Friday, October 24, 2008

Consciousness and Social Being

Shri Krishna and Gopis, Indian temple hanging (pichvai) c.1840
National Gallery of Australia.

"Human consciousness is not located in the head, but is immanent in the living body and the interpersonal social world. One’s consciousness of oneself as an embodied individual embedded in the world emerges through empathic cognition of others. Consciousness is not some peculiar qualitative aspect of private mental states, nor a property of the brain inside the skull; it is a relational mode of being of the whole person embedded in the natural environment and the human social world."
-Evan Thompson, Professor of Philosophy, University of Toronto.

Consciousness is associated in particular with the Visshuddhi Chakra (subtle centre located on the throat but which is also the origin of the brain). It is believed that play evolved in order to develop consciousness in living creatures. Intelligent creatures, such as dolphins and apes, tend to be playful. There are many stories about the playfulness of Shri Krishna, the aspect of the Divine who rules over the Visshuddhi Chakra, and whose life exemplified social being, the interplay of collectivity.

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