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Do living cells have consciousness?

What about single-cell organisms? Organs/tissues?
At which level does consciousness begin?
Very interesting point of view. Thanks!
@Alan Turing
Yes, and what about nerve system? Isn’t it composed of living cells? Basically you argue that individual cells cannot have consciousness, but their aggregates can. Does it mean that a group of bacteria can have consciousness, too, if they communicate, say, chemically?


  1. They feel pain…our bodies are not single entities we are made up of a million parts acting in different realms. If you realize this then you realize life is a miracle, and it should be treated as such. Consciousness begins after were born, after the cells have been developed to form tissues/organs and “us”. Single-cell organisms might be the same, b/c instead of developing like us they are already developed, but the consciousness is not equal to ours.

  2. No. Consciousness is an umbrella term for several components including awareness, creativity, and the self (both non-reflective and reflective) and is neurologically based. You cannot have consciousness without nerves. You can have reactiveness, either chemical or electrical based, but that is not consciousness. Plants have reactiveness, animals have consciousness and reactiveness.
    Having a nervous system, especially one with a central brain, seems to be essential for consciousness, and is the beginning of consciousness. Of course the more primitive the animal the more primitive the consciousness. In other words, after the development of the nervous system, there is not sudden emergence of consciousness but rather a continuum with increasing capabilities as evolution happened, because an improved consciousness aided in the survival of that species. That said, we can say that the consciousness of an earthworm is going to be quite different from what we experience.

    • It’s amazing to see humans have such a deep understanding of what consciousness is and where it is found. The question I have for you is “how do we know what is and isn’t conscious.” Without being able to somehow plug into a plant’s or animal’s existence, how can we say these things with such certainty? As an example, we can agree something is green only because we’ve been told it’s “green.” We can’t be certain that we are experiencing “green” the same way. Questions like these have no definitive answers; only speculations.


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