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Definition of Consciousness

We can diligently and carefully search the web to find many of what l call “standard definitions of consciousness.”  Here are a few examples of such definitions of consciousness, with critiques.


An cognitive state
This makes the assumption that consciousness is tied to cognitive functions and thus much of what plants and animals experience would be considered unconscious.

A feature or force of life
Some Vedanta traditions see consciousness this way. Certainly some form of consciousness is a universal feature of life, but what does that really tells us? If bubble gum sticks to a wall, does that define the stuck-to wall?

The state of being aware
This is a very redundant definition. Awareness can be called consciousness and consciousness can be called awareness. It doesn’t really tell us very much. It offers no deep insight into what is the nature of consciousness.

Alert perceptions
To be alert is to be in a state of feisty awareness, which again doesn’t tell us very much.

Awake and self-aware
A living organism can be sentient, or present to its surrounding, and grounded in a time and space framework/reference without necessarily being self-aware. Does self-awareness really define the full spectrum of what is consciousness or in its absence, unconsciousness?

Higher order awareness
This is tied to a mix of cognition, self-awareness, and being awake or in advanced levels of consciousness – including having greater inner peace and heightened, clear and brilliant perceptions. But what give us the hubris or vain authority to be so selective in this  elite view of consciousness?

By-product of neuron firing
This reduces consciousness to various physical mechanisms. This implies certain organisms which do not have such neurons then do not have consciousness. Nevertheless they are sentient and aware, unlike rocks.

We could go on with this standard list and related critiques. Keep in mind that with a valid definition we must ask:

a) Does it give us an objective, trans-personal, outside-ourselves point of view of consciousness itself?

b) Does the definition of consciousness have practical, proving and valuable applications?

None of the above seem to meet these tests for me.

Thus I’ve evolved an alternative definition of consciousness. This came to me after an inner experience as a teenager when, subsequent to a high fever, my left-brain shut down and I was thrown, outside of my mind, into a wordless and oceanic, connected and whole experience of consciousness. What I learned from that experience is the following definition of consciousness. It is one that yields revolutionary implications and also vast practical applications – mainly for the healing ourselves (as when we fall prey to consciousness illnesses such as Alzheimer’s, cancer, and diabetes) and the healing our planet. Such applications are  really the acid test of definition, understanding or theory of consciousness.

Alternative Definition
The alternative as well as extended definition is as follows:

Consciousness forms a potentially universal relationship of connection in nature.

This includes our own human nature and the nature of the world around us. Imagine consciousness underlies the thin surface appearance, the illusion of a world  fundamentally composed  of hard, separate, mechanically-acting, math-defined physical forms or “matter.”

Imagine thus that the underlying oceanic consciousness is at the real depth core of nature, of everything existing in the cosmos. We really never experience anything outside our consciousness so anyone who tells you this is far-fetched are themselves out of touch with their own inner consciousness. They are locked into the surface appearance. In my experience,  consciousness really forms nature’s ultimate and primordial essence and quintessence. Because “laws” are what “connect” events (as in the laws of cause and effect or the laws of action and reaction – including billiard balls bouncing off each other) then consciousness so defined as above suddenly underlies the taproot foundation of all connections in nature an thus of nature’s laws. This means that consciousness forms the authentic and abiding “principia” of nature, contrary to Newtons core thesis in his Principia Naturalis Mathematica or his “laws of nature as mathematical.”  Math symbols do expertly abstract separation and therefore cannot truly point to what connects nature in its essence – namely consciousness. Newton very abysmally and foolishly lost sight of this simple common sense. He was self-engrossed, bedazzled by his own newly invented calculus.  This critique of Newton’s vision may seem harsh, but I must beg to differ. We do need to revisit his old, stale, moldy premises, the ideology of his that took root to form our modern world. It is a vision that is now failing to work and falling apart. We do need, quite urgently, to make some vast and revolutionary inner shifts in our visions. Then we can uncover or bring out more fully out (as when we water seeds), nurture and discover the underlying laws of consciousness, life, and connection – rather than of the mechanical, death-delivering, math-defined, separative patterns that now almost totally predominate our prevailing industrial/commercial/material worldview. We need to re-structure our collective consciousness from the ground up or from its 17th century crumbling foundations. Why? Because those foundation stones has mislead a building process of the Industrial Revolution. That metaphysics has yielded a failing medical system, helpless in the face of pandemics, and focused on surface symptoms plus  misdirecting us towards a disintegrating, dying parade of living ecologies. These are not minor problems or crises. We need to thus face the root inner cause of global pollution, global warming and a more massive destruction of life and consciousness on our earth than ever before, and which is proceeding at ever faster and faster paces.

Going Past Current Definitions
Lame definitions of consciousness will not help us on this score or to extricate us from the larger, self-created problems of our modern world. They fall short in giving us the simple needed insight to  turn around our major looming planetary trends, derivative of an extraordinarily and extended loss of wisdom.

For more information on such a philosophy and definition of consciousness – and its implications  – visit http://www.raw-wisdom.com

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