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What Is Consciousness? Sar Maroof Hypothesis

Being conscious and aware of existence, make humans the most complicated living being on earth. This document is a hypothesis to clarify why humans are conscious living beings.

Consciousness is the mind access to the knowledge about the reality. The quantity of the knowledge, its type and the access speed to that knowledge determine the level of consciousness.

Every conscious living being might think that his consciousness is the highest level that exists, because of the complexity of imagining and experiencing more levels of consciousness simultaneously. If consciousness is the brain access to knowledge about the reality, then it must have different levels.


If someone asks you the question who you are, you have a direct access to details about your name, where your name came from, why people have names, how you came to this world, your parents, your age, your body, your needs like food, breathing, drinking and much more.  If you need hours to access, each of those pieces of information, that will result in decreasing the level of your consciousness. The quantity, the type of knowledge as well as the mind access time to that knowledge determine the consciousness level of living beings.

Is there an unconscious human being?

To understand the idea that knowledge and the access time to it determine the level of consciousness, imagine a healthy unconscious adult human being! Could we find or imagine that unconscious human being? Imagine a baby who grows up in a special circumstance for the first 18 years of his life without having any contact with the outside world through his senses!


If the person after 18 years contacts the world with his senses and interacts with the reality, he will not be conscious according to the previous definition of consciousness. The question is how that would affect his consciousness. The person of the previous example would have very little access to information about the objects and the living beings around him including himself.


A high place for example could be dangerous for that person, because he has no idea who he is and where he is. He would not have any access to similar positions nor can he find memories about high places and gravitation in his mind. According to the previous definition of consciousness is that the person would not be aware of his existence. His level of consciousness would be similar to the one of a baby for example. Until the moment, that the person interacts with the reality has almost no access to knowledge about the world around him and himself.


The most basic actions, which are normal for every human being like walking, would be difficult for him. After a period of interaction with the reality, the person learns all the basic knowledge to be conscious, but the first period of his life will be missing in his memory.

Memory is the past time form of a conscious experience

The person of our example has no knowledge about the world around him and himself, therefore he can’t remember the first 18 years of his life including a few years when he started to interact and learn about the reality.

We apply and have access to our knowledge and information about the environment in which we live so fast that we don’t realize its contribution of being aware of our existence.

What happened in our example is that all the parts of the body grew physically but the brain was isolated from the outside world and that leaves the brain with almost no knowledge. By starting learning and interacting with the reality, the level of consciousness starts to grow.

Consciousness does not start in one moment but it evolves naturally from lower to a higher level by interacting with the reality and learning.

To clarify that idea we need an example from the real world.

Consciousness levels of human beings

All humans have experienced a period without being conscious and that was the baby time. A baby has a very low level of consciousness because he/she has almost no access to knowledge about the world around him including himself. By passing time and interacting with the reality, babies start to learn how the world around them works and understand their position in that world.


Every piece of knowledge that a baby learns about the world around him and himself raises the level of his consciousness and awareness of his existence. Every knowledge like the access to the past, present, future, food, water, breathing, body, weather, color, shapes, movements, animals, earth, sun, universe, doors, buildings, understanding time and the fact that every living being grows older and die someday contribute to the consciousness of every human being.


The access to each piece of knowledge brings a baby from a lower level to a higher level of consciousness. Consciousness is a result of a life experience and learning.

A baby lives a few years without being conscious or aware of his existence and that is the reason why everyone misses the memory of almost the first two years of his life. Absorbing knowledge and a fast access to that knowledge help children to be more aware of their existence.


There is no consciousness without accessing knowledge of the reality and there is no limit of consciousness levels.

Any living being whose brain has no access to any knowledge about the reality or the environment in which he lives cannot be conscious. A deep sleep or being in a coma is a temporary disabling mind access to the knowledge that a living being has.


  1. Memory is a past form of a conscious experience.
  2. Sleeping disables the brain access to the knowledge that human beings have.
  3. Removing all the knowledge from a brain, results in losing the awareness of existence.
  4. One of the following reasons or a combination of both make species like chimpanzees less conscious than humans.
  • Chimps have less knowledge about the reality than humans.
  • Chimps have slower access to their knowledge comparing to humans.

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Author: Sar Maroof
Education: Bachelor Science and Applied Science in Physics.
Professional Java webdeveloper as well as several certificates in different branches

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