|The Early Days of a Better Nation|
Sunday, September 30, 2012
The response: lots of comments saying 'Oh, I have that too!'
Since writing it, I came across two things that seem relevant to the odd experience.
One is that I remembered a passage I'd read years ago - it may have been an essay in the now legendary anthology The Mind's I - in which the writer imagined abstracting from every personal feature of one's consciousness, and pointed out that what remained would be what is common to all conscious beings. What struck me is that if one could step back into that consciousness-as-such, one would have something like the experience I described.
Another was reading Chris Beckett's Dark Eden. One of the characters, Jeff, is an odd little tyke with the habit of saying, every so often and apropos of nothing: 'We're here. We really are here.' Later in the book we get inside his head, and find that he (unlike everyone around him) sees 'the same Awakeness' in the flat, blank eyes of the alien animals as people do in each other and remember in Earth animals. This is more or less what Schopenhauer said in opposition to Descartes and Spinoza: that animals may not think or reason, but they share the same awareness as we do, just by being aware.
I don't know where that line of thought is going, but if you're interested, have a look at my article, and especially the comments. And give Aeon a browse too - there's a lot of interesting stuff there that you won't find anywhere else.