Augustine observed: “When he read, his eyes scanned the page and his heart sought out the meaning, but his voice was silent and his tongue was still.
“Anyone could approach him freely and guests were not commonly announced, so that often, when we came to visit him, we found him reading like this in silence, for he never read aloud.”
One can only imagine that libraries must have been very noisy places in those days. Or perhaps there were so few people who could read that it didn’t matter.
Whatever, the point is that reading quietly is something we take for granted and yet it is one of the ways we exercise our consciousness — imagining other worlds and lives, empathising with the subjects, sharing communication, comparing and contrasting personal experiences and reaching beyond the mundane. In short, the bit that makes us different from other creatures.
But what is consciousness? What is it really? There are so many theories and truths that it hurts your eyes just thinking about it.
David McCandless over at Information is Beautiful is carrying out an online survey to find out what you think consciousness is.
For the record, I am a Substance Dualistic Cognitivistic Higher Order Theorist. Whatever that is.