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Games Of Consciousness – Introduction


I want to share my experiments with you… my experiments in consciousness. In one sense this should be no more difficult than the task faced by any researcher who has studied a subject and wishes to offer the objective results of that study to those fellow scientists who are interested. All I need do is to explain my methods, allow you to duplicate them in your laboratory, and let you come to your own conclusions.

What makes consciousness studies challenging to replicate, however, is the fact that each individual has a one-of-a-kind laboratory made of specific combinations of flesh and decimals, memories and DNA, images and experiences. Similar to the subtle, accoustic relationship that exists between sound waves and the interior of concert halls, each individual consciousness laboratory produces a slightly different experience for each researcher. Every set of unique combinations of who we are, what we are, and where we are coming from produces a unique framing for experiencing consciousness.

“How can you define consciousness?”, asked a noted professor at a recent symposium on the subject. “You cannot”, he answered himself, “it is too subjective”.

As a result, no matter how hard I try to convey “exactly” and “precisely” what I want to share with you, your experience even if you follow my trail exactly, cannot help but be somewhat different from mine. As long as we look out through different sets of eyes, hear with different sets of ears, and experience reality as seemingly different individuals we can never make our absolute experiences absolutely the same.

Yet as fellow human beings we do share a lot in common and as we enter the subjective experience, past the point where individual social, physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual differences matter in the experiment, we will approach a shared common ground. It’s like Groucho Marx describing the “secret word” many years ago on his show You Bet Your Life, when he said, “It’s something we do every day”.

The harder part is that we shall be using an imperfect means in attempting to communicate this experience… words. Words evoke different meanings for each experimenter, affecting how we each think… what we think… and what values we place on the subject we’re thinking about. As Lao Tsu said, “The Tao that can be described is not the Tao.” Even more cogent are the words of Khana, a Buddhist monk who lived between the 6th and 10th centuries CE who noted that, “The path is blocked by vowels and consonants.” We will be using vowels and consonents.

As a result, I cannot know for certain that a word means the same for me, the person writing it, as it does for you, the person reading it. In fact, I can be pretty sure it doesn’t. And since the attempt here is to have us share the ‘I’ experience, that poses a problem. We each are our own laboratory and yours and mine cannot resonate exactly the same however much we open them up for inspection through words. If you don’t believe this, try a very simple experiment.

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The Say What You Mean Game

Draw something very simple such as a star, a dog, or a house. Don’t show anyone what you drew but ask several of your friends or coworkers to draw a picture of the same object.

Even after discounting artistic ability, what are the chances that all the drawings will be the same? For ‘star’ someone may draw a pentagram, another an asterisk, another a shooting star, another a sheriff’s badge. There will be big dogs and little dogs of all shapes and breeds, while houses can range from single family homes to apartment buildings, exteriors to floor plans. Someone once even drew a hole in a tree to represent a bird’s house.

It’s not that you communicated what you wanted poorly, or that the people you asked weren’t paying attention. It’s just that words are not the reality, they only represent the reality, and as such they represent different things to different people. So if that’s the result you get dealing with simple things, nouns and objects we all take for granted, what do you think the result will be trying to get agreement on emotionally charged words like, mother, or love, or freedom, or happiness? Imagine then what we can expect to find dealing with words representing non-concrete, non-material processes like consciousess.

Another problem with words is that they must be delivered sequentially and cannot convey the sudden, complete, ‘aha’ experience that occurs in work in consciousness. You cannot replicate a cognitive experience by merely observing the subject from the outside or intellectualizing a sequence of words describing someone else’s subjective experience. Following the trail of words can lead to that point of embarcation, but you must see the light for yourself to subjectively know it to be real. You must ‘grok’ it. [grok – from Robert Heinlein’s 1961 novel Stranger In A Strange Land, a Martian word meaning to understand something so well that it is fully absorbed into oneself.]

This is why I have created the consciousness games and exercises that show up on our soon-to-be-launched sibling site, (sister site is so sexist),<GamesofConsciousness.com>.  Playing them will offer you a much better chance of achieving the desired breakthrough into the new consciousness than merely reading about it.  And as you’ll see, it is so much more fun being able to Grok the new consciousness for yourself.

So with this apparent paradox in mind, the common experience of unique experiencing, shared via the imperfect medium of words, I open the doors of my lab,Conshus1, for your inspection. Come on in, enjoy your visit, and feel free to take anything back to your own lab for testing. Just please clean up after yourself.

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