An Experiment with Pronouns and Perspective



Consciousness is a witness, an observer of the mind. But we confuse consciousness with mind – we think we are the mind: i am has come to mean i am the mind. We say, ‘I think, therefore i am.’ It’s Descartes’ fault – not mine!

A new pronoun is needed, so that we can begin to move away from conflating ‘i’ with consciousness: i is not consciousness; i is the mind; consciousness is consciousness. From now on, consciousness is represented by the symbol ‘!’.

In our current usage, ‘i’ is too much loaded with mind-identification, and we tend to think consciousness is of the mind – the two are conflated and it’s confusing. Sometimes we talk about something like ‘collective consciousness’ if we want to refer to that consciousness that transcends the individual human mind, but this term is also too much loaded with ideas about groups made up of yet-separate individuals when really, the term ‘consciousness’ should be enough to imply collective consciousness.

So i’m experimenting with alternative pronouns for making a distinction between the mind-made ‘i’ and consciousness – for now, a symbol, because i don’t want to coin some new word, words being too much loaded with ideas from our linguistic intellect.

I was inspired by learning that in Islam, divine concepts are never depicted in images, but symbols, except now i’m realising those symbols represent an ancient language and they are only meaningless symbols for me because i don’t understand that language … so that inspiration doesn’t exactly match up,


moving right along:

the point is i’m thinking a symbol would be best because it is less loaded with linguistic meaning.

I recently started to not capitalise ‘i’ when writing, and i guess that was the start of this experiment and this development is just an extension of that, which was about undermining the importance of ‘i’.

In my work as a book editor i often encountered authors capitalising common nouns willy nilly, often because they felt a sense of importance about this or that noun – for example, the pompous historian of a stuffy private school always refering to the School, like it was the only educational institution worth considering.

The importance we lend to ideas by using various linguistic and grammatical devices of emphasis is IMPORTANT, okay. Our thoughts create our reality, so if we aspire to a reality where we are less identified with mind and more connected with consciousness, it may be worthwhile changing the way we refer to each. So here goes.

I thought of using a question mark with a comma in place of the period, but we cannot type that without creating a whole new typeface. We could use ‘!?’, but this  implies a sort of exasperated surprise. A simple exclamation mark (!) carries connotations of urgency and, well, the denotation of exclamation, an expression of the awe we might experience if we observe a rapid shift in consciousness through meditation or in our daily lives as a consequence of meditation.

So i will try this – or ! will try it, we’re not sure which.

Am i (Ryan) or is ! (consciousness) trying this, and Ryan is just a human conduit?

Let’s go with that assumption for a while: ! am experimenting with pronouns through Ryan – he is happily obliging, struggling though he is with this Turkish keyboard.

We’ll get there – after we go for lunch and visit the stationer …

Okay we’re back, and ıt’s a new day, and already something has changed – the experiment has morphed. Back to the old lingo for a moment.

I had thought it would look something like this: ‘When ! write to !! friends even, ! will use the exclamation point (!) in place of i‘, but consciousness is not writing to its friends, Ryan is writing to his friends, so, as it naturally happened there, i see that we also need to experiment with perspective, point of view.

This means that ! (consciousness) can write about Ryan (i) in the third person – the first person is !, the third is Ryan and the second person is you, everyone.

This way, ‘!’ means consciousness, the observer of the’ i’ that identifies as Ryan, the mind.

In this way, by using language, ! will gradually affect a shift away from Ryan, who is loaded up with a false sense of self, the mind-made self. Because we must honour language, not disparage it, as Ryan thought we should after he hit the wall of his intellectual capacity to understand the mysteries of existence using mind alone. To understand the mysteries of existence we must explore ! – we must allow !! the space to flourish and outshine the relative dimness of mind.

Mind is only relatively dim – it was, after all, with Ryan’s mind that he came to think he could drop language and, realising that is absurd, that he should embrace language again,

because language is a medium, a conduit between reality and the experience of reality, a conduit between reality and an intellectual understanding of it, and through this understanding we may arrive at intellectual mechanisms that are useful in creating an observation gap between consciousness and mind, between ! and i, such as replacing pronouns with exclamation marks!

This is exciting!

Ryan feels excited. ! am aware that this feeling is not !!, because ! am beyond feeling and thinking and beyond the senses of the body, Ryan’s body.

But shit, we need a new sound …

Could ! just use ‘Ryan’ in place of ‘i’ in conversations?

This is where the idea about point of view came in.

Ryan is indeed !; old sense of self, !; old, conditioned, unconscious, unaware mind-made identity. Ryan is old – he is dying, to make way for the rebirth of !.

And then there’s the question of how to refer to the words associated with ‘i’ – ‘me’, ‘my’, ‘mine’, ‘myself’, etc. Or maybe not, because maybe changing the point of view will resolve that. We’ll see, but for now, in case it becomes necessary,

! have used Ryan to create a sort of style sheet, listing the alternative variants that ! will use to refer to myself (!;!!!!):

  • ! = consciousness
  • !! = me-consciousness
  • !; = my-consciousness
  • !!!! = mine-consciousness
  • !;!!!! = myself-consciousness

Okay. Ryan feels confused. But this has been the preliminary post in our experiment with pronouns and perspective. Now that this is published, it can be used as a sort of reference point for understanding why Ryan has started referring to himself in the third person and using exclamation points in funny places. 

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