23/1/2023 0 Comments
On consciousness and context
I was sitting in the sun, waiting for a friend who was buying vegetables, watching children who weren't my children, feeling very much in the moment, thinking this is my life, waiting for Lisa, but thinking also, that what made this moment the moment that it was, was everything around the moment, everything I wasn't experiencing in the moment but which gave the moment its meaning - that I was waiting for Lisa, that I've been caught up with family crises, that Simon is at home in Wellington, that Johnny and Elvira are who they are, that my hair is as it is (always too short or growing out badly), that I had been reading the book I had been reading. It was a few years ago I felt for an instant what it would feel like to believe in the idea of consciousness as residing in the world, in the objects perceived, rather than in the perceiver of them, but I've never been able to hold on to that idea for long and this was the opposite of that feeling, a powerful sense of how the consciousness of a moment is never simply a whole lot of perceptions about the world but is part of a narrative, or, rather, is experienced in terms of a sense of self, and I thought that, in a way, reading a book is what does allow you to live moment by moment, more than when you live in the moment you are living in, because the moment you are living in belongs to the whole context of your life, but when you read a book that context of your own life is set aside and you are in the context of the book's narrative which is revealed to you more linearly than your own life, the narrative of the book unfolding in the moment to moment of reading it.
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These are paragraphs without essays or books to go in.