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Letter 1.10 - Consciousness

Dear Benoit,

 

You said that grandad's letters are 'brain juice'. I would say that the juice needs to be filtered. That's your job.

Let's go back to questions for which we don't have a definite answer such as "consciousness". You will find on the internet that:

"Despite centuries of analyses, definitions, explanations and debates by philosophers and scientists, consciousness remains puzzling and controversial, being at once the most familiar and most mysterious aspect of our lives. Perhaps the only widely agreed notion about the topic is the intuition that it exists. Opinions differ about what exactly needs to be studied and explained as consciousness."

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In short: We don't know!

There is even worse. Sometimes we are convinced that we are conscious of something when, in fact, we are not. Take “life” for instance. You think that you are conscious of “life” – Don’t you? Can you see the difference between a stuffed cat and a real one sleeping on the sofa? We get conscious of life from its side effects when the cat starts moving. We like to watch wood burning in the fireplace because there is movement, heat and sound. Those are the criteria of life. This is what gets our attention. Plants cannot move but they can grow and change their shape. Could there be some life in plants?

Another example is “heat”. We don’t have a sense organ to detect heat like we have eyes to see. Heat can move from one object to another but we cannot detect any movement. Blisters make you painfully conscious of heat but blisters are a consequence. We are not directly conscious of heat. How is it possible that life and heat can be so important and we are not directly conscious of them?

We know that without our sun there would not be any plant or animal or any human. Planet earth would be nothing more than a very cold piece of rock. The light we receive from the sun is more than wavelengths. It brings us heat. Could it also bring life? It seems that we go through life being conscious of the minimum necessary for our survival. That should keep us humble.

We get conscious of the world around us through our senses. Unfortunately, our senses are limited. Our eyes get us conscious of what is between violet and red. If we could see the infra-reds or the ultra-violets, we would have a different conception of the world. Our senses give us a window on the world - a very narrow window.  

Have you even watched people being hypnotized? The hypnotist can make them conscious of being too cold or too hot or pedaling on a bicycle or swimming in the ocean. He has complete control.  It seems that human consciousness comes in two parts. We have our “conscious mind” that relies on the messages received through our sense organs. It uses logic and looks for proof. We also have our “subconscious”. It does not need proof. It accepts everything sent to it. You could compare that to the crew of a ship. Above deck are people who select a route and make decisions. Below deck are people who control the machines and the rudder. If they are told to go in the direction of an iceberg, they will send the ship to the iceberg. (At least, that’s the way it was before computers control everything). It seems that the hypnotist has a way to bypass the conscious mind and gets direct access to  the subconscious.

When somebody gives me a new idea, I scrutinize that idea very carefully before I accept it. The second idea he  gives me would not be investigated so thoroughly. The third one even less. After awhile it seems that this man can bypass my conscious mind. I accept everything he says even something my conscious mind would reject. Some dictators started by doing something good for their country. They got the approbation of their people and direct access to their subconscious. They could lead their country to disaster and still keep their followers. My only explanation is that it is possible to erode our conscious mind to the point of carving a pass directly to our subconscious. You will see smart people believing stupid things. It could be their consciousness that is limited. They are not aware of something important. There is also the possibility that something got directly to their subconscious without going through the filter of their conscious mind. Let me know if you have a better idea. I could be the one making a mistake. I may not be aware of the truth because of my limited consciousness.

Hypnotists are telling us that we are hypnotizing ourselves between 60% and 70% of the time. I found myself driving on the freeway and thinking about something else. I was on automatic pilot. The conscious mind was doing the thinking and the driving was left to the subconscious to the point that I missed my turn-off. 

People need some time to get out of their automatic pilot. Go to a store and ask: "Do you have paint that can be used on an outside deck?" Chances are that you will be asked to repeat the question. The clerk was on automatic pilot. Give him time to come back. Start by saying "Good morning. What a beautiful day" and he will understand the question the first time.

Advertising can use “subliminal advertising”. The idea is to introduce in your subconscious some ideas that you are not even conscious of. Relax Benoit! This practice is banned in most countries (but is still legal in the US).

The internet brings us an overwhelming flow of information. That should make people more open-minded. Unfortunately, it could be more than we can handle. We select some media and isolate ourselves in a bubble. Whatever gets into that bubble has direct access to the subconscious. What does not fit into our bubble is rejected. Use but don't abuse the internet.

You may think that you cannot get hypnotized. Beware!

I saw people who were sure that they cannot be hypnotized to be put asleep in less than 10 seconds. Next time you see a commercial, ask yourself if it is based on logical reasoning or if it is something to be swallowed without chewing. If I wanted to convince you to do something, I would try to give you the feeling that you should do it and let you find yourself the good reasons for doing it. Influencing the subconscious is much easier than trying to overcome the conscious mind.

I have an idea for an horror movie. Imagine that the Martians know how to bypass human consciousness and keep us in automatic pilot most of the time. They treat us like a herd and are using us like we use the cows. They let us use 30% of our conscious mind to sort out the details of our life. Sometimes they make humans fight one another and watch the fighting, just for fun, like we watch cock fighting.

Let’s go back to the beginning. Consciousness appeared on earth at different levels.

In the very simple organisms, consciousness is limited to the experience of eating when, by chance, they get in contact with food. They are only conscious of food. At the next level, we have organisms that move around looking for food. When they are hungry, they move. When they are not, they rest. At a higher level, some organisms use sense organs such as smelling or hearing to guide their search. Consciousness increases gradually from the simpler organism to human beings.

Don't jump to conclusion. That does not mean that the more you eat, the more conscious you will be. It means that the most simple implementation of consciousness was in the need for food. This level was followed by higher levels getting more and more sophisticated as we move from simple organisms to humans.

 

If there are levels of consciousness below ours, it is likely that there are levels of consciousness above ours. After moving from the survival of the individual looking for food, we could move to the survival of the specie or the survival of planet earth. The development of human consciousness could lead to feeling part of the whole universe. This is only an extrapolation but it seems to me that the development of consciousness starts from the individual and moves us to a wider and wider environment.

We should look for consciousness in the immaterial world. For some reason (difficult to understand) the soul got associated with a body. What we are aware of is the influence of the soul’s consciousness on that body. Remember the different levels of matter,  plants, animals and humans. What is most important comes from the level above. Animals are capable of some thinking. Humans have some consciousness. What is important is to amplify the consciousness that is at our disposal. Some people use meditation. Others study the laws of nature. 

Robots and Artificial Intelligence could play an important role in your life. The difference between a robot and us is that we are conscious of what the robot is doing.

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If you want to improve your life, it may be a good idea to start by expanding your consciousness. Going to school will develop your thinking. Consciousness and thinking are different but they are related. To solve a problem (like in mathematics) is to become conscious of its solution. 

Whatever you think about develops your consciousness. Traveling could help. You will see different ways of living and different ways of thinking.  Finding something (or somebody) to love is definitely the best way to expand consciousness.

Love flowers. Love music. Love the forest. Love learning. Love the world and the world will return the favor by increasing your consciousness.  Love will reveal to you what you will never find in libraries. Your parents think that they are making your "education". The opposite may be more realistic. You are teaching them how to love children. You are increasing their level of consciousness. You are helping them to find something important in their life.

To have a new idea does not mean that you have created something. It only means that you became conscious of an idea that already existed in nature. We don't invent something. We don't create something. We only become conscious of what already exists. Open up and let the world penetrate you. He will teach you what you will not find in libraries. This is the wisdom of the Eastern civilizations. The history of mankind is a slow increase in consciousness.

 

Our search for consciousness is leading us to a level above mankind. You may call it “thin air”. I would rather call it "an immaterial level to which we only have limited access".

Big Hug

Pepe Brainjuice

Tide
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