Philosopher Aristotle emphasised the fact that “thinking always involves thinking — especially when one thinks.” This has got nothing to do with thought, a passive state, in the context of our physics of consciousness. This idea holds good for perceiving too — of seeing something that one perceives with, or without, inventive underpinnings. What does this signify? That all mental states are conscious or receptive states.
Yet, the basic premise of the two states is more than what meets the mind or the eye. It is accepted that conscious states differ from mental states that do not mirror our conscious state. In other words, when one pictures a state of having, or taking, a direct view, our consciousness is no longer a matter of one being aware of that state. It is rather a state that makes us conscious of something. In like manner, the whole idea of perceiving — to bring home yet another point — isn’t always a conscious foray, although it makes us conscious of things. What does this convey? That the principle, any which way you look at it, is the most realistic mode to clarify how conscious states differ from mental states that are not conscious. Or, that perceiving, or seeing and sensing things, is one approach of being aware of them — first in our mind and, thereafter, in the functional aspect of our physical being, or reality.
When we, likewise, summarise the biological context of conscious behaviour, it becomes clear that one always thinks, or desires, something, or feels happy or sad, regardless of one’s frank, unfailing opinion of that state. Put simply, this means that a mental state cannot be labelled as ‘conscious,’ if one is not aware of it, although any state of conscious receptivity, in some way, represents our conscious view of that particular state. This is because a mental state of being conscious also represents of one being responsive to it, not otherwise.
You guessed it right — the term conscious’ describes the phenomenon of being explained and in the description itself. For instance, our individual consciousness of being something is different from our mental state of being conscious. After all, you and I would be conscious of something when we are in a mental state that relates to some aspect of our being, or thing, in a fitting way. Agreed that this element may be, by no means, apparent — yet, whatever the nature of that state, it is nonetheless just as conscious of something, irrespective of whether it is significant, impactful, or inconsequential.
To place the whole context in perspective, we should, yet again, associate our mental states as conscious states in different ways — of what it is like for us to have a conscious feeling of figuring out, for example, the primary colour of a flower in the garden. One that differs from what one had always connected with the customary, or natural, colour of the flower, for a long time. It is, therefore, obvious that our state of being conscious and also perceptive makes us conscious of it.
It is this natural attribute that helps us to explain fundamental differences through the various levels of our being and also states through the subtle differences we perceive by way of our conscious receptivity for things in such contexts. This is simply because we are conscious of things when we are in mental states that represent certain things in an appropriate manner. When we are, likewise, conscious of something, we view or sense it in, one way or another, by just having a suitable idea of it.
(The writer is a wellness physician and author)
Rajgopal Nidamboor