Aware, but not Self-Aware
From Roadmap to Reality: Consciousness, Worldviews, and the Blossoming of Human Spirit
"Before my teacher came to me, I did not know that I am. I lived in a world that was no-world. I cannot hope to describe adequately that unconscious, yet conscious time of nothingness.... Since I had no power of thought, I did not compare one mental state to another... When I learned the meaning of "I" and "me" and found that I was something, I began to think. Then consciousness first existed for me. Thus it was not the sense of touch that brought me knowledge. It was the awakening of my soul that first rendered my senses their value, their cognizance of objects, names, qualities,
and properties. Thought made me conscious of love, joy, and all the emotions."
--Helen Keller, The World We Live In
We Become whatever we Copy
We take our experience of consciousness for granted, but people who lack human nuturing and language as children experience a very different version of consciousness and reality.Victor, illustrated here, was a twelve-year-old boy who was captured in France in 1799. Victor was naked and mute. He acted like an animal, and his body was scarred from years of living in the wild. Victor was tutored for several years by a resourceful young medical student named Jean-Marc Itard. Itard taught him to understand basic speech, although Victor only learned to say two words. Interestingly, Victor was completely comfortable while naked in cold weather. He would even leap about in the snow and throw it up in the air in joy, completely oblivious to the cold.
More recently, in 1991, authorities in Ukraine discovered Oxana, an eight year-old girl who had been raised by stray dogs since she was three years old.With intensive speech therapy she was able to acquire basic language skills. However, at age twenty-two she remained developmentally a six year-old. Oxana demonstrated her dog-like heritage for reporter Elizabeth Grice from the U.K. Telegraph. Grice wrote:
"She bounds along on all fours through long grass, panting towards water with her tongue hanging out. When she reaches the tap she paws at the ground with her forefeet, drinks noisily with her jaws wide and lets the water cascade over her head. Up to this point, you think the girl could be acting--but the moment she shakes her head and neck free of droplets, exactly like a dog when it emerges from a swim, you get a creepy sense that this is something beyond imitation. Then, she barks. The furious sound she makes is not like a human being pretending to be a dog. It is a proper, chilling, canine burst of aggression and it is coming from the mouth of a young woman, dressed in T-shirt and shorts."
1. Helen Keller. The World I Live In. New York: Century. 1904, 1908. Pages 113-14.
2. _____. "Secret of the Wild Child." PBS Nova. Airdate: March 4, 1997. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/transcripts/2112gchild.html. Accessed July 1, 2007.
3. _____. "Hello mutter, hello Fido." DogsInTheNews.com. http://dogsinthenews.com/stories/060925b.php. September 25,
2006. Accessed February 24, 2008.
4. Elizabeth Grice. "Cry of an enfant sauvage." Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?xml=/arts/2006/07/17/ftdog17.xml. June 7, 2006. Accessed February 24, 2008.
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Greetings and Salutations Tom!
Your "deep dive" into reality is right on the mark with the experiences of the great sages of India, who have been recording their learning in the Upanishads starting about 2600 years ago all the way to the present in such works as Yoga Saram by Tirumalai Krishnamacharya.
Authentic Yoga traditions hold that both the body and the mind are "jadam" or insentient, having no cognitive ability, that is, robotic. In other words, it is not just the body that is a "machine", albeit an organic one, but also the mind, that is our conscious perception of our body and the world around us is also "jadam", senseless, unable to make choices, programmed by our experience. Just as you assert in Roadmap to Reality, the mind "reacts" just as predictably as the body does. You are in good company and it should cheer you to know the truth you have experienced in your own life is really there, in the shared experiences of so many others past and present who have had the gift to see it.
BTW, the illustrations are fantastic! Both symbolic and naturalistic, the illustrations are key to deconstructing the preconceptions of the reader so we can "erase" the code in our mind blocking us from seeing the deeper connections and energy flows of our world. A great illustration evokes emotion in the viewer, regardless of technique, style, or level of talent and the illustrations you have chosen continually do just that, peaking my emotions so I stay motivated and moving forward in the journey.