Saturday, August 30, 2014
The Magnifying Lens of a Consciousness-Based Approach to Literature: Overview

All literature is a product of the individual writer’s consciousness as well as a product of cultural, regional, and historical influences, themselves products of the collective consciousness. The reader’s consciousness then, in turn, interprets the meaning of the literary text based on his or her own consciousness, as influenced by (among others) experience, observation, and intelligence. What connects these two ends of the literary spectrum—writing and reading—is consciousness itself.

Posted by on 12/6/2013 3:14:00 PMComments 0
Self-Referral: Reseeing Point of View, Part I, Traditional View and Beyond

Point of View

Every story has a teller. The storyteller narrates the story from a particular point of view to shape the reader's (or listener's) experience of the story. The reader becomes the ultimate experiencer of story, seeing beyond the narrator's point of view, even seeing beyond the writer's point of view. To understand story and to understand the mechanics of point of view, we must understand the reader's experience, and to understand the reader's experience, we must understand the mechanics of consciousness. The concept of consciousness as a self-referral process can aid us in examining the many possible points of view that can be experienced in story and how that element shapes the story.

Posted by on 1/22/2014 4:13:00 PMComments 0
Self-Referral: Reseeing Point of View, Part 2, Self-Referral and the Inner Experience of Reading

Self-Referral View

In a recent post, we looked at point of view from a traditional perspective. We also considered the shift that reader-response theory brought to our understanding of the reader's role as experiencer in the reading process. When we look at the reader as the experiencer of story, we must take into account many aspects of the person, not only the physical but thoughts, memories, feelings, and awareness of being or consciousness. Consciousness is fundamental to all these aspects of the self. Reading involves all these aspects because it is a process that is both outward (eyes following the text, word recognition, etc.) and inward (a move to more subtle levels of thoughts, for example, our knowledge of context, of literary constructs; memories of our past experiences that may be relevant; emotions that may be tied up with those memories, etc. All of these aspects of self are expressions of our consciousness.

Posted by on 2/6/2014 1:21:00 PMComments 0
A Plurality of Viewpoints
Tracing the Evolution of Point of View
In previous posts, we've looked at the traditional understanding of point of view in story. We've also examined how reader-response theory moved this understanding from a more purely textual study in the direction of the reader's experience. Looking at the reader's experience, we took a Consciousness-Based approach to exploring point of view and examined how the self-referral experience of pure consciousness relates to the inner experience of reading. From this vantage point, we can now turn to understanding that a plurality of viewpoints exists in the experience of reading any story. 
Posted by on 2/11/2014 1:50:00 PMComments 0
Point of View in "The Explosion in the Parlor" by Bai Xiao-YI
The Story: “The Explosion in the Parlor” by Bai Xiao-YI is a spare, elegant story about perspective. The plot, which takes less than two pages to recount and offers few descriptive details, includes one main plot event—the breaking of a tea thermos. We can trace  perspective in this sudden fiction to see how a plurality of perspectives in story and the motif of a mirrored reflection, suggesting self-referral consciousness, move meaning-making into the realm of the reader's consciousness.
Posted by on 2/12/2014 3:38:00 PMComments 0
Bliss as a Literary (and Evolutionary) Principle
Bliss in Literature: Bliss may seem an odd component of literary theory, but with a Consciousness-BasedSM approach to literature, bliss becomes a fundamental element in the reading experience. Maharishi describes the relationship this way, “The joy that one experiences in going through a piece of literature is the impulse of bliss arrested in the expression of successful writers.”1  What I like about this statement is that it reminds me of the joy that I have always gotten from reading. I feel some little thrill of pleasure when I have a stack of books on my table, waiting to be read. I always want to revisit the bliss of being absorbed into the world of story.
Posted by on 2/25/2014 2:05:00 PMComments 0
Qualities of Pure Consciousness: Patterning Principles In Literature
Pure Consciousness: We sit to meditate and the mind settles down. Our awareness opens to subtler and subtler levels, ultimately to the source of thought—pure consciousness. Initially our experience of pure consciousness may contrast sharply with waking consciousness, but as we meditate over time, we stabilize our experience of pure consciousness more and more, and we become aware of the qualities of pure consciousness—qualities such as flowing wakefulness, expressing, transforming, expanding, and self-referral, to name a few. 
Posted by on 2/27/2014 3:56:00 PMComments 0
A Consciousness-Based Look at the "Immaterial Reality" of Story
The term the modern short story is somewhat of a misnomer if we examine the origins of the American short story. Irving, Hawthorne, and Poe, for example, come to us from many different manifestations of story—fable, allegory, romance—story forms that go back to the earliest inceptions of story. These stories also include elements of realism that were beginning to emerge in literature in the early eighteen hundreds, so perhaps modern can be appropriate modifier.
Posted by on 12/6/2013 2:41:00 PMComments 0

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