What is consciousness? There are a lot of thick books on this subject, with very diverse visions and it is doubtful if they really put light to the case. We keep it short and we restrain to what we are able to experience. We can compare consciousness to a spot light. That lamp has three possibilities: at first you can make the bundle smaller to produce more light on a smaller area, of the reverse. At second you can switch the lamp on or off and at last the lamp can burn dim or bright. The first property we call concentration. The second is well known to you if you were ever operated with a total anaesthesia: you loose your consciousness and the next moment you got it back, but there seems to have a lot happened in the mean time – as if a piece has been cut from your life with a scissor. The third property, the volume of the lamp, is the intensity you use when concentrating, which demand an effort, energy.
Property one: can you concentrate very well? Or are you easily distracted? Maybe you are someone whose senses are easily attracted to something, what we call apperception. It means that you passively let your attention be attracted: a television screen, a neon light, an exceptional face, a piece of red paper coming on your way… Can you switch, can you concentrate if needed and letting go when concentration is not needed anymore?
Property two: I hope it doesn’t happen a lot. So we switch quickly to three: are you someone who is conscious of your actions? Or do you act at random? Are you conscious of your senses, do you live intensely? Or is everything rather dull? Are you a dreamer, an idealist, or are you practical? Dreamers are not necessarily less conscious people. If you are álways daydreaming, that makes the difference. Are you very practical? A concentrated worker, always on the way to your goal? That would mean you are devoted consciously to a task, but that does not include automatically you are living consciously! When you are concentrated, are you still conscious of your feelings? Not only the heavy emotions, also your daily feelings?
Trained dancers know they can move without intervention of their thought. The same way one can also feel without having a thought about it. This brings us to the very depth of our feelings. Are you able to do this? Are you able to look consciously to something, without analysing or judging? In this matter do you notice how quickly your attention jumps to something else? Or is being conscious not worth an effort to you? Or do you prefer to diminish your consciousness for some reason, for example with narcotic drugs of blunting activities?
© Copyright Johan Framhout 2009