Human subjective experience has been a focus of spirituality and philosophy for millennia, but recent advances in cognitive and neuroscience are helping to solve ancient riddles about the mind. An inquisitive child of Canadian hippies explores the power of belief, varieties of consciousness, and how humans come to perceive and mis-perceive the world.
Consciousness: the sound of music, the scent of a woman
Sensations, and the sense of a self at the centre of them
Consciousness: the redness of a rose
Your subjective assessment when you listen to lyrical flows
Consciousness: you can erase it with anaesthesia
Lose it in one second from a brain lesion or seizure
Consciousness: say the word mindfully
Now come and take a journey backwards in time with me…
To nineteen seventy eight, when the cult, Heaven’s Gate
Was still a couple of decades away from drinkin’ the Kool Aid
Imagine the level of faith it takes to chug that arsenic
Forget becomin’ a carcass, I’m gonna wake up in a starship!
Let’s take it to Western Canada, nineteen seventy eight
A baby was born and given the name B-A-B-A
Baba, my father called me because of my calm expression
Which he took as evidence that I was on a Siddhartha mission
A Dalai Llama infant, a reincarnated mystic
Who died enlightened and came back bringin’ his consciousness with him
Imagine the faith that takes, but that’s really how I entered
Now I treat the exploration of consciousness like an adventure
I’ve done meditation, I’ve tried psychedelics and ayahuasca
I’ve tried annihilating my consciousness lining up shots of vodka
I’ve lucid dreamed and seen every kind of trippy
But nothing competes with treating this subject scientifically
Consciousness: once we know what it is
Can we upload it to a robot as a code on a chip?
Consciousness: what happens after we die?
Come on science, is there any rational hope for an afterlife?
Consciousness: is free will an illusion?
Is it just a part of my brain that gives me the feelin’ of choosin’?
Consciousness: say the word mindfully
You are here in this moment, of all the places your mind could be
Consciousness, you can check it with a probe
Sample the stream at any moment and tell me what’s in the flow
Of consciousness – it’s yours, so you should know
You should, but there’s a lot you probably don’t notice though
So let me show you somethin’ – let your eyes take in the scene
Observe consciousness on your personal movie screen
Now move your eyes at high speed, notice the image doesn’t blur
Why? Because that picture isn’t seen, it’s inferred
Some people have strokes and end up with anosognosia
Completely blind, unable to recognize things even close up
Bumping into furniture, fabricating reasons
Claimin’ to see things perfectly and yes, completely believing it
Consciousness, you can figure it by the results
It’s no wonder some people end up completely blinded in cults
Optical illusions, blind spots and blocked views
Make sense of consciousness, and maybe even Fox News
Consciousness: pay attention and keep records
Everybody’s got it, so I’m surrounded by experts
Consciousness: in a universe of confusion
What’s the one thing that logically can’t be an illusion?
Consciousness: I say this line first
And the second line is designed to set up the repeated word
Consciousness: so say the word mindfully
Here in this moment, out of all the places your mind could be
Consciousness, it’s really all that matters
If something matters, it has to matter to a mind with conscious status
A Buddha statue doesn’t feel any pain when you smash it
Like the Taliban did – but a lot of people thought it was tragic
And now I have kids, just wakin’ up to subjective experience
What’s a mind gonna look like by the time they’re septuagenarians?
When Wikipedia’s standard, neurologically implanted
They’re gonna get some perspective on questions we can’t answer
What’s it like to be a bat? There’s an explanatory gap
Other minds differ from mine in ways I can’t really grasp
What’s it like to be a white Canadian who’s 39, kickin’ a rap
About consciousness? Only I can speak to that
Its lyrical psilocybin, experience killer timin’
You hear it and feel the vibe and awareness is still arrivin’
It’s scary but still exciting, I’m barely able to hide it
Every syllable designed to thrill and delight
So welcome everyone, step inside the temple of my...
from The Rap Guide to Consciousness,
released October 13, 2017
(D. Brinkman, D. Moross)
Produced by Soulful Spider
Additional Production and Mix by Tom Caruana
Keys by Simon Kendall