Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Consciousness. And stuff.

I think about consciousness a lot.

Stay with me here for a minute.

I think about thinking, about how we do it, what it means, whether it's some kind of big waiting room with doors that open to other...er, I don't know...planes of reality (gag). You must know what I mean. No? Me neither.

Here's a diary entry of mine, about consciousness. Read it and behold the nerdish hell that is my mind. My brain wears pocket protectors and really thick glasses... It has never known a woman's touch...It has an encyclopedic knowledge of Star Trek The Next Generation episodes:

"Do we have to build a relationship with ourselves? Maybe this is one of the missing pieces in the puzzle of consciousness. ..

Humans are relating animals. We form family units and clans and packs and nations and gangs and continents and ‘the West’ and ‘the Middle East’ and ‘the Far East.’ We grasp our universe relationally—that is, through metaphor. What is language, but the representation of a thing through another thing (a word). We are conceptual, and concepts are ideas (thoughts) about things (objects, principles). Relating is fundamental to our consciousness of the world around us, and our place in this world—and thus our consciousness of ourselves, or our self-consciousness.

[Editor's comment: Lost yet? I am. And I'm me. I can imagine this isn't easy for you either...]

We differentiate ourselves through this quality of self-consciousness. We are the animal that can wonder about the nature of its own consciousness. But how do we know that we are truly self-conscious and not just reacting instinctively to external stimuli, something even amoeba do, albeit in a relatively complex way? And if we are truly capable of self-consciousness, how far can we take it?

Having a relationship with yourself might be a key to unlocking the mystery of self-consciousness. Maybe your degree of self-consciousness is even proportionate to the quality of your relationship with yourself.

Why is it that we put so much time into building relationships with others, yet the vast majority of us put absolutely none into our dealings with ourselves? (The great irony of this is that many of our relations with others serve self-centred ends. We might be the conscious animal, but we are still as self-serving as baboons.) If I fall in love with someone, I think about him constantly. I want to be with him, talk to him, understand what he thinks, know what he’s all about. Do I ever feel this way about myself? Shouldn’t I? Maybe I need to fall in love with myself.

Does this seem like the gateway to arrogance? When I fall in love, I may believe my lover to be more than he really is. But eventually I see the warts. If the love is true, it endures the warts and I even start to enjoy them once in a while. I have this relationship with my husband. Maybe this is the kind of relationship I should also have with myself.

But my life is more than just me. It’s the others in it and the events, moment to moment, that catalyze reactions in me—internal and external, positive and negative, physical and emotional—these are the components of my life. Me, others, and events. Can my relationship with each be melded into a single entity? Would this allow me to operate from a higher level of self-consciousness?..."

And it goes on like that for some time, let me tell ya. Still, I like this idea of building a relationship with yourself. Basic as it may sound, it's not so straightforward when you try to sit down and have a chat with yourself. There's the awkward silences, the tendency to fall back on 'how about that crazy weather....'

A lot of mysticism is about forgetting yourself, or being mindful of the moment, tuning in to the physical self. It's good for chillaxin' but I'm not so sure about the idea of ignoring reality as a means of takin' it higher. This is starting to sound like a bad 80s hair-rock ballad, so I'll stop here.

This blog is dedicated to Gizzy, in the hopes that my idiocy will eliminate his fears of putting incomplete thoughts into the ether...

7 Comments:

Blogger angrycandy said...

Maybe these relationships are already melded into a single entity, but on a global scale. Maybe this explains love, art, music etc.
We are supposedly limited by our senses in how we experience this world. I see a stone through my senses and call it a stone in my head and maybe I pick it up and feel how smooth it is and how heavy and maybe i throw it into the sea. But what in the hell makes me look at that stone as part of the seashore, smell the brine of the sea, feel the wind on my skin etc. etc., take all this sensory experience and turn it into an event of joy and beauty? What then makes me take this experience and joy and paint it or turn it into a song so that I can further enjoy it and understand it and also share it with others? Maybe some part of us, not limited by our senses, taps into this single entity of everyone’s relationships between ourselves and our events and our surroundings and this is what we use to create and love. We already do operate on a higher level of consciousness when we do these things….we are truly ourselves and truly relating to others when we do these things. I’ve never been able to accept the simple scientific explanations of emotions and appreciation of beauty…that the way colour and form are arranged somehow trigger our brain into feeling pleasure or the way certain sounds fit together trigger another part and make us feel happy and want to dance or sad and want to cry. Why? It’s never made sense to me, it leaves big gaps…this makes a little more sense to me…maybe…

9:57 AM  
Blogger Moose said...

I'm trying to process your post and my brain is rebelling. And requesting Cheetos. So I'm tagging you instead. Tag!

4:16 PM  
Blogger bobbysan said...

Interesting. I believe we naturally will not delve into our psyche for reflection and growth until we're pushed to our comfort limits.

5:51 PM  
Blogger whyioughtta said...

Angrycandy: The problem of consciousness remains. In real life, artists are not deliberately tapping into some larger truth, or even deliberately being 'truly themselves'--they're basically scratching an itch. It's like an amoeba automatically opening to a protein. BUT...somehow the end result may...how do I put this...broadcast on the same frequency as the 'world-spirit' station you're talking about.

But it's still all happening by accident. To take it further, I'd even say that if it IS done deliberately, that very self-consciousness makes the art NOT resonate at that 'world-spirit' frequency, but at a different frequency altogether. (Good lord, somebody seems to have slipped LSD into my morning coffee...)

So that doesn't get us any further when it comes to the deliberate self-awareness I'm talking about, by which I mean can we take our awareness and visit that world-spirit place, consciously?

Maybe there's an underlying lexicon that makes art and beauty resonate with people, with that part of us that may be larger than us. It may or may not be connected to chemical structures in our brains, and having had to evolve in such a way that we need to find certain structures appealing in order to survive. I'm with you on that, to me it seems like kind of a long shot, but then I am also learning that my body has so much more wisdom (and control over me) than I've ever given it credit for....

I guess part of my issue is with this whole idea that the senses are limiting. Maybe we're limited in our understanding of our sense. And maybe they're our ticket to learning that lexicon. The question is how. My answer, in part, is that this must be tied to self-awareness. See my upcoming blog for more thoughts on that.

Moose: How the hell are ya? Long time no talk...I'm heading over your way today (in blogosphere)...

Bobbysan: Totally agree. Except I find that sometimes maintaining your comfort zone becomes the biggest discomfort (and waste of energy) of them all...

8:10 AM  
Blogger angrycandy said...

oh,did you think i actually meant all the bs about love, creation, beauty and art and some sort of global consciousness? nah, really i think we're all isolated, lonely, lonely people or maybe i just had too much wine last nite...anyway...basically, other than than wishing i had the ability to heal myself, i'm about as self-aware as i can handle...i already think about myself WAY too much....have a lovely day :)

9:55 AM  
Blogger jackp said...

yeah....lil' too much here...

how about being the artist and not talking about it?

tap into that...create...

i dig dogs...i learn alot thru them

:)

4:32 PM  
Blogger jackp said...

lemme break it down for you some more..

when you shit on someone...usually you're shitting on yourself...

replace 'shit/shitting' with other verbs...positive and negative ones...

like...when you love on someone...usually you're loving on yourself...

like i said...listen/watch dogs...i hang out with my dog...learn alot from him

4:37 PM  

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