We have been Confusing Consciousness with Awareness for a very Long Time.

Eric Stone
12 min readMay 24, 2020
©2020 Philippe Benichou

Some eighty thousands years ago, Neanderthals mutated into Cro-Magnon creatures and evolution would give these beings self-reflected consciousness. It was indeed the development of the neocortex which took man out of the “natural” world and naturally so, no pun intended, it was quite a fantastic step out of the caves — a sort of slow A.I. prehistoric mutative awakening!

We literally became conscious beings: conscious of being conscious and to be more specific: strategic life began. As an extraordinary example, Neanderthals had the bow but never invented the arrow. Fast forward, it eventually gave us civilisation as we know it.

Here is my premise: we have been confusing consciousness with awareness for a very long time. At the level of the soul or spirit-awareness, self-reflected consciousness or the consciousness of being conscious is completely blind and with it, so is mind. It is conscious but unaware of what it is i.e. its nature or essence, where it comes from and why it exists at all.

What is being “reflected” or I should say “projected” through the process of self-reflected consciousness is a formidable evolutionary and measured advantage over other organisms on earth but it does not make any of us human beings AWARE. My point being is that we became formidable “conscious” strategists but without awareness.

For instance, at night we return to the blindness and innocence of the natural world as far as our bodies and conscious selves are concerned and, to be sure, with no self-reflection whatsoever, just streams of images and clips of this and that with no real insight into their nature or true meaning — if any. Attempts have been made through Freud or Young and the likes but without any profound impact on the true nature of awareness. Rather, more or less brilliant insights into the nature of the unconscious — what we don’t know that we don’t know.

Now and as mentioned, self-reflected consciousness was indeed an evolutionary breakthrough, a real miracle for our species in a sense but let me be clear: with no awareness coming along with it. I’d rather call it a conscious state of blindness or a certain ability to see through the prism of self-reflection and its many facets and identities but…



Eric Stone

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