A Critic's Meta-Review: 4/5
“Je pense, donc je suis”
-Rene Descartes (1596 - 1650)
“I start thinking...AH! It makes me so angry!”
-Charlie Kelly (somehow not dead yet)
We all know it by now, by heart. Cogito, ergo sum - I think, therefore I am. To think that this was somehow a revolutionary revelation at the time it was made is seemingly incomprehensible to our modern, technologically saturated minds. And yet, at least among the European folks, it was.
I say among Europeans because, as usual, whitey was late to the party on this one. What else is new? Need I recount the countless examples of people of color already having some sort of established tradition or custom, or perhaps a plot of land, only for it all to be usurped by a bunch of Johnny come latelys from the Lesser Caucasus region? I would, but there are far too many to list. The lack of self-awareness yet the boundless sense of entitlement is quite jarring, to say the least.
And here is yet another instance of this phenomenon at play. You see, back in the first couple centuries following the birth of Christ, a group of really smart people in India started writing their observations and insights regarding this whole “life” trip down in some of the most stunning prose you may ever read, and they called these nuggets of wisdom the Upanishads. These texts were the latest addition to a collection of texts that date back to well before Jesus was even a twinkle in his heavenly father’s eye - the Vedas. These guys have been at it for a while, man.
Anyhoo, the shortest of these new additions (not to be confused with the shortest of New Edition, which was of course Ricky Bell) was the Mandukya Upanishad. In it, four stages of consciousness were outlined (you hear that Rene? Four! Sure beats just one, eh?), the first of which was the waking state of awareness described by Descartes. Next up is the dream state, which all of us who have seen the vastly overrated film Inception know about. Then there is the state of deep sleep, which is the innermost state that essentially blocks us from ever getting to know our atman, or our soul. Finally, there is the stage of pure consciousness, the realm of the absolute, in which all of those three other states are transcended and the infinite reality within is realized - known as Turiya.
Or, to sum it all up: