Reflection 242: Website Is Up!

March 15, 2012

Copyright © 2012 by Steve Perrin

CONSCIOUSNESS: The BOOK now has its very own Website at For an introduction to what you need to know about your own mind to survive in the 21st century, this site is for you.

There are many routes to self-knowledge:

  • Psychotherapy
  • Psychology
  • Neuroscientific investigation
  • Reading Shakespeare, Dante, Montaigne, et al.
  • Leading an active, reflective, and experiential life

However we go about it, self-awareness is the key—developing the ability to see ourselves in different situations so that we recognize what is our contribution and what comes from outside. We cannot relate effectively to others until we connect with ourselves. Which is what the book is about.

My method in writing it was to seize upon incidents in my life that were salient or attractive (in drawing my attention), memorable in being unforgettable, and yet mysterious in that I could not readily understand or explain them. I regarded each incident from the standpoint of its sensory qualities, how I conceived of and understood those qualities, the feelings they aroused in me, the survival values they involved—and then how those incidents led me to act in the world in terms of projects and relationships.

This self-study led me to map out my inner experience in terms of a loop of engagement  with the outside world. The loop receives patterns of energy through my senses in light of my expectations at the moment, arouses me, leading me to conceptualize what is going on, understand it, feel it, value it, relate it to similar events in my past, and then look ahead to what I am going to do about it by way of making some kind of appropriate response.

Put that way it sounds cumbersome, but the loop just keeps endlessly flowing along—with the result being my stream of consciousness and the life I find myself leading. Which is largely driven by me, not the world.

I also find that a great many others are trying to control my personal loop of engagement so that I act to please them, not myself. That, I think, is the danger we all face now and in the coming century—people using us for their purposes, not ours. As tyrants use the people they forcibly control. As Wall Street has used homeowners and investors in the current economic crisis. As the US used Iraq as a foil to its selfish intentions in draining off national energy in the aftermath of 9-11-2001. And so on.

I now believe that I cannot relate effectively with any other person (child, spouse, colleague, friend) unless I am fully acquainted with my personal loop of engagement as I have developed it through prior experience, and now practice it today as if I were engaging the real world—while I am actually engaging a world I have built up for myself through the years.

I dedicate the book: To Occupy Wall Street and the 99 percent because I believe the only way ahead requires all of us to come to grips with our styles of engagement to avoid falling into the trap of learning from our elders how to conduct our social engagements, ensuring we continue the very blind and selfish patterns of behavior we gather to protest against.

The issue comes down to the choice: do we proceed on the basis of what we already know (as if that were true), or do we stretch our minds to learn new ways of living in the world?

That, ultimately, is what CONSCIOUSNESS: The BOOK  is about. Check it out at

As ever, I remain your friend, –Steve

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