What is Consciousness?

Consciousness and the human’s “soul” are considered indivisible. Consciousness is regarded as the all-pervading expression of the person and personality.

But what is consciousness? Is it all pervading? Probably not. Humans are unaware of the greatest part of their functioning persona.

Therefore, what is consciousness and what part does it play in the life of a human and in society generally?

This essay claims that consciousness is only a tiny part of overall human function: more than that, a tiny part of individual and social behaviour.

It is postulated that the function of “consciousness” is the ability to adapt to changes in context. “Consciousness” allows identification by the senses, and consequently adaptation to change. [The senses should include both the “conscious” senses and the far more numerous “sub-conscious” senses]

Consciousness therefore allows observational knowledge, now called “inductive” logic. This grand term means that it is possible to interpret cause-and-effect from (some) contextual changes such as are observed by the limited spectrum of the mechanisms of appreciation from a distance. Such observations are preserved in memory to allow a later attachment to other observed contextual variations. That has become known as “deductive” logic. In reality such logic (often grandified by pseudo-mathamatics and linguistic tags as syllogistic logic) is an everyday task, in multiple contexts, deducing casus and effect. Will I avoid this collision on the road(given my existing knowlege of closure distances and the performance of my car?

The human knows very little of their functioning mechanism, both the physiological and its extension, behavioural patterning.

An analogy would be a large aircraft with radar. The radar is designed to extract contextual changes, so necessary for survival. The aircraft can, naturally, fly perfectly well without radar. But it is the radar which allows long term survival, those deviations necessitated by the need to survive and perpetuate the existence of the far more complex aircraft. That radar is also only a tiny fragment of the total functioning aircraft.

Therefore “consciousness”, like that radar, forms only a tiny component of the entire organism – perhaps as little as 1 or 2% as a wild guess. It could be measured using listing of all physiological and behavioural mechanism present in the individual. Some skills seem to straddle, such as proprioception. However that is just another observational parameter used to adjust to contextual change (what else allows avoidance of stumbling?) and from that the concept of “body image” arises. Others, like hard-wired behaviour are interpreted (incorrectly) as conscious behaviour, and so also straddle the perceived divide between the “conscious” and the “biological”


About jp

Orthopaedic Surgeon
This entry was posted in Human Behaviour, Humans as social animals and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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