What is meant by pure consciousness?

Jonathan Bricklin brickmar at EARTHCOM.NET
Thu Nov 13 03:24:14 CST 1997

Allan Curry writes:

    >What makes sense to any given human intellect does not
    >circumscribe what is, in my view. This is not to say
    >reality is absurd, just unthinkable.

But you *are* thinking about it are you not, when you characterize
consciousness as pure.  Isn't "pure" another way of saying what's really
real to your given human intellect?

>Don't advaitins
   > hold that Brahman is consciousness (or awareness if you
    >prefer that term)

Well, there is that intriguing word Saksin which means both witness and
field.  A very quantum word that!

>and that "there is no other"? What
    >would consciousness with no other be but

It could be consciousness of everything that ever was is or will be.  That
also leaves no room for an other.

It seems to make pretty
    OK sense to me and it also seems to be not an altogether
    wrong description of the actual occurence of awareness
    in the sleep state.

I need to press you still here.  I get no sense out of it.  The problem
becomes compounded when you apply it to the sleep state.  As an experience
the sleep state is not, on your reckoning, known to you.  From where, then
comes your description?

>    I can't agree that consciousness can be contemplated
>    because it cannot be made into an object whereas desire
 >   is an object (according to Bhagavad Gita anyway).

Others can speak to to how desire is represented in the Gita far better
than I.  But is it desire per se that is equated with being an object, or
craving?   To be without desire of any kind, as opposed to hankering after
this or that, strikes me not as enlightenment but death.

>If I  understand you here (which is very questionable), I'd
    >say "pure" consciousness (ie. without-an-object) *is*
> the unchanging consciousness you mention.

The unchanging consciousness I think about is the sum total of everything
that ever was, is or will be.  All other consciousness is a relativized
slice of the one Saksin space/time.  Contentless consciousness makes no
sense to me.  I cannot see the point of invoking Bishop Berkeley's wrath

 >It does always
    *seem* to be exactly the same absolutely new core of
   every moment of experience whenever experience is
    experienced completely (this ever-newness is bliss and
    it is always that way). Sometimes the body and world
    appear in it (consciousness), sometimes they do not.
    The problems seem to start with the identification of
    consciousness with the body/mind in such a way as to
    create the apparent separation between self and
    non-self, subject and object. If that identification
    doesn't occur then the mere appearance or disappearance
    of the body/thought/world is not a problem. Appearances
    in consiousness *are* consciousness if they are not
    artificially turned into objects as a result of
    identifying a false subject which is actually just
    another part of the total appearance in consciousness.
    The whole manifestation is an appearance in
    consciousness and the personal self is not the true
    subject but rather just another appearance in it.>

I agree heartily with all of this.


Jonathan Bricklin

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