makes a very interesting point.
Relatively recent research confirms that when we are doing mundane stuff to which we actually pay little attention (because we don't need to for survival), we become unaware
of what is occurring around us, and so our brain does not store memory of those events that we are surrounded by (because it doesn't need to). Thus, you can (say) drive 30km or so on your daily commute to or from work, and be surprised that the time has passed so quickly and that you don't recall the trip.
The explanation of what has happened is:
- (a) that you were not in a state of awareness, and so your brain has not recorded the memory of the trip;
- (b) your perception of time passing is only active whilst your brain is recording events through your state of awareness.
So, when you leave your video recorder running, you might well be recording a mundane series of events, but, because those events in all probability will not be being recorded by your (unaware) brain, when you watch the video playback, it will be the first time that you become truly aware of what occurred
- even though you were there at the time.
Meditation provides an interesting angle on this. Various forms of meditation teach you to use focus of attention (awareness) on a particular thing to learn more about yourself. For example, meditate on a rose and consider its natural beauty, and you will rarely look at a rose as "just a flower" ever again. You will have learned to be aware
of the rose and conscious
of the characteristic of beauty in nature.
Similarly, transcendental meditation trains you to use the thought of the imagined
sound of your voice repeating a mantra, as a point of total focus for your conscious awareness, thus excluding your awareness of any other thoughts/senses.
I have seen this absolute focus of awareness in my own experience of real physical danger - e.g., when tackling a difficult downhill ski run - when time literally seems to slow down and things seem to happen in slow motion, as one's brain is furiously becoming aware of every single event in order to help you to survive. It's an adrenalin buzz.
When you start to learn meditation, you realise how unaware
you usually are. It's like we are alive, but not aware of our life events. Some events we take photos and videos of, because we consider them to be "memorable" and wish to retain a photographic memory of them. But looking at a photo of a beautiful sunset is nowhere near the same as being focussed on and aware
of that sunset and experiencing every passing moment through our several senses as it unfolds in its beauty.
You cannot live your life through the two-dimensional medium of a camera lens and its photo - as so many Japanese tourists seem to want to do!
This is referred to in the movie Joe Versus the Volcano
, where the character Patricia Graynamore says:
"My father says that almost the whole world is asleep. Everybody you know. Everybody you see. Everybody you talk to. He says that only a few people are awake, and they live in a state of constant, total amazement."
Thus Living life =
(is equivalent to) being consciously aware of what is happening.@mouser's
video idea is a good way of retrospectively reviewing mundane parts of your life when you might have been in an unaware state.
Coincidentally, I started using my digital video camera for this a couple of years ago, and am still experimenting with it. The possibility of recording large chunks of mundane life like this on video has been enabled through the development and use of what are now low cost and very large flash RAM storage devices.