Self consciousness vs Consciousness

Are they the opposite of each other?one the subset of the other? is everything just one thing and we are just conceptualizing it into 2 things?
Do we meditate on ourselves till the point we get so comfortable with ourselves that self consciousness is transformed into expanding consciousness?
Can our single pointed attention solve any problem? Fears, distractions, obsessions etc?

The real meaning of something can be understood from its opposite

Like take the example of music, you truly enjoy it only after a long silence or if you do a totally unrelated task which required your concentration. Thirst is truly felt only when you are deprived of water for long enough with strenuous activity alongside. You start noticing the faintest of lights in a dark room if you stay awake there for more than 10-20mins.

Desire makes you feel incomplete

Before desire originates we are complete and a whole – left figure. Once we see something attractive that we want to possess a sort of sinking hole is created in our chest – ‘right figure’ and makes us feel incomplete and there is a desire to fill this lack up by acquiring the person/item/idea etc.

Manipulation by people

The first picture shows the real objective picture/reality – all the circles and lines represent associations in the brain. The 2nd one shows the same picture but after I have been influenced by other people’s opinions – red and green shows the bias, desirable/undesirable. Some people are ridiculously opinionated. For every single concept even they have a good/bad judgment about it. Mostly their views are completely untrue and extremely biased. The problem is that we tend to first believe in something then logically analyze it if its true or not. Also, when you don’t know about a particular subject, its an even bigger problem and in group discussions these guys just keep littering opinions after opinions with a surprising amount of confidence. Its a pain to keep your guard all the time to ensure you don’t get affected. Usually I temporarily get this cataract like vision and then it takes me a few hours alone and some thinking to get back my original views. Every single thing is packaged into a box with a label of either good/bad/desirable/undesirable etc and the sad part is that, these people have no clue that there knowledge is just a distorted version through the screen of their thinking. Surprisingly such people elicit good social support and many people actually support their distorted views. This is what is real education, that WE DON’T KNOW and no one can have absolute knowledge and we need to have a certain degree of humility.

The thinking process

We could break down the process of what we call thinking into 3 elemantary processes:
1. Analysis 
– how, when, what, where, which , who etc.
2. Comparison
– The most common points of Comparison, for the purpose of discovering “likeness” and “unlikeness,” are as follows: Name; Place; Time; Shape; Cause; Effect; Use; Actions; General Idea or Character; History; Origin; and Destination
– Used to build the web network of associations
3. Classification
Concept formation
The value of our ‘Thought’ depends largely upon the correctness of our Concepts
4. Reasoning
Reasoning presents itself as a short cut to knowledge—a formula by means of which we may acquire knowledge from general principles
(1) Reasoning by Analogy – “If two things resemble each other in many points, they will probably resemble each other in more points”
(2) Reasoning by Induction – “What is true of the many is true of the whole”, based on the belief of uniformity of Nature
(3) Reasoning by Deduction- syllogism, “What is true of the whole, is true of its parts”

Here is an extract from the article:
It talks about the comparison phase.

Experience, however, has given the race the almost intuitive and instinctive realization of “the pairs of opposites,” or “contradictories.” So true is this that the trained mind instinctively leaps to the thought of an “opposite” at the same time that it is considering any given quality. It thinks of this “opposite” not because of its “likeness” to the thing under consideration, but because of its “un-likeness” or difference. So true is this that psychologists hold that we can obtain a clearer and more distinct idea or mental image of anything if we will at the same time think of its “opposite”—either its opposite quality, or a thing whose qualities are markedly opposite to that of the thing under consideration. In associating a thing with others in our memory, or thought, we do so by (1) association with “like” things, and (2) by association with “unlike” ones. The greater the “likeness” the greater is the strength and value of the first form of association; and the greater the “unlikeness” the greater is the strength and value of the second form.

So if you have realized the ‘nothingness’ state of mind, anything when compared to that is full and complete knowledge giving ultimate satisfaction of ‘real knowing’.

Some more interesting points from the article:

– Words do not convey thoughts; they are not vehicles of thoughts in any true sense of that term. A word is merely a common symbol which each person associates with his own idea or image.

– In syllogism, question the major premise and the whole chain is broken

– It is not a sound argument, nor logical reasoning, to appeal from the principle under consideration to the personal practices of the person advocating the practice. For instance, a man arguing the advantages of Temperance may be very intemperate himself; but to point to his intemperate habits is no proof or argument that the principle of Temperance is incorrect. A proposition is either true or untrue, regardless of the personal character of the persons advocating or presenting it.

-“Many persons reason from their feelings rather than from their intellect. They seek and advance not true reasons, but excuses. They seek to prove a thing to be true, simply because they want it to be true. The tendency is to see only those facts which agree with our likes, or are in line with our prejudices; and to ignore the other set of facts. Such persons unconsciously assume the mental attitude which may be expressed as follows: ‘If the facts do not agree with my pet theories or prejudices, so much the worse for the facts.'”

-“Nine times out of ten, to argue with any man on a subject that engages his emotions is to waste breath. His mind is not open to logical persuasion. His emotions first determines his opinion and then prompt his logical faculties to devise plausible excuses for it. There is a thing that psychologists call a ‘complex.’ It consists of an idea charged with emotion, and it operates as a sort of colored screen in front of the mind. A man whose emotions are deeply engaged on one side of a question may think that he is reasoning about it. But, in fact, he may be incapable of reasoning about it, because whatever impressions his mind receives in that connection come through his complex and take no color. His logical faculties operate only by way of inventing plausible defenses for the judgment his emotions have already formed. It is impossible to change his position in any respect by reasoning, because reason cannot touch his mind until his emotions have dealt with it and made it conform to their color. Whenever you talk to a person with a strong bias on any particular subject, which bias does not coincide with your own bias, talk to him about something else.”

–  Useful line of thought: “What practical difference will it make if I hold one opinion or another? How will my belief influence my action?’ (using the word ‘action’ in its broadest sense). This may often lead our line of inquiry into more fruitful channels, keep us from making fine but needless distinctions, help us to word our question more relevantly, and lead us to make distinctions where we really need them.”

Perplexing Questions

Does music intrinsically create a feeling in us? OR is the feeling due to association from the past? Do we consciously recreate the visuals/talk in the mind or is it automatic from the subconscious? Can we learn to detach from associations? Are we programmed according to our genetic makeup that makes hearing certain kinds of music an intrinsically rewarding experience? OR do all these 3 aspects feed on each other?

What arises first – feelings or does memory create a feeling? Is it like the ‘what came first – chicken or egg’ Q? Are all our feelings – memory associations mostly created in childhood after which we spend most of our lives trying to get them back? Is that what decides our love-map? Is it in our genes or biological makeup to derive good feelings/pleasures from certain activities? What is the impact of social conditioning vs our basic hardware? Do all 3 feed on each other?

Is our whole life just about chemical reactions?Avoiding the unpleasant one and seeking the pleasurable ones, most of which has been refined through evolution? Is meaning just an illusion, or can all the complexity that we have in our lives today be traced to simple evolutionary desires? As a counter argument, we have consciousness that we use to take actions which results in chemicals. So consciousness is the driver. In that case, can consciousness exist independent of a brain? I think a brain transplant will open up some fascinating insights into the consciousness/mind/brain relationships.