Definition of Consciousness
Definition of Consciousness
Humanesque Definitions of Consciousness
If one scans the Internet, the majority of definitions of consciousness are what I call “humanesque.” They relate to mostly our own human or anthropomorphic experience and as something largely internal.
Examples are an alert cognitive state of mind or a subjective experience of the world or the totality of experience of everything we humans have of our world.
Occasionally one runs across a trans-human or trans-personal definition of consciousness, (suchg as yogic or Buddhist). This views consciousness as a divine energy or some subtle force in the universe that pervades everything.
It is a universal consciousness that is One. Often this is still linked back to something humanesque, as when this yogic or universal consciousness manifests within a human being or the “enlightened person” having a higher state beyond sleep or being awake
Consciousness as a Mystery
Wikepdia starts its consideration of this issue by quoting Max Velmans and Susan Schneider who wrote in The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness:
“Anything that we are aware of at a given moment forms part of our consciousness, making conscious experience at once the most familiar and most mysterious aspect of our lives.
Among the common humanesque definitions it notes are subjective experience; human awareness; our ability to experience feelings; our state of wakefulness; having a sense of personal selfhood; or as the executive human control system of the mind.
Philosophical issues arise about larger extensions or whether consciousness can exist in computers, in the fetus and at what developmental point, or whether it resides in other living and again non-living forms of nature (or can be reduced to what is mechanistic).
While this field of study was once relegated to just intellectual, philosophical and theological considerations, it now has become a popular and intense topic for practical research – trying to understand, for example, how meditation and drug altered states of consciousness arise, or subliminal experiences, blindsight, and denial of impairment. There is also an attempt to find biological/brain/neural and psychological or non-physical correlates.
Medical Consciousness Considerations
In medicine there is the further practical concern as to when exactly a patient is fully conscious, communicating and responsive or has officially come out of a comatose state. A further important medical issue, not mentioned, underlies the sudden or gradual loss of consciousness, as with Alzheimer’s dementia or neural impairment or when a diabetic loses awareness of what is happening in their extremities.
Earlier & Modern Concepts of Consciousness
- EARLIEST ROOTS - The earliest Latin meaning of the term dates back to the 1500 and referred to conscius (con- “together” + scire “to know”),as something that involved shared knowledge.
- MODERN CONCEPT - The modern concept of consciousness is often first attributed to John Locke‘s Essay Concerning Human Understanding, published in 1690.Locke saw consciousness as “the perception of what passes in a man’s own mind.” His essay influenced on the 18th century view of consciousness, and that definition of consciousness appeared in Samuel Johnson‘s celebrated Dictionary (1755). He saw it as a kind of human looking at the mind, from outside the mind.
Philosophical, Religious, and Scientific Approaches
- DISTINCTIONS FOR TYPES OF CONSCIOUSNESS - There are various debates going on that usually involve certain distinctions or subdivision of consciousness – such as raw sensory “qualia” or phenomenal or P-Consciousness vs A-awareness or “access” consciousness (the latter being used by our cognitive mind and what can then be integrated into memory connections, verbal accounts, rational thought and/or language expressions. This attempts to grapple with the difference between pure sensory and mental, or right and left brain thus split consciousness. Individuals and primates however who cannot speak, are autistic or aphasic or have had a left-brain shutdown can still seem to have consciousness so this creates an unexplained mystery. More on this later.
- CONSCIOUSNESS AS PHYSICAL OR NON-PHYSICAL - The second major philosophical issue is how consciousness relates to our physical world, and whether it can be reduced to matter and/or the laws of physics. The Descartes introduced this famous line of thought by offering a dualistic understanding of res cogitans vs res extensa (something extended in space, definable by his Cartesian coordinates or something truly material). Some would argue that if we cannot find a material or mathematical/mechanical basis for consciousness, then perhaps it is not a real phenomena.
- STATES AND ASPECTS OF CONSCIOUSNESS – In the Vedanta tradition, there is more of a focus on states of consciousness such as sleeping, dream, awake consciousness. trans-personal/self-conscious, and ultimately God-consciousness. In the Vijnana tradition, more of sensory distinctions are focused on in distinguishing eye-consciousness, ear-consciousness, nose-consciousness, tongue-consciousness, body-consciousness, intellect-consciousness.
- SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH - These often focus on neural or psychological correlates to states of consciousness, their presence or absence reduced to measurement or statistical analysis. Some reduce consciousness to what happens in the brain. Others explain consciousness, correlated to experiments, in terms of classical physics or modern quantum mechanics. Various tests are devised to supposedly establish the presence of consciousness, and they are the subject of intense philosophical and medical disputes.
Our Unique Definition of Consciousness
This unique definition is derivative of my experience some decades ago where my left-brain shut down after having a high fever. Thereafter I underwent what it was like to experience consciousness in an aphasic or non-verbal state. It then took decades to assign words that would bridge the gap between the verbal and the non-verbal, the left- and the right-brain perception of our world.
What I arrived at is the following very powerful trans-humanesque or human or brain-centric definition. It bridges the gap between not only a right- and left-brain view of consciousness, but also a personal and transpersonal, a secular and religious understanding
Consciousness forms the universal relationship of connection in all of nature.
Powerful and Revolutionary Implications
This has powerful and vastly revolutionary implications. first and foremost this displaces the mathematical/mechanical view of Sir Isaac Newton, what gained sweeping dominance in 17th century. That view arrogantly claimed math symbols, abstractions of consciousness separation, best and ultimately pointed to the unifying essence of nature. Abstractions of separation cannot actually point to any pure connection in nature, making the Newtonian view basically contradictory or lacking in minimal integrity and thus ultimately untenable.
The Newtonian-Cartesian vision is a great inner point of view to uphold for deeply polluting our bodies and our planet, as well as building atomic weapons that threaten all of life.
Implications For Our Personal Lives
Other significant observations are that the concentration presence of consciousness forms what we can experience within us as organic “life” – and both what is life of our own and that of surrounding nature. It is not accidental that the signature badge of organic life is some pulling-to-oneness form, like the solar radiance of a flower or beautiful fibres of the retina of a smiling child’s eye.
Healing, healed or whole states of organic life, as well as the very survival of life, depend on maintaining one’s base-line consciousness (rather than taking in artificial or synthetic chemical drugs that are unwisely math-designed, based on a ”worldview- mistaken” approach.
Without that baseline consciousness, one also dies and the body disintegrates.
Chemical drugs very often hasten the process though they claim to do the very otherwise.
The Acid Test
What is magnificent about this definition of consciousness is that it can be acid tested in practice, especially as applied to what are the most distinctly or obviously “consciousness ills.” This includes various forms of dementia and diabetes. It is fairly easy to show how this theoretical view becomes practically powerful, putting all other theories in the shadows.
If an MD, physicist, or prominent philosopher of consciousness cannot avoid his or her own later-life dementia, then it reveals a lack of right-brain or raw-consciousness knowledge to ground their proposed ideological beliefs.
To reaffirm….Consciousness is the universal relationship of connection in nature.
Consciousness is, in my deep experience, the only one true, pure, real, and integral principle of connection…. the principle of connection itself …. in all of nature.
Such a definition takes time and much dedication to absorb. Believing is seeing and seeing is believing, in this case.
For this approach has immense and revolutionary implications.PAST THE ATOMIC AND MATH-BOUND VIEW
Here we can claim that consciousness is the principle of indivisibility in nature, and not the atom .
The latter is a by-product of the ideological conceptualization of a left-brain dominant, math-bound view – and which has long been disproven. The atom was shown, early in the 20th century with the help of more powerful electron microscopes, to have subatomic parts or to be divisible.
Yet this atomic view is still clinged to out of fear of facing nature a deeper reality – a more non-ideologically, free of the math-bound view understanding of the universal raw presence of consciousness.
A Serious Global Mind Change Challenge
Consciousness, and consciousness alone, is really and ultimately what makes nature and ourselves integrally One (and again not by any stretch what math symbols falsely point to or greatly misdirect us towards as a dominant cultural perspective - the deeply mechanical, death-laden, and consciousness-stripped view.
When superficially applied the view has value. When deeply applied it has devastating and non-sustainable implications globally for nature.
The above is a very serious and deep-to-the-foundations challenge to the taproot justifications for the anchor ideologies of modern chemistry, physics, and biotechnology – the quintessential vision that took us out of the medieval world and into the modern.
Medical Applications As the Proving Ground
This replacement view begins to explain why the simpler, organic, natural modalities of healing truly work (and on much deeper, more universal and integral levels). They work to reliably cure our most chronic and horrible of ills – while allopathic methods do not cure, do not really work and actually cannot essentially work.
With great arrogance the approaches are nevertheless maintained and politically ingrained.
Allopathic medicine does have effective and vital emergency applications – to “time and space surface consciousness“.
Past surface or superficial, fooling, symptomatic, isolative, covering-over applications, they often have very lethal or unconsciousness deepening impacts. Nursing home patients, those taking multiple pharmaceutical drugs, tend to walk the halls like zombies as they die more quickly thereby. This entire approach actually cannot work to reverse or prevent any of our major “consciousness ills” – and no matter how many billions or trillions of dollars are devoted to pharmacetical and high-tech research, fueled by corporate greed.
This is because the essential understanding is false.
What is first needed is a very, very deep-to-the-foundations revolution in thought – a breakthrough of unprecedented proportions -and one that begins with an integrally insightful and then provenly practically or workable definition of consciousness.
It must actually guide us more truly to maintain our daily consciousness or to actually reverse our consciousness ills.
Otherwise it is just so much philosophical nonesense for our mental waste baskets.
Proof Is In the Pudding
Currently a number of Nobel-prize-winning physicists have come down or slipped into Alzheimer’s disease states. This is something that really doesn’t surprise me at all because their guiding vision is essentially and absolutely false. It is grounded in the most profoundly unconsciousness foundations promoted to dominance in the 17th century, and earlier in Greek times.
Newton himself, it is revealing, died in a state of sever dementia and schizophrenia.