Consciousness is understood in a variety of ways. In one belief, a person is conscious when awake, but unconscious when sleeping or comatose. Yet people also do things requiring perception and thought unconsciously even when they are awake. A person can be conscious of their physical surroundings, pain and even a wish or fantasy. In short a creature is conscious if it is aware of itself and that it is a physical and emotional being. Consciousness is a psychological condition defined by the English philosopher John Locke as "the perception of what passes in a man’s own mind".1
Consciousness is defined and perceived differently in many psychological view points. For instance the earlier views around the 19th century was diversely considered. Most perceived consciousness as a substance or "mental stuff" unlike an object from the physical world. Others deferred that the conscious mind was what separated man from lower forms of life. It is an attribute characterized by sensation and voluntary movement which described the difference between normal waking state of animals and men and their condition when asleep.2 Other descriptions included an analysis of consciousness as a form of relationship or act of the mind toward objects in nature, and a view that consciousness was a continuous field or stream of essentially mental "sense data."
The method believed by most early writers in determining consciousness was introspection—looking within one’s own mind to discover the laws of it’s operation. This belief was limited when it was apparent when observationalists could not agree on observations. Obviously due to the differences in one’s own idea of introspection and the underlying views they possessed.
The failure of introspection to reveal consistent laws led to the refection of all mental states as subjects of scientific study and thus psychology attached consciousness to its diversity.
The term consciousness is most often used by philosophers and psychologists as meaning "attention to the contents or workings of one’s own mind." This notion had little significance for the ancients, but it was emphasized in the 17th century by John Locke and Rene Descartes.
Contemporaries of ...
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... physical framework of reality.6 Smythies presents that everyone has a private space in addition to the shared, public version. Each individual’s personal framework intersects with the familiar dimensions while remaining distinct from them, and it provides an arena for all conscious sensations that have spatial extension or location–objects discernible by sight or touch.7 To understand Smythies’ theory see Appendix A.
In conclusion one can determine a variety of theories in the evolution of consciousness. As cited earlier, consciousness is viewed as being physical or material in some cases and yet in others it is viewed as a function of the inner mind or the minds eye. These theories have even been as radical as Smythies’ philosophy that the state of consciousness is a sort of physical plane.
If we were to collaborate these theories to form a conclusive view point, individuals would possibly be able to understand consciousness and the workings of consciousness. Perhaps the mystery of consciousness is to remain a mystery. Possibly this mystery is the key to cognitive thinking. And perhaps the key to our personal evolution.
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