No theory forbids me to say "Ah!" or "Ugh!", but it forbids me the bogus theorization of my "Ah!" and "Ugh!" - the value judgments. - Theodor Julius Geiger (1960)

Consciousness, Mind, Self & Objects

Losing Consciousness and What It Means

Sometimes, people can lose consciousness; they pass out or faint. This can happen because of injuries, poison, or health problems. It makes a person temporarily unaware of their surroundings. Your consciousness is closely linked to how your body works and how you connect with the world. Your mind and body rely on each other. Your mind can't do its thing without your body's help.

Our Thoughts and Experiences

When we talk about the mind, we think about our past experiences and feelings. We're considering different choices and actions. This kind of thinking is influenced by how our bodies are built and how they work, much like our senses influence how we experience the world around us.

The things that become important in our personal experiences depend on what we focus on. Our feelings and interests decide what's important to us. From this viewpoint, the world and its physical parts are real. It's important to think about our experiences, but we shouldn't make things too simple. We should respect the complexity of our experiences.

Science and Deep Thinking Challenges

Scientists have two ways to think about complex problems. One way is the microscopic view: picturing tiny things. The other way is the telescopic view: stepping back and thinking about big ideas and how they relate, even if these ideas are too big to experience directly.

In our everyday life, we can both see and touch things; the microscope helps us see tiny things. The scientific and mathematical fields help us understand how we connect with the far-off world. But these sciences can't directly tell us how we experience things up close.

Thinking About Our Senses

Some scientists try to figure out how our senses work by looking at how much stimuli we sense and how our body reacts to it. This is tricky, because can you imagine something you've never seen or felt? Putting everything we experience into a world of thought is tough when we're dealing with things that are very different from what we experience every day. We're not sure if our feelings and the way we experience things come from what's happening or if our sensing selves make it happen. The big question is: do our experiences shape us, or do we shape our experiences?

When we talk about stuff that's hard to imagine, we're still connected to our everyday experiences. But things get tricky when our explanations lead to ideas that don't feel or look like what we experience. It's essential to keep scientific ideas separate from our personal feelings and experiences.

Feeling Like an Object

To feel like an object, we need to interact with things outside us. This happens when we're chatting with friends and thinking about ourselves. Our body, especially our hands, helps us feel like a physical thing. Our body is mostly about doing things in the world. We become aware of ourselves and start thinking when we chat with others or ourselves. Our thoughts help us plan for what might happen. They also make the things we experience more valuable and easier to understand.

In our everyday life, we usually focus on what's around us. But our thoughts can make us think about things we can't see or touch. Thinking about how our body and feelings fit together can be a bit puzzling. Which is more important in preparing a meal: the chef or the ingredients? This can be a big question in science and philosophy. When we're with others, we sometimes act in ways that make us and them the main characters. You’re both the actor and the audience. This makes social situations more interesting and fun.

Our body's role is clear when we're around others. But when we're by ourselves, our body takes a step back, and our thoughts take center stage. First we perform on stage and then sit in the audience when the show is over. When we think deeply, we can imagine different ways of doing things. This can lead to new ideas about how we should behave, what's right and wrong, how to make money, and what's true. Thinking becomes part of how we experience life. Our thoughts have the power to change our view of the world. When we learn new things or have new experiences, we see the world differently. Our thoughts let us take apart the world and put it back together.

Leaving Behind What We Know

Sometimes, we think about the world like it's made of LEGO blocks. This can be exciting, but it also means we leave behind our everyday experiences. Some people even believe that everything we know and experience can be turned into these LEGO blocks.

The way we experience the world is closely connected to our bodies, our actions, and how we think. This is super important when we talk about big ideas like the mind, consciousness, and the physical world. Our character, the world, and our skills all fit together.


Mead, G.H. (1917), Consciousness, Mind, the Self, and Scientific Objects, in: Miller, D.L. (1982), The Individual and the Social Self – Unpublished Work of George Herbert Mead, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.