What is ‘Consciousness’

What is ‘Consciousness’? Leigh Clothier 11R

“Conscious” is derived from the Latin word “conscuis”, which is modernly known as a state or quality of awareness; or the awareness of an external object or within oneself. It is the ability to feel emotions and experience various situations whilst having a sense of your own energy. (En.wikipedia.org, 2018) Furthermore, consciousness is the control system of the mind that allows us to ‘know’ the surroundings as well as sensing oneself in the present. Significantly thinking about one’s existence proves that there is someone there doing the thinking subconsciously. (Hirschman, 2016) According to a French philosopher, although the mind and body are two separate entities, consciousness is living proof that they ‘interact’, as humans think about each movement combined with its surroundings. (Cherry, 2018)

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It is thought that consciousness links the number of neurons in either the cerebellum or the cerebral cortex. (Hirschman, 2016) Although consciousness can be driven by both, it is most reliable in the cerebellum. Should the cerebellum be damaged, human consciousness will not be affected due to the number of neurons. (Koch, 2018) Therefore, consciousness inhabits the brain’s prefrontal cortex; this area describes what one is feeling as it is felt. (The Brain Bank North West, 2013)

Additionally, according to neuroscience, consciousness is known to be caused by the microtubules working inside ones brain along with a system known as “orchestrated objective reduction”. This means that we know consciousness to be the collapsing of wave functions of quantum particles as they reach a specific energy level. This process helps the brain’s neural networks and cells interpret the information received. The cortex located within the brain locates movement and understands sensory signals. Moreover, the cortex can shift covert attention from one thing to another. (Hirschman, 2016)

There are currently three detected levels of consciousness, namely conscious knowledge, subconscious knowledge and super-conscious knowledge – starting from the first level respectively. (My mind is my shelter, 2018) Conscious knowledge is known as the pursuit of information and understanding. This level is related to the human’s present being and emotion as it is the processing of the current information. Subconscious knowledge is the feeling of being aware of something but not realising one’s awareness towards said something. This is managed by the emotions and instinct from the past. It is more in depth than the experienced awareness as one’s brain takes past experiences and forms emotions linking towards said experiences. Super-conscious knowledge is characterized as the state of knowing and present-moment awareness. This is the final stage of human consciousness. (Study.com, 2003)

Consciousness is found in many forms. For example, historical consciousness can be defined as the individual and collective understanding of the past as well as the cultural factors, which shape our understanding of the present and future. The University of British Columbia conveys that this links events from the past with the advancement of the present. (Cshc.ubc.ca, 2018)

Socio-political consciousness allows one to be conscious of achievements and the completion of tasks. Most are born into this by being born into a society where acting as a social being is quickly learnt due to technological and human interactions. (Sherzai, 2013)

Alternatively, spirituality is the quality of being concerned with the human spirit as opposed to physical things. According to philanthropist, Michael DePung, spiritual consciousness is the awareness of our inner selves: that we have a core and higher self, a heart and true reality. Linking these qualities is accessing of the spiritual mind that allows for interpretation, filtering and understanding of life in new ways. (DePung, 2018)
Mariela and Lille’s research, from SAGE Reference, indicates that cultural consciousness is the deeper understanding of different cultures and therefore allows one to understand people’s relationships and contexts. This demonstrates the understanding of beliefs, attitudes, behavioural standards as well as values. (Cshc.ubc.ca, 2018)

Consciousness is a phenomenon created by the cerebellum within the mind, in order to be aware of oneself and surroundings. Various forms of consciousness can be felt in the present according to one’s current consciousness level. As humans, we have reached the final consciousness level – super-consciousness – which allows for awareness in the present. In conclusion, consciousness is what leaves one aware, knowing, and feeling alive.

(699 words) (in-text references: 41 words)

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Bibliography:

DePung, M. (2018). What Is Spiritual Consciousness, Awakening?: It’s Not That Complicated — to Start!. online Medium. Available at: https://medium.com/@michaeldepung/what-is-spiritual-consciousness-awakening-its-not-that-complicated-to-start-c35aaa3211d2 Accessed 23 Aug. 2018. (DePung, 2018)

Sherzai, D. (2013). Socio-Political Consciousness. online Daily Outlook Afghanistan, the Leading Independent Newspaper. Available at: http://www.outlookafghanistan.net/topics.php?post_id=7562 Accessed 23 Aug. 2018. (Sherzai, 2013)

Cshc.ubc.ca. (2018). CSHC: About. online Available at: http://www.cshc.ubc.ca/about/ Accessed 23 Aug. 2018. (Cshc.ubc.ca, 2018)

Study.com. (2003). Levels of Consciousness: Definition & Characteristics – Video & Lesson Transcript | Study.com. online Available at: https://study.com/academy/lesson/levels-of-consciousness-definition-characteristics.html Accessed 23 Aug. 2018. (Study.com, 2003)

The Brain Bank North West. (2013). What is consciousness? A scientist’s perspective.. online Available at: https://thebrainbank.scienceblog.com/2013/03/04/what-is-consciousness-a-scientists-perspective/ Accessed 22 Aug. 2018. (The Brain Bank North West, 2013)

Graziano, M. (2016). A New Theory Explains How Consciousness Evolved. online The Atlantic. Available at: https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/06/how-consciousness-evolved/485558/ Accessed 26 Aug. 2018. (Graziano, 2016)

Cherry, K. (2018). How to Explain Consciousness. online Verywell Mind. Available at: https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-consciousness-2795922 Accessed 22 Aug. 2018. (Cherry, 2018)

My mind is my shelter. (2018). Three Stages of Consciousness. online Available at: https://mymindismyshelterdotcom.wordpress.com/2016/01/30/three-stages-of-consciousness/ Accessed 21 Aug. 2018. (My mind is my shelter, 2018)

Hirschman, D. (2016). What Is Consciousness?. online Big Think. Available at: https://bigthink.com/going-mental/what-is-consciousness Accessed 21 Aug. 2018. (Hirschman, 2016)

En.wikipedia.org. (2018). Consciousness. online Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consciousness Accessed 21 Aug. 2018. (En.wikipedia.org, 2018)

Koch,C. (2018). What is Consciousness? online Scientific American. Available at: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-is-consciousness/ Accessed 21 Aug. 2018 (Koch, 2018)