I was learning about flu facts in the hospital canteen. ‘Fighting flu starts with you!’ I learned. I like learning things. I learned other things too as I was sitting there drinking my Americano but I can’t remember what they are. It’s terrible when you learn something and then forget about it again straightaway isn’t it? That’s happens to me all the time. I’d be sitting there thinking ‘what was it that I just learned there?’ and then I’d realize that I didn’t know. All I have is a kind of fuzzy feeling in my head – like when a radio station isn’t properly tuned in. That’s kind of demoralizing when that happens. I’m still feeling utterly fatigued and wonder half-heartedly about getting myself another Americano. The first one didn’t seem to have done much for me…
There’s only one consciousness and it lives in all of us – it gets to meet itself anew in every human interaction! I’d be inclined to say ‘She meets herself in every human interaction,’ because I think of consciousness as being feminine. The thinking mind, on the other hand (the agency which is writing this!) I like to think of as being the masculine principle. The masculine principle loves to explain things after all – it loves to pontificate… I see it as a Russian Orthodox priest with robes and a big beard. The rational mind creates an identity and that identity is the vehicle through which this meeting of consciousness with itself gets to happen. We could say that this separate identity, this mind-created self, is the mechanism by which this meeting is facilitated but we could also say that it is the mechanism which ensures (by the logic of its operation) that we can’t recognize who it is that we are meeting!
That’s a neat trick. That’s a neat little twist there – you’ve got to appreciate that! A stroke of genius, really… I’m stuck for words trying to say how clever that is: the mechanism whereby consciousness gets to meet itself, encounter itself, bump into itself, is also the mechanism by which we get to be endlessly mistaken about who it is we are meeting. We get it wrong every time – we actually think that we’re meeting someone else! So what’s the point of this clever little mechanism of the self, you might ask? Where does all this confusion, all this misidentification get us? What’s to be learned by being sent off down the wrong road every time?
I’m back in the canteen now. Time has passed. It’s twelve thirty and I’m trapped in linear time again. I look up from my note pad and notice that people are eating soup all around me. It must be soup-time, I think stupidly. I m pleasantly aware of the gentle murmur of conversation, interrupted regularly by the faint clinking of cutlery. Presumably by people accidentally hitting soup bowls with their spoons as they eat – a very slight failure of hand-eye coordination. The mildest of ataxias. For the most part it’s a silent process however – fluid and silent. The process continues smoothly as I sit there, the sporadic clinking of spoons against soup bowls forming the faintest of error signals in the background.