How can consciousness exist in a material world?

“It’s a question of point of view. How can consciousness exist in a material world? Perhaps consciousness is an illusion. But if I perceive consciousness to be an illusion, then surely I must exist. These questions give me so much anxiety. I can’t stop thinking about them. I’m not attentive when other people speak to me. I forget to clean my room. I don’t do my homework. I can’t learn my lines in drama class. It creates so many problems in my life. My parents tell me: ‘You could win this award.’ Or: ‘You could easily make these grades. But you don’t care enough.’ They’ve taken me to ten psychologists. Never a diagnosis. They just say that I’m a dreamer. And in this world dreamer is not good. Dreamer means child. I need to become an adult and do material things. So that I’m stable. So that I can buy a house one day. So that I’m not just living beneath a bridge—thinking these thoughts. But it’s so hard to find the energy. Before I begin I must know if life is absurd. I can’t live in an illusion. I want to be lucid. I need to know that I’m doing things for a reason. That I’m expending energy for a reason. If death is the end of all this– and nothing but emptiness after that– then it’s a terrible problem. It would be better to not exist than to exist in a world without meaning.”

(London, England)


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