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Comparing Conscious Experience

Updated on October 24, 2010

How do you compare your experience with someone else.  My guess is that we generally assume that our experience is exactly like other people's minus certain moral failings of theirs such as cowardice or sloth.  That is, if I was going to give a speech in front of the class and another person was also going to give one, we would both experience the same thing except that he is likely to be a bit more nervous because he is a coward.

This is a barbaric way to compare your experience with that of others.  People may differ greatly in how they experience the world, themselves, and others.  However, except in cases of great pathology such as Schizophrenia, we have not come up with a good science to categorize and compare experience and their are very good reasons to do so.  The best reason is to increase our happiness and ability for empathy and compassion.

In hopes of developing a framework for creating a basis of understanding other people's states of consciousness, I've created a list of qualities of conscious experience that I have known to vary according to one's mental status especially as a condition of mental illness or drug use.  These qualities also vary in the normal course of daily experience, though less notably.  Please use your own experiences with different states of consciousness to help us refine the list.

Thank you.

Subjective qualities of experience:

1.       Time:  Perceived speed of happenings.

2.       Automaticity of self, emotions, objects.  Sense of freewill.

3.       Narrative, meaning fluidity.  Do things present easily with their own meanings.

4.       Sensitivity of sensation:  brightness, sharpness

5.       Reactivity:  likelihood of reacting to stimuli.

6.       Overshadowing mood, emotion.

7.       Pain sensitivity.

8.       Empathy

9.       Relation of self to world: grandiosity, humility, connectedness

10.     Stability of reality:  psychoticism

11.   Sociability

12.   Emotional stability

13.   Memory

14.   Causality

15.   Intentions of other beings

16.   Identity of others


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    • Apostle Jack profile image

      Apostle Jack 7 years ago from Atlanta Ga

      You said it well.