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Journal Journal: Nature of mind

One day science will confirm the primacy of what you might call "pure awareness" as the foundation of the material universe. For my part, it will make this feeling of "being" seem more valid. It will dispel just a little of the mystery as to why my visual experience all seems to happen simultaneously, even though there is no one point where it all comes together in space. It all comes together in time, and somehow this arrangement of neurons - or more fundamentally, beings called neutrons, positrons, electrons... - somehow it translates into the experience of seeing - and making sense of it happens only after the seeing occurs. The seeing itself is not made sense of, it is merely accepted.

My question about your idea and my idea of consciousness is, if all we are is information processors, there is no need for there to be the residue of this visual experience, but it so happens that there is. Whether or not I pay attention to the lady in the green dress across the room, she is in my field. It may be said "I do not consciously see her" but this can't be true. She is there, in my experience. Information about her is not being incorporated and analyzed into my pictorial understanding of the world -- the map I was assigned to make at some point in the past.

And so we don't really bother to see the map either, and yet like the visual field it is there nevertheless like the corkboard collage of a madman, being experienced as a mirror image of the present moment. The mirror guides the dispensation of chemicals into blood, brain, and the environment: adrenaline, serotonin, pheromones. The pupils dilate to allow in more light, and as a sign of our disposition. The body stiffens or loosens.

Person to person we end up relating map to map, mirror to mirror. This hall of mirrors is the meeting place of people and nations. We need to acknowledge this in a common space.

My mirror, gleaned from a typically strangled life, stands as my guard on the window of reality, and lends me expectations, fears, concerns. The whole notion that "I am Scott" and that "this is my life" and every other aggregate concept I hold about men and women, old and young, mad and sane, and on and on vies for attention in every moment.

But back to the imminent experience of seeing. The imminent experience of hearing. There are Zen koans intended to crack these open for us, to demonstrate the difference between experience and interpretation. Meditation sets aside the senses and leaves you resting in the thinking mind - which in me is prone to drown out the present far too often.

There is no obligation in every moment to adhere to the being of one's socially-constructed self, and for those who take to solitary pursuits like boating, hiking, and even computing, there is joy to be found in immersing oneself in the act of acting natural, accomplishing larger goals by momentary steps.

In this visual culture one may as well be obsessed with the present act of seeing. Seeing - simply observed - leads directly to the realization of whose eyes we are seeing with, and how those eyes illuminate not only the so-called external world, but the whole universe within.

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Blessed be those who initiate lively discussions with the hopelessly mute, for they shall be known as Dentists.