When we say we are “aware” of our minds and bodies, can this really be so? Are we not merely aware of a subtle master-image that has arisen in the mind that represents our current body-mind state? How, indeed, could it be otherwise?

In other words, one subtle representation–the sense of “me”–is aware of another subtle representation–the body-mind state. And both representations take themselves as “real” in a very basic sense.

To add to the mind-boggling-ness, neither of these representations is in “my” control. Both spontaneously arise and die down in the neurological storm that is reality.

I think this applies to awareness of the so-called external world as well. When we see a leaf or a chair, we are seeing something that is a massive construct of the brain. The brain fools us into thinking that we are seeing something as it is. But consider this:

  • a different organism, with a different brain and different sensorial structures, will perceive a leaf very differently from me
  • the appearance of richness in the visual field is illusory. We perceive in detail what is in focus in front of us; at our peripheral vision, we cannot make out colour changes
  • we all have a blind spot that the brain is masking, and it is filling in details from the surroundings, rather like Photoshop

This list can go on. I guess the question in my mind is: when we say we are aware of reality, what exactly do we mean?




4 thoughts on “Self-awareness

  1. I like the analogy with Photoshop, the perfect metaphor. In my mind there is perception and that’s the world we see, hear, small, taste, touch and think. Reality is as it is, and there is a deep sense (no words can describe it) that this is so…


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