Is consciousness a thing or a process?

Answered: Is consciousness a thing or a process?

It's certainly not a thing, as we typically understand that word. It has no thing-like properties.

A process? I would have to say no to that as well. Consciousness observes processes. A computer implements myriad processes, but in no sense does it know or observe what it is doing. To even say "do" is to anthropomorphize the computer; it merely blindly enacts, like a chemical reaction. We can say a computer is "blind" to its processes.

In a directly analogous way, the physical brain is entirely blind to its myriad processes. Computers and brains are processes. Only consciousness observes processes.

This means necessarily that consciousness stands outside the processes it observes, but not in the manner of a thing separated from another thing-because it is not a thing, remember-but in some other way that is very difficult to articulate, and which has bedeviled philosophers forever and neuroscientists quite recently.

So if it's not a thing and it's not a process, what is it? How to discover what it is?

This gets to the heart of the problem. If you try to look at it like a scientist, you will forever keep it at arm's length. More to the point, you will artificially construct a subtle thing-like object of consciousness, and you will investigate that fake object, all the while imagining that you are investigating consciousness. Like investigating the picture of an apple rather than a real apple.

With an outward-facing dualistic approach, with consciousness being some sort of subtle object or process that you attempt to investigate (dualistic = you + object), you can never find consciousness in order to investigate it.

The only way you will ever truly be able to investigate consciousness is to turn inward in such a way that there are not two, only consciousness directly observing itself.

This technique has many different names, depending on which meditative tradition you practice. In my tradition it's called mahamudra.

Anyway, the findings of all these traditions, despite superficial differences in wording, are essentially the same. And the discovery is held to be of great value.


Consciousness is thing,but being thing it doesn't fit in our knowledge/experience that whatever is called thing do occupies space,as consciousness is thing which is omnipresent-all pervading.

In our routine notion,what is called thing is found in reference to time but consciousness is such thing which is speculated to have no origin.

Our notion of what thing is based on our perception of our surroundings and our own self with help of our tools of perception named senses & mind,but consciousness is such thing which can only be perceived directly i.e.without help of any mediums like senses & mind.This means you can perceive presence of consciousness only if you are conscious or by being conscious only,you can perceive consciousness-consciousness of others or consciousness of yourself.

Thus,consciousness is supposed to be such thing/substance/some stuff,which could be speculated as perhaps most subtler existence which is beyond reach of human knowledge.

As a man,in context to his waking consciousness,it sounds that,man is free to be conscious and further he is free to be more conscious,by raising his present waking consciousness to higher consciousness-a way to be omnipresent consciousness,but he is unable to know it using his senses & mind as exactly he knows something in its conventional way.

It is what about Omnipresent consciousnes,speculated as thing,before creation and is also applied to an individual who is in deep meditative state.

In both cases,consciousness is thing/just existential thing,absolutely being conscious to its own self with absolute freewill to be stayed like.There is no any element of movements/vibrations/process/any changes,as it is standstill.

As said consciousness wills not to stay standstill in both cases,both wills to vibrate/to move/to chang/some activities called process sets up and some ongoing process gets initiated to create universe in one case and creation of psyche in another case.

As this ongoing movements/sequences advance,consciousness is to be viewed as some process and not thing.

This duel nature of consciousness is reflected on quantum scale as energy particle & wave,as duality of single thing.

For a man,as he is in being established in his current level of consciousness,called waking consciousness,answer would be more on existential ground,as,if you will to be established in deep state of meditation,where for you,consciousness is thing and as you will to opt non-meditativ option,consciousness begins to be ongoing process.


Q guru

Consciousness is computationally constructed by our brain, out of things or physics that have elemental physical qualities. Redness and Greenness are example elemental physical qualities or things our brain builds consciousness knowledge out of. When we are looking at a strawberry, we have conscious knowledge of it that is a computationally bound composite qualia process – which includes a real time set of knowledge and awareness being built out of qualia, that is tracking it as you look at it and imagining things like what you must do to eat it.

For more information about all this, and what these physical things that have physical qualities or qualia could be, see the leading expert consensus "Representational Qualia Theory" camp on theories of consciousness over at Canonizer.

It is our biological nature to objectify and assign labels to our conscious experiences, including consciousness. Dependent upon physiological activities, consciousness is a process that is experienced as though it were a thing. Thinking about oneself creates the illusion of being something in reality. However, reality as experienced is a representational construction based upon an accumulated understanding of impinging internal and external stimuli.

Consciousness most likely is an emergent phenomena. One characteristic of this phenomena is that an individual builds a continuous narrative stitching together discrete events and experiences. This narrative is named often as ‘I'. Experiments indicate that individuals rarely examine the accuracy, logical consistency, truthfulness or validity of this narrative.

Some spiritual practices in some traditions are targeted at recognising the transitory and discrete nature of the constituent experiences. While some practices target expanding the narrative to encompass all discrete events, experiences and all individual narratives of the entire universe into a single narrative, sometimes termed as Brahman.

Consciousness is both a thing and a process. Consciousness exists as a particular arrangement and process of neurons firing.

The physical arrangement of the neurons is a thing.

The order of events including neuron firing that results in consciousness is a process.

Actually even the ongoing process of thinking and acting in different ways has attributes of being a thing.

We refer to the way that a really cool girl thinks and conducts her activities as, "Doing her thing".

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