Where is consciousness located?

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This is a follow-up to my previous question, which, according to most arguments ultimately hinges on locality. If consciousness existed in the brain, say, then we could keep a person in a sensory deprivation tank, wait until they were 18, pop them out and expect them to understand themselves, since consciousness is found in the brain. If consciousness is something that is instead ACQUIRED by the brain, through development and learning, then it could be argued that consciousness is external to the brain and is obtained by interaction with the environment.
Rectangle: To distill the question, “Do you believe consciousness is an a priori or a posteriori phenomenon?”

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Misses M



Thoughts are merely brain activity, not the other way around.

Bill M

Why can’t it be both?

a rectangle curve

Did you even ask a question?


In the soul.


i’ve often wondered that myself. The question is, is it a construct of our brain, or is our brain mainly a means of interpretation for consciousness that may be pervasive throughout the entire universe?
There is no proof that the brain actually “manufactures” consciousness. It could be argued the other way. The brain stores memories, true, but there is no scientific way to actually isolate consciousness, therefore it’s location remains unclear


Im not a trendy asshole… do what I want do what I feel like…..don’t give a fuck if it’s good enough for you…. that’s where consciousness is

James Y

If I hit my hand it’s in the hand, if I have a heart attack it’s in my heart, if I think it’s somehwere, but we don’t know.


You fail to understand that we are born with incompletely developed brains. If you put such an infant in a sensory deprevation tank, you would have deprived them of the ability to finish developing the brain.
You are right that the external is necessary, but it is not itself a component. Consciousness arises in the brain due to external factors.
Of course, if you want to get really REALLY technical, since there’s no clear molecular boundary between where the person starts and ends, one could argue that you ARE the environment and thus don’t exist at all. It’s a somewhat deterministic view of course, but completely viable.


Consciousness is a word we use to describe a state of awareness experienced by the brain.


That’s like saying that Windows XP is actually external to my computer, since it had to be put there by a programmer.
Even if consciousness is developed, even programmed by external stimuli, doesn’t mean it isn’t housed and run from the hardware in the brain.


The brain does not develop normally without “normal” stimulation. A person kept in sensory deprivation for the first few years of life would never develop normal sensory function. This (cruel) experiment has been carried out on animals.
Hellen Keller was almost an experiment such as you describe, and she turned out to be a remarkably sane consciousness.


Consciousness is located off of Exit 3 in Modesto, California.


Helen Keller did experience that.
Consciousness is in your brain. Ask any anesthesiologist.

Hail Naw!

Consciousness has nothing to do with cognitive learning. One can have consciousness and be absolutely feral, normal, severely retarded, a prodigy or a complete psycho-path.


i think their are different stages of conciouseness, from the orginazation of enzymes and molecules to create the body and organize the disposition of protien strands in the moments of conception/ building of the hman body from embryo to full baby, the same essence of conciousenes that makes the body heal and thoughts arrive, then theres the organization of these thoughts in a more”tangible” concept of the mind, and what that entails…..storing of memories/events from years and years, weather they be real or imagined, reality or dillusions of, so i’d say that every cell is a microcosm of the macrocosm of our essence and that our conciouseness is a flowing energy, that reverberates throughout the body on such a frequency that its impossible to see or calculate, like trying to see x-rays or gamma rays with ur naked eyes, but the thing im thinking ur thinkijng about it the act of displaying this conciousenes by acting, and interacting, because even a brain dead person will flinch when burned, so its the microcosm essence/conciouseness in the cells /nervouse sysytem that is still preseant but its lost the macro-conciouseness, the interaction of the entire system of its body


I think the brain is merely the ‘processor’, with some genetically determined ‘rules’ for how to process data, corresponding to the way human brains are ‘wired’. Take someone out of a sensory deprivation tank after 18 years and their brain will immediately start to process data from their eyes, ears, nose, skin, etc. Even they will therefore have a rudimentary consciousness. But the person who has been living in the world for 18 years will have processed much more data and made connections that give them a much greater degree of self awareness and understanding of the world around them. In short consciousness exists in the brain but the sophistication of that consciousness depends on how much data has been processed

Tuff Girl

It would be best to describe it in the Hindu culture, The third eye is depicted and even worn as a symbol of such.
The brain set up concludes that personality, a form of consciousness, is located approximately where the third eye is.
While Jesus is best known for his heart chakra, all of his upper chakras were considered advanced, including the third eye.
It is a priori. I think therefore I am.


Consciousness is a state of being aware or awake. There is a ‘switch’ in the brain which flips on or off for unknown reasons. When we go to sleep, it is an instant flip of the switch off for awareness and the brain has sensory interrupt while asleep.
Perhaps you are referring to a ‘conscience’, which would be a state of mind concerned with ethics and morals. Standards of behavior that we develop from our parents, and clergy and from our own life experiences. It is connected with the emotions such as feeling sorry for another. It is developed out of a need to make a society function somewhat smoothly. The ‘fairness’ doctrine, the Christian ethic of ‘do unto others as you would have them do to you’. Many younger people are often said ‘they have no conscience’ and are brutal to others Gang members kill non-members in ‘cold blood’ as though they have ‘no conscience’. Animals have no ‘conscience’. It is a trait that separates most humans from animals. Terrorists have ‘no conscience’ when they blow up people they do not even know, and cause terrible suffering.
It appears that humans are capable of having a ‘conscience’, but it must be developed by each individual under so called ‘peer pressure’.

gregg k

OK stay with me here. Locality is within consciousness and consciousness is without locality Consciousness is within the brain, but consciousness contains all brains. When one part of consciousness is struck, all consciousness will feel it. In that way, you are consciousness, but you are the locality.
About that sensory deprivation thing; what you are suggesting is ‘no growth.’ No growth at all. Completely stagnate.
Well, you would be stagnate in the frequencies that require growth. You are pretty well physically grown when you get 18, so therefore it is before the age of 18 that you learn ‘growth.’ After 18, you know, ‘Schools out for the summer . . .’ Alice Cooper and his snakes . . . no work, you know. . .
Wow, that’d be alright though!


The symptom of consciousness is the soul. When the soul leaves the body if you pinch there is no response. The soul is located in the heart. When the blood circulation stops you know the soul has departed -medics check the feet going cold.
Bhagavad-gita As It Is 2.29 Contents of the Gita Summarized
ascarya-vat pasyati kascid enam
ascarya-vad vadati tathaiva canyah
ascarya-vac cainam anyah srnoti
srutvapy enam veda na caiva kascit
Some look at the soul as amazing, some describe him as amazing, and some hear of him as amazing, while others, even after hearing about him, cannot understand him at all.
Since Gitopanisad is largely based on the principles of the Upanisads, it is not surprising to also find this passage in the Katha Upanisad.
sravanayapi bahubhir yo na labhyah
srnvanto ‘pi bahavo yam na vidyuh
ascaryo vakta kusalo ‘sya labdha
ascaryo ‘sya jnata kusalanusistah
The fact that the atomic soul is within the body of a gigantic animal, in the body of a gigantic banyan tree, and also in the microbic germs, millions and billions of which occupy only an inch of space, is certainly very amazing. Men with a poor fund of knowledge and men who are not austere cannot understand the wonders of the individual atomic spark of spirit, even though it is explained by the greatest authority of knowledge, who imparted lessons even to Brahma, the first living being in the universe. Owing to a gross material conception of things, most men in this age cannot imagine how such a small particle can become both so great and so small. So men look at the soul proper as wonderful either by constitution or by description. Illusioned by the material energy, people are so engrossed in subject matter for sense gratification that they have very little time to understand the question of self-understanding, even though it is a fact that without this self-understanding all activities result in ultimate defeat in the struggle for existence. Perhaps one has no idea that one must think of the soul, and also make a solution of the material miseries.
Some people who are inclined to hear about the soul may be attending lectures, in good association, but sometimes, owing to ignorance, they are misguided by acceptance of the Supersoul and the atomic soul as one without distinction of magnitude. It is very difficult to find a man who perfectly understands the position of the soul, the Supersoul, the atomic soul, their respective functions, relationships and all other major and minor details. And it is still more difficult to find a man who has actually derived full benefit from knowledge of the soul, and who is able to describe the position of the soul in different aspects. But if, somehow or other, one is able to understand the subject matter of the soul, then one’s life is successful. The easiest process for understanding the subject matter of self, however, is to accept the statements of the Bhagavad-gita spoken by the greatest authority, Lord Krsna, without being deviated by other theories. But it also requires a great deal of penance and sacrifice, either in this life or in the previous ones, before one is able to accept Krsna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Krsna can, however, be known as such by the causeless mercy of the pure devotee and by no other way.
Bg 2.17 P Contents of the Gita Summarized
This verse more clearly explains the real nature of the soul, which is spread all over the body. Anyone can understand what is spread all over the body: it is consciousness. Everyone is conscious of the pains and pleasures of the body in part or as a whole. This spreading of consciousness is limited within one’s own body. The pains and pleasures of one body are unknown to another. Therefore, each and every body is the embodiment of an individual soul, and the symptom of the soul’s presence is perceived as individual consciousness. This soul is described as one ten-thousandth part of the upper portion of the hair point in size. The Svetasvatara Upanisad confirms this:
balagra-sata-bhagasya satadha kalpitasya ca
bhago jivah sa vijneyah sa canantyaya kalpate
“When the upper point of a hair is divided into one hundred parts and again each of such parts is further divided into one hundred parts, each such part is the measurement of the dimension of the spirit soul.” (Svet. 5.9) Similarly, in the Bhagavatam the same version is stated:
kesagra-sata-bhagasya satamsah sadrsatmakah
jivah suksma-svarupo ‘yam sankhyatito hi cit-kanah
“There are innumerable particles of spiritual atoms, which are measured as one ten-thousandth of the upper portion of the hair.”
Therefore, the individual particle of spirit soul is a spiritual atom smaller than the material atoms, and such atoms are innumerable. This very small spiritual spark is the basic principle of the material body, and the influence of such a spiritual spark is spread all over the body as the influence of the active principle of some medicine spreads throughout the body. This current of the spirit soul is felt all over the body as consciousness, and that is the proof of the presence of the soul. Any layman can understand that the material body minus consciousness is a dead body, and this consciousness cannot be revived in the body by any means of material administration. Therefore, consciousness is not due to any amount of material combination, but to the spirit soul. In the Mundaka Upanisad the measurement of the atomic spirit soul is further explained:
eso ‘nur atma cetasa veditavyo
yasmin pranah pancadha samvivesa
pranais cittam sarvam otam prajanam
yasmin visuddhe vibhavaty esa atma
“The soul is atomic in size and can be perceived by perfect intelligence. This atomic soul is floating in the five kinds of air [prana, apana, vyana, samana and udana], is situated within the heart, and spreads its influence all over the body of the embodied living entities. When the soul is purified from the contamination of the five kinds of material air, its spiritual influence is exhibited.” (Mund. 3.1.9)


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