Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The state or condition of being conscious.
  • n. A sense of one's personal or collective identity, including the attitudes, beliefs, and sensitivities held by or considered characteristic of an individual or group: Love of freedom runs deep in the national consciousness.
  • n. Special awareness or sensitivity: class consciousness; race consciousness.
  • n. Alertness to or concern for a particular issue or situation: a movement aimed at raising the general public's consciousness of social injustice.
  • n. In psychoanalysis, the conscious.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The state of being conscious or aware; awareness.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The state of being conscious; knowledge of one's own existence, condition, sensations, mental operations, acts, etc.
  • n. Immediate knowledge or perception of the presence of any object, state, or sensation. See the Note under Attention.
  • n. Feeling, persuasion, or expectation; esp., inward sense of guilt or innocence.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The state of being conscious; the act or state of mind which distinguishes a waking from a sleeping person; the state of being aware of one's mental acts or states.
  • n. Specifically Self-consciousness (which See).
  • n. Perception; thought; intellectual action in general.
  • n. A general phase of thought and feeling: as, the moral consciousness; the religious consciousness.
  • n. An intuitive perception or persuasion; a state of being aware; an inward recognition;a feeling.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. having knowledge of
  • n. an alert cognitive state in which you are aware of yourself and your situation

Etymologies

conscious +‎ -ness (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • Sometimes he was the Red Riding Hood wolf, or the wolf spoke with his voice. You'll be seeing me very soon. I could feel you close all day. Me too. Sometimes he was just himself, invisibly next to me on the couch, the source - as in heat source or light source - of unloneliness. The way sometimes he'd put his hand in the small of my back. Is was as if my consciousness was there, in my sacrum, not in my head. Or at least the bit of my consciousness that was terrified of having to go back to being alone. From "The Last Werewolf" by Glen Duncan.

    March 27, 2012

  • His consciousness was like a lethal ocean undertow. Before you knew it you were in cold water, miles from shore. From "The Last Werewolf" by Glen Duncan.

    March 21, 2012

  • "A human being is a part of the whole called by us 'Universe', a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest - a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty." - Albert Einstein.

    March 11, 2009

  • ...the structure of Life is the structure of consciousness -- not as metaphor, not as simile, not as a reflection. Plenty of Life's body can hear that. It is so obvious, and it eats up almost all of the world of artistic or literary criticism, because there is no literature, there is no music, there is no sculpture, that is a metaphor for life -- it IS Life. Nothing is a metaphor for anything else except to children. You have to tell a child, "Don't do so-and-so." "Why?" "Well, because a troll will jump out and nibble your toes away and you don't want that to happen." You can't tell a child exactly what he's asking you to tell, so you speak to him in metaphors.

    To believe that there is something humans do, willfully or not, that has a secret message, is to still be playing in the kindergarten arena, even if you're doing it to yourself. To forge a new kind of consciousness is to be able to forge a new kind of sight. You must SEE that the structure of Life is the structure of consciousness. This is so obvious that no one notices it...

    --Jan Cox

    October 7, 2007

  • "re: the question of how consciousness could arise from matter generating an inexplicable mystery...I affirm that this mystery is purely artificial and grows out of assuming an inadequate base of reference. For 'matter,' 'thing,' and 'relation' are creatively constructed notions and by no means originally given material. On the contrary, consciousness is original and is presupposed in the very power to recognize and formulate a problem...Thus every element that is brought into any speculation is, of necessity, within the field of consciousness...This much we know, even though we know nothing else, 'Consciousness is.' For it is presupposed even in the acknowledgement of ignorance and in the agnostical and skeptical attitudes...Consciousness is the common denominator underlying the possibility of any philosophy, world view, religious attitude, art, or science. I, therefore, affirm the systematic primacy of consciousness as such."

    Also see: consciousness-without-an-object.

    --Franklin Merrell-Wolff

    June 17, 2007

  • For a completely different slant, c.f.,The Constant Neural Disquiet: Mechanics 101

    January 22, 2007