I am a Healer, Psychologist, educator and Sound Therapist with an avid interest in consciousness and transpersonal experiences. Oh and did I mention Astrology?
In 1637 Descartes published part IV of 'Discourse on the Method' in which he claimed "cogito ergo sum" - "I think therefore I am". Descartes was not talking about a purely physical presence here but a philosophical approach to the understanding of what really constitues 'I'. His musings led him to fervently believe that a mind could exist without a body. In fact a body only produces sensory experiences which are generally deceiving. This idea became a foundation stone for scientific and philosphical thinking for centuries. His premise suggested that the only certain way to ascertain one's existence was through the 'fact' that the only thing 'I' can define as being intrinsic to my own self are my thoughts. Everything else about myself is transitory, even my individual thoughts per se are transitory. However, thinking, being aware that 'I' am thinking, being conscious of my thoughts and being able to reflect upon my thought process, according to Descartes, is the only definitive proof that 'I' exist. Since 'I' am experiencing my thoughts, 'I' must exist. From this point in time, self awareness or self consciousness became the key element in determining an individual and gave further credence to the elevation of man above animal.
Conscious thought, or consciousness in particular, is a very slippery customer and as I started to convey in my previous blog
it is suggested to be multi-faceted and present itself on many levels. This complexity creates uncertainty and a dissolution of who 'I' am. In fact it makes a certainty of the fact that 'I' shall never truly know who 'I' am, since 'I' cannot access all the levels of consciousness directly. 'I' am a disparate collection of experiences and emotions all bound up in an allegedly unitary physical being which calls itself 'me'.
It is understood that we are only consciously aware of a maximum of 6-10% of what is going on both internally and externally. Most of our functions are reactive programmes which enable us to live and survive. This causes problems as we act like automatons under most circumstances as old patterns are triggered from previous experiences. Most of what we see and hear is a composite of what we believe in conjunction with a few external stimuli being vaguely processed in our minds to fit the preconceived picture. Our memories are also unreliable and again produce 'stories' we tell ourselves to suit the situation rather than explicit detailed 'reality'.
So who is this 'I' that needs to believe 'I' exist in the first place? Well, philosophers have struggled over this forever and no clearly defined answer has yet been arrived at. It's enough to drive you bats! And as the philospher Thomas Nagel (1974 essay "What Is It Like To Be A Bat?") suggests we can perhaps imagine what it would be like to be a bat but we could never experience the actuality of existence as a bat. Likewise consciousness is not something that can be understood by describing the brain and it's neuronal connections. Despite the advances of neuroscience and having brains ourselves, we can still only imagine how consciousness comes about and how it really operates. In a similar manner it is impossible for me to really explain the 'I' that is thinking right now even though 'I' believe it is me who is having this experience and doing this thinking.
Personally, 'I' am of the mind that 'I' exist prior to thought, thus turning Descartes on his head "sum ergo cogito" - 'I' am therefore 'I' think. This literally revolutionary (revolve or re-evolve) paradigm is a central key in comprehending our next step in the evolution of humanity where our understanding is that we both form part of and are constituted by a collective consciousness of humanity (super consciousness) and also a universal creative consciousness of greater proportions present in the multi-verse of space-time (supra-consciousness). This matrix of consciousness theory explains many anomalies we see in our empirical sciences and has rapidly emerged as a fundamental building block in quantum physics. When we embrace this level of consciousness we become 'all one' and the 'I' is not only of less importance but certainly not worth arguing and fighting about.