Levels of Self & How We Perceive Existence

Using my current understanding/interpretation of metaphysics and Human existence and perception, I wrote out a brief description of one way to conceptualize the levels of interaction between consciousness, the mind, and the information it perceives to “imagine” or create reality within its understanding. These different levels are places where the processing of experience seems to be ubiquitous, but the subject of experience necessarily varies with regards to individuality.

To preface my description of these “levels”, I’ll give a quick explanation of the metaphysical claims that serve as the basis for this speculation. I do not claim that this is absolutely the nature of existence because this is only my expression of what truth I have experienced, so it is framed in a way that I understand based on the information I have collected over time.

Whether or not it is the direct goal of consciousness, evolution understood as decreasing entropy (as described by Tom Campbell in a lecture on his Theory of Everything) is greatly beneficial for individuated agents of consciousness, as well as the various systems that they participate and engage in. With this end in mind, it would make sense for the consciousness to develop some accurate and sensitive means of perceiving its rate of evolution or devolution. Tom Campbell described the state of evolution that consciousness seeks as Love. He does not symbolically related or correlate the state of evolution with love, he instead literally equates the state of evolution to the presence of the feeling of love as a sort of signal of evolution.

Using this understanding of consciousness perceiving its state of being using emotions and feelings in addition to any other set of relevant information, I have made a description of how I would describe the different levels of processing and perception as framed by Human consciousness and existence:

1st Inner (innermost) Level: Consciousness; the perceiving, computing, and imagining/creating knower; the core of the “psyche” and all metaphysical being. This level is not directly perceivable by a human mind, as demonstrated by meditations on the nature of Self performed by Buddhist monks (and anyone who tries) who discovered that the self cannot perceive its own being in the same way that an eye cannot look at itself.

2nd Inner Level: The Unconscious library and the Subconscious processes; the inner realm of mind where feelings are made through subjective evaluations based on the consciousness of a particular individual being. At this level, information is perceived more directly, or “energetically”, because it is being processed in a way that is distanced from the abstract nature of reality and closer to the energetic states and computations of consciousness itself. This results in the perception of this information manifesting into the perception of reality in a more personal (assuming the consciousness is individuated in a particular person) and subjective experience. Here, energetic effects and states of being are literally felt as a certain kind of emotion that reflects either resonance or dissonance between the consciousness system and the reality or energy patterns it is engaging with. This level is abstracted from the first level of consciousness by individuation through a process or interface that defines one’s subconscious interactions and unconscious dispositions. This is the first level where an individual forms their essential, or “soul-defining”, characteristics.

3rd Inner / 1st Outer Level: The Ego, or I; the persona of the agent; defined by a collection of processing programs/beliefs that are used as the social and historical parameters of one’s individual being. This level or layer of processing information constantly adapts and changes through a “life-death-rebirth” cycle in order to remain in line with the fluctuating states of the consciousness it represents or extends from. This includes “identity abstractions”, which form a construct of a personal identity through the selective association of certain experiences and perceptions within one’s memory with the idea of essentiality in one’s being or existence. One example of the way information may be processed at this level is the attachment to a name. This name is an abstraction that’s meant to represent the identity of the individual in a way that avoids being either too impersonal/unnecessarily related or too binding. Other associations with self can be made such as the identification with a certain role (mother) or status (healthy).

  • I referred to this level as both the 3rd inner level and the 1st outer level of Self because it represents the edge of subjectivity. Anything that takes place within the mind, or within one’s internal experience, happens at or further in from this level because of its relations to perspective. However, it should be noted that most of the abstractions (thoughts, ideas, perceptions, etc.) processed at this level are abstractions defined more by the nature of the seeming “external” experience of reality than the seemingly “internal”. Here I say ‘seemingly’ because the notion of internal and external are conventional concepts used to describe different levels/types of existence. It is my understanding that just as one cannot directly experience “selfness” while in a human form of consciousness, one also cannot perceive something that is completely unrelated to self (because all information is processed by Self). This level of awareness is also externally represented through our personality and behavioral uniqueness. So, this level of Self is a pretty balanced mixture of the self-aware existence of consciousness and the reality it perceives and engages with as its “Othered” environment.

2nd Outer Level: “External” reality, as opposed to “inner” reality. I describe this level as the reflection of the inner aspects of Self being characterized by the qualities of the individual’s psyche, projected into perception as experience. This external experience is the “without” in the expression “As within, so without”. It is the phenomenal realm rather than the noumenal realm of existence, and in the perspective of interconnectedness and interdependence of all things, if consciousness is described as the knower, this phenomenal realm of existence would be the known. It appears separate from the body, and so separate from Self, but it is just as much an aspect of our own existence as is our mind. There is no difference between the thoughts’ being perceived by consciousness and the reality’s being perceived. Both are sets of information relevant to Self that can be processed at different levels of awareness. The substance of reality may be standard or subject to change depending on the rules of that reality and how flexible the representations of expressions are in the way they can be perceived. For instance, in realities with fewer rules, physicality and material qualities may not be stable in or even relevant to the set of information regularly being processed by aware consciousness.

So, what makes this significant for us and our daily lives? In my experience, the better I understand my perception and how I see various aspects of myself and existence, the better I’ve been able to continue my evolution as an aspect of consciousness and existence. Making the necessary shifts in awareness at different levels of consciousness and existence has made my evolution and self-realization a much smoother and supportive process as I align myself with the natural expression and evolution of all existence. In other words, “following the way” has worked out pretty well for me now that I understand more about my experience and existence. I hope you are able to learn something from this babble of concepts in my head and evolve with love in your hearts.

Featured photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels


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