.Conscious Confusion: Searching for intelligence in an age of clickbait

By Leland Dennick

My cat, Gabby, is of course conscious, apparently not on our level and without our language abilities. But he’s a great listener.

For some years, I’ve experienced so many events here and on the world stage with skepticism. My normal bias when in doubt has been that questioning a narrative or information, whether told by an acquaintance, through published media or by a national broadcaster, is a healthy, normal path of inquiry.

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Man, was I wrong in believing my supposedly intelligent Ivy League friends would invite open inquiry. Instead of cultivating awareness and by opening a free flow of consciousness, I’ve been consistently categorized as a conspiracy theorist. As an artist and dreamer with a sensitive personality, I know they aren’t my core tribe.

Poet and philosopher Owen Barfield and physicist David Bohm once discussed ideas relating to what I’ve recently experienced. Bohm suggested that rigid social, school or work structures that perpetuate limiting categories, act like grooves where information gets stuck in the polarized realm of either true or false. Bohm said real intelligence then, is looking in between these so-called grooves or something to that effect.

The point I’m attempting to convey is that my friends stick to perceptions within the confines of these categories and beyond which, for me, have seemingly stifled the free flow of imagination. I think this is reflected at large throughout the western world on a mass scale today.

I keep asking myself why so much energy is spent in maintaining a zeitgeist of fear, mindless clickbait and of general confusion. It’s as if nations have a collective domestic and foreign policy to drown common sense and bludgeon our collective consciousness. It was Barfield who saw words as fossils of consciousness. I’m afraid I won’t be around when they dig up the telling of our current state of consciousness.

Thanks for listening, Gabby.


Leland Dennick lives in Sebastopol.


  1. Leland: Excellent. I vote for Gabby! A HISS in solidarity and a tilt of the head Meow.

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