C is for Consciousness

The Eye of Perception

The Eye of Perception

This month, I am participating in a rather LARGE blogging challenge which involves writing a series of 26 posts – one for each letter of the alphabet – based around a theme. My theme is about nature and all its amazing features. The Tao Te Ching speaks often of nature and then patterns of nature are where the I Ching gets its roots.

So, today is all about Consciousness.

Consciousness is a unique quality of human beings. It is defined as the ability to be aware of oneself. In spiritual terms, it implies a greater awareness than the mundane activities of life – awareness of self.

As far as scientists know, humans are the only living beings that have this feature. They have tried to recreate consciousness with artificial intelligence, but they have succeeded yet. Animals are conscious in the way that they are awake, but they are not generally self-aware.

There has been some debate, however, on whether or not animals have emotional capabilities, an aspect of consciousness. Many scientists believe that animals do not possess emotional ability, but I think that they just have not seen this video…

Emotions and consciousness are not quite the same thing, but they are both signs of higher intelligence. I think that other species (plants and animals both) are a lot more intelligent than humans care to admit. Many years ago, I read a book called The Secret Life of Plants. In it, they had experiments that showed that plants respond differently to different emotional states. While that may not be the same as being self-aware like humans are, it does demonstrate that plants also contain intelligence that we do not yet fully understand.

If you look at the work done on dolphin intelligence, it is easy to see that we have a lot yet to learn with them as well. Who knows? If we can’t even measure or recognize dolphin language, how do we know for sure that dolphins are not also self-aware? As we know from our shady history of how we treat other humans on this planet, I think it might be better to assume that they are intelligent than that they are not. If other species were to judge humans by how we treat other species (and our own), we might not be considered that conscious after all.

This post is part of a series called the A to Z Blogging Challenge, taking place during the month of April 2016. Each day is a new letter throughout the month. My theme this month is NATURE. To view other bloggers writing about this alphabet, check out the list here

What do you think? Do you think that dolphins might be self-aware? Do you believe that plants have emotional intelligence? Please tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

My A to Z Nature themed posts so far…

A is for Aspen
B is for BreathB is for Butterfly
C is for Consciousness


  1. I completely agree about scientists underestimating animals, and perhaps plants as well.

    Why decide intelligence by how ours works? If we’re the most intelligent species on this planet, lord help us all.
    J.H. Moncrieff recently posted…B is for Boy in the BoxMy Profile

  2. Oh Amy…this is a big one for me. I believe that every living thing on the planet has some form of self awareness…how else could they survive. I love to sit in the ‘quiet’ of the woods and listen…..because “they” all have so much to say…..
    Debbie Goode recently posted…Mikey is Finished……My Profile

  3. completely agree with @DebbieGoode that every living thing on the planet has some form of self awareness.
    @bhawnasaini_yml from Yellow Mellow Life

  4. I think you’re right when you say there’s lot we don’t know about animals. Or the world, for that matter. In fact, I’m fond of saying “we dont’ know what we don’t know.”
    Carol Cassara recently posted…Oscar… Oscar de la Renta, that isMy Profile

  5. I absolutely believe all living things are conscious, sentient beings and our generally inability to see and understand this says a lot more about our limitations than theirs.
    Deborah Weber recently posted…Manifesto: D is for…My Profile

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