Consciousness vs. Conscience

Important note to serious thinkers

Let’s get to the point. Free from distracting memes, and let us not bring to this subject any  pre-existing prejudice (just as insurance companies would not hear of pre-existing conditions) but only considerations factually corroborated. The term Consciousness and its twin term, Conscience, are found everywhere, everyone seeks to understand their meaning, and while their meaning seems deceivingly simple to the heuristic mind, it is actually complex. Whoever wishes to get to the crux, the essence of their meaning, will have to think deductively. Below, in an effort to properly position this article at the outset, we share a short segment –which we edited with some liberties- of the Kalama Sutta, which helps us to think, investigate, and understand Reality as it is, with all practicality. It is best not to believe anything, but rather just to point out, deliberate, and act accordingly in a coherent manner:

* “[…] Do not go upon what has been acquired by repeated hearing; nor upon tradition; nor upon rumor; nor upon what is in a scripture; nor upon surmise; nor upon an axiom; nor upon specious reasoning; nor upon a bias toward a notion that has been pondered over; nor upon another’s seeming ability; nor upon the consideration, “The monk is our teacher.” when you yourselves know: “These things are good; these things are not blamable; these things are implemented by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to benefit and happiness,” enter on and abide in them.”

Consciousness vs. Conscience

Consciousness

Consciousness is a psycho-somatic phenomenon, a biological process that not only ‘notes’ through the five senses, but also ‘notes itself’ that is it ‘notes itself as the process of noting’; hence the famous “Cogito, ergo sum”.

At the outset, we must carefully observe that consciousness dos not ‘note’ itself in the same manner as it notes the world outside, and this is obvious since in the act of self-noting, consciousness somatically, and thus virtually ‘re-creates’, ‘conjures images, sounds, sensations and ideations. Consciousness does not directly see itself, hear itself, touch itself, smell itself, or taste itself directly. At most, it infers itself a ‘a noting that notes what is being noted’.

If you disagree, have any doubts, or you wish to improve on this definition, we invite you to advance your views in our TDW Forum as a participating member.

We posit that consciousness is a ‘knowing’ a natural psycho-somatic-existential process, which simply labels, collects, classifies, compares, and references ‘notes’. In other words, consciousness connects dots which are in-and-of-themselves otherwise not connected. Consciousness strings (psycho-somatic-existential process) pearls (individual notes), generating a necklace, a string of information (‘knowing’). We suggest at this point, checking the etymology of the term Sutra which exemplifies this process through which consciousness gets to know itself stringing one necklace at a time.

We perceive and process the ‘notes’, of course, through the five senses we are all familiar with.

Conscience

In Spanish, notably, the terms consciousness and conscience differ only by one letter ‘s’. It follows that they generally may have a tough time distinguishing consciousness from conscience.

Let us point out right away that there exists no conscience without a consciousness, while there are many a consciousness devoid of conscience. 🙂

For a good listener, few words are plenty; for those who may need clarification regarding the meaning of conscience, we suggest reading our articles in our Religion blog category, or articles having to do with morality and ethics.