Human Consciousness…and Human Not-Quite-Consciousness

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The last couple of years have exposed me to some profound concepts and realizations that I’m still working to fully grasp. I’m still working to fully grasp them because part of it is that there is constant room for improvement in generally being a person. Emotional intelligence has become a focus of mine, trying to develop the skills to understand people and separate problems from the individuals involved – basically, learning to not hold grudges or snap when annoyed. It takes a lot of deep breaths and careful deliberation behind spoken statements, and far more listening than anything else.

This is not based on any particular book I read, but from hearing other people talking about books they read. As useful the information in these books may be, the cheese of self-help oh so strongly repels me from paying money for the book and spending time reading it. So instead I do what I often do and let the gist of these things ferment in my own mind before applying them.

Self-awareness is fundamental to all of this. Removing my mind from my physical self and my actions helps for evaluating my own decisions and character and improving based on that. The third-person view establishes an awareness of how I’m impeding on other people, physically and mentally, and how that can be corrected.

But not everyone is…sharp in this area.

Without getting into rants about the evidence of this in politics, I’m going to limit my examples to the small and amusing. A few weeks ago, curling against a relatively young team who only fit the Canadian stereotype so far as they curl, I was standing on the side lines as one of their players threw her rock. (Most people won’t understand this, but smile and nod until I get around to writing up Curling 101.) One of the other players, who sweep the ice as needed to guide the rock down the ice in direction and speed, stood right in front of me waiting for the rock to be thrown. Right in front of me – not a step or two into the sheet, but right against the sideline behind which I stood. Less than an inch between my nose and the back of his head.

There were all sorts of tricks I could have played on this guy who clearly had such a thick layer of oblivion around his head that he didn’t even see me before stopping in that exact spot, like breathing down his neck or going into a hacking fit of cough, but instead I just turned my head to look at a teammate. And we laughed. We laughed because this ridiculous level of unawareness in one’s corporeal form and the presence of others exists. Who knows how smart this guy is or thinks he is in whatever areas he chooses as important. But my own perceptions of what human intelligence really is and we should all strive toward have changed over the past few years. Beyond any quantified test score or measure in physical ability, a complete lack of consideration or awareness for other people is about as useless a form of stupid as you can get.

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