On Consciousness

By Mike Zonta, H.W., M. (BB editor)

In July of 1969 my friend Calvin Harris finally convinced me to attend The Prosperos annual assembly at the Miramar Hotel in Santa Barbara. And that’s when I first heard Thane (co-founder and late dean of The Prosperos) speak about our identity as consciousness.

I wasn’t sure what he meant by that. Of courses, we are consciousness! Otherwise we wouldn’t even be aware of ourselves.

But aren’t we something more than just consciousness? Well, I know I was more than just consciousness. I was special, talented, smart, young, good-looking, put-upon and misunderstood to mention just a few of my dearly held identities outside of being merely consciousness.

A few years earlier, in 1637, René Descartes also said something about consciousness. He said, “Je pense donc je suis.” I think therefore I am. And just to make it more impressive: Cogito Ergo Sum.

Descartes was, in effect, saying the same thing as Thane, that underneath and behind the various convictions of who we are, that we are consciousness itself.

Not the consciousness that goes to sleep when we go to bed at night. Not the consciousness that is raised at our weekly women’s consciousness-raising group. Not the monkey mind we observe in meditation.

But the consciousness that underlies everything. The consciousness that is aware of itself as consciousness.

Descartes made the mistake of dividing the world up into mind and matter. But his Eureka! moment of “Cogito Ergo Sum” was not a mistake.

It is a self-evident truth. And those who try to nitpick this realization (whether John-Paul Sartre or Eckhart Tolle) are simply guilty of over-thinking .

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