What is Consciousness?


How we think of words is important. I found while at an Intensive that Counsciousness was more complex for me than it was for the average person. For example - start with Webster's New Universal Unabridged Dictionary 2-ond Edition and read the following:

Con-sci-en'tious-ness: n. The state or quality of being conscientious.

Con-sci-en'tious (-shi-en'shus) a. influenced or governed by conscience; governed by the known or accepted rules of right and wrong; scrupulous; honest; as, a conscientious judge.

Con'scious (-shus) a. [ L. conscius, knowing, aware, from conscire, to know with, be cognizant of; from com-, with, and scire, to know. ] 1. having a feeling or knowledge (of one's sensations, feelings, etc., or external things); knowing or feeling (that something is or was happening or existing); aware; cognizant. 2. able to feel and think; awake. 3. aware of oneself as a thinking being; knowing what one is doing and why. 4. painfully aware of oneself; self-conscious; embarrassed. 5. accompanied by an awareness of what one is thinking. feeling, and doing; intentional; as conscious humor. 6. known to or felt by oneself; as, conscious guilt. Syn. - aware, sensible, felt, known, cognizant, apprised.

Con'scious-ness n. 1. The knowledge of what is happening around one; the state of being conscious. 2. the totality of one's thoughts, feelings, and impressions; mind. Syn. - feeling, attention, sensation.

Con'scious-ness-rais''ing, n. the process of seeking, especially through group sessions, to increase awareness of one's own role, attitudes, needs, etc. in connection with the personal, social, economic, sexual, etc. problems of modern life.

For me the dictionary is just not good enough. I need to separate the word awareness from consciousness. They are not the same. I can be aware of things - in the moment - but not remember or be able to reference them later on. If I am both aware and counscious - I can remember and reference the thing. Counsciousness is an extra layer I place on awareness - that ties awareness down to other thoughts. What are these "other" things? When I reference what you say with the viewpoint of my father - I am thereby conscious of what you say. Let me speak hypothetically..

Consciousness is a false process of amplifying meaning. It consists of a triangulation of perception. One is in a relationship - two people - you and the other but that isn't enough. You feel insecure. So you "amplify" that two person meaning by bringing in another viewpoint. The other viewpoint "clarifies" the ideas by globalizing them. This globalization by reference is the core of what is called being "conscious." This is not an easy idea to get because we are all so programmed to be conscious. You are conscious for many good "reasons" and a good dose of personal insecurity. You might need strength and certainty. Maybe the other viewpoint is a strong father or some great authority figure with a strong clear viewpoint. It is a process of filtering one's own thoughts through another's viewpoint. In other words, I appear to be listening to you but I am thinking of my father and how he would hear you. This triangulating reference makes me 'conscious' of you. Consciousness packages up my understanding and makes it certain. By cross referencing my relationships, I can classify and remember them, even though I am insecure and confused. Unfortunately this certainty does not come out of the meaning of the one on one relationship itself, it comes out of the inertia of the past and confusing one person for another.

I have some idea of how my father listens or my mother listens and I can adopt one of these listening styles. Not only do I get my point of view but I can also simulate their point of view as well. I hear my father's comments as I listen to another. This is a process of triangulating an unknown viewpoint with a known viewpoint. Consciousness is thus a leveraging or an amplification of perception. As you can see by looking at the logic here, consciousness assumes people are additive. It assumes that my father would know something about the person who he has never met. Me plus my Dad is better than just me. This is not immediately a bad thing in our complex society. A conscious person is not as gullible - since the person converts the past words of their father or some great authority - into a force that distorts their current relationships with others.

By being conscious I have triangulated with another and this also allows me to store and retrieve these experience through the outside stability of this other relationship. If you are talking to me and I am being conscious - it is almost as if you are talking to two people. I am very hard headed. As a choice, conscious perception is useful. As an automatic mode conscious perception can cause great confusion. It is a bit of fuzzy thinking that when leveraged and ratcheted up tight becomes a big block to reality. One person is wrongly treated like another. The confusion with people is so great, and we so freely substitute one person for another that it is very hard to even talk about consciousness.

The best way to communicate about consciousness is to create a unique language that is only used with one other person. This approach helps that one other person to be aware of how consciousness works. With a unique language it is very difficult to draw outside comparisons. That allows a person to temporarily move away from consciousness yet still have meaning. The concept is a bit hard to understand. The unique language between two people allows meaning without the need for a third person cross reference. Under these conditions consciousness can be clearly seen. Everything else is a bit abusive and hard to understand. Unfortunately I am not smart enough to speak your private language, so I have to use my language to write these concepts down. If you do understand this, we must already be in some state of grace. Thank you. If not - I apologize for the abuse of not being able to speak to you individually.

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