An acquaintance who reads my blog asked me to define consciousness and I choose my response to this by delineating the difference, as I see it, between consciousness and awareness. Awareness is, in my view, a non-reflective natural consciousness, a consciousness of the immediate actuality of the aware subject and thus the consciousness of all sentient being. Consciousness, as I define it on the other hand, begins with reflection, when the human intellect discovers the duality of existence and begins to distinguish between the positive and the negative in existence, between good and evil, and impose this duality of existence upon the actuality of the natural world and the reality of spiritual being. Consciousness, therefore, involves a movement, a descent, if you will, from an immediate awareness of the reality of being into a reflective consciousness of the actuality of existence, an artificial actuality imposed upon nature which requires also the construction of an image of individuality, a self, with which to explore and navigate through this artificial construction, this city of self-consciousness human beings.
The naming of a baby fits the developing child into a social context which becomes its world, where it is fed on immediacy and suffers a conditioning into the values of its society. When that conditioning is complete the child becomes reflective and is forcefully indoctrinated into the material disciplines which serve the interests of its society’s rulers. These disciplines are scientific disciplines which confine the human intellect within the rationally apprehended physical universe. To transcend these world views and step outside the rationally ordered universe of the human intellect requires an act, an act of faith.