Language, Consciousness, and Identity

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Preface: Human development is model-dependent. Of near-unlimited possibility, only those capacities that are modeled in the environment will open and develop. No model, no capacity; summarizing Joseph Chilton Pearce on the ‘Model Imperative.’ Joe often shared that a lack of modeling can cause a complete capacity to disappear in one generation, with the new generation not missing or even being aware of what has been lost. This sets the stage for what we describe below as ‘The Missing Mind’ and the way symbolic-metaphoric language, science, and technology empower and blind.

The overwhelming power of the neocortex to create mental images shapes human consciousness. Language is a defining force. The form, structure, and pervasive use of language pre-defines and organizes what we perceive, including how we perceive ourselves, and this, of course, implies how we relate to everything.

Physicist David Bohm described how matter dissolves seamlessly into energy. There are no sharp edges that define a ‘thing’ from something else. Edges that define are more a statement of the observer’s point of view than the ultimate nature of what is being observed. The structure of the human eye, for example, persistence of vision and other qualities, ‘represent’ the swirling movement of energies, two-parts hydrogen plus one part oxygen, as a stream. There is no stream as an independent ‘thing.’ What we experience as an independent thing, a stream, is a representation, an appearance. The movement of various energies ‘appears’ to be independent and solid. That ‘thingness’ disappears at finer resolutions.

Themes: 
identity

Wiggling Free

Optimal experience is an end in itself… it is a self-contained activity, one that is not done with the expectation of some future benefit, the doing itself is the reward.

When experience is intrinsically rewarding, life is justified in the present, instead of being held hostage to a hypothetical future gain… The solution is to gradually become free of societal rewards and learn how to substitute for them rewards that are under one’s own powers.

Themes: 
identity

We are not who or what we think we are

“Egos exploiting egos is the source of all our problems.”
Samdhong Rinpoche

The deeper we look the more distilled and obvious Rinpoche’s insight grows. Whether our focus is personal depression, illness, greed, jealousy, addiction, crime and rage or global conflicts including compounding environmental poisoning, the feelings, images and perceptions we hold about ourselves and others affect everything we do. The therapist couch, doctor’s office, substance abuse center, our prisons and politicians, not to mention the global military-industrial complex are all sustained by this image and its effect on the human body, emotions and mind, encompassing the full spectrum of human relationships including our relationship with nature. We mistakenly reify the abstraction as an independent and very concrete reality. As central and pervasive as this image-as-self is, precious little attention is given to its actual form, structure, how it originates or what our lives would be like without it. The assumptions that surround what we call ‘me’ are often tacit and therefore reincarnate unquestioned. Quite strange when you think about it.

Themes: 
identity