Self-awareness is primarily absent during sleep; however, basic mental functions continue, including perceiving, feeling and acting. These are the same basic mental functions seen in infants.10
2) External awareness is that property which refers to the awareness of objects and events outside of ourselves. This is as essential as self-awareness, since without it we could no more know self-awareness than to know white without black or love without hate. External awareness is at the opposite end of the spectrum from self-awareness. To be able to experience self and external awareness, there must be a focusing of intelligence and consciousness into a separate entity. This doesn't necessarily mean that each consciousness can't also be a part of a higher, hierarchical consciousness network just as an individual self-contained cell is under control of a larger organ-system complex.
Although my own self-awareness has remained essentially the same since age 3 or 4 years, I perceive that my external awareness has increased along with my overall level of ordinary consciousness. This seems to reflect an increase in the amount of stored information in both my conscious and unconscious mind. My higher level of ordinary consciousness would also seem to be directly proportional to my mind's ability to perceive all aspects of my external environment from the microscopic to the macroscopic. The greater the amount of incoming information pertaining to my external environment that my mind can process simultaneously per unit of time, the greater my level of ordinary consciousness. Every aspect of my environment is being continuously and unconsciously monitored by all my bodily sensing devices.
(3) Purposiveness is that property which refers to the manifestation of an active organizing principle. Many examples of purposiveness are alluded to throughout this book, some of which were discussed in Chapter Twelve. It has been stated that the more we study about the mind-body connection, the greater the need to postulate consciousness as an active, organizing principle that coordinates the divergent functions of the physical brain in a focused and purposive manner while operating at the quantum level.11
(4) Consciousness is hierarchical, being present at different subsystems levels. At the human and higher primate level there is self-awareness; however, as one travels down the evolutionary ladder, self-awareness is probably replaced by an awareness which doesn't differentiate between self and the external environment. If the evolution of consciousness involving lifeforms is plotted on a graph, it might resemble the same smoothly rising continuum that was seen when the evolution of intelligence was discussed,
or, one that undulates as it rises while manifesting various thresholds.
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