Monday, May 08, 2006

The Recognition of Recognition

Much of my thoughts as of late have been drifting around the actual experience of recognizing or realizing something. Increasingly, it seems to me, it is one's own self recognizing that he recognizes something or realizing that he realizes something that seems to be at the heart of things. The experience of experience, really. Being in the process of something and being fully aware of such.

This way of thought seems to assume that we're always in the act of experiencing, realizing, or recognizing -- but we are (for the most part) not doing so with full awareness. I think this is where the whole "becoming human" thing comes into play, as in the light of "moving away from your animal self." A dog might realize he is hungry, but does he realize that he realizes as much? Is he aware of this sensation, or merely acting on it? This seems, at the moment, to be what our "human" consciousness seems to be all about.

Think of the story Adam and Eve in the Garden in regard to the sex we know they're going to have with each other. In the case of the story, they were just created so they will (of course) be the first two people to ever have sex in all the world. That must be an incredible experience -- not knowing about sex from TV, magazines, text-books, or even your friends or parents. It is something entirely unknown to both of them -- but they "stumble upon it" somehow (which isn't too hard to imagine). That has got to be the best stumbling-upon of all time perhaps.

But what is the point of this? I will tell you -- Adam and Eve, through their action of being the first to do just about everything that humans do -- represent the individual potential within us all to fully realize and recognize what it is we're doing each time we do it.

We cannot be the first humans ever to eat a meal or take a piss or have sex, because our forebearers surely did it before us. And their ancestors did it before them. And on and on and on, all the way back up the evolutionary ladder. But, again, when our cell or fish or reptile or early mammal ancestors were doing all of these things, did they bring a full awareness of their action with them? Were they even capable of doing as much?

(Maybe they were super-fully-100% aware -- and it is our humanity which pulls us away from this 100%-ness. Perhaps that is our job then -- to reclaim this 100% awareness that was with us for all time, up until the birth of our so-called consciousness.)

Ultimate bottom line, then -- every day, in each thing we do, we have the opportunity to bring to the table the realization and recognition and awareness that we are doing whatever it is we're doing. And in doing so, we become as the first human to ever do such a thing. Tonight when you're swallowing the first bite of your dinner, imagine that you're the first person to ever think about and realize the act and process of swallowing thag delicious warm food. This seedling of experential awareness is what it is about -- literally, being fully in the moment.

Breaking through the transient and temporal restrictions that this material world drapes over us. The answer is not to be found through moving faster or further in an outward direction -- but moving properly toward the inner-direction... and in doing so breaking through to pure, total, ultimate, and undifferentiated experience of "being alive."
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

T.S. Eliot -- "Little Gidding" (the last of his Four Quartets)


Anonymous said...

to consider everything a person does as equally important, or equally useless.

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