I agree with James stating “the girl in Midshipman Easy could not excuse the illegitimacy of her child by saying ‘it was a very small one’” (James 152). How can illegitimacy be a little one?Illegitimacy is illegitimacy, period. It is defined as being born of parents not married to each other. Either they were married or they were not. There’s no in-between that I know of. Is it ok for a child to be illegitimate? In this day and time it’s no longer freakish.
Maybe James is speaking of illegitimacy in different terms. Erratic or departing from the regular is another way of considering. Therefore the girl is saying her child is erratic and has no set course. How old is her child? And how does this relate to consciousness?
Consciousness is erratic. It has no fixed course. In our conscious state, we aren’t really conscious. There is no such thing as consciousness. We walk around on Earth not guided by the organ in our head but obviously by a greater power from outside the self. James says, “We ought therefore ourselves sincerely to try every possible mode of conceiving the dawn of consciousness…” (151). So if James says we must find a way to understand this idea then it must exist, and I have totally misinterpreted the quote.
Then he must mean that consciousness was born from two places that are not joined. Maybe this idea was brought into existence by God and the self (my personal definition of self here being the chemistry within the brain that causes the body to function). The neurons in the brain went crazy and decided, “Gee, we do so much work here we need something to be concerned with the environment while I deal with the body.” God agreed with the neurons, and along came what we today call consciousness. God and the self were in no way linked, and thus consciousness is totally illegitimate.
How can I call consciousness illegitimate? I don’t really believe it was born from anything, it just exists. It is one of those things that just appeared, sort of like the Big Bang Theory. It makes no sense and is just wholly scientific (in my opinion), and more so an excuse. So if the Big Bang Theory is acceptable, then so is my opinion that one day I was sitting at my computer unknowingly writing an outlandish essay for psychology when I stopped typing and said, “Wow. I’m now conscious. A minute ago I wasn’t, and now I can actively be aware.”
But James mentions how consciousness is “not yet quite born” (152). He claims it is actually a link between two ideas: existence and nonentity. This is more believable to me. On one side, you exist. On the other, you don’t. Between these two concepts is a huge gap. Consciousness is what we call this gap. In this world I physically am present, can act and feel. However, this world is only a thought blowing in the wind. An idea such as this can only be born from one source: my consciousness. So I am here, but only as if it’s a dream. It is my consciousness that allows me to acknowledge this.
Finally, he claims that if evolution ideally is going to “work smoothly” then consciousness must be present in the beginning of everything (152). Bingo. Exactly. Therefore evolution is a bunch of crap. Digressing to a religious opinion, God created everything on Earth. We did NOT evolve from a zebra, whale, plant, spec of bacteria, or monkey. Continuity is the key. The mommy idea and the daddy idea must have consciousness for the new baby idea to possess it. It must be present in everything, and in my opinion, a plant does not have a conscious state. This would therefore slam my suggestion that God and the brain’s neurons decide to develop consciousness. I won’t speculate about God’s possible conscious states, but if a neuron actively decided to produce something called consciousness, then it was already conscious to begin with because it thought of this in the first place.
So in closing, I’d like to say I agree with James and his statement that consciousness is “not