By Natural Philosopher Mike Prestwood

What is consciousness?

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What does it mean to be human? Explore new definitions for consciousness with Mike Prestwood. From the spark of an idea to the feeling of self-awareness, let's unravel the mystery together in our latest deep dive -- Consciousness: From the Soul to the Abyss.

To me, consciousness is simply experiencing reality, and all life, and anything that can “experience,” has some form of consciousness. To experience reality, you need cognitive ability and sensory input. That’s it! This definition of it suggests a spectrum of consciousness — from none to complex — allowing for a nuanced understanding of how different beings interact with and perceive their world.

However, this is not what many think of when they explore it. For them, they want to explore what it means to be human. What makes human consciousness special? And this is a great question. Perhaps “the” question for us. It helps us to explore, debate, and decide serious questions from gun control to immigration. While some view consciousness as a manifestation of our eternal energy or soul, others see it as a manifestation of our physical brains, an outcome of our cognitive functions.

To navigate these complex discussions, I developed the Mindscape Framework. This tool is designed to refine our conversations about consciousness, leveraging ideas from my book “30 Philosophers” and supported by The Consciousness Evolution Timeline. The Framework categorizes consciousness into levels based on cognitive ability and sensory interaction with the environment, from the simplest forms in plants and lower animals to the complex experiences of humans and potentially beyond to artificial intelligence and extraterrestrial life.

Take the deep dive: For a deeper exploration of how we understand and classify consciousness across the spectrum of life and technology, take the 10-minute deep dive: Consciousness: From the Soul to the Abyss.

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4 Minutes with Mike Prestwood: Weekly Wisdom Builder
May 26, 2024 Edition
Time Left: 
Wisdom at the crossroads of knowledge.

Wisdom emerges from the consistent exploration of the intersections of philosophy, science, critical thinking, and history.


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