I have a lot of time to ponder, and I spend a lot of that time pondering time, consciousness, my mind, and the minds of others. A lot of preponderances amount to nothing, and most live firmly in the realm of opinion, but better out than in I always say.
We consider ourselves the height of consciousness, and assume that because we seem to be the highest level of consciousness in the universe, we have reached some sort of pinnacle, that we are self aware at the maximum level one can be aware. So seldom however are we truly conscious of our existence. Most of our lives are spent floating through a maelstrom of crazy, almost psychotic thoughts. We are inflicted with a myriad of mood changes, and our ideas, opinions and feelings match whichever of these moods are most dominant at the time.
Every now and then I feel a moment of clarity, my mind stops swirling, my thoughts float from the external to the internal, I feel my body and its surroundings. The tangibles around me become fake, a mere bouncing of light from one grouping of particles to another. Time slows and becomes an unruly measurement of entropy, my breath a reminder of the temporary status granted me by a molecular grouping, fluked into existence four billion years ago.
This moment of clarity reminds me that the majority of my life is spent in a state of unconsciousness. I watch T.V. when I eat and so only partly enjoy my meal. When I travel I think about a time moments, months or years into the future or past. I go to sleep thinking about what I will do tomorrow, and I wake up thinking about what I will do next.
Human Consciousness through Meditation
Most of my life, has been, is, and will be spent in a time which does not exist. I shall only briefly throughout my existence glimpse the reality of my chaotic mind. Meditation is the only way I have found to be close to presence. No other “activity”, no matter how spiritual or grounded, will bring you as close to consciousness, and even meditation can only do so much, with such a clockwork creature.
Most have a silent or loud reverence for Buddhism, and any faith system which practices the art of being present. We believe that those who do so, dip into a reality more real than our own. Yet even Buddhists struggle to remain present, and those moments make up an infinitesimal part of their lives.
We are not yet evolved enough to consider ourselves fully conscious beings, a conscious being would not need to travel, to buy things, to eat tasty food, or to seek out new and “wonderful” experiences. A conscious being would sit under a fruit tree, all his life, and meditate. Our pinnacle of this is the Buddha, but even he felt the need to get up and spread the word, true consciousness would not care about such a thing, true consciousness would live in a shell of its own creation, with no fear of living or dying, no desires and no depth. True consciousness would dwell within itself, a reflection of nothing and no one.
We believe we are of a higher consciousness than all else that lives on Earth, but our lives are comprised of a programmed existence, no less so than the animals around us. We desire and we do, we eat and we breed. We think in a way which perpetuates survival. Yes, we are able to reflect on our place in the world, and on our inner thoughts, but we are less capable of acting upon them. We are less capable of maintaining a mood, a decision, a desire, a moment.
We create art as an external thought, we love as a breeding mechanism, we help others as a method of species survival, we eat to keep our hearts beating, we have fun to fill the time. We breathe because we are born that way, and we die because we have no choice
Sometimes I stop, breathe, and collect myself. I see my thoughts and I feel the world around me. My place and its wants become irrelevant, my existence ceases to matter. The money, the travel, the food, the experiences, the desires, the pain, all of it falls away, it all becomes a fake reality I have dreamed up for myself. Then it disappears and I am back to a whirling cloud of thoughts and wants.
The Evolution of Conscious Thought
We are not fully conscious beings, we are animals who can make tools, if their is a hierarchy in existence, and we perch precariously at the top, it is only because our fangs are sharper, not because we are conscious. To be conscious would be to live a dull, uncaring, thoughtless life, and would mean the eventual decline and disappearance of the human species. We are not conscious, because to be so would mock a four billion year old arms race, and would mean our demise.
Should we live long enough, we will continue to evolve, and one day humans may reach a place where consciousness exists beyond natural selection (ie. the physical body). If, when that day comes, immortality is not a given, then humanity will be no more. To acknowledge our place in the world, to realize the brief nature of our lives, to denounce the ruling council of the flesh, will likely mean an end to mankind. Our continuing existence is based on a misplaced notion of memory through life. We harbor the desire to continue the species, and through the species our own perceived immortality exists.
Knowing something, unfortunately, does not make living something a given. In my own life I have begun to question human consciousness. I have begun a quest to make my life one worth living, and to come to terms with the “knowledge” which pervades my waking life. It is not an easy thing to do, questioning the life one leads and the reasons for it, but I believe it to be a worthwhile pursuit. If I can come to terms with my unconscious nature, if I can more readily seize the moments which normally pass me by. I will hopefully appreciate the life which flows around me. Its course is one set in motion almost 14 billion years ago, my part in it is negligible, but it is mine, and not to acknowledge it would be a tragedy.
Heavy shit I know, but such is the fortuitous gift of spare time, and a lot of science and philosophy books on my e-reader. If you have an opinion, I would like to hear it, if not, thanks for reading anyway.
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