Self-Awareness [was Re: Emotions]

[Bill Curry (2000.08.01.0730 EST)]

Richard Kennaway (2000.09.01.0949 BST)--

I don't remember waking up, but I was awake, lying in bed with my eyes
still closed, just daydreaming about this and that. I was aware of lying
in bed and hearing the occasional car go by outside. This was not a
sleeping or dreaming state. There was no experience of any inner "self".
This lasted for I guess around five or ten minutes. Then my wristwatch
alarm went off, and suddenly my "self" came online. Curious experience,
never happened before.

Perhaps there are people who go through their whole life in that state?

I think self-awareness in the population exists in varying degrees along a
continuum (expressed as % of time spent in a self-aware state). We'd probably be
amazed at the results.

In my recollection, self-awareness was acquired over time. I recall entire long
summers (around ages 6-8) spent mostly wading around in a brook down the road from
our farm, catching and releasing indignant crayfish and salamanders...a seemingly
pointless activity. Why I did it or being aware of doing it never occurred to me.
I WAS the experience.

Doesn't it make sense that in the early years, while we are building our unique
hierarchies from the ground up, that we lack or have very rudimentary principle or
self concept levels? Children are mostly perceptual sponges living and
experiencing the present moment without thinking of themselves doing it.
Actually,it was a pretty neat experience in ways...a zen state that seems conflict
free in retrospect.

Reminds me of the quote attributed to the medieval scholar Erasmus, reputed to be
the last man who knew everything: "Oh, the curse of an examined mind!"

Is anyone aware of tests or data assessing levels of self-awareness?


Bill C.


William J. Curry
Capticom, Inc.