Fascinatingly, another way to ask this question is:
What is consciousness?
And while I have been asking this question constantly for nearly two decades I finally feel like my background in Philosophy, Psychology, and Neuroscience has equipped me with the words and feelings to describe what I’ve found.
A simple way to answer the question is by saying that consciousness is Vision. Not sight, not wavelengths of light hitting your retinas, not observation: Vision. A picture that you see in your mind. Some might call it imagination, or mental representation. And, as I’ve stated before, all things that exist are conscious. Therefore, every single thing has this ability to envision, to imagine, to simulate an external reality with an internal representation.
If you don’t believe me, consider that sight is neither necessary nor sufficient for vision. I once thought that vision, or mental imagery, was the metaphorical language which our senses communicate through. However, I now realize that Vision is what happens when analogy and metaphor combine. When logic provides structure for emotion and emotion provides meaning for logic. It is interface, or as I’ve written in the past:
“In essence, consciousness is the phenomenon that occurs at the interface of two extremes. It is the existence that we all experience. It is untouchable because when it is breached on either side it is no longer an interface of contrast. In other words, consciousness is awareness, not knowledge. In order to truly understand something you must be separate from it — this is the fractional nature of our reality.”
But not all hope is lost. Balance is within our reach.
Your eyes and the LGN (lateral geniculate nucleus) compose a system of sight. This system projects to the visual cortex at the back of your head. It is possible to lose the visual cortex but not the ‘sight system’. When this happens people report having absolutely no awareness of visual stimuli, but they are still capable of behaving as though they can see. Similarly, it is possible to lose the sight system but not the vision system. When this happens people are entirely blind, but they have an awareness of their environment as if they could see!
The balance inherent in the visual system is extremely functional for restoring equality to the unstable relationship between the sides of our brain. While this is quite obvious physically (try drawing a straight line with your eyes closed), it is also true mentally.
As I’ve said in previous posts, integrating logic and emotion creates a mental space or a vision — a physical, true, alternate reality. We all fight with each other about who has the “truest” of these spaces. And most of us fight within ourselves about which of our spaces or visions will come to light. But when you find balance, when you eightstep me, it becomes clear that these spaces are not meant to clash with each other — they are all the same space. Consciousness is shared experience through vision. It is the creation of an interface between object and subject, inside and outside, me and you. But this separation should not distract us from the inherent Truth: there is no truth.
However, despite the illusory nature of boundaries we cannot escape them. Instead, we must learn to pass through the interface and occupy whichever side of infinity is required by the current environment. Superpowers arise from one simple maneuver: knowing me, then feeling me, then knowing me, then feeling me (my wonderful sister and left hand clarifies that for many this will read: feeling me, then knowing me, then feeling me, then knowing me). This process creates balance and vision; it provides structure and meaning; it allows you to move outward by moving inward; it produces an eightstep me who is capable of seeing things that cannot be seen and has the capacity to witness things that cannot be imagined.