The Fork View of Consciousness

The philosophy of consciousness finds its roots way back in the prehistoric times. From the sacred body of knowledge texts from ancient India, called the “Vedas” to the ancient Greek Mythology, the concept of consciousness is greatly emphasized and postulated. There is a saying from the sacred Hindu scripture Bhagavad Gita which goes, “When you feel the suffering of every living thing in your own heart, that is consciousness”. Modern psychologists like Max Velmans and Susan Schneider promulgated consciousness as “the most familiar and yet the most mysterious parts of our lives”. Lao Tzu, an ancient Chinese philosopher, proposed that “the key to growth is the introduction of higher dimensions of consciousness into our awareness”.

Over the years, the science of consciousness has remained in a rudimentary stage of evolution, unlike some of the other complicated disciplines like geoscience, and astronomy. The lack of definitive evidence has often restricted the definition of consciousness to “the quality of being aware”. Some intellectuals of consciousness science use the phrase “mind consciousness”, to couple the concept of consciousness with the surmise of mind. They define consciousness on similar lines of mind as “the state of being characterized by sensation, emotion, choice, and thought”. The truth is, consciousness is a subject that is backed mostly by speculation and rarely by hard facts. So to get to the bottom of this concept, let us first look at the etymology of the word “Consciousness”.

Consciousness Etymology

The word “Conscious” is derived from the seventeenth century Latin word “Conscire” which meant “to know or being aware”. From the word “Conscire”, was formed the Latin word “Conscius” which meant “knowing with others or in oneself”. Between seventeenth and eighteenth century, the word “Conscious” became popular and it was often used to describe one’s “awareness of wrongdoing”. Subsequently, the word “Consciousness” came to be known and it was used to represent, “the state of being aware” or “a person’s perception of something”. The definition of consciousness in psychology goes on similar lines as, “the state of being conscious and the awareness of one’s own existence”.

Is Consciousness for real?

Over the years, no Consciousness research has ever been able to prove the existence of Consciousness. No one knows if Consciousness is a tiny particle inside the brain, or if the brain is just an object of Consciousness. So, does Consciousness really exist or is it just another word to exalt the imagination of elite philosophers? If the philosophers take the onus of Consciousness upon themselves, they must answer questions like, “does consciousness exist?”, “what is the nature of consciousness?” and so forth. And if the onus is rested on the scientists, they must explain the physicality of consciousness. They must answer the questions like “what is consciousness made of” and “how does consciousness work?”. Some scientists of brain consciousness hypothesize that consciousness arises in only certain parts of the brain. A scientist even put forward a theory that consciousness arises in the prefrontal cortex region of the brain. The fact of the matter is, the objects of reality cannot be used to measure the scale of Consciousness. In fact, clubbing Consciousness with reality is belittlement of the former.

 The Fork View of Consciousness

“The Fork View of Consciousness” is an advanced hypothesis on Consciousness. In the journey towards understanding Consciousness, the Fork View of Consciousness attempts to go beyond the realms of reality. Because Consciousness is unimaginably immense and it cannot be fitted in the boundaries of the reality that we perceive through our five senses. The realm of Consciousness is as perpetual and ageless as the Universe itself because Consciousness forms the very basis of anything that exists. In fact, it would not be wrong to say that Consciousness is the Life force of the Universe.

The Fork View of Consciousness essentially dissects Consciousness from multiple angles to create a better picture of the peculiarities of Consciousness. As per this theory, there are four different, yet continuous levels in which Consciousness controls the existence of anything and everything. They are namely, 1) Inception, 2) Survival, 3) Awareness and 4) Propagation. Though Consciousness plays a different role in each of these levels of existence, it has a common feature across these levels, which is that of an invisible force; it appears far from reality and yet, it controls the reality.

Following is a deeper look at the role of Consciousness in each of these four levels of existence.

1. Inception

There are many types of sentient life forms and inanimate objects on earth. Each of these life forms and objects come into existence within the limits of their species or type. An apple doesn’t grow on an orange tree. A molecule of water can never cease to be a combination of 2 atoms of Hydrogen and one atom of Oxygen. The inception of anything that comes into existence is determined by a higher intelligence at the time of its inception, and this intelligence is but its Consciousness. Consciousness determines how a living or nonliving thing would come into existence and what form it would exist in. Had it not been for its Consciousness, no substance or living being would ever come into existence and would never acquire the form that it is bestowed with.

 2. Survival

If we use an average of 80 heart beats per minute, our heart beats 4,800 times per hour and an astounding 115,200 times per day. We do not do anything for our heart to function so consistently and laboriously. And the same goes with most other organs in our body. What or who is it that makes sure our organs keep functioning properly to guarantee our survival? Well, there goes the second angle of Consciousness, the second view of Consciousness, in which it makes sure you live the way you are supposed to live. Consciousness takes the responsibility of your survival as a master, as a guardian, as a servant, and as a God. Consciousness determines the survival of not just a living being, but also that of a lifeless object.  If it were not for Consciousness, any mountain would fall apart in seconds and would cease to be a mountain. If it were not for Consciousness, a heap of sand would start flowing like water, and water would stand still like a solid rock.

3. Awareness

Consciousness is also the reason why all living beings are aware of their existence. Your reality appears the way it does, because of your Consciousness. The constant interaction of your brain with the other organs, the knowledge extracted by your senses, the thoughts and emotions conceived by your mind thereafter, your reactions to the external happenings, your impression of the past and apprehensions about the future, all are the givings of your Consciousness. And Consciousness does not just instate awareness in you but it also continuously builds your awareness, as you come across newer experiences in your life. Consciousness acts as a reservoir that stores in itself, the cumulative sum of your experiences at multiple stages in your life and that is how it gives a meaning to your life. Be it, human beings, animals, insects, trees, shrubs, or the microorganisms, Consciousness is bestowed on every single one of them in different sizes.

4. Propagation

An animal species called the ‘Sponges’ first appeared in the oceans over 580 million years ago. Can you imagine how a species could survive and sustain their core attributes for that long a time? The species of an animal is fundamentally its Consciousness, its higher intelligence, which determines its form and characteristics. And if a species is able to propagate themselves and exist for thousands and lakhs of years, it very much means that the underlying Consciousness of that species has survived the passage of time. The same goes with inanimate objects which do not seem to lose their characteristics over time. The behavior of a stone never changed over the centuries and so does that of water or fire. Every living being or a nonliving thing or an element perishes with time but its Consciousness seems to live forever, quite like the vacuum in the space which never ceases to exist. Consciousness resolutely sustains itself, without being affected by the forces of matter and time.

Final Thoughts

Now that we have been able to put some light on the enigmatic structure of Consciousness, it is all the more apparent, isn’t it, that Consciousness is immensely more complex than we could ever imagine. It is also clear that Consciousness inevitably permeates the entire existence, in not one, but numerous different ways, many of which we may not be even aware of. The enigma of Consciousness also goes on to show that, not everything that exists can be a visible part of our reality. It teaches us that we cannot view everything through the lenses of Science and reality. It is a reminder, that the things that are beyond the realms of our reality, might be the ones having the greatest impact on our lives.