Five Stages of Consciousness

FreeYourMind

The cool thing now is claiming to be “conscious“. Many people are using this new C-word to describe themselves often unrightfully.

There is a process to consciousness. It is not something you are born with. You don’t have to be a part of the oppressive body to have it. It is a process that takes you through a host of different emotions that transform you as a person. At the end of it all, you might be less happier with the world but you will be more accepting of yourself.  Here are the steps of consciousness as I have experienced it. If you are not conscious, it is not too late. If you are not conscious you might not even know. This is the first stage.

1. Ignorance

Ignorance

People love to call others ignorant. Often they use it interchangeably with stupid however; they do not mean the same. Ignorant is lacking knowledge or awareness. For example, I am ignorant when it comes to physics. I don’t know shit about physics. So if a physics scholar called me ignorant, I’m not taking that as fighting words. It’s the truth. To claim your journey to consciousness is to seek knowledge and awareness of something. Therefore, the first step of coming into consciousness is admitting to not knowing.

2. Disbelief

Disbelief

After you hear something like, “The Government made orders to murder Martin Luther King Jr.” or “Black men are being targeted by law enforcement to fill privatized prisons which is an evolution of slavery” or “History is being diluted and erased to serve a larger agenda”, they can sound like a hoopla of conspiracies but these facts aren’t that secret. No, there is not a room of white men planning for world domination since the making of the Constitution. (Joking, but not really) But because these facts are so off-putting they can easily be dismissed. This dismissal is disbelief. No way J. Edgar Hoover initiated COINTELPRO which murdered and framed black revolutionaries of the 70s-90s. No way these same strategies are being used on black activists, specifically the Black Lives Matter Movement. Sorry boo, it happened and is happening.

3. Anger

Anger

So now that you know the truth, you mad or nah? The truth hurts. It might’ve been better not knowing. That’s why so few people are conscious. Some stop in stage 2 or they live “blissfully” in stage 1. Conscious folk know that ignorance ain’t bliss and disbelief of facts is like those Christians that don’t believe in dinosaurs. It makes no sense. And now we should know that consciousness has ALL to do with sense. So, you’re angry now? You hate institutions and people, you might even hate yourself a little for finding this out so late. This anger and frustration is unhealthy to sit in though it could last for years. As hard as it might be, move past this and you will see the light in Stage 4… or not.

4. Awareness

Awareness

With years of slowly winding your eyes open you now see the light and realize that the light isn’t light. Light is an illusion. What I mean by this is that, the way you now see the world is not in binaries and opposites: rights and wrongs. You realize that life is more complex and grey. You see things in a way you did not before. Your preferred conversations change and you begin to analyze the awareness of your surroundings and your circle. The people you admire change and you start to think that the Black Israelites on the corner of Jamaica Ave. and Sutphin or by Gallery Place aren’t as crazy as you thought. (Though, yes they can be quite extreme) You start to question every fucking thing. You almost feel like a toddler with the sponge brain and infamous “why” questions. Though the new information usually isn’t good news, you will be so satisfied in knowing that you know. It’s like learning your numbers or how to spell your name.  This is a rebirth. Cradle this newborn awareness and nurture it. Feed it, clothe it, and reintroduce it to the world. Hopefully this is the new and improved you.

5. Hopeless/Hopeful

Hope

Sometimes being hopeful can come across as naïve. When I speak of hope, I speak in terms of change and one’s hope for a meaningful change. Is it possible or is it impossible? You choose your position. Once reborn your sight is clearer than ever and how ironic that the world becomes so grey.  How unpleasing and grotesque. I think this is the stage I am in. After my awareness of the world around me I felt that there was hope in purifying the ugliness of the world. Recent events brought to light by video footage such as the murders of black and brown bodies often makes me feel hopeless. Sometimes you might feel there is no avenue to lift the root of the issue. I didn’t want to go the leaf or branch route because the tree still stood. Are you following me?  After questioning your faith and loosing yourself, you are lost and only have your consciousness. You find comfort in someone that shares your consciousness and this allows you to exhale but it’s not enough. As depressing as it sounds, find comfort in this feeling. Find comfort that because you have gone through this process of consciousness that means you are an agent of hope. Find comfort in feeling alone. You won’t be alone for long.

Realize that consciousness is cyclic. All through life you are learning but you will reach a point when you feel confident enough to use this knowledge toward advocacy. There is no way you can be conscious and not feel moved to change your surroundings. And those that seek change through service are not necessarily conscious. Consciousness, overall, is a learning journey and I believe it has no end. The world is forever shifting thus; one’s knowledge of the world will do the same.  I don’t believe that being hopeful is the final stage of coming into consciousness. I think it is the beginning of advocacy that can transform the world as we now see it.

SteveBiko

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