An Ode to Consciousness

What makes us think we’re so different?

What makes us think we’re supreme?

Why do we feel that we rule the world?

As God’s creatures, we’re part of his dream.


We’re not alone in being aware

Of ourselves and of being alive.

Elephants, apes, even octopi, too,

They know ‘self’, have the will to survive.


Scientists, chemists, the ‘-Ology’ Kings,

Search for the secrets of life.

Try as they might, they have no success.

We’re safe from their digital strife.


‘Intelligence’ – that gift we know well.

That deepens and changes with time –

Part of our make-up, the sum of our traits,

A route up that mountain we climb.


“Cogitùr ergo sum,” the philosopher’s words,

Descarte’s – disputed by Hume.

Behind those fine words lay christian belief,

Not blind faith. No death will consume.


“I think, so I am.” When I don’t, am I not?

But machines just don’t think, they process

Info, facts, data – you know, all that stuff –

Bytes of binary – M-G-T back to nano- or less.


No one likes in these times to talk about ‘soul’.

Even ‘spirit’ ‘s anathema to most.

Consciousness dwells in the mind – don’t ask where –

Does it matter? You’re its transient host.


Consciousness, soul – I know what they mean.

I know I am I, me, moi, ich ­– never you.

The energy source that drives my ‘self’ on.

Life’s spark that survives – passing through.


‘MC2’ equals E, indestructible ‘me’.

Sparks grow to flame, then dim to a glow.

When you die that spark must migrate,

Re-kindle its fire; mine will, I know.


‘Reincarnation’ – the wrong word to use –

This me I’ve passed on to my young.

A new me won’t remember what I was, what I did,

Won’t recall all the flings I have flung.


Man-made life is way out of reach.

Machine is machine is machine.

Talk of transhumans – the Borg is so close –

“Resistance is futile!” they mean.


Implants, prosthetics, add this, renew that.

Evolution’s too slow for us now.

Expectation is all – satisfaction’s the word.

Today’s ‘must-have’. Go do! Don’t ask ‘How?’


JWT, Bean, 25 March 2015