Today is the “stream of consciousness” post for HAWMC, the goal being to write continuously, with no prompt, for who knows how long. “Don’t stop, don’t edit!” they say. Grammar be-damned! I will be fixing typos, but true to form I’d rather “meta.” Reminds me of “beta” in rock-climbing jargon, though I have yet to fully discover what that means (I learned “match” just a couple weeks ago). Why is writing freely intimidating? It’s not, I guess, but given the goal of this blog is to inspire change, to highlight freethinkers and activists who are making a difference, or “sticking up”…well, I’d rather not babble on about a personal diatribe.
But therein lies the fallacy, I suppose – why should a stream of consciousness be any more personal than a well-edited, peer-reviewed paper? Is that not produced from the conscious mind of the researcher? Is a well-executed movie, written over years and years and with millions of dollars, not a “stream” of conscious thoughts from the writer, director, actors, etc.? After wading through Sam Harris’ The Moral Landscape I’m somewhat convinced we don’t quite know what we’re thinking about, at least, accurately. So in a sense, everything we say, write, do, or act is a stream of consciouness, but it could be more apt to say a stream of unconscioucness.
Maybe that’s the scareist part: what if I write, quickly, efficiently, hoping to explore what lies ahead of each word with a significant amount of tact and intellect, only to discover, at the end of the day, that it was all unconscious, and the connection between my brain and fingers is a lot longer and shallower than I think it is! That’s a frightening proposition (at least, when I consider about who sees what I write), but also a liberating one. We all have this bias – we all think we are in control, saying what we thinking and acting in a way that our brains corralled us to. As Harris says, “the illusion of free will is in itself…an illusion.”
Photo: Chicago Art Dept.