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Saturday, April 18, 2015

Think of This



Having come to the conclusion that all matter is to a degree conscious, we might ask isn’t all matter ultimately unconscious of its consciousness? If so, then a materialist dichotomy is preserved. Matter and consciousness are separate. If matter is the unconscious mother of consciousness, then can consciousness survive without matter?

Such an argument may at once seem tautological. Matter a vehicle for consciousness, if so, any bit of matter can aid in that process, all of it does or none of it does . . . or . . .  is matter itself conscious? Our notions about matter, and consciousness are completely primitive, limited as it were by the materialist thinkers of centuries ago.

Instead I argue matter without consciousness is the impossibility. All of it may be alive, and the conscious part preeminent, for a thing to exist the knowing of it must be there too.

Is our conscious mind the fisherman, who brings the fish from the deep?

Western philosophical investigations of human thought haven’t established anything. Philosophy at best has imagined a tour of the architecture, neurologists with their probes have poked around, taken voltage readings, mapped neural activity, without encountering any inhabitants. Consciousness remains as elusive as the unicorn.

What cognitive psychologists call ‘consciousness’ may only be a recently evolved and tiny subset of a much greater conscious awareness. In fact the stream of consciousness in language driven humans today may in reality be a distraction from a higher form of consciousness that is repressed.

To accept consciousness on a universal level, one must abandon the ego, the “I”, the self-referencing component to this entire dialogue. Consciousness is not about ‘me’. The notion that a self-divining root of language flits about the mind and pretends that ‘it’ is conscious, while the rest is ‘unaware’, ‘unknowing’ and obscured in darkness does more to persuade the enlightened that the busy mind may really be the least conscious mind of all.

Why do we assume the whole of the world around us, from weather patterns to flocks of communicating birds, to entire galaxies of massive energetic stars, is separate and inert. Only in recent years have we admitted that animals may possess forms of higher thought and might be ‘conscious’. Yet our view is that aside from animal life, consciousness is nowhere else to be found. Our civilization is locked in an infantile fantasy that it exists at the center. Having discovered our own self-awareness, and developed a language to document it, we believe in our own domination of conscious thought.

Such a fantasy may indeed be part of a necessary stage of development in the transition to a higher level of consciousness. When the ego is abandoned and a kind of universal consciousness is finally accepted as a universal property, when Western science has come to realize what the Vedanta has known for millennia, then perhaps our we can recognize consciousness as a universal phenomena, and not something belonging to the ‘I’.

As for sub-conscious intelligence let’s call sub-ego so that we don’t confuse ourselves. For how often have we heard from someone working on a difficult problem, “let me sleep on it”? Indeed solutions to complex problems without language are not the work of the most self-aware state of the mind. ‘Eureka’ moments seem to materialize out of thin air, indeed it is our ‘consciousness’ which has only become aware that the problem has been solved?  Let’s refer to that sub-conscious intelligence sub-ego so that we don’t confuse ourselves.  If you prefer another metaphor, consciousness resembles the mysterious cleverness of nature, the weather, birds, or the mind of a pet, which we can attempt to fathom but cannot necessarily read.

Yet I posit that this subconsciousness, the sub-ego, the sub-self-aware faculty, is the true consciousness that pervades the universe. Our self-aware thinking processes function more as an executive diary, the dashboard of instruments, the servo-mechanism, for executive action, and and the fulfilling of set goals. It believes that it is in control of a much vaster system, but as mankind may shortly learn, that executive in a Tolstoy-ish reversal, works for the greater consciousness without an ego, without the ‘I’. Self-awareness may not be such an advance as we imagine.

This essay has brought the topic of consciousness to a bifurcation, into a self-aware faculty, “I am thinking’, and the part that thinks, arrives with solutions, but hides its methods from the upstart.

What the Western ego has named its conscious faculties, on the other hand, may only be an illusion, an illustration as it were, posted and pictured by a much larger sub-ego operating system below it. What a perfect conclusion to a infantile illustration, a nascent self-conscious mind, operating with a tool called science, believes it has discovered something unique and precious when it becomes self aware.


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