humans.


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