202205281113 📃 abstract consciousness
The world depends on abstract consciousness. When one goes out, they must bring with them everything that they are — their feelings, their memories, their desires. These things must be consistent across all events within which one finds oneself. Or else, one faces accusations of inconsistency, hypocrisy and, above all else, two-faced lying.
Therefore, the objectivity of social reality works at all times and places to mount in people a sense of self, of abstract consciousness. The sense of self is abstract consciousness, considered objectively; abstract consciousness is the sense of self considered subjectively. As a subject, a free and autonomous being, to have a sense of self as “that towards which” I direct my actions, I must maintain a thought of myself as a unified whole. I must remove myself from any condition whereby I might change — stimuli that provoke me. I must consider moments of anger and deep sadness not “me,” but moments of me — periods of time where I only “felt deeply.” These were not me, for I was the condition for them. I, unchanged and always the same, am the ground upon which such deep emotions walk.
I, abstracted away from all such change, have consciousness of myself as an absolute, indissoluble unity. This is abstract consciousness. This is my sense of self.
Now is this a true view of me? Sure. But is it true unequivocally? I don’t think so. Men only demand of me that I think of myself in this way. I cannot go to work without my colleagues and I sharing an implicit memory of yesterday’s events in a readily-discursive manner — if I am schizoid, I’ll fail to chat with them, and our differences of event accounting will lead to discrepancies in our work. Hereby the firm I work for loses time and money, and I am fired. I must be in a certain way ready for the hands of society take me and put me where their play-things need me. In order to be this way, I must think of myself in this way. In order to think of myself in this way, I must think I am an absolute monad, a rock upon which the bulwarks and walls of social organization are built.
For, if I am not this monad, then the wall might crumble in chaos — solipsism takes over, men do not talk, and no one achieves what they seek. For it is only in tandem, in associated living, that men become more of themselves, that each of us wins something over and above what we are in our state of absolute unity. But here is the worst contradiction of worldly consciousness!
I must be, at once, the indissoluble condition for entering into social relations and dissolvable into such relations insofar as they need me. I cannot be absolutely “me” when my superior requests that I do this or that. I cannot be a monad when tasked to manipulate excel spreadsheets or read a book - I must enter into the consciousness of another and allow theirs into mine, as we melt in the crucible of face-to-face life. I must, therefore, be a pliant monad, ready whenever needed to bend to the wills of those around me and, supposing I am in a position of power, to bend their wills to me. I must be both monad absolute and a porous chemical ready for bonding, always lacking one electron so I might ionize with my organization and feel that I am one with it.
If one is inflexible, one equally faces accusation of selfishness, egotism, idiocy, and above-all, callous disregard for the world around them.
One must tear himself between two opposing poles - a universal condition for change, and ever-changing, social being. Can one be both? No, yet the world demands of us that we are. Vitruvius weeps! Such, at one level, is the incoherence of the world — it lacks a practice whereby self is cultivated intentionally, absolutely, and freely. Instead, self-consciousness rises and falls as do the tides with the moon, in gravity with objects in occult relation to the self. Four years ago I valued most the freedom of my mind to feel as I will; I now value most dialogue with others insofar as I have that feeling. Whence did such a change arise? When did it do so? How did it become so complete in me? I cannot answer such questions practically, for there is no practice whereby such answers mean anything to anyone but myself. I can write them down and tell them to you, but what will this be bust a mental masturbation? There is no place where I can feel me one and none, being and becoming. I must submit all of it to my abstract consciousness, keep it in a private journal, and hope that some day I might have friends who mutually masturbate their minds with me. There is no space, no method, where self-cultivation is the end, and which recognizes that each of us feeling ourselves as we are, as both universal conditions and social planets in constant revolution around each other, is a truly social affair. I feel me not an individual of the species, but an alien unto himself.
This line appears after every note.