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Self-awareness is the ability to perceive one's own existence, including one's own traits, feelings and behaviours. In an epistemological sense, self-awareness is a personal understanding of the very core of one's own identity. It is the basis for many other human traits, such as accountability and consciousness, and as such is often the subject of debate among philosophers. Self-awareness can be perceived as a trait that people possess to varying degrees beyond the most basic sentience that defines human awareness. This trait is one that is normally taken for granted, resulting in a general ignorance of one's self that manifests as odd contradictory behavior. This ignorance of one's own self is viewed in existentialism and Zen buddhism as the source of much human suffering, as noted by the famous saying from Zen buddhism "we are each the source of our own suffering."

In theater, self-awareness refers to an actor who has broken character, perhaps by breaking the fourth wall. The actor acknowledges to the audience in some fashion that he is playing a character. Unintentional self-awareness is extremely unprofessional, though it often acts as a comedic device when done intentionally. Self-awareness can prevent the audience's suspension of disbelief.

Self awareness as expressed in both of the above definitions suggests a third description. This being that there is a correlation between the experience of the theater audience and individual self-awarenesss. As actors and audiences are loathe to break the fourth wall, so it is conceivable that an individual is resistant to consider the artificial, or the constructed perception of his or her 'reality.' If so, this requires that self awareness is an artificial continuum (theatrical performance) that is only possible to produce by negating its very existence (the necessity of the proscenium). Self awareness and the theatrical experience may possibly be fractal expressions of the same phenomena, but at separate planes. The brain may still be a theater, but not the one that Descartes perceived.

The information above is not intended for and should not be used as a substitute for the diagnosis and/or treatment by a licensed, qualified, health-care professional. This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It incorporates material originating from the Wikipedia article "Self-awareness".

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