My question is fairly straightforward would consiousness never exist if that "subject" was not subject to information from the external world via the "subjects" senses because of a "fault" in the method by which these senses transmit the information to there destination.

So iam asking does the manifestation of consiousness require the reciept of information from an external world in order to "create" that consiousness or would it still be "created" if the circumstances meant that it was subject to nothingness.

If the consiouss needs sensory input to create the individual that consious is, can they conclude that if you say " i think and therefore iam" meaning that that consious is real. From that and the necessesity of sensory input for that consious to exist don't you conclude the world that consious is subject to is also real?

Or is the statement "I think therefore I am" incorrect because it manifests from consious thoughts resulting from a language that consious uses in its thoughts, where a subject subject to nothingness has a consious but could not concieve of language and similarly could not experience the same thought.

  • Big topic. My view would be that the manifestation of intentional consciousness requires the reciept of information from an external world in order to be, but that consciousness does not require this. Clearly those who believe that consciousness is prior to space-time, form and 'things' believe that it does not require them, but this would not be intentional consciousness.
    – user20253
    Nov 18, 2017 at 12:31

4 Answers 4


The issue I have with this question is that perhaps the use of the word consciousness is imprecise in this case. What I think you're really asking about is awareness.

Let's conduct a quick thought experiment.

Take everything you know; every piece of knowledge that you possess, all the experiences, everything you've seen and heard, and put it on a hard drive for safe keeping. Is that drive conscious? Of course not. Is it aware? No. It's an inanimate storage device that contains data it doesn't understand and does not have the faculties or potential to do so, largely because it's static.

Conversely; take a new born baby and place it in a sensory deprivation chamber for 20 years. Feed it intravenously but restrict it from having ANY contact through senses with the outside world. Is the 20 year old conscious? Most certainly. Is it aware, or at least self aware? Highly unlikely. New born babies are conscious according to our definition, but they aren't aware. It's not until they are about 2 years old (generally speaking) that they exhibit behaviours that indicate that they have become aware of themselves as a separate entity from their carers.

From this, we can infer that awareness is more than just knowledge, but consciousness is more an 'always on' state of input and consolidation of the stimuli around us.

To be sure, not all knowledge will lead to awareness, and the structure of the knowledge we leave behind for the next generation is what has allowed humans to develop so quickly in this regard. If we had to learn everything from scratch for ourselves rather than being able to short cut the process by quickly absorbing the knowledge of others, we would not have the tools we need to build our awareness even today (in my opinion). That we can order and categorise our knowledge and apply a set of rules to it in order to build upon it is what has given us this ability.

So; perhaps we can say that consciousness is the engine of self awareness, and our knowledge and processing frameworks (like language, logic, maths etc.) are the fuel.

  • I like your answer and consiousness like the engine and the framework, language is the fuel and it's not a bad analogy. But what's consuming me is language is the only way we are going to be able to ever communicate consiousness, and is it a function of logic and is maths a function of logic I think language is primarily the function of both and language precursor either, people communicated before they communicated notions of logic and mathematics and our thoughts are composed in language indeed every thought now is being communicated via the language I know to you and yes there a rules of it
    – user29363
    Nov 21, 2017 at 22:13
  • Hi Bobs. I see where you're going, but language is more of a superset of maths and logic (separate but related fields). Language will also let us communicate ideas outside of logic; if it couldn't, we wouldn't have humour and we wouldn't have faith as concepts. Also, language changes over time as new ideas form in our consciousnesses and as we expand our understanding of the universe around us; it's extensible so long as what comes next can be explained using the rules and knowledge already in place. This last bit is why you can't explain a space shuttle to a caveman.
    – Tim B II
    Nov 21, 2017 at 22:20
  • Would you say though that language is recursive dictionary, the definition of the words in language predisposes agreement through faith in other words used in that definition. What do you think of the proposition of gaining new concepts out of a random composition of that language and then attributing a common agreement as to the legitimacy upon some of the outcome of that composition and attributing it with new diction? Which would be a process of accumulating and furthering that language without any use of the conceptual inspiration of consioussness, or is that notion real stupid lol.
    – user29363
    Nov 21, 2017 at 22:31
  • I'll be careful not to induce a chat through comments here, but essentially my views are similar to what you're suggesting here. If you and I both agree on the meanings of YES and NO, it's possible for me to infer (and then imply to you) the concept of MAYBE. This is actually a big topic (I'm a computational linguist by trade) but the important point is that I have to form the concept of MAYBE before I can share it. In other words, language extends to our concepts for growth, but concepts extend to our language for distribution of those ideas. Both are a form of learning.
    – Tim B II
    Nov 21, 2017 at 22:41
  • Yeah the concept of maybe though would be whether the concept comes from a mindfulness of degree and there is not the simply the absolution of logic a or not a and the grey in between should not be discussed. The concept of maybe has been understood and is not a result of the limitations of the initial language shared and results in an extension of that language but only by an incomplete and maybe lol an assumption your both on the same page that results from the truth in the notion of degree.
    – user29363
    Nov 21, 2017 at 23:03

It's a fair question. However, you are stating the answer to the question. You're saying the same thing in different ways. You couldn't have Consciousness without senses nor vice versa. It's like trying to separate water from water.

  • Yeah but the senses are physical and transmit information from that world to the consiouss and I don't agree that they are the same water is physical and consious I determine is not, So that separation is not untangling two physical properties there's already a dislocation between the two well at least that's the abstraction my mind can conceive and I'll grant it's limited lol
    – user29363
    Nov 21, 2017 at 22:20
  • Why do you assume water has no consciousness Emoto´s water experiment is controversial but it clearly demonstrates there is some consciousness in water. [highexistence.com/water-experiment/] Nov 29, 2017 at 12:16
  • Consiousness therefore could be attributed the whole of creation like in pandora in avatar or a ghai or mother earth.
    – user29363
    Dec 2, 2017 at 23:12

I would have to say no. The way I see it, the purpose of consciousness is to resolve conflicting desires. Without input from reality, such conflict wouldn't arise.


Sometimes is not the word that matters but the meaning the word implies. There is a thin layer between concepts such us existence, consciousness and awareness. Would you ever exist if nobody were conscious of your existence or the actions of your existence in the whole history of the universe in the past of future? If so it's because you have taken a solipsistic approach. Your mind and the information in it would be the whole universe. If your mind were the whole universe would you identify yourself with every thought in it?

The quote from Descartes "I think therefore I am" from his Evil Demon it's not entirely accurate from an eastern philosophy point of view because he identified himself as a thinking entity at his core but how could he have known that his thoughts were not also created by the demon? How can you be sure at 100% that your thoughts are your thoughts and no created by another entity you are not aware of? Are you aware of your unconscious processes of your mind?

From my personal view I tend to accept the neuroscientific one, consciousness its just the capacity the mind has to perceive the passing of time which is different from creating mental sentences, ideas, memories etc. E.g. experienced meditators with no thoughts in their minds know that they are conscious and they exist here and now without having any thoughts.

Existence is metaphysical, and identifying yourself with your mind from a Buddhistic point of view it's just your ego (delusion of the mind) trying to separate himself from the rest of the universe when in fact we are all one.

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