The understanding of consciousness has for a long time been subject to a number of discussions. The advancement in scientific knowledge has, however, revolutionized the mindset of people in relation to the effective comprehension of consciousness. This paper is a critique of an article about consciousness by Marie-Helen.
The relationship between consciousness and the age of the body was initially attributed to spiritual and philosophical influences. The author of the article states clearly that it was uncertain whether the earth and everything contained on it was a mere representation of the mind or whether it was a physical representation. It was only until the twentieth century when scientific research was incorporated in the quest to establish the logic in consciousness that material elements of the earth were recognized in the search.
The author indicates in her article that it was difficult to understand the inward operations of the human mind. She further notes that others even went to an extent of doubting the existence of mental processes due to the complexity of the matter. That notwithstanding, they failed to relate consciousness with mental maturity and age. Such people only believed in the functions of the brain and its ability to comprehend and draw viable conclusions (Ensyck, and Keane, 2010).
Helen states in her work that the advancement in scientific methodology and replenished attention on consciousness led to the critical examination of correlations of brain regions and their importance in voluntary and involuntary mental actions of humans. These include unconscious and conscious processes like learning, memory, vision, and others (Hardcastle, 2005). The author says that researches conducted by scientists and psychologists revealed that verbal reports and cues can be affected by the failure of the human memory and sometimes inner speech, all of which are attributed to consciousness. She gives an example of perceived visions and temporary blindness, which merely come as a result of lack of attention or absentmindedness (Leahey, 2004).
Helen raises the question of whether all actions done by man are instigated by conscious awareness. She establishes that common intuitions and notions assume that all the actions of man are only determined by consciousness. However, it is important to note that not all actions are instigated by the conscious mind (Lycan, 2007). She confirms that there are preconscious activities of the mind that are imperative in every decision-making process before conscious awareness comes into play (Baars, and Franklin, 2003). This is an implication that the brain is not in a position to predict actions but is capable of determining what to do, how, and when to do it.
There are quite a number of theoretical viewpoints of consciousness. Helen gives an example of three theories that have since been used to explain the existence of consciousness. Additionally, she also cites evidence that proves the viability of these independent theories (Benjamin, 2010). According to Helen, it is possible for the human brain to operate unconsciously so long as there are consistent modular systems that are needed to carry out the operations involved in the process (Kuhn, 1970).
The author of the article gives a comprehensive discussion on consciousness. She explains clearly the origin of the quest to establish its existence. In my opinion, the author of the article has expounded on this technical subject. However, she has not provided a clear distinction between the brain and the mind. She should have given a comprehensive distinction between the two.
Baars, B. J., & Franklin, S. (2003). How conscious experience and working memory interact. Trends in cognitive sciences, 7(4), 168-172.
Benjamin, L.T. Jr. (2010). A History of psychology – Third edition. USA: Blackwell Publishing, MA.
Ensyck, M. W. & Keane, M. T. (2010). Cognitive psychology A student’s handbook (6th ed.) New York, NY: Taylor and Francis Group.
Hardcastle, V. G. (2005). Locating consciousness. Amsterdam: J. Benjamins Pub. Co.
Kuhn, T. S. (1970). The structure of scientific revolutions –Third edition. The University of Chicago Press. Chicago, IL (USA).
Leahey, T. S. (2004). A History of Psychology – Main currents in psychological thought. (6th ed.) Canada: Pearson, Prentice Hall.
Lycan, W. G. (2007). Consciousness. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.