Week 7 / Consciousness and Memory / Erum Farooque

Consciousness is a difficult concept to define since it can mean so many different things. Personally, when I hear consciousness I think of being aware of surroundings, but usually, and more specifically I think of consciousness as being awake vs unconsciousness, the state of being asleep. So, I thought of course, animals have consciousness, they all sleep too. Humans are not the only beings to go into a state of slumber. But then I thought about how consciousness is about being aware of one’s surroundings, presence, and state of being. It is like the idea of ”What is real? and Am I real?”. Reality is a topic discussed in The Matrix, as we saw in class. If we are not consciousness of ourselves, our environment, and reality, who knows what dire consequences can result. In The Matrix we lose touch of everything and don’t even live in the “real” world anymore and live in a virtual simulation of the world to protect us from the truth. We must be and stay consciousness of everything, including “we”. We is society and the people surrounding us and in our lives in general. We affects our consciousness and memory, depending up on how much we let it. The more conscious we are, the more we will remember and the more we remember, more specifically what we remember, will affect how “we” will affect us.  Surroundings definitely greatly effect the shaping of a person. When we talk about consciousness, the “we” we are talking about is society and people in general. Consciousness contributes to memory, obviously. For example a drunk person’s state of consciousness is very low so the person remembers very little of that time later on. It is important to be conscious of one’s surroundings, an idea The Matrix demonstrates very clearly. My dad told me a story about how aware the Mesopotamians were of their environment. He said an angel slipped the thinnest piece of paper under one leg of a chair a man was sitting on and working and he immediately reacted and moved, feeling that he was out of balance and the chair was no longer level. Being that conscious uses more brain power than the average human. People only use 10% o f their actual brain power. Doesn’t that make you wonder, how about the rest, the MAJORITY of the brain that is wasted. The Mesopotamians probably use more than that mere about. If we used more than 10%, I’ve been told we could do amazing things like fly and telekinesis. Wouldn’t that be amazing?

Consciousness depends on your perspective. It is defined as “a type of mental state, a way of perceiving, particularly the perception of a relationship between self and other. It has been described as a point of view…” How people view their consciousness, living and being depends on each individual person. People see life and search for the meaning of it and look for a purpose. People turn to spiritual means to fill this void sometimes. 


This video illustrates how people’s consciousness work. It is like a neat chronicle of the circle of life. It shows how people want to be separated and independent at first but when they become conscious of this they want to be together with others that “we” I discussed earlier. They try to join the we, even worship it, and always have that feeling of belonging. Their emotions change their consciousness and how they try to survive and these emotions also change their memories. Memory and consciousness can be explained through science as brain waves and chemicals and the such, but art is linked to memory and consciousness too. Memory has a great effect on consciousness and how people view life, right? Well, memories are shaped by art, visual images and beauty leave a greater impression than a lackluster boring experience. Happy art will cause someone to have a happy conscious state while disturbing images and ideas through art can produce a depressed individual. Sometimes being too conscious of one’s surroundings can have negatives results like depression or can have the opposite effect. People want to know the truth and are sometimes happier when they know, on the other hand, knowing too much can make one think how horribel things really are. As in the matrix, Neo was perffectly happy in the fabricated world, but when became consciosu of the horrible reality of machines abusing humans, he was clearly disturbed.

I watched the video about Daniel Dennet speaking and he was very interesting. His point in the video in which the squares changed color but no one noticed is interesting as it relates to my point of memory and consciousness. Perspectives shape what you are conscious of and end up remembering. Also, another interesting point made by him was that you do not know how you do something, but you just know that you do it. I do not know exactly how I am conscious, of what I am conscious of even, but I know that I am conscious.

~Erum Farooque

One Response to “Week 7 / Consciousness and Memory / Erum Farooque”

  1. admin says:

    Nice long post. But I asked you to blog about Dr. Ramakrishnan’s presentation. Also, references to the Matrix and the posted youtube videos are a little too generic. 7.5/10

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