Limit Of Consciousness
(From Ouspensky’s “Psychology of Man’s Possible Evolution,” pp. 19-20)
I shall try to explain how consciousness can be studied. Take a watch and look at the second hand, trying to be aware of yourself, and concentrating on the thought, “I am Peter Ouspensky,” “I am now here.” Try not to think about anything else, simply follow the movements of the second hand and be aware of yourself, your name, your existence, and the place where you are. Keep all other thoughts away.
You will, if you are persistent, be able to do this for two minutes. This is the limit of your consciousness. And if you try to repeat the experiment soon after, you will find it more difficult than the first time.
This experiment shows that a man, in his natural state, can with great effort be conscious of one subject (himself) for two minutes or less.
The most important deduction one can make after making this experiment in the right way is that man is not conscious of himself. The illusion of his being conscious of himself is created by memory and thought processes.