"Banishing consciousness: the mystery of anesthesia"

Britain's New Scientist magazine ran two articles recently on consciousness. They drew my attention, as lost or altered consciousness plays a role in my scientific/spiritual thriller, THE LIFE-AFTER-LIFE CONSPIRACY.

In "Banishing consciousness: the mystery of anesthesia"  writer Linda Geddes begins and ends with her experience "going under" for an operation, then puts that into context with an exploration of what we know about the kind of lost consciousness that results, and what science knows about what actually happens.

What does happen? How does surgical anesthesia really work? At this point, no one really knows, though current research studies are moving toward some understanding.  In these studies, anesthetized subjects are subjected to EEG and fMRI scans while under.

Of particular interest to me and THE LIFE-AFTER-LIFE CONSPIRACY, much of what is being discovered about anesthesia also seems to carry over to expand our understanding of PVS (persistent vegetative state) and other levels of coma.


For the record, the second New Scientist article, "Consciousness is a matter of constraint" by Terrence W. Deacon, is based on his new book, Incomplete Nature: How mind emerged from matter. (W.W. Norton). The article and the book explore how mind or consciousness can be "generated" (or whatever  you care to term it) from matter.  Put differently, how is it that consciousness seems to come from the three pounds of wet matter in the human head, and not from three pounds of wood or coal or sand?