I found this piece fascinating: Joel Frohlich, “Frames of consciousness: Can electrical impulses in the brain explain the stuff that dreams are made on? What a new consciousness-detector reveals,” Aeon. Here are a couple of quotations from Dr. Frohlich’s essay:
Understanding consciousness might be the greatest scientific challenge of our time. How can physical stuff, eg electrical impulses, explain mental stuff, eg dreams or the sense of self? Why does a network of neurons in our brain feel like an experience, when a network of computers or a network of people doesn’t feel like anything, as far as we know? Alas, this problem feels impossible. . . .
Consciousness is a mystery. A multitude of scientific theories attempt to explain why our brains experience the world, rather than simply receiving input and producing output without feeling.
This research is scientifically interesting, of course, but it also brings to the fore certain difficult ethical issues. (Being myself notoriously without ethics, I can only imagine how others might be impacted.)
Whenever you find yourself pining for the “good old days,” you might want to consider this article:
And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. . . . The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. (Genesis 2:8-9, 15, ESV)
And, finally, here’s a curious bit of research that’s being conducted at Brigham Young University and elsewhere in my adopted home state of Utah:
“BYU researchers help test wastewater for COVID-19 infection rates in Utah: Statewide effort features researchers from BYU, University of Utah, Utah State University, Utah Department of Environmental Quality”