While Hollywood is casting for the movie ’50 Shades of Grey,’ allow me to cast around for at least 5 shades of human consciousness. In some ways the task is safe because no one yet knows for sure what consciousness is or is not. I take that to mean my educated guess is as good as your educated guess.
If consciousness means some level of brain/mind understanding, isn’t it probable these five exist:
1. Those murky feelings and beliefs that operate just below our awareness level [the subconscious]. Consider for example our hate-to-admit-it love affair with the Mafia. It’s not the bloody films like ‘Goodfellas’ but epic family portrayals like ‘The Godfather’ which romance us. Largely, I think, because of its romantic image of la familia, honor, respect; all those values our more amoral conscious-culture secretly misses and admires
2. Those ecstatic emotions and convictions which emerge in the lives of true believers and their followers. A classic case is the life and works of St Francis of Assisi and the Dali Lama. Such transcendent emotions are hard to put into words, for they seem to come more from the heavens than from any text
3. Those rhapsodic highs that we may on magical occasions expedience during say the rolling percussions of a Beethoven symphony or a Springsteen riff. Let it be said that music at its greatest soothes more than the savage beast; it can even sooth you and me
4. It may be hard to admit, but there is another level of consciousness at work — the kaleidoscopic world that drugs can explode in our minds, and inspire in our brush and pen. Consider the magnificent delirium of a Van Gogh, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Edgar Allen Poe and great portion of today’s concert music
5. One more level of human consciousness begs to be fathomed even though our brains may not be able to define it ~ First Love! That swirl of delicious highs and hurts, majesty and madness comes only once in a lifetime. When it does, all you can do now is try very very hard to re-feel the joy of those feelings. Impassible…. but still worth the try
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