I personally extremely enjoyed the answer that Colin McGinn gave on understanding consciousness. Previously, I was actually afflicted by the question because the world seemed to divide itself in half quite neatly for me. Either people were on the side of the concept of Gestalt, the idea that the organized whole is greater than the sum of its parts, or they believed that scientific, technological, and mathematical discoveries were the fabric of life and to believe otherwise meant you were probably religious and if you weren't, who cares anyways?
For some reason I felt that I had to pick a side and if I didn't it meant that I either knew nothing about myself, the world, or anything in general. That I wasn't a deep thinker. Honestly, I saw the world from both sides. I peered through amber colored lenses and saw and experienced for myself what I thought to be the very essence of the world. That life is not only something that happens to you but also allows a blade's edge of room to ride along side the only people who understood you.
But I also found myself deeply fascinated by science and how it was possible to prove anything at all. The proof for 1 + 1 = 2 is 80 pages long of textbook sized paper predicated upon an entire previous volume. What do metrics say about my time on the internet and how are outliers in society, outcasts or phenomenal successes, created or formed? Was there a recipe to life, a blueprint for ethics that somehow I managed to miss? How often is science wrong, yet we still say, "Scientists said.." as if they had any more credibility than 50 years ago. Or do they?
Then the more interesting questions distract me. What does it mean to be a good person? What is good anyways and where did this benchmark come from anyways? Are pills ethical? Street drugs to pharmaceuticals? What would Kant, Locke, Hume say if they could see society today?
I don't take McGinn's answer as an escape or refuge from the daily bombardments of society and reality. It is not an accoutrement that I don when I feel smug or belittled by my relatively vast lack of knowledge.
I merely had never noticed how legitimate the answer, "I don't know" could become and how the world would even accept such an answer. I don't use this example as an escape or panacea for my doubts or laziness. I don't wish to not know things and revoke my own apprehension of the world but I think that with enough thought and enough deliberation, I don't know might be a pretty damn good answer sometimes. It's not our job to turn over every stone, although turning over stones and finding nothing is progress, but I believe it's how we pick and choose what to flip over and examine that makes us who we are.
What are your thoughts on the world and consciousness? To what degree does this question plague you if at all? Or have you come to terms with the way you live life?