It seems like we all move from trance to trance. Each one a different trance, and the trance shifting.
When I am at work or on the computer, or watching TV or driving my car, my attention is caught up with a whole series of importants. This is only possible by ignoring a whole series of unimportants.
The trance affects what information or stimulus can get through to me, and once it has navigated through, what I make of it.
So I have a wonderful sense of other people's blind spots, but can I communicate it through to them? And how aware am I of my own blind spots.
Sometimes I am exposed to an idea and reject it immediately, out of hand. Months later I embrace it, claiming it as my own.
I am surrounded by heroes and villains, victories and disasters, fears and hopes, run froms and run tos.
I am obsessed with next week but ignore next month. Or, obsess about next month but ignore the present. Or, am stuck in the past, oblivious to what's happening in front of my eyes.
The guy in the other car did that deliberately. Hope the lights don't change. Looks like my dog. Change the radio station.
I love running mental experiments to try to bend my way out of the trance. It never really works, but at least it makes me more aware of the nature of the trance. Focus on the very, very small. Focus on the very, very large. Think in terms of eons, and then envision the eons that go into every second. Notice the trances of others - they have a texture.
We're all zombies. Different zombies at different times.
Imagine if, one day, I were to wake up, like fresh rain on the face, and look around with fresh eyes, beyond all filtering and organising principles and agenda and pattern-matching and prediction and diagnosis and language. What would I see? And how profound would my zombie trance then appear to me.
It would be like considering a pet cat. My cat functions very successfully on cat-terms. He makes sense of the world around him. He moves from here to there, from impulse to impulse, in moments of excitement and lethargy. Mostly lethargy. He is definitely conscious.
And so am I, hungry for food, eating food, keen to be esteemed, winning esteem, hoping to be loved, delighted to be loved.
Who are those people I pass on the street? The other zombies? How can their lives possibly be so rich on such very different terms to my own. Those strangers may not even know anyone I know. Our lives brush for mere awkward seconds in an elevator. They are so thoroughly asleep - utterly oblivious to what is so clearly important: I have an exam this afternoon, and my toe is sore.