ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Defining Consciousness

Updated on September 16, 2014

What is Consciousness?

Consciousness in its broadest definition is:the ability to understand non-material concepts. However a definition is not enough to understand what consciousness is. Some of the most important terms associated with it are: awareness, environment, free will, and emotion. To be conscious, is to be self-aware, and to be cognitive of your being.



Awareness defined is the “knowledge or perception of a situation or fact”. Awareness is needed to be able to identify who you are, and physically identify your surroundings, both which are necessary to be conscious and both are not physical beings. To understand the concept of who you are, demonstrates a level of higher level thinking. To identify physical characteristics is a basic survival instinct and may not be seen as impressive. But as conscious beings we are able to identify emotions, tendencies, and characteristics and assign them to a “mental set” of a being. We interpret actions on a higher level and assign them to one’s mental role. If you can process your surroundings, you can identify yourself to a relative location. If you know where you are at, then you can have a base of consciousness. To be able to understand and process where your physical being is, means that your mind is able to connect to a larger “picture” and identify your piece in it. This is a crucial in proving that we are capable of higher level thinking and understanding faint, non-feasible, concepts.



There are many types of environments, two of them are physical and cultural. Your physical environment is your surroundings, the objects around you. Part of consciousness must be aware of where you are and what makes up your life. The physical environment is an important building block in understanding ones state of consciousness. If you are able to determine your location, evaluate objects for meaning, and comprehend your surroundings, then a higher level of consciousness is obtained. It is important for an individual to be able to connect themselves to a bigger picture for them to understand where they take part. Your cultural environment is important to consciousness because of how it affects your state of mind and thought processes. Your culture can include your local customs and religion. These things are important because they are the way you evaluate information that cannot be proven or in not graspable. To be aware of concepts that are vague, and try to offer an answer, it demonstrates a higher level thinking or consciousness. Because customs and religions can alter your perception of life, it begs the question if consciousness is concrete. For example, in traditional Buddhism belief, one can meditate and bring themselves to another state of mind or consciousness. If this is possible, it could prove that your belief system can effectively alter consciousness. If your consciousness can be altered by a purposeful act, then it is not concrete.


Free Will

Free will is the idea that allows us to act upon ideas of our awareness and with the principles of morality we believe in passed down by culture. It may not be enough to say you’re conscious if you are self-aware, but with the knowledge of your existence, and the ability to make you own choices makes consciousness apparent. If you can understand your being and then make decisions, decide actions, and take part in ideas, this demonstrates you are conscious. You have the “know how” to analyze your environment for cause and effect decisions and situations with deeper meaning, which requires a higher level of thinking.

Which term do you believe is most essential for defining consciousness?

See results


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)