What do we mean by “being human”?
To be a human being is to exist in three alternating states. The first state I’ll call the Contentless state, because there is nothing there, nothing that can be observed. In common parlance, this is non-REM or deep sleep.
The second I call the Unself Conscious state. In it, images appear and are observed. We refer to it as dreaming.
The third state, not unlike the second, is the Self Conscious state. Here again images appear. However, now there is interpretation of them and involvement in them by a pseudo-entity: me.
The human brain creates this internal image or representation of itself as a whole, as a distinct entity. Environmental information is then referred to as other or non-self. This allows the system to consciously experience itself as being a part of the world. Too, the model presents the organism as being fully immersed in the world via a network of causal, perceptual, cognitive, attentional, and agentive relationships.
While in the Self Conscious state, most of us are actively engaged in the Pursuit of Becoming.
What is this? Its three components are:
- Ignoring what you innately are
- Erroneously believing what you are not
- Chasing some future attainment to correct #2
This is ignorance. When I speak of ignorance, I don’t refer to an absence of knowledge or to stupidity. I refer to a condition of ignoring. As such, when we ignore what is closer to us than our next thought, we are ignorant.
All efforts toward becoming are movements away from what already is present. In which direction must you walk to get to Here? What is the distance? How much time is required to get to Now?
As one begins to see that one is constantly reinforcing the image of being something in particular, a movement away from the reinforcing is initiated. You begin to understand that you cannot live in full presence while planning for some future arrival. How can we talk about your arrival when, in fact, you are the destination?
Movement then begins back from the periphery, with its particular point of view, towards the center and clarity.