The Cathedral of Consciousness: The Liminal Dimension of Dreams and Meditative Thinking
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This thesis explores how architecture can redefine the human relationship to consciousness and how we experience consciousness itself. Specifically, this project will address different ways to bring participants face to face with our growing disconnect between perceptual experience and what we call reality. In other words, the Cathedral of Consciousness is a place for meditative thinking, showing how our current culture is headed down a destructive path, discounting particular modalities of perceiving a highly externalized and vision dominated world. Our reductive school of thought has changed the way we think and act, especially in terms of dreams. We have become a society that wanders through life, seemingly sleepwalking from one place to the next, never fully aware of what is going on. Here, major programmatical elements will show a physical depiction of the different levels of consciousness. Furthermore, dreaming has been categorized as irrational, construing them as secondary, or less real, to our waking reality. Through carefully orchestrated architectural moments, symbolism, and messages, the project will embody modern and mythical precedents, resulting in a representation of the labyrinth of the mind. These ideas will culminate through an exploration of the duality of the dreaming/waking or conscious/subconscious states of mind. By exploiting the minimal difference between the two, this project intends to make participants question whether we are ever actually awake or if we are only living in a dream. Each space within the project will correlate to a specific state of consciousness, providing a tangible representation of the intangible, showing an inverse relationship of being more awake while asleep. To summarize, the project aims to demonstrate how architecture can redefine our current relationship of what it means to be awake and what it means to dream. The intent is to start a conversation about how we experience the world in a culture that has chosen to ignore one of the most fascinating biological functions, dreaming. Research will be conducted by means of careful analysis of dreaming, as well as the topic of consciousness through philosophical literature and other resources. The historical discourse on phenomenology and hermeneutics will provide an extensive basis on which this project rests on top of. Examinations of the depictions of the dream worlds in surrealist art and films, such as the work of Salvador Dali and other influential characters, will also be used. This will be contrasted with current neuroscience in order to understand dreaming from a different perspective.