Thinking, Consciousness and Time

Thinking is a conscious act. Without consciousness it does not exist. While the brain uses reasoning, memory and sensory information to evaluate, solve problems and decide on actions continuously in our everyday lives, often without our awareness, or with partial awareness, this is not thinking. The act or process of thinking requires an awareness of the “whole” or gestalt of a situation, and we call this over-arching awareness “consciousness.”

Consciousness is a way for the brain to hold a problem or observation of a situation in the here and now while time is passing by. In this suspended state, non-essential stimuli are blocked; perhaps this contributes to the experience afterward of having “lost one’s sense of time.” Without this ability, thinking would be like riding the rapids with an assault of sights, sounds, and emotions. It would be very difficult without the ability to set aside time (within time) for a thought process to focus and develop on one particular aspect. Thinking is intellectual consideration, whether of an external object, or of concepts, or both. Because of consciousness, a person can complete this consideration.

By keeping us “in the moment,” consciousness keeps us where we actually are in time: always in the present moment, and gives us a sense not of passing time, but of timelessness or time without end, the eternal (nunc stans, the Eternal Now). It is this experience that attracts people who are seeking a “higher awareness” and a suspension of thought and freeing from the physical, the body and the world, and from time. It is in fact a suspension of thinking about non-essentials as one focuses more on the present moment. What is considered non-essential increases as considerations are made and understanding or resolution achieved. Some call the apex of this an experience of “nothing,” but in fact it comes from the understanding of every action and thought as it reaches its culmination. In other words, there will be no epiphany, or nirvana, or heaven, without the wisdom that comes from living.

Notes:

“Nunc fluens facit tempus, nunc stans facit aeternitatum. (The now that passes produces time, the now that remains produces eternity.)” – Boethius, an early 6th Century Italian philosopher, The Consolation of Philosophy

Nunc stans, the Eternal Now, was thought to represent the consciousness of the Supreme Being in medieval times.

This is part of a work in progress, currently titled Essays, by Mary Clark

Is life a series of delusions?

Paul Johnston (PJ)

Paul Johnston (PJ)

In his Village habitat, PJ tapped his fingers on the papers piled next to his typewriter. “I’ve wondered if time moves so swiftly that we can remember only a tiny fragment of what happens,” he said. “Do we make a selection from these fragments, and if so, do these selections form a series of delusions with which we live throughout our lives?”

“That would explain my life,” I said.

Later, he wrote: “Time moves so swiftly that memory cannot retain an infinitesimal fragment and a person has to stop to make a selection consciously or unconsciously, evaluating by using an innate mental faculty, choosing what seems to enhance his inner security, but was only part of his reality, and so it was a delusion. This is the first in an uncountable number of delusions.”

“At the same time,” he said, “is it possible that each person contains all the memory of human consciousness from the beginning of human existence? How would that affect the perceptions of events, and the process of selection?”

These are excerpts from Tally: An Intuitive Life, by Mary Clark, All Things That Matter Press, available at Amazon as a print book ($16.95 or less) or Kindle ebook ($5.99). Purchase the print book and get the Kindle for just $1.99!