Stream of Consciousness on Consciousness

 What is stream of consciousness? 

Paraphrasing from Wikipedia we can say that it is a narrative device used in literature “to depict the multitudinous thoughts and feelings which pass through the mind”. It is also known as interior monologue. It seeks to portray an individual’s point of view by giving the written equivalent of the character’s thought processes. It is characterized by associative leaps in thought and lack of punctuation. Philosopher and psychologist William James first coined this term in ‘The Principles of Psychology’.

James Joyce’s used this technique in ‘Ulysses’ and extract from the book is given below to explain how this narrative device works:

a quarter after what an unearthly hour I suppose theyre just getting up in China now combing out their pigtails for the day well soon have the nuns ringing the angelus theyve nobody coming in to spoil their sleep except an odd priest or two for his night office or the alarmlock next door at cockshout clattering the brain out of itself let me see if I can doze off 1 2 3 4 5 what kind of flowers are those they invented like the stars the wallpaper in Lombard street was much nicer the apron he gave me was like that something only I only wore it twice better lower this lamp and try again so that I can get up early

and now for some Vedanta :

i came across this concept recently and it struck me that it will be nice if i can write about consciousness  using the above technique namely stream of consciousness but for me to do that i needed to get a better understanding of consciousness i then set out on a  journey to explore consciousness and understand what vedanta has to say about consciousness after researching consciousness for a while i thought i was prepared for the task at hand and begun writing as i type these words it is getting increasingly difficult not to punctuate i am also taking breaks regularly to collect my thoughts and as i continue to ponder on how to go about writing this blog  on consciousness as a interior monologue i find myself woefully inadequate in my understanding of consciousness as luck would have it even before i was conscious of my writers block i have come across this wonderful exposition on consciousness by swami dayananda saraswati the following sentences after the word quote in italics are by him from a website whose address i will give later quote consciousness is awareness for example consciousness means you are conscious of something it is opposed to inertness or non consciousness it is consciousness that is manifest in all forms of perception in all forms of knowing consciousness is qualified by different objects when i say i am conscious of the pot for example there is pot consciousness similarly when i say i am conscious of the cloth there is cloth consciousness whenever you are conscious of something that something becomes the qualifying for consciousness the basis for all forms of knowledge in fact both the subject and the object are consciousness but in the beginning to help you find out what are you are i generally say that a thought is an object and you are the subject then when you ask what is this i that is the subject I reply you the subject are a witness and what is the nature of the witness consciousness the witness then is consciousness and the witnessed object cannot be away from consciousness therefore the witness and witnessed are both consciousness even the witness is not there consciousness remains similarly thought is consciousness and the thinker the knower of the thought is also consciousness with reference to thought however consciousness assume two statuses corresponding to two types of thought in mind subject thought and object thought these two types of thought can be seen in the dream where you are both the subject and the object of the dream you are the object in that you are the one who participates in the dream world and you are the subject the one whose dream it is the subject and the object are therefore one and the same both types of thought subject thought and object thought exist in consciousness and are in fact nothing but consciousness unquote i will now give you the link to the website in prose please go to discovervedantadotcom and click on the readings section you will find another subsection for articles scroll down this page and you will find the section on definition of consciousness by swami dayananda saraswati as you can now see even though i set out to write about consciousness as a stream i eventually took the easy way out and used swamijis discussion on consciousness by simply removing the punctuations from the essay and presented this to you as a monologue i seek your indulgence for this finally it is ironical that i have used a technique named stream of consciousness to learn and explain what consciousness is only to realize  that consciousness being indivisible can never be a stream making the term stream of consciousness a contradiction in terms

om tat sat

3 thoughts on “Stream of Consciousness on Consciousness

  1. Pingback: Blog of the Day: Explore Consciousness | THE SCARECROW

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