I think any contemplative reader will wonder if stream of consciousness writing is pure and unadulterated, or if there are gaps and minuscule writer’s blocks during the process, or if it really exists? My answer from personal experience is that it only partially exists. At the end of the day, you’re human and though I’ve reiterated this point so many times, I’ll say it again: You can strive for perfection, but you’re bound to fall short, and even if you end up becoming a visionary or revolutionary, you’ve still only come close to perfection. When Barcelona thrashed Madrid 5-0, a few years ago, José Mourinho called them, ‘the finished article,’ but he was wrong. Yes, back then, they played football which was an absolute treat for the viewer, and it was like a spiritual experience of sorts, but they still weren’t perfect. To call anything man-made or shaped by clay – if you prefer the use of the figurative – perfect is foolish. We’re in a state of continual cognitive and collective evolution as individuals and as a species, and even millennia from now, if we still exist, and have made conditions better, the world will still be an almost utopia. So, coming back, what then is stream of consciousness writing? The answer is simple: It’s tapping into the subconscious and writing without inhibition to the best possible extent. Sometimes the writer can tap and mask what he finds with imagery, which takes effort and causes strain in a few cases, but the very fact that the writer taps makes them distinct and gives their word a unique pitch and tone. Now my theory is Lacanian only in the sense that the subconscious is structured like a language, because the writer is engaging in a simultaneous thought-write and not thinking first and then writing. So, how to you gain access to the subconscious mind? Now, this is a valid question because you’ll find writers who deploy this technique very different from the folk you meet every day. I’m talking from personal observation and introspection. As a matter of fact, you’ll find many gifted writers, possessing idiosyncrasies and oddities and being distinct from the pack. So, not everyone taps into the subconscious and whether we like to admit it or not, innate talent exists. And hence the question. Well, there are five ways, I can see this happening from observation and personal experience. The first is insanity. Insanity comes with a blessing and a curse, and people who are mentally ill exist in a different realm from people who are just like everyone else, or want to become everyone else, or someone else. The second, is prescription medication to treat insanity. It alters a person’s personality completely and gives them access to an otherwise restricted inner Area 51. How they use it depends on their insight. The third is mind altering substances – most of which governments ban, and hence, unless you’re willing to take the risk with the possibility of it going wrong, like Huxley did, your door of perception will sadly remain closed. You could try marijuana though, and it’s legal in many places. The fourth is an intense religious experience which usually culminates in a vision or a set of visions. These experiences are extremely emotional and involve terror, peace, joy, sorrow, repentance, awe or love in intense forms, and eventually the person may get a vision, but regardless of if they do or not, they’ll have a better perception, and a deeper insight into the world and metaphysical questions. The last is a dangerous road. It’s occultism, and here’s the biggest problem it poses – now you want access to your subconscious for liberation and loss of inhibition when you write but seeking the dark will only give you a façade of it, because you’re basically a puppet in the hands of some supernatural horror, and all your writing will have that strain running through it. You won’t be able to achieve self-transcendence or be able to write about a hundred different things. You’ll have some esoteric knowledge, but you’ll never be eclectic. And so, I’ll end with this – What about me? Well, I am Bipolar, I am on prescription for it, I have tried mind altering substances and I have had intense religious experiences with every emotion I’ve mentioned, culminating in a terrifying vision, and yes, they all shaped my writing. The occult part I don’t want. I’d rather pop a downer! And I don’t know why they even call it that. I guess it depends on the music you’re listening to once you’re ‘in the zone’. If it’s Alice in Chains, well, it’s Hell inside and Heaven outside alright, but if it’s jazz, you’ll have a maelström of ideas flooding your mind, and you’ll find yourself in this hypnotic, hypomanic, pro-improvisation state, and it’s fucking amazing!
© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)