Definition of Consciousness? A real-life example from Nature.
Consciousness is the awareness of internal or external existence. It is that makes us feel understand and respond to our surroundings and our inner self. It is because of the consciousness that we can understand that one day we were born and someday we will die. A tree is more conscious than a stone because a tree can respond to its environment in many ways like they can adapt to their environment, make their own food, spread roots to find water, and lots of other things. But a stone cannot do anything like that.
In the same way, an insect is more conscious than a tree. Most animals are more conscious than insects and similarly, humans are more conscious than all the animals because humans can respond to their environment and surroundings in much more intelligent ways in comparison to other forms of life. We are conscious of our existence that we are alive. We can remember and feel the past memories and experiences. we can feel the present moment and also can predict the future on the basis of our past memories and intelligence.
We can easily understand how a person cannot respond to their surroundings when he or she is unconscious, or in other words, unaware here. It is very important to note that consciousness and intelligence are two different things. A super-intelligent robot or a supercomputer can be more intelligent in terms of analytical skills, memory ability to predict on the basis of large amounts of data provided to it, and in many other ways, but it is not at all conscious about its own existence.
Even a tree or insect is far more conscious than the most advanced supercomputer that we have According to researchers, even a sophisticated simulation of the human brain running on a digital computer cannot be conscious. Once Scientists were skeptical about the concept of consciousness and today it has become an important research topic in psychology and medicine, especially neuroscience.
Sigmund Freud and levels of consciousness
One of the theories by Sigmund Freud, the father of psychology, familiarized the world with the concept of consciousness in the late 20th century. According to him, there are three levels, which entirely depend upon the state of mind at a specific time.
Conscious state – is the first level, which indicates our inner and instant awareness as you do something like reading, writing, or listening. This state of mind helps us to retrieve inputs from our senses to analyze information before making decisions. It indicates the current state of our mind at any specific time. When the thoughts are in front of our minds, then it is known as the conscious mind.
Subconscious state – also known as preconscious, it produces the content for your dreams. It is the warehouse where all experiences, thoughts, and impressions are stored. The information impacts your thought patterns and behavior to a great extent. A person can recollect information from this state with much ease and is known as memories.
The real-life instances can be recalling your friend’s anniversary date or your day of graduation. Our habits determine the life, work, and relationship accomplishments. Practice makes an activity turn into a daily task that is registered in the subconscious mind eventually. Habits become an inevitable and permanent part of our behavior.
The unconscious state – is the final level, and it comprises of memories, old thoughts, and deep desires. They are stored far below conscious awareness. We are unaware of the state, but it does impact our behavior. The retrieval of information from this state of mind is not as easy as it sounds. Our several childhood memories and experiences turn into our current views, phobias, and uncertainties. They are hidden driving forces that impact your behavior.
Some Conventional Theories of Consciousness
Mayan and Inca Theory: It is one of the primitive theories that has penetrated the psychological, medical, and spiritual thoughts of both Eastern and Western cultures. It defines consciousness as human awareness of both external and internal factors. The Mayans first came up with the purpose of each level and its connection to humankind. The Incas, on the other hand, considered it as awareness and concern of others too.
John Locke Theory: He was the first philosopher to speak and write about this concept. According to John Locke, it has close connections with our identity that likely passes through our minds or memories. He was affirmative of the fact that it can exist beyond our physical bodies.
Developmental and Social Psychology on consciousness: Modern social psychologists believe that language, is the primary mode of consciousness transmission, which analysis exposes the mindset of the people who speak that particular language. Developmental psychologists believe that it is an entity that varies over time, like a toddler and a teenager, has a different level of consciousness. Abnormalities affect the conscious mind and mental health.
Where is Consciousness Located in the Brain?
We can never create a conscious computer just by programming the computer for consciousness. It would just be simply a computer doing a task for which it has been programmed, but completely unaware of its own existence. It is similar to the fact that simulating the immense gravitational pull of a black hole on a computer does not actually deform the space-time fabric around the computer. But, however, scientists think that they might be very close to pinpoint the location of consciousness in our brain.
According to researcher Michael Fox from the Beth Israel sickness medical center at Harvard medical school. For the first time, we have found a connection between the brain stem region involved in arousal and regions involved in awareness, two prerequisites for consciousness, so arousal and awareness are two critical components.
Researchers have shown that arousal is likely regulated by the brain stem, which is the portion of the brain that links up with the spinal cord. They have found two cortex regions in the brain that seems to work together to form consciousness, although scientists are working hard but are still, a lot needs to be done in this area to uncover all the mysteries of consciousness.
Learn more here: Consciousness
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