Saturday, 30 March 2013

Dancing withe Daffodils


I now see that, yes, consciousness as self-defined “I” is a necessary illusion. The patriarchal God of monotheist religions is an outward projection of this illusion. Or at least it is a clumsy-complex method of trying to shoehorn spirituality or loss of self into a self-centred universe. This idea of consciousness turns the human body into a kind of armoured vehicle out of which the “individual” data processing machine peers as it trundles through life. Our civilised culture is based on separation. My own frustration is that I have always found this process of viewing life as a separation a rather non-intuitive act that I have non the less persevered with rather too diligently out of duty to the monotheist God that was indoctrinated into my data processing system by table thumping RE teachers. Self-awareness is not an integral part of being human but it strikes me that books such as "I am a Strange Loop" discuss it as if it were. The idea of individual self became more defined and focused as enlightenment progressed and knowledge needed more and more categorisation. The wider and cheaper accessibility of the mirror to artists led to a proliferation of self-portraits and this melancholic self-reflection became the template for exploring an individual identity. Navel gazing? Where did I come from? It seems clear then that individual alienation comes from the all-pervasive emphasis our “culture” places on separation. Thus removing the far more natural option to be connected “ Then my heart with pleasure fills
And dances with the daffodils”.
This euphoric joined-up attitude of Wordsworth is regarded by the predominant separationist culture as something of a sideshow.
There is indeed a strange loop or paradox present in that the longing that haunts the Hamlet figure (existential angst anyone?) is a mourning for the passing of a time when we were not implicitly self-aware as humans – a time before separation took a hold of our consciousness and allowed it to be defined by this individual literary conundrum solving. Medieval man did not naturally think of him/herself as separate from others because the language of separation as not yet part of the invisible environment. Literacy and the printed word are key tools for reinforcing separation and they were available only to an elite body of people. The alphabet made of individually meaningless symbols did not shape culture as a whole. And so yes this idea of individual consciousness is an illusion but equally it is an invisible framework that defines our sense of being. One only needs to see how the conflict between the indigenous people of Australia and Captain Cook arose over the notion of possessions to see how civilised separation gives rise to an infinite swathe of moral dilemmas. There is a rather satisfying irony in his decision to name the point of landing Botany Bay after the samples that his botanist discovered there and no doubt carefully catalogued and ordered into separate categories.

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