We are so beguiled by the human intellect that we place it at the head of consciousness. Thus, in the minds of many, an angry (emotional) dog would not be ‘conscious’ that it is angry because it doesn’t cogitate (think) “I’m angry.” This bring to mind many issues…
#1 We are deeply unaware of how profoundly emotions control our mental life. Our rational ‘consciousness’ is like a wagon pulled by a team of horses (emotion). The horses don’t rationally ‘know’ that they are pulling a wagon, the wagon doesn’t rationally ‘know’ (by and large) that the horses are pulling it. The ’emotion horses’ drive the ‘mind wagon’ to put together scenarios (reasons, ideals, beliefs) for why ‘things’ are the way they are. These thoughts merely reflect the emotional bent of the horses and nothing more.
#2 Emotion itself has no perspective. The mind creates scenarios which flesh out and “prove” our emotion. Mind draws on memory, whose inventory is determined by the emotional weight given to data acquired from childhood on. (Most weight given to data which supports emotional ‘home’.)
The bedrock of emotion is the apprehension (sense of) ‘death’ possibilities, i.e., uncertainty, loss, failure, and of course death itself. This ‘survival emotion’ determines our responses to life more than any other. Our mind ‘informs’ our emotions of what’s out there, and emotions give weight to those ‘facts’ which best resolve feelings of uncertainty around loss, failure, nothingness and death.
Uncertainty causes the deepest insecurity. Emotions can’t abide suspended judgement and push for any rationalized resolution that fits the ‘facts’ recalled.
#3 Beliefs are thoughts backed by emotional drive (even desperation). Beliefs are woven from words. For a word to have meaning it must connect within me emotionally. A word must have ‘believability’, otherwise it’s jubberish (like English was to me at birth).
If I never probe the ‘believability’ of the words I think with, then these words (my vocabulary) become the ‘axiomatic cornerstones’ from which I construct the conceptual structures I need to either bolster my emotional needs or counter-balance my emotional fears. My thoughts work in concert with and are propelled by my emotional attractions and aversions (likes and dislikes).
Correlations enable me to challenge the ‘believability’ of words. When I stay with a thought and bisect it into its component words and examine the word thoroughly, the certainty of meaning—the word’s ‘believability’—breaks down.
This examination reveals the mutually-creative characteristic of the ‘color’ words in my vocabulary. ‘Color words’ are mostly adjectives and verbs which have strong emotional connections. For example, you can’t have GOOD without creating BAD. One doesn’t exist without the other. When deeply pondered in this light I can’t help but loose ‘faith’ in reality-truth-believability of the word. Thus, for me, Tao Te Ching’s point “The whole world recognizes the good as the good, yet this is only the bad…” has great believability.
When I stop to sincerely feel this co-generating aspect of words, meaning ceases. When words mean their opposite, they mean nothing. I might say I don’t believe in anything, really. It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s that it is impossible to believe if I follow any conceptual building block to its end.
Now, you need not spend all day following a thought down to its words and the words down to their end co-creation. Just plunge down there once in a while and return then to normal ‘consciousness’. The ‘afterglow’ of that deep experience of neutrality will ‘haunts’ you such that you won’t be able to hang on to any belief / word with sustained certainty. This leaves you with a pervasive sense of mystery and the unknown.