Discover Your Mind New  Ideas  in
Psychology  &  Idealism

Home List of  Main Articles List of Replies

Models of Consciousness

The psychological model that I use most of the time is a static one. This has three levels of activity: conscious, subconscious, and unconscious. However, when I need to describe agency I use a dynamic model.

Static model :
Consciousness is a state of being that has three modes or factors: those of will (or will power), mind and feeling. Therefore, for me, consciousness is not the same as mind (and neither is mind identical to the brain). This model is for understanding how the various factors of consciousness relate together, in ways that are independent of agency.

Dynamic model :
Consciousness is a state of being that can act as a channel for agency. This model is for understanding the purpose of consciousness. Consciousness contains an agent, the ego, that can make choices.

Self-consciousness implies that agency is internal to the state of being, as in people and some of the higher animals. When consciousness has no aspect of self, as in insects and plants, then agency is external and utilises instinct (for example, such agency may be a group mind, and so consciousness would be a group consciousness).

Top of Page

Functional model :
Consciousness is a state of being that constructs a paradigm of reality from the results of awareness. This model describes what consciousness does. Awareness is that aspect of mind by which the agent develops consciousness.

The mechanism of this construction is thought. Thought is a sequence of awareness states, or thought is the activity of awareness. The content of thought can be images or words. Images are either images of something or an image of nothing (mental silence).

Attention or concentration is the means of emphasising some states of awareness rather than other ones.

On my website A Modern Thinker, the dynamic model that I sometimes use is based on a binary view of reality. In this view,

consciousness = ego + karma

where ego is the personality and karma is his /her past history. Ego is existential and karma is psychological. Existentialism explores what the person is like now, and ignores the influences of the past. Dynamic psychology (otherwise called depth psychology or psycho-analysis) explores why the person is what he now is - it explores the influences from his past. Each person is an amalgam of past influences and present influences. So in this model the binary view revolves around the contrasts between existentialism and dynamic psychology, which are the two primary dynamics of consciousness.

Home Top of Page

Copyright @2003  Ian Heath
All Rights Reserved

The copyright is mine and the articles are free to use. They can be reproduced anywhere, so long as the source is acknowledged.

Ian Heath
London, UK

e-mail address:

If you want to contact me, use the address above but replace the <at> by @

It may be a few days before I can respond to correspondence.