If there is no such thing as consciousness, how can I conceive of consciousness, or of what consciousness must be like? Conversely, if consciousness exists, when did I "get" it, and where does it go when I'm meditating?

There are lots of things that don't exist that we can conceive of, most obviously fictional characters and objects, though our conceptions of them may be less detailed or thorough-going than our conceptions of things that do exist. (They may also be more detailed. We may know more about the characters in Tolstoy's novels than about some real people.) We can conceive of an elixir of youth, though there may not be such a thing, for example. And if consciousness exists, where does it go when you are meditating or fast asleep? Well, why does it have to go anywhere? Isn't it more like a noise, say, that is real enough in its way, but which just shuts down or disappears when the thing making it go stops, and doesn't have to go anywhere? Of course if the individual consciousness is a sort of stuff, rather than a kind of attention, a substance even, in the philosophical sense, then presumably it keeps on going even if it isn't with you any more. But it is difficult to see how that would work; what happens to your consciousness if it continues to exist but you are not conscious of it? It is hard to say, as Aristotle would say! On the other hand it is easy enough to see how you can go on with or without consciousness. It happens to me every day.

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