Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Consciousness vs. awareness?

Consciousness and awareness put side by side or versus each other? Consciousness a mechanistic process which analyzes the product of the senses, which our awareness produce. In the example cited 'being tired', the awareness part and 'being conscious of being tired', the consciousness part, 'are two different things'. What is the difference? The awareness part we feel it, it is a sensation which is conveyed to our brain by our weary body due to fatigue in our muscles, triggered possibly by accumulated chemicals like lactic acid which produce neural impulses, conveyed by the nerve cells into our brain and our brain brings about the sensation of tiredness, the awareness of tiredness.

What about the consciousness part? What 'being conscious of being tired actually means'? The first thing obviously is that we can think about it, and use this assertion into what we can do about it. We bring about logic in order to respond to the situation our awareness of tiredness demands. So, since we are tired then we should rest and further depending on the task we set about to perform, to assess whether we can continue the task or not. All in all consciousness assists in deciding of what to do about our awareness, how to react to our awareness, to the messages arriving in our brain by the mechanisms employed by our awareness.

Thoughts about analogue vs. digital seem relevant. Analogue for awareness and digital for consciousness. Analogue general un-refined, where output comes from a broad spectrum of "registers" and digital the refined output where the signals received are rid of the noise and the effect each or a specific "register" receives, is clearly defined. Awareness gives us a broad view of a particular field on all our "registers", the senses for that matter, and consciousness makes it specific for each "register" or just the "register" we choose to focus on according to the task to be performed.

The matter is not finished yet. Referring to awareness as the state of being fully conscious of pertinent stimuli and really experiencing a task or situation brings in aspects attributed to consciousness. This makes fuzzier the boundaries between the two faculties. Or is it that consciousness rise, it becomes more subtle, more acute, by learning, training, repetition or other process therefore it makes it possible to distinguish between minute fluctuations in the stimuli presented to our senses. What our "registers" are picking up. It is still perception, the way we perceive our environment and therefore awareness. It is how a wine-taster develops the skills to evaluate wines using a constantly evolving formal terminology to describe the range of perceived flavours, aromas and other characteristics of a wine which an untrained, lay-person is largely unaware of. The concept of wine enriched with the properties of complexity and character sharpens wine tasters awareness of wines.

So this developed skill goes hand-in-hand with the firm acquisition of all the relevant concepts in the wine-making process. Concept development arising by the need to identify even finer differences between wine samples and once a concept is affirmed, continuing persistent differences might incite the creation of newer novel concepts, the process repeating itself, an abundance of concepts, a rise in consciousness that result in an even more acute wine-testing awareness.

Consciousness extends its breadth and depth, embracing ever wider realms of existence as more and more concepts are incorporated, hand-in-hand with an ever sharper and more acute perception and heightened awareness.