(About a 3 minute read)
Like most sensible Americans, I believe the state of higher consciousness that so many mystics talk about can be attained by listening for a solid 24 hours to tapes of Rush Limbaugh played backwards.
Now, I have never actually seen any science to either prove or disprove my belief, but I am a true American, and so I know reality is merely a rumor. I am also a virtuous American, and so I abhor rumor-mongers, such as scientists. Hence, I don’t need to see any science: I hold my beliefs intuitively true by virtue that they feel right to me.
But what feels wrong — very wrong — to me is the term, “higher consciousness”. A perfectly horrifying term if you look at it my way, by which I mean the proper way.
And why is my way the proper way? My chief reason is it annoys
Teresesums a carefully guarded secret. Beyond that, all my reasons boil down to this one complaint: Higher consciousness is so radically different from ordinary consciousness we should be aghast merely to hear the term.
First, ordinary consciousness crucially involves an awareness of ourselves and the world as divided into us and not us. Higher consciousness does not.
Second, ordinary consciousness involves conceptual or symbolic thought, while higher consciousness does not. Thought and no thought. How can you not get more different than that?
Next, ordinary consciousness involves judging and comparing things, while higher consciousness does not, since it does not involved thought, which is necessary to such judging and comparing.
Moreover, ordinary consciousness involves defensiveness, while higher consciousness does not, since the self that one would defend is absent from it. We would reflexively duck a rabbit if it were thrown at us, but we would not defend ourselves against most other kinds of threats — especially those that required thinking things through in a foresighted manner.
Last, ordinary consciousness has a largely focused awareness, while higher consciousness does not. This one reminds me of a story. I was with a group of eight or so people one night when, for no apparent reason, seven of them spontaneously asked one of them seven different questions almost at once. There was only the briefest interval between each question.
He calmly replied to six of the seven people, and he did so in the order in which they had asked their questions. Our hostess that night was a student of Zen and she told us that her teacher had said, if someone can respond under those circumstances to seven out of seven people, in the order in which they asked the question, it was evidence they had attained spiritual enlightenment — or higher consciousness, in this case.
The point is, I don’t think that sort of thing would be likely, or even possible, for someone in an ordinary, focused state of consciousness.
I believe I have now proven to any reasonable Americans, by which I mean all two dozen of them, that the term, “higher consciousness” should be held in the most abject distaste possible. In its stead, I propose “higher awareness”.
But naturally, I do not demand that the term be replaced.
Comments? Questions? Derisive snorts? Declarations of political solidarity with our cousins, the bonobo?