The Stream of Consciousness

“For a materialist such as myself, there is no such thing as ‘mind’. It ultimately reduces down to neurons firing and neurochemical transmitter substances flowing across synaptic gaps between neurons, combining in complex patterns to produce something we call mind but is actually just brain.”  Michael Shermer – The Believing Brain

“… the mind is a flow of subjective experiences, such as pain, pleasure, anger and love. These mental experiences are made of interlinked sensations, emotions and thoughts, which flash for a brief moment, and immediately disappear. Then other experiences flicker and vanish, arising for an instant and passing away. (When reflecting on it, we often try to sort the experiences into distinct categories such as sensations, emotions and thoughts, but in actuality they are all mingled together.) This frenzied collection of experiences constitutes the stream of consciousness.” Yuval Noah Harari – Homo Deus

The Stream of Consciousness

dreams as flow; impulses
generated in the brain
create order out of chaos
sense out of jumble

unrelated thoughts
throughout the day
memories passed
incoherent images
organized; make stories

this is our woken state
according to the experts—
an involuntary flow of neurons
between the synapses in our brains
affected by outside stimulus
interpreted in the mind:

what we think we are thinking
is the moment
by the past

this “dream state”
while awake; anxiety
and quake

the panoply
of emotional states
can be balanced; guided
through imagery—
to the middle
of the way



8 responses

  1. This is great. And it seems to address the opposite pole of Alan Watts’ contention that the past is shaped by the present — not just the memory of it, but the reality of it. “What we think we are thinking is the moment manipulated by the past” can easily co-exist with this theory if one can view it as a polarity as opposed to a contradiction.

    Liked by 2 people

    • The idea of consciousness as a flow of neurons intrigues me. I even use it as a mantra of sorts when faced with the noise in the middle of a sleepless night. Those negative ideas aren’t my thoughts. They’re just synapses firing.

      Liked by 3 people

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