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Question - Should we make increasing our consciousness as important a topic in schools as the 3 Rs.

“Cogito, Ergo Sum”( I think, therefore I am) Rene’ Descartes . Is not self-awareness evidence of consciousness? I am just a layman when it comes to science, so I am not sure my comments are relevant, but the fact that this discussion is being presented seems to back this up. We have advanced technologically, which may in turn be slowing the evolution of consciousness. If we taught self-awareness in schools along with the 3 Rs would we of gained a greater understanding of consciousness. This in turn could have resulted in an increase our study and understanding of consciousness a lot quicker. We appear to be on a race to increase our animal desires for profit, which appears to be resulting in a decrease of consciousness. As I said I am not sure if any of this is relevant or not, but for me, any focus on consciousness helps us head in the right direction.

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  • Jul 25 2013: You can't understand consciousness because the mind can't grasp anything that's not intellectual. You can only feel it in yourself. The statement: "I think, therefore i am" can't be true. A baby IS before any thought enters it's mind! Fully complete and perfect as it is. The newborn looks at you with pure awareness without any distracting thoughts until the conditioning begins.... This is good - This is bad.

    Being conscious doesn't mean when you wake up in the morning that you are actually conscious. Usually the mind starts chatting right after waking up. Oh i have to do this or that have to be here or there in an hour. This is being lost in the mind.

    How many of you actually feel their body breathing or their heart beating when waking up. Have you ever really felt your sheets or your pillow? How does your skin FEEL? How does it feel to loose your mind and just feel your being inside yourself? Do you need a thought like: "i'm going to breathe in now" to breathe... No, it's the body's intelligence that's doing it and it doesn't have anything to do with our minds. We would die on the spot if we had to control any of our body functions ourselves.

    Consciousness or awareness is there before anything else. No thought actually exists or is good nor bad. Only the mind makes it either. It's literally just in our heads and we believe every thought that comes up as if our lives depend on it. What we need to teach in schools is not to identify with what we think and that kids don't need to become anything besides what they already are..... which is themselves!

    Don't believe me? No Problem: Find out for yourselves: Eckhart Tolle, Adyashanti, Pema Chödrön, Paramahansa Yogananda, Ramana Maharshi, Alan Watts, Gurdjieff, Osho, etc.

    All the best
    • Jul 25 2013: I greatly appreciate everyone’s response and it is all good. I agree with a lot of what you say; however, I wonder if we enter the world without (if not a consciousness) a pre- consciousness, a knowing, a destiny, or a life of experiences/lessons/fears to overcome. I have had a lot of people, self help groups, and seminars, books, etc, some of those who you mentioned, which have helped me increase my knowing. I believe we are all on a soul journey and having assistance to become more aware has made it easier. I just wonder if this had been a focus in schools, like cultures seem to have, how much of my life experience would have been. I am trying to stay away from absolutes, even though I slip at times. I am also not fully sold that consciousness doesn’t go beyond the five senses, which could mean there is something more than you appear to believe. Can’t say that’s true, but may be?
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        Aug 4 2013: I not only believe that consciousness goes beyond the five (or more) senses, to me is is part and parcel of the Universe. The Universe, not just ours, but the totality of all universal life we can see and not see, is all One, living, breathing, feeling, thinking consciousness 'soup.' But that's just me and a few billion others who see evidence of it every day in every way.

        I read recently that a belief is only a thought we keep thinking over and over, and that to change our thinking is to change our lives. Our minds, our thoughts--thinking--have the ability to change, alter, create our current realities to those more in tune with what we would rather experience. I know it; I've seen it; Ive done it. Change your thinking, change your life. That is part of the path the new 'consciousness' is taking, will be taking us right along with it.

        When we finally get to the point where we realize that LIFE is not happening to us, but that WE are happening to life, that we have choices in the lives we lead, the circumstances we are in, the experiences we have, we will have taken a giant step for the future of humanity.
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      Aug 2 2013: re" A baby IS before any thought enters it's mind! Fully complete and perfect as it is

      What level of consciousness are you referring to. We might conjecture that they have the capability for consciousness in the same way they have the potential for language.

      Babies do not have a fully developed frontal cortex. Babies do not have a sense of self, and sense of other, and do not develop an Theory of Mind until age 4.
      Other animal demonstrate a limited level of consciousness but it does not rise to the potential level of human consciousness.
      • Aug 3 2013: Thank you for your question and statement.

        The level of consciousness i am referring to, doesn’t seem to be any kind of level at all! It appears to be the origin of consciousness. Which is inaccurate in itself because, as far as i understand it, consciousness can’t be explained, described, categorized or analyzed. It IS itself. It can only be felt or pointed to because it is the one thing which makes perceiving, feeling and thinking possible. (Dao, Dharma, Buddha-Nature, Now, Great Spirit). It can’t be understood intellectually, only experientially!

        You say it yourself: Babies do not have a sense of self or another until the THEORY OF MIND slowly enters it’s brain.

        That in itself suggests we are all one to begin with (Beings coming from and returning to the same source) but through conditioning we forgot the natural state of “being-ness”, “timeless-ness”, or “I am-ness” many spiritual teachers have pointed to throughout the ages and are still pointing to in modern times.

        If you look into the eyes of a newborn animal, without being completely consumed by your mind, you will see a natural, unconditioned and curious attention that’s looking back at you, ready to be formed by life, to learn and experience whatever there is to come. This, in my opinion, is the same attention that is looking out of the eyes of a newborn human baby and is what i am referring to.

        All the best
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          Aug 3 2013: Let underline two portions of your statement: "as far as i understand it," and "This, in my opinion,"

          Spiritualism is a BELIEF system. To point to "spiritual teachers... thoughout the ages" is to ignore what science has discover in the last twenty years about the brain.

          The age old concept that consciousness is a soul or spirit has little scientific basis. The concept that it is an emergent property of the brain allows for measurement and observation

          You have also distorted my statement when you say "Babies do not have a sense of self or another until the THEORY OF MIND slowly enters it’s brain." They develop senses about self and others within the first year of like and understand that an other has separate likes and dislikes at about 15-18 months.

          http://www.ted.com/talks/alison_gopnik_what_do_babies_think.html

          Consciousness is brain dependent.
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          Aug 3 2013: "Although a newborn lacks self-awareness, the baby processes complex visual stimuli and attends to sounds and sights in its world, preferentially looking at faces. The infant’s visual acuity permits it to see only blobs, but the basic thalamo-cortical circuitry necessary to support simple visual and other conscious percepts is in place. And linguistic capacities in babies are shaped by the environment they grow up in. Exposure to maternal speech sounds in the muffled confines of the womb enables the fetus to pick up statistical regularities so that the newborn can distinguish its mother’s voice and even her language from others. A more complex behavior is imitation: if Dad sticks out his tongue and waggles it, the infant mimics his gesture by combining visual information with proprioceptive feedback from its own movements. It is therefore likely that the baby has some basic level of unreflective, present-oriented consciousness."

          http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=when-does-consciousness-arise
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          Aug 3 2013: Infants have a conscious experience of the world at as early as 5 months of age, new research finds.

          New parents may raise an eyebrow at the idea that their baby might not be a conscious being, but scientists have, until now, not been able to clearly show that infants react with awareness rather than reflexively. Even in adults, much of the brain's processing of the world occurs without conscious awareness, said Sid Kouider, a neuroscientist at the Laboratoire de Sciences Cognitives et Psycholinguistique in Paris and the Technical University of Denmark.

          http://www.livescience.com/28848-babies-have-consciousness.html


          A glimpse of consciousness emerging in the brains of babies has been recorded for the first time. Insights gleaned from the work may aid the monitoring of babies under anaesthesia, and give a better understanding of awareness in people in vegetative states – and possibly even in animals.

          The human brain develops dramatically in a baby's first year, transforming the baby from being unaware to being fully engaged with its surroundings. To capture this change, Sid Kouider at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris, France, and colleagues used electroencephalography (EEG) to record electrical activity in the brains of 80 infants while they were briefly shown pictures of faces.

          http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn23401-emerging-consciousness-glimpsed-in-babies.html#.Uf1W12RARU4
      • Aug 3 2013: In general, it’s true that spiritualism is a belief system. It requires a belief or concept to be kept alive. Unless someone experientially learns something to be the truth of what they belief, a belief system, if adapted without question, can't be confirmed nor denied. But if it is experienced, it doesn’t stay only a belief any longer. It becomes a knowing!

        The consciousness i am referring to, is something that can’t be described with words but that i encountered myself through vision quests and, as arrogant as this might sound, know to be a fundamental part of our world. That’s why i use statements like: “in my opinion” and “as far as i understand it!”

        I have encountered a state of “Being” i was never told about by my friends or family, schools or churches while growing up because only very few people used to know about it. After that, i looked for people who are talking about what i’ve experienced and experience ever since it “started” in my everyday life. The people i found are Eckhart Tolle and others i mentioned before.

        Eckhart tolle: http://youtu.be/1FPjxnLicJw

        What would you do if you come to realize a truth that is so contrary to the world you grew up in and that goes against everything you’ve ever learned to believe? How would you deal with that? Eventually you’d have to acknowledge and live it, matter what anybody else says!?

        Because you experience it, you simply know it to be true and would like to share it! But everyone you try to tell about it, is so consumed by their minds (like you were before) that they can’t hear you. Their thoughts make to much noise! The more you talk about it, the more they don’t want to hear what you would like to tell them. The only thing you can do is accept it as it is and continue to live your life with the knowing of what you’ve experienced, regardless of what the majority of the world tries to tell and teach you.

        Adyashanti: http://youtu.be/3cPwAGbkl6Y
      • Aug 3 2013: Scientists like Gopnik are great in explaining the processes they observe of how things work on a physical level, that means, if they don’t get lost in meaningless labels and descriptions. Science in general does an amazing job explaining a lot of the facts and wonders our world has to offer and i’m sure it will continue to do so. That’s one reason why i love TED.

        I honestly don’t claim to know a lot about science either, but to me, It sometimes just lacks the sacredness we’ve almost completely banned out of our world and which i have found to be an essential part of myself. In science, many things are often made to look like dead matter, machinelike and completely random. Which, in my opinion, they are not!

        Evan Grant: http://www.ted.com/talks/evan_grant_cymatics.html

        Your statement: “Consciousness is brain dependent” doesn’t explain Near Death Experiences millions of people have almost every day. Why is it for example, that when the brain stops functioning, that the deceased are able to perceive themselves and others from the outside?

        Deepak Chopra and Stuart Hameroff: http://youtu.be/erSd5xep30w
        Sogyal Rinpoche: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Tibetan_Book_of_Living_and_Dying
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          Aug 4 2013: Nice reply and I respect the position you take.
          One point however; Near Death experiences, NDE, do not even explain themselves. they are rare and I'd expect them to be more common if there was something to them.

          My criticism of PSI is that there is no overall framework that incorporates what can be reasonably explained and eliminate the parts that do not fit. Without this there is a shadow over the entire subject.

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