Consciousness – Who Am I Really?

It’s a little-known or at least little-appreciated fact that a rather large percentage of my biomass is not human. Let me repeat that just for emphasis –

I am NOT ALL HUMAN!

About 99% of the outer covering of my body is NOT human. Rather, it is a “coating” of bacteria – mostly feeding on my dead skin – while some feed on my living skin cells. That’s just my skin! Within my gut are many more species of bacteria. Some help and some hinder my digestion process.

The point is – my body is not just “mine”. It is home to a large number of single-celled plant and animal life – as much as 90% of my biomass!* Each of those microscopic creatures has its own “mind” – with its own volition, decision making processes, and behaviors – maybe thoughts, too.

My question then becomes: who am I really?

My initial response is, “Well, I am me – body, mind, thoughts, etc.”

Realistically, though, I can’t be just “me” individualized from the influence and behaviors of the myriad of biological life contained on and in my body – most of which does not contain human DNA!! I, therefore, am mostly NOT HUMAN!!!

How about my thoughts, then? Are my thoughts “human” thoughts?

I doubt it! Consider this: when I consume a drug, my mind can change (LSD, for example, can do a number on my thinking process). When I feel sick with a bacterial infection, I don’t think the same way as when I feel not “infected”. Sometimes I’ll catch myself “not in my right mind” or wonder, “What the hell was I thinking?”

I am definitely at the mercy of the bacteria, viruses, and other living inhabitants of my body – ALL of which contribute to my consciousness. Non-human cells outnumber human cells by a long shot. I’d have to admit that my thoughts are mostly not my own!

Egad! Am I morphing into some kind of horror picture monster?

No! It’s just that “I” am not who I think I am. “I” am a conglomeration – a “we” of many minds.

As some people may be more sensitive to this condition than are others, perhaps it would explain why some people have “multiple personalities” and why ALL of us exhibit different behaviors at times – when my environment encourages expression of one set of “minds” more than others – the “active” personality (“hive mind”) will emerge to deal with the current environment. We call this “putting on a face” – and we all are capable of doing that.

AND SO WHAT? Is there anything I can do to “tame this multitude of minds”? “How can I focus my thoughts when my thoughts are not my own?!!” I think it’s possible to gain at least SOME control.

First in the process of gaining control over the cacophony of minds might be appreciation – acceptance of the fact that my mind is really a conglomeration of minds – a “hive” mind, if you will. Knowing this helps me understand what to do about it.

Some ideas to get me started might include:

  1. Do nothing. Just accept the fact and go on with my life as I have – yet wiser and more appreciative of my body as a system of connected biology – perhaps feeling a bit more humble about what it means to be human.
  2. Make a change. Choose a goal or direction I want to achieve or take and then ENROLL “everybody” into whatever it is I want to do.
  3. Accelerate my personal development by enlisting the assistance of my bacterial load – “speak” to my single-celled biological companions as if they were real people – DNA-wise most are VERY similar and some have even more “advanced” DNA than my human version does! I can do this in my mind by “calling” to them – “Hey, you guys! Whassup?” Then “listen” with my emotions and sensations (they’re bacteria, remember – they don’t have vocal cords – but they listen very well and behave in ways my “mind” can understand – it’s just that I must STOP TALKING long enough to “hear” what they have to “say!!”). Speak to them as I would a trusted friend. Sure, some are deadly, but they’re just “making a living” in my system – they are invested in me – so I might want to treat them nice! I might be surprised at what “I” can do when everybody is on board!

I’m considering speaking inside my head in the first person plural “we” instead of my past practice of “I”. It helps me remember and keep in mind that “I” am a system of “mes” – not individualized but connected – some by collagen (those I call “human”) and others by common interest (like those feeding on my body chemistry).

I won’t go into how I am SO connected with my environment that I cannot distinguish “it” from “me”… that’s in another post…

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* “In each of you are one quadrillion cells, 90 percent of which are not human cells.” Paul Hawken, University of Portland, Oregon.

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