Driving a dark, wind-buffeted valley road last night, an idea came to me. One of those proliferation moments, like time-lapse of a sunflower unfolding. By the time I got to a place where I could scribble the following notes, though, the moment was gone. The traces of it are here, in these words, which now have the look of sea wrack on a beach. Nevertheless:
The idea that no creature possesses consciousness. There is only an ability to process and display consciousness. We receive consciousness the way radios receive signals: how well we receive it depends on how finely tuned we are organically; the same with how well we display it. There is always static, power waxing and waning, our circuits overheat, wear out, etc. But the “signals” metaphor is misleading: consciousness isn’t organized into bands, into channels of meaning. We create the channels from the ubiquitous and undifferentiated background radiation of consciousness, according to our own organic form. Let’s say that species are essentially forms that receive and display consciousness in characteristically different ways. Not just species, either. Rocks and trees and waters and fires receive and display consciousness as well, within the limits of their forms.
The practical meaning of this is that there is no “real” distinction to be made between body and mind, natural and supernatural, or any of the other dualisms the human species creates from the consciousness it is organically able to receive. Maybe every form of matter is simply an expression of this undifferentiated consciousness. After all, individual forms come and go; we’re born and we die; species arise and go extinct. All matter, “inanimate” or “animate” (another dualism), comes and goes. But consciousness can neither be created nor destroyed. The practical meaning of all this is that we’d better not delude ourselves about knowing ultimate things, because all forms of matter are by nature limited. Surely it’s absurd for us to be killing one another over the partial and defective expressions of consciousness our species is able to produce.
No real poems this week; just a few lines in response to this post by Vassilis Zambaras. They are nestled in the comment stream there, but I’m re-pasting them here. Let’s call it “Childish”:
always used me,
but I don’t bawl
about it, old enough
to take childish
delight in every
FACTORY OF TEARS
And once again according to the annual report
the highest productivity results were achieved
by the Factory of Tears.
While the Department of Transportation was breaking heels
while the Department of Heart Affairs
was beating hysterically
the Factory of Tears was working night shifts
setting new records
even on holidays.
While the Food refinery Station
was trying to digest another catastrophe
the Factory of Tears adopted a new economically advantageous
technology of recycling the wastes of the past—
The pictures of the employees of the year
were placed on the Wall of Tears.
I’m a recipient of workers’ comp from the heroic Factory of Tears.
I have calluses on my eyes.
I have compound fractures on my cheeks.
I receive my wages with the product I manufacture.
And I’m happy with what I have.