Religious Appeals to the Conscious Mind
The human being is an entity born into the world just as any other living thing does; we live, breathe, and evolve in our own state of living. Each individual life form contributes to the collective society which has generated over thousands of years, established by specific functions which constitute what we refer to as our “existence.” But human existence is such an unknown concept which can only be attempted to be explained through the framework of logic exposed to our human lenses, and we may only try to establish an understanding of the true nature of ourselves and what exists within our realm of experience.
The individual and the collective society in which he or she may exist is limited to the knowledge ascertainable through the lenses of human perception. This filter serves as both the main contribution and restriction to the amount of information attainable to the human race, and we find ourselves constantly asking questions to try to bridge the gaps of our uncertainties. We are naturally ignorant beings, unknowing of our objective causality and anything that extends beyond our current ability to know what we do. Our ignorance, however, is the driving factor for education, and hence, philosophy. Our constant strive for progression and extending our scope of knowledge is what allows us to contemplate the unknown, and attempt to resolve our seemingly arbitrary disposition. Our intrinsic state of unknowing is what engenders our desire to understand the self and the meaning behind our existence. Typically, the approach to resolve the nature of the self revolves trying to understand our origin, and to what we can attribute our emergence into the universe and our current manifestation within it. Fundamental contributions of philosophy have attempted to elucidate the reality of human existence, utilizing the framework of both logic and reason to aid in our search for truth.
Understanding our reality is not attainable exclusively through an examination of an individual philosophy; rather, it necessitates the combination of different branches of philosophy and the incorporation of areas of knowledge. When we attempt to understand the nature of the human being, we need to analyze both our intrinsic human attributes as well as the external world in which we live. If each is considered to exist independently from the other, any conception of reality cannot be substantiated, and its examination would be erroneous and incomplete. But this is the beauty of philosophy, the knowledge we obtain is not separable into different exclusive sectors; each constituent functions as a building block for the entirety of our current knowledge base.
The idea of the self is something we, as a species, take for granted. We don’t usually think about the self because we are the self: our composition of skin, bones, and brain which makes up our body and allows us to live. But the sole analysis of our physical state, as argued by many, does not account for the array of emotions, ethics, morals, and thought processes inherent to our intelligence, as it marks one’s ability as a self to bridge a connection between the individual and the outside world. This is what we may refer to as consciousness. *cite source here for another definition* In it’s simplest terms, consciousness is how we perceive to know the world. Our conscious perception is the root of our intelligence as a human, and to it we can attribute any quality we may express other than physicality.
It is widely accepted among the philosophical community, and any community for that matter, that the human being is a conscious being. Opposition to the existence of consciousness would contradict itself, as the ability to conceive a plausible counterargument would necessitate a conscious mind to do so. However, the true state of our consciousness is controversial, and an essential argument in identifying the nature of the self and reality *Insert definition here*. The reason that philosophers juggle with the problem of consciousness so much is due to the fact that we cannot directly pinpoint conscious experience, as we can with the brain, for example. We cannot point a tangible finger at an intangible concept, especially the one dictating which finger to point. So, in a midst of uncertainty, philosophy has attempted to resolve the mysterious essence of the conscious state with many theories pertinent to both its appearance and its function.
The theory of consciousness does not only revolve around the nature of the conscious mind; it is a vital tool which facilitates human philosophy to begin with. Without conscious perception, we would not engage in any sort of thought or decision-making, and first person experience would cease to exist. Assuming that the human being could still function to its current extent without a conscious mind dictating its mindset, it would be nothing more than a mindless mass moving through the motions of life without thought, contemplation, emotion, or any other characteristics of the mind to which we attribute human qualities.
This designates the reason why the theory of consciousness does not stop at its root; it extends into every other fundamental philosophical principles of humanity. How we perceive consciousness is how we understand humanity on Earth’s matrix, and whatever exists beyond that. Without consciousness, nothing within the world is alive, and the superior state of being is that without perception, recognition, and thought. Given that humanity is currently the superior life form on Earth, under the conditions that we hold the most power and are not subjugated by any other known species, our philosophy falls under the paradigm of human knowledge, and to that extension, what is substantial through the lenses of human interpretation.
When we evaluate consciousness along the framework of “what it is,” we quickly resort to the question of “how (or why) it is,” because the essence of consciousness we currently exhibit in our lives today necessitates an origin for the phenomena to emerge or create itself. However, deciphering the origin of consciousness is a more difficult and complex process than analyzing it as it currently exists because we cannot associate it with empirical analysis. Humanity has yet to objectively fill the missing gap of our existence, we are unable to objectively explain the correlation between the self and the world around in which we live. Most of our differing ideas regarding our origin stem from different beliefs of how the conscious mind operates in relation to the physical self. Our mode of self-perception determines how we perceive the universe, and bridges the gap between the human and the world allowing for our existence, and logically distinguishes between what is life and what is not.
Many active theories compete to solve the puzzle of our existence today, as they have for hundreds of years. On one hand, religion appeals to mysticism and the existence of higher power, with creationism explaining our existence, whereas science utilizes empirical and rational logic ascertainable in a human manner in order to evaluate our existence. Religious beliefs stem from the lack of empirical knowledge to explain ourselves and our existence. It utilizes aspects of faith and belief to constitute its notions of truth and ideology, and appeals to certain phenomena around which science falters in explanation.
Religion and science contradict each other in the concept of existence, and humanity embodies their ascribed opposition, as different groups of people choosing to believe in different theories of causality. However, humanity is incapable of seeing what we cannot, and therefore the basis of our objective ideals are formulated on our collective subjectivity, or the shared knowledge basis among a community. We utilize the perception of the self and the state in which we live in the world around us to qualify theories existence.
Different perceptions of the self and the integration of oneself into society influences the human conception of our existence. The theory of the nature of the self concerns different concepts of reality and how our perception is dictated and influenced by the nature of how the self is composed. Religion posits itself on the concept of the soul as an inherent quality of the self, necessitating religious morality and belief in our lives…
Gennaro, Rocco J. “Consciousness.” Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy,