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Hey, do you remember when you were a kid and someone would ask you, "If you only had one wish what would you wish for?"

Hmmm... more wishes, right?

Ok, here’s another question: "If you could know everything there was to know about any subject, what subject would you pick?

I would pick consciousness, because I have a suspicion that if I knew everything there was to know about consciousness, I’d know everything there was to know about everything.

So, how does someone study consciousness?

They could read a lot of books about the subject; they could do a search on the internet; they could go to a library; they could volunteer at a research foundation where they put electrodes in people’s heads; and maybe in ten years they could be considered an expert.

They could quote from William James, Sigmund Freud, and Carl Jung. They could talk about the ego and the id and super-consciousness. They could name-drop Baba Whatchamacallit and Ken Wilbur. And they could write a book called, "WHAT IS CONSCIOUSNESS?"

And maybe when they’re not completely absorbed in their study, their life feels empty, lonely, meaningless. Their new book on consciousness is not selling as well as Deepak’s new book on consciousness. And the last two jobs they had fell through. And their girlfriend is dropping them for a part-time lawnmower mechanic.

Sad story.

I could go on, but here is what’s wrong with the picture? They are lost in concepts. A concept is something that is thought or imagined—somebody has thought up or imagined it. And, you see, they haven’t really been studying consciousness at all; they have been studying the concepts of consciousness.

Can you imagine studying food and never eating any? You could be an expert on cuisine and still starve to death.

Now there are two kinds of knowledge...


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