Posted: November 15, 2009 by Wildcat in Uncategorized

Consciousness is, in effect, the key to a life examined

“… Even when we resort to the simple and standard dictionary definition of consciousness – as an organism’s awareness of its own self and surroundings – it is easy to envision how consciousness is likely to have opened the way in human evolution to a new order of creations not possible without it : conscience, religion, social and political organisations, the arts, the sciences, and technology. Perhaps even more compellingly, consciousness is the critical biological function that allows us to know sorrow or know joy, to know suffering or know pleasure, to sense embarassment or pride, to grieve for lost love or lost life. Whether individually experienced or observed, pathos is a by-product of consciousness and so is desire. None of those personal states would ever be known to each of us without consciousness. Do not blame Eve for knowing; blame consciousness, and thank it too.

… Consciousness is, in effect, the key to a life examined, for better and for worse, our beginner’s permit into knowing all about the hunger, the thirst, the tears, the laughter, the kicks, the punches, the flow of images we call thought, the feelings, the words, the stories, the beliefs, the music and the poetry, the happiness and the ecstacy.”

– from Antonio Damasio, The Feeling of What Happens: Body, Emotion and the Making of Consciousness (1999)

(Image source)



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