Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Consciousness Versus Thought.

Today I felt the urge to entertain myself and perhaps entertain you as a reader to explore one of many impossible things. At times, this impetus has no origin I can recall but this is a post about a state that has no name, no specific location, no permanence or describable origin. Yet as I write this I have the title of my previous blog in mind, intangible materiality. I remember that when Mac Tonnies first recommended it on his own blog, many were flummoxed by the title. What does this mean or portray? The simple answer is that the title was a surrealist portrayal of consciousness.

Much progress has been made in the study of self organizing living systems, that as all things we consider is essentially the work of a certain artistry of information melded with the packets of terms that are as genetic material for memory, a word here, an image there. The mind is such a living and self organizing system that informs the brain as much as the body and vice versa.
I remember a lecture by Krishnamurti who posited that consciousness is in advance of the expression of a thought as a matter of causality. This statement seems benign in of itself as a curious thing to say but it begs the question of what lies beyond thought as a precursor in the navigation of this temporal existence as a   state contingent upon reliance, entanglement and expression. I recently watched a fascinating documentary on HBO that followed the transformation of a poet through the stages of Alzheimer's, and it was patently observable that he possessed consciousness without memory. This is a subject that the late Ram Dass ( the former Dr Richard Alpert) covered in his book "Grist for The Mill". Thoughts seem to be comparable to the work of an artist, but not the artist his or herself posed in a trans-personal state of being that could be considered a tapestry, a sculpture or the work of brush strokes.

Yet, the work is thought to be direct, as if to state "I am what I have created" which to this writer appears to be an error in logic, as odd as that sounds.
I also recall how Ibn Al Arabi dissected the term imagination. His view was that the term was entirely misunderstood. Imaging versus how we term imagination. He posited that images are contingent. Their manifestation into a shared cognition of physicality has more than one state which, in turn is best represented as a spectrum and he used the example of dreams that are as much of a isthmus between thought and consciousness as we are an isthmus between physicality and the non sensate. The mirrors we are occupying  reflect something else entirely. What attracted me to his modality of viewing reality as a matter of mirrored multiplications of a singularity, was the opposition's method of dividing and separating everything. This, of course with even a modicum of critical consideration is patently false. They extract this or that without seeing the contingent nature of any manifestation whether it is a frog or consciousness.

The branch of expression of surrealism brings to mind a symbolic painting of our situation. It was a creature clad in armor clutching a rose.
It seems to this writer that one attribute of consciousness beyond thought that has been side stepped is that it's attributes would seem to require more than three dimensions. Quantum physics has obliquely touched upon this mystery, and yet isn't it remarkable that the glue that has stuck us in a adaptation to this environment would seemingly want to over-ride this as if the Demiurge of the Gnostics or the the Rainbow Angel  as described by the People of The Garden to be rather manipulative, to take potentiality and steer it by torpor imposed biologically for the sake of the planet's digestive system. Gurdjieff touched on this as well describing it as a physical organ that was implanted as to place us in state of suggested self hypnosis. Why this is so was to avoid the calamitous result of our species realizing their situation in light of the forgoing metaphors.

Consciousnesses without memory, not requiring the adjunct of thought as an adaptation of self description has the veneer of a work of art perhaps as surely as a gallery displays or as Borges described this, a library whose books are variants in infinite number each distinguished by a misplaced word, a missing comma, a transposed sentence.
The brilliant short story named "William Wilson" by Edgar Allen Poe comes to mind. The protagonist's self image sets out to murder him.


  1. At the word "Demiurge" I immediately thought of Richard Dawkins & Co. While there is interests in taking quantum mechanics into consideration when theorizing how the mind works (and mind/brain relation) such as "The Holographic Universe" and others, it seems that those attempts are ridiculed and attacked before they get any traction to be taken up by more "rigorous" scientists.
    I don't understand what you mean when you mention Gurdjieff and "to avoid the calamitous result of our species realizing their situation". What situation? The contingency of our conscious existence?

  2. Gurdjieff was referring to the inevitability of death the possibility of which that is always just beneath the surface, and that certain biological processes were put in place that in effect act as a distracting sedative that allows most to avoid the realization of this when self awareness was instigated. According to him, the effect is self hypnotic and is observed as suggestibility. I thought it was worth noting as another perspective on the issues of thought, personality and consciousness.