Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Self (Un) awareness, mediation and becoming gods

You know something is working properly when you don't even notice its function.
In the old saying, when you do something right, people wont know you've done anything at all.

This is one of the underpinning features of the universe and consciousness. 
What of the human body and its organs? If they all work properly and fully, you cant feel them busy at work. You cant feel your eyes seeing, you cant feel the rods and cones organising your sight in the retina. You cant feel your kidneys filtering waste from the blood, or the intestinal wall deriving the chemical nutrients from your food. Indeed, when all is in harmony and perfect, attention is absent.

When systems malfunction however, that's when we notice they are there. After a loud music concert, you can hear your ears, the ringing. You damage an organ and you can feel it, you can feel its place in your body, you notice its presence.

The same is true for we humans and consciousness. When all is in harmony, there is no sensation of I. The human forgets its individual self when it is in perfect harmony with the environment.
Like a raindrop of consciousness falling back into the  ocean.  Or to put it another way, the consciousness can be likened to  flood light rather than spot light. This forgetting of the 'self' as an individual and separate being is meditation. It doesn't have to be achieved by any effort, though it can be, via the traditional Buddhist and Hindu ways. Where you sit comfortably and perhaps adopt the lotus position and practice one of hundreds of techniques designed to calm the mind. Ultimately trying to forget yourself.

However it is also happening when you are completely and fully absorbed in a task. You become one with the universe, you are on a sort of auto pilot but you are still thinking rationally, clearly; perhaps the clearest you ever think. Your attention is not divided, it is fully on the task in hand. You are no longer self aware.

So where has the 'I' gone in situations like these? Is it merely forgotten? If so by whom? Perhaps it was never there in the first place and the universe is playing the Dean Pattinson game through my physical body, and the Joe Bloggs through yours. Perhaps, conciseness is external and received rather than generated internally by our biochemistry. Here we can use the analogy of the relationship between a radio and the songs coming out of the speaker being the same as that of the human body and consciousness.

Is all well and good to daydream about personal identity being a total illusion.
However conscious attention is what has brought us to our current point. Although it was arguably a mistake, (becoming self aware may be likened to forbidden fruit/knowledge in the garden of Eden perhaps) it has helped us learn a lot.

The scientific information we have become conscious of in our evolution was still true when we didn't even have fire. The advantage of being conscious of universal physical phenomena is that we can use it. For what? Well whatever we want really, pointless stuff, utilitarian stuff like being able to travel great distances, or share information with millions of other people.

We are currently in the age of manipulating our environment to suit our taste. If we want to be hotter, we make it hotter. Colder? Ditto. We find a place with too many trees and a few weeks later its flat open land, another week later, there's crop covering the horizon or a factory, or a farm, or a factory farm!

Manipulating the dna of other organisms has been common practice for decades now, how long before a procedure whereby we can alter our own genes to suit taste is made safe and accessible to the public?

I guess the point Im trying to make here in my long winded way is that we are kind of playing god by learning and knowing how to manipulate the fabric of our environment.

Are we trying to become gods?
Would it be better had we never evolved such a high level of awareness? If so why? Is our species wide, subconscious goal of achieving god like control over our environment dangerous?
Food for thought, fellows