What does Consciousness Mean?: A “Consciousness” Definition

A "Consciousness" Definition

How does one define consciousness?  We need a consciousness definition first before we dive in to its implications. One definition of consciousness is the "sense of self" as an independent, sentient being.  It is our individual awareness of our unique thoughts, memories, feelings, emotions, physical sensations, environment- the personal experience of inner and outer reality which is an irreducible property of being.

The "I know" feeling carries knowing- I know because I feel.  Without feelings, we would not know we exist.  The capacity to feel gives meaning to our life. And, in turn, consciousness is defined by the capacity of the self to perceive, know, and experience through feelings.

Consciousness itself empowers us to reflect before we act, by translating perceptions into an integrated field of feelings or "feeling picture" (or qualia) which allows us to make decisions based on comprehension, connecting the dots.  It is also what makes us distinct from a robot, which has no feelings or understanding, whereas as humans we have conscious perceptual action, mediated by comprehension.  So we are semantic and syntactic entities, whereas a robot is merely a syntactic entity with no self.

The word "consciousness" means the self-reflective "me" who is doing the asking when I ask the question "who am I?" and it  is not to be confused with the reductionist mind or the brain, as it is more field-like than object-like as we will discuss in later posts.

Consciousness is important because it is a fundamental and irreducible property of each self, which has a unique identity, free will, and consciousness. Consciousness gives a self its sentience: perception, comprehension, and experience.  And it also is the focus of the individual's self-direction and attention over the course of each life.

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