Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 250):
‘Conscious being’ typically means a person or persons; but as the following examples illustrate, a human collective (the British public, the whole house, the world) can also be construed as conscious:
I think the British public doesn’t dislike force provided that it’s short, sharp and rewarding.Surely you don’t want the whole house to know of this occurrence?The judging must come from one’s own experience, one’s own conscience, and understanding. What the world thought didn’t matter.It can even be a product of human consciousness:
The film imagines that the FBI imported a free-lance black operative to terrorise the town’s mayor into revealing the murderers’ names.