“The whole difficulty of neuroscience, or science, or philosophy lies in how to connect brain activity with consciousness. And all we can say in general is that these processes are running in parallel.” — Oliver Sacks*
What is consciousness? They say it is a product of the brain. What is the brain? They say it is the “matter” inside the head. However, since the only empirical reality ever given to us directly is the reality of phenomenal consciousness, every experience, including the experience of the “matter” inside the head (as well as the head itself and the body as a whole) and the experience of whatever “scientific observations” of that “matter” we might have, is a phenomenal experience — an experience of phenomenal consciousness; therefore, the idea that consciousness is a product of the empirical brain is an absurd recursion which reduces phenomenal consciousness to a phenomenon of consciousness.
They might say that the real brain is not the empirical and hence phenomenal brain, but the physical brain which is transcendent to phenomenal consciousness, i.e., it is never given empirically — never experienced as such. Does this idea explain consciousness scientifically? Hardly, for the transcendent is not the subject matter of science (which deals solely with phenomena and mathematical descriptions of the underlying “nature”), but of metaphysical speculations, and hence the “physical” exists in our imagination as an utterly problematic (considering the “hard problem” of consciousness) pseudoscientific metaphysics of materialism (physicalism) with its reductionist neuromythology.
From the point of view of much less problematic and much more conceptually parsimonious ontological idealism (consciousness-only ontology), the myth of the “physical” was born by the blindness to the transcendental aspect of consciousness, namely to transcendental intersubjectivity which constitutes/projects the world of intersubjective phenomena, including the empirical brain which is nothing but the way certain processes of one’s transcendental subjectivity are experienced phenomenally across our nexus of transcendental intersubjectivity.
“[Transcendental phenomenology is] a beginning philosophy that grows and branches out into particular objective sciences.” — Edmund Husserl
The real meaning of physics of so-called “elementary particles” is that it produces mathematical descriptions of elementary processes of transcendental intersubjectivity which constitutes/projects the world of intersubjective phenomena, including all descriptions and predictions based on them. The real meaning of neuroscience is that it discovers certain correlations between subjective phenomena and particular processes of the intersubjective phenomenon “brain”. We should never confuse science with materialists in science and their “mainstream” metaphysical delusions about the existence of “physical matter” in general and “physical brains” in particular.
If ontological idealism is indeed less problematic and more conceptually parsimonious than materialism (physicalism), why is it rejected by most philosophers and scientists?
Idealism leads us ultimately to the question of what is consciousness as such — consciousness-in-itself — the substance of phenomena; idealism leads us to the mystery of the transcendent, and considering mysticism (transpersonal experiences of the transcendent) — to the mystery of Transcendence. The pseudoscientific metaphysical mythology of materialism (physicalism) is primarily a reaction to the religious mythology, and the problem of its fanatical backers is that together with the water of naive religious myths they throw out Transcendence, and persist in a stubborn unwillingness to return to the path of faith, now purely philosophical. Alas, few of them realize that the “physical” is purely imaginary (for it is never experienced as such), whereas all three aspects of Consciousness — phenomenal (constituted phenomenal objectivity), transcendental (constitutive transcendental (inter)subjectivity), and transcendent (consciusness-in-itself, the nondual Light) — are experiential. The real reason why ontological idealism is denied is not because it is unscientific (in fact, it is more “scientific” than materialism and other erroneous “matter-included” ontologies, for it allows us to explain scientific data with incomparable consistency and conceptual parsimony), but because of the transcendent aspect of consciousness — Transcendence: those who never transcended their individual existence into the Light can only have philosophical faith in Transcendence, of which most contemporary people are incapable, for faith in Transcendence messes with their egoistic self-will that wants God to stay dead. Kali Yuga.
“How great a friend [the concept of] material substance has been to atheists in all ages were needless to relate. All their monstrous systems have so visible and necessary a dependence on it that, when this corner-stone is once removed, the whole fabric cannot choose but fall to the ground, insomuch that it is no longer worth while to bestow a particular consideration on the absurdities of every wretched sect of atheists.” — George Berkeley
“Materialists employ all manner of expressions, arguments, metaphors, and embellishments to attract and deceive foolish people. … It will only be in the final five hundred years of later ages that [materialists] will create schisms and their mistaken views of causation will flourish and be accepted by false disciples.” — Laṅkāvatārasūtra
*) Translated from Russian