Lately I have been trying to comprehend my consiousness, and have been churning mainly on the visual side of it. When I open my eyes I have this sense of seeing a "world out there" in which my head is positioned.
Since the dawn of photography, I'll hazard the guess, people think of consious experience as a sort of camera box. It is a sort of Pacific Rim (the movie) "Jaeger" model. There is equipment which gathers visual images and projects them via lenses (old school) or flat screen TVs (new school) to a 'person' type object living between the ears that percieves them. There are countless movies and pictures depicting this model.
Those models are, of course, an onion that can never be peeled. If one accepts a humanoid consciousness that is within ones brain percieving all the sensory input, then what is going on in that humanoids head? As the person said (I think), "It's turtles all the way down from there."
The truth is much more bizarre. All the signals that my brain processes that appear to me as me sitting in a particular place, seeing and hearing certain things with a strong sense of locus, of specific location, do not actually exist themselves in any fixed locus.... sort of.
I have the impression that the sights I see are data that is being captured by equipment (eyes) and transmitted (by nerves) to "me". I have the impression "I" inside my head have aview through biological portholes on what is going on out thier. Likewise for hearing, touch, a sense of attittude (airplane lingo- pitch, yaw and roll), and so on. I have the sense, in the simplest form, that, e.g., my eyes are a long tunnel, letting sights "out there" get to me "in here".
What blows my mind these days, and is very hard to mentally grasp, is that that is absolutley a false analogy. There is no projector room in my head. There is no team of little "mission control" people veiwing data on screens and speakers and providing the experience of "me." The brain is, poetically speaking, jello. It is a soggy blob of neurons. The physical reality of "me" is a tangle of bio-circuits with electrical potentials and chemicals actions going on at a furious rate.
Think of this.... This experience I so earnestly feel as real and in 3D is truely just an arrangement of chemicals and potentials in a pot of goo.
I experience nothing "directly". This "me" that I feel is just electrical potentials. That is why there are optical and audio illusions. I have some limited sense organs that convert physical phenomena into bio-electrical signals, which come into a pot of jelly that manifests and experience of beingness.
If all my inputs were shut down (ala Cat Stevens, "If I ever loose my eyes, all my colors, all run dry"), would "I" even exist, I wonder.
This begins to resonate for me with the notion from the ancients that "subject and object" are both in me. The place in which I write this is truly a mystery. I am an amazing manifiestation of signals. What "I see" is not projected on a screen. I am the electric field inside. Yikes!
With this blog I strive to share what I've learned and think about Buddhism. I'm striving to do zazen and follow the 10 precepts. Buddhism seems to be helpful, but shrouded in too much weight and mystery.
I am also hoping to contact people of a like mind - that is - open to the exploration of 'self' and the joys and frustrations of its discovery through Zen. If you react to something written here, I'd enjoy hearing from you. Leave a comment. Comments to posts older than 14 days are moderated.
I hope you find something useful, interesting, whimsical or amusing (as in provoking your muses).
Most people end up here because they are surfing for a picture of a fish bowl. Go figure.....