Staying Woke vs Being Conscious

Most people think that wakefulness and consciousness are synonyms.  That is to say, we think that to be awake, is also to be conscious.  While it is most common for consciousness and wakefulness to occur simultaneously, in cognitive science however, these two terms have important distinctive definitions.

Consciousness is the state of being awake and aware, able to perceive, receive, and process stimuli and information from one’s environment.  When you go to sleep, this is an altered state of consciousness, with limited, to no ability, to perceive, receive, and process stimuli and information from one’s environment.  When Neuroscientists study the EEG brain waves of a sleeping person, they find that during a night’s sleep, a portion of the time is spent in the waking state, even though the person is not fully conscious.  Parasomnia disorders such as “sleep walking” or “sleep talking” are examples of instances where a person is in a waking state, but not fully conscious.  Daydreaming is another example of a mental state where a person is awake, but not conscious of their immediate surroundings.  Conversely, Sleep paralysis is a condition where the mind is awake and conscious, but the body is not awake and unable to become active.  What we can take away from all this is that
1. Consciousness and wakefulness commonly occur seemingly simultaneously
2. Consciousness also requires one to be awake
3. It is possible to be awake but not conscious
4. It is possible to be conscious and mentally awake but not physically awake and active

Stay woke1...

The preceding deliberation served as a primer for our discussion on the terms “Woke” vs “Conscious” as it relates to African American English Vernacular.

The term “Consciousness” in the Black community has a long and storied history throughout Africa and the African diaspora, stemming back to the early 1900s, and has to do with an awareness of one’s black identity, and nonconformity to mainstream social, political, economic, religious, and spiritual constructs.  The UNIA, Moorish Science Temple, Nation of Islam, 5 Percenters, Hebrew Israelites, Ausar Auset Society, Black Panther Party, SCLC, and BLM, are all examples of black conscious movements in America.

The term, “Woke,” is an idiom that has surfaced in recent years, essentially referring to the same concepts, precepts, and principles as “conscious”, but with more of a focus on social, political, and economic awareness.  In recent years, the term “conscious” has become associated more with a focus on historical, cultural, religious and spiritual awareness.  The Activism of someone “Woke,” tends to be of a social, political, and economic nature, whereas, the activism of someone “Conscious,” tends to be of a historical, cultural, religious or spiritual nature.  If we were to retrospectively apply the new definitions and connotations that the terms “Woke” and “Conscious” have taken on in recent years, to the aforementioned groups, then we could classify the UNIA, Black Panther Party, SCLC, and BLM as “Woke,” and the Nation of Islam, 5 Percenters, Hebrew Israelites, and Ausar Auset Society as “conscious”.

Stay woke...

After a multitude of scandals erupting in the Black Conscious Community in recent years, and many Black people feeling critical of, or unserved, underserved, or unrepresented by the modern Black Conscious Community, in some regard, “Woke,” seems like a re-branding of “Conscious”.  In 2017, the difference in the socio-economic disposition of Black People willing to label themselves as “Woke” versus “Conscious” can also be observed.

But if “Woke” has become used to refer to more social, political, and economic awareness, and “Conscious” has become used to refer to more historical, cultural, religious and spiritual awareness, then just like in cognitive science, it is most common to be simultaneously “woke” and “conscious”, that is to say, having simultaneous affiliation and interest in organizations concerned with both social, political, and economic issues as well as historical, cultural, religious and spiritual issues.

Also, just like the concept of Sleep walking and Sleep Talking in cognitive science, it is possible to be “Woke” but not “Conscious”, that is to say, have affiliation with, and interest in, organizations primarily concerned with social, political, and economic issues, and having no affiliation with, or interest in, organizations concerned with historical, cultural, religious and spiritual issues.  These individuals are aware of the social injustices in the world, but have no knowledge of their historical past or traditional systems of spirituality.

And lastly, just like the concept of Sleep Paralysis in Cognitive Science, it is possible to be “Conscious” but not totally “woke”, that is to say, having interest in historical, cultural, religious, and spiritual issues, and having no interest in social, political, and economic issues.  These individuals are fully aware of their historical past, have “knowledge of self”, and practice some form of traditional spirituality, but have no concern or activism in regards to the social, political, or economic injustices in the world.

Who knows what new terms will emerge in future vernacular, or what new areas of awareness may come to the forefront.  In the foreseeable future, “Scientific Awareness” may become a movement of its own.  Essentially, “Woke” and “Conscious” are mental states, and the ultimate goal is to become Active, with an expression of one’s awareness demonstrated through practical application.

Article by African Creation Energy

14 thoughts on “Staying Woke vs Being Conscious

  1. From my perspective, one has to be “conscious” of something first before they can be “awakened.” For example, (and this is my own opinion) I have always felt that the Democrat political party has always catered to, yet fed off of the fears of the poor and disenfranchised. And they have really put up a good facade in that this political party has done little to improve the lot of the poor to working-class people in this country and produced very little. And constantly at odds with the Republican political party, yet at the end of the day? “They are both working for the same people.”

    I’ll go a little further. Unfortunately, a hell of a lot of our black people are no conscious of what is being perpetrated on our race daily. Either that or individuals have no sense of awareness and are unable to use deductive logic as well as abstract and reason. about our plight. White supremacy has “distracted” the cognitive thinking of many of our brothers and sisters with things such as the “idiot box” (TV), for example. Supposed to be viewed as “entertainment,” but it is called “television programming.”
    “Woke” and “Conscious” ARE mental states where the supposed outcome are to be “active.” and heightened awareness. Unfortunately, does not happen all of the time.

    This is one of the things that make you go hmmmmmm?

  2. The picture is worth a thousand words. If Shonda Rhimes is ‘woke’ then it ain’t all that.

    What’s more–white folk already co-opted ‘woke’ as a term. Like it was pointed out, we already had a term for ‘woke,’ as ‘conscious.’ “Woke” is there to confuse people and separate people. I.e. now “Ankhs” are mocked. Or worse “Ankhs” don’t do anything but talk. white folk only aim to confuse Black people. This is more unnecessary division that white folk wouldn’t ever lose sleep over.

    • That’s why I used that picture of Shonda This woman puts out nothing but mind pollution for black people. I’ve been meaning to do a post about this sellout black woman. But like you said,this proves that being “woke” is really not about being truly awakened. You know it’s fake when you got sellout actors talking about “stay woke”. If the mainstream white-controlled media is spreading the catch phrase you know it’s not about black progress. It’s just a way to co-op black consciousness and degrade it at the same time. I’m hip to their games. Great comment brother!

      • This was a Progressive Commercial. It’s these crackers saying ‘woke.’ Shonda Rhimes and flo from progressive tells you that it ain’t for us. Great post King!

      • I hadn’t seen that commercial before. I see what they’re doing. They’re using the word “woke” as a way to poke fun at people who are conscious of their surroundings. People like me who can read the subliminal messages in the media. It’s a way to discredit using your “third eye” as being a conspiracy theorist. These devils never cease to amaze me.

  3. Kushite, some blacks will see the big picture & get it,some won’t. Both political parties do not care for anybody but themselves,which is why there have been less voting in elections. I see in this picture, that my girl Angela Rye is in it,didn’t I tell you she is fine.GOD BLESS

    • Don’t be swayed by looks. That pic is from the cover of Essence magazine. A magazine owned by white folks but geared towards black women. Angela is just as much a tool for white racist as is Shonda Rhimes. Keep that in mind brother.

  4. Kushite can you help me,I am confuse about these pictures and one black lady who is very consciousness about black power,black history,she told me that some famous black women are tranny and they are illuminate and they aren’t women!

    Now I don’t know!

    • I’ve heard this before. Mostly from racist whites. They want to say that black women are more masculine than white women. I personally don’t think the William sisters are men. Just a bunch of bullcrap!

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