The tendency toward chaos, decay, decline, disruption; the loss and renunciation of once legitimate values; and the rise of the devalued and worthless, which are all prominent expressions of our epoch, present major obstacles to the interpretation of manifestations of the new consciousness. Everything is out of order; even so-called “positive” attempts undertaken here and there to “save” humanity or Europe should be viewed for the most part with no less skepticism than the equally undeniable attempts to destroy mankind (Gebser 295-296, italics mine).
I realize it has been quite awhile since I posted to this blog. As I’ve said in the past, the Muse, at times, departs for reasons unknown. I can say, however, that I’ve been quite troubled recently by the current state of things, not only in the political world this election year, but in the general malaise that seems to have enwrapped us in a black cloak of darkness. It is not easy to remain motivated in such an atmosphere of racism, bigotry, xenophobia, and perpetual war. The World Soul has a very dark Shadow, indeed. These feelings, among other things, have brought about a dismal winter of soul these past few months. Sol, however, has arisen. Wonderful days lie ahead for all who cherish truth and honesty.
This has been a very troubling year in many ways. The American presidential politicking has been nauseating. I don’t believe I’ve seen anything like it in my lifetime. Xenophobia and racism seem to be rearing their atrocious heads in an entirely new way. Not to mention those who refuse to accept the facts concerning global warming, world hunger, homelessness, and the health-care crisis. I think I have come to the realization that homo sapiens sapiens may not be able to extricate itself from the destruction it has caused on this precious planet. Right now, there is nothing more important to our leaders than corporate profit. I see no signs this will change in the near future. In the past, I have been optimistic. I have written extensively on this blog of the Anima Mundi and her quest for individuation, but that still continues. It’s just that we may not be the human species that assists her in bringing it to pass.
The words we use have originated by equating things that are different. Take snowflakes, for example. Every snowflake is unique, yet we designate all snowflakes by the word, snowflake. This word is not the true thing, but merely a designator of similarities. The similarities of all snowflakes leads to the invention of forms, as in Plato’s philosophy, where, in a separate world somewhere, there exists a perfect snowflake. Of course, this sort of mental meandering sets up a state of dualism, and brings about a plethora of other philosophical problems, which this short article cannot deal with.
The believer in Platonic Idealism will violently rail against these statements, for this violates every precept of that doctrine. Likewise, Christians will hurl accusations of heresy at the mere mention that the art of knowing will dissipate with the death of that great star. Since it created the gathering of knowledge, humanity believes itself to be the center and master of the universe. This is, of course, the rankest form of hubris.
I’ve been thinking of this paragraph all day, contemplating how far we are from realizing a truly planetary society, where all people of the world can feel comfortable being a global citizen, where they “can feel at home in the Earth.” It would probably be easier to colonize Mars, but what good will that do for the billions of souls who yearn for true freedom? The obstacles seem insurmountable. But just imagine being one of the early humans who, many, many thousands of years ago, trudged out of Africa and migrated to lands all over the world. Think of the difficulties these people faced for generations upon generations, to finally come to where we are now. We all trace our lineage back to those stalwart souls. At that point in human evolution, they had no idea what lay ahead for them. The thought of traveling to the moon would have blown their minds. Is the thought of a global commonwealth such an impossible idea?
What is this mysterious attraction we have to the sea? Melville calls it “the ungraspable phantom of life…the key to it all.” Since the dawning of human consciousness, the importance of water has been paramount. Civilizations were usually created near great bodies of water. Was it simply convenience, economics, or was the lure of the sea, lakes, and rivers something deeper, more primal?
We have been hearing much in the news recently concerning thousands of refugees fleeing from their homes in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan only to be met with closed borders. The Hungarian borders have even been lined with razor wire, along with many police and military personnel. They attempt to deter the refugees with teargas, pepper spray, and water cannons. This is the largest refugee crisis in Europe since the Second World War. What we are seeing everyday in the headlines is the gradual disintegration of the predominant consciousness structure, which Jean Gebser called the mental-rational, in its deficient mode. The people want peace. They crave true freedom and safety from crazed psychopaths who want to murder them and their families. The people are crying out for what integration and world individuation will bring.
It is no coincidence that thinkers like Carl Jung began to become aware of the workings of the unconscious mind around the same time Jean Gebser claims the deficient phase of the mental-rational mode of consciousness began. Strange irruptions from the depths began to burst forth in the late nineteenth century, up to the beginning of World War I. It was evident that a disintegration was occurring, one that would ultimately lead to two world wars, the invention and detonation of several nuclear weapons, the rise of fascism, and the death of nearly one hundred million people.
The images we have of history come to us from many sources and experiences, past, present, and future. We usually think of history as occurring in the past, but, like soul, history is timeless. In reality, we live in the moment, in soul, as well as in history. The word, “history,” contains within itself, the word, “story.” It is also related etymologically to the idea of story, from the Greek word, historia. Just as the soul is an ongoing tale being told, so also is history a story that is being recorded continuously, eternally. In all actuality, what we normally think of as time is a product of our conscious awareness, which is presently mired in deficient mental-rational consciousness, according to Gebser’s terminology. When humanity makes the jump to integral awareness, we will experience timelessness. We get glimpses of it occasionally now. Then, however, it will be our normal, everyday experience. Our future history will roll like a wheel. It will be timeless, imaginative, and soulful. And we will not speak in terms of now and then, for all will be now.
Has the epoch of soul already begun? Has the so-called Age of Aquarius commenced? Are we living in an era sort of like the idea of messianic secrecy where, what Scott Preston calls The Planetary Era, has already come into existence, but the fact is still hidden from the consciousness of the masses? Since the beginning of The Great War in 1914, events pointing to the birth of a new age have accelerated quickly. Since that time, we have seen the dreams of Modern Era (Age of Enlightenment) thinkers annihilated. No longer do we assert that extreme rationality and scientific progress can solve all of our problems. This view involved a linear idea of progress, where “advances in technology, science, and social organization can produce an improvement in the human condition” (The Idea of Progress, Wikipedia). We now know this to be false. It was a case of anthropocentric naivete, or just downright narcissism. The fact that we are now aware of our erroneous thinking leads us to conclude that, first, we are presumably more aware of the human condition, and second, due to this expanded awareness, a different era of collective consciousness has been inaugurated.
The concept of Soul Purpose can be of help in understanding that inexplicable aching, that deep impetus that can sweep many of us up in a kind of rapture that we have no words for, when we feel most alive and yet not quite content, not at home.
Now, in our day, there is a man running for president of the United States, Senator Bernie Sanders, that has, as his platform, most of the points advocated by Occupy Wall Street. He is continuing the movement initiated by the OWS protesters back in 2011. I feel this movement could be the beginning of what I consider animaterialist politics. If you’re curious about what animaterialism means to me, please search for this term on my blog. I’ve written a number of articles explaining my position. I believe Senator Sanders’ platform this year begins to advocate policies that care for humanity and the earth very much like those one could arrive at by accepting an animaterialist worldview.
One must be careful not to confuse the primary images, or archetypes, as existing on another plane in the same way as Plato’s Forms. They are not otherworldly, but part of our animaterial universe. They abide in our bodies and in our souls, these being one and the same. Biology and psychology should not be separate disciplines. The universe in itself is not dualistic.
Yesterday, I discussed Nietzsche’s idea of truth and lie, the latter being the subversion of mankind’s conventional naming system. Unconsciously, we lie to ourselves and to each other because we have forgotten that the names of things are not the same as the original experience of the things themselves. The meaning of liar, of course, is relative, according to one’s perception. From the point of view of the masses, a liar is one who breaks with the accepted convention of not believing that language really describes reality. From Nietzsche’s perspective, we are all liars, since, to exist socially, we all use language.
My previous article discussed the initial paragraphs of Nietzsche’s essay, On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense. I left off with his conclusion that man is “deeply immersed in illusions and in dream images…” The manner in which the intellect operates is characterized by deception, both of others and of ourselves. We perceive things and think we are seeing them as they are in themselves, but this is a lie fashioned by our minds. It is a mechanism of self-preservation, according to Nietzsche. Since nature has chosen to fashion mankind such that we do not wage the battle for existence with horns or with the sharp teeth of beasts of prey,” dissimulation, as an art, has become highly acute in us. With this in mind, Nietzsche concludes that “there is almost nothing which is less comprehensible than how an honest and pure drive for truth could have arisen among” us. But it did somehow arise, for there are those among us who possess this drive, or else I would not be penning this short article.
In the schema of Jean Gebser, the mythical structure is the mode of awareness that appears prior to the mental-rational structure of consciousness. It is characterized by a two-dimensional, unperspectival level of awareness. There is no real awareness of space, and only a natural awareness of time. This means an awareness of the movements of time through natural events, such as the changing of seasons, the moon cycles, the movement of planets, etc. This all occurs in a world without spatial awareness. The cyclical movement of nature is the predominant human point of view at this time. It is cyclical, so there is no movement forward in space. It is only circular movement from pole to pole; it doesn’t go anywhere. It is an endless circularity. The shifting between poles seems to create a unique energy that initiates the emergence of a new consciousness. Thus, from this experience mankind creates symbols and myths. The emerging of imaginative thinking signals the emergence of the individual soul.
Another gun rampage, another massacre today, this time on the campus of Umpqua Community College in southwestern Oregon. Add thirteen to the many senselessly killed in the past several decades at the hands of those seemingly possessed by what Scott Preston calls “ultimate self-contradiction leading to self-annihilation (A Tsunami of Unreason II, The Chrysalis). We are living in the midst of what Nietzsche predicted well over a century ago, and what came after his pronouncement of the death of God:
I see Gebser’s Origin as similar to what Hermeticism calls The All. Speculating further, one also finds similarity between Origin and Giordano Bruno’s idea of God. Bruno’s theological thought stemmed from an anti-Neoplatonic cosmology, but seemed to embrace a Neoplatonic theology. He agrees with Nicholas of Cusa and Plotinus that God was totally beyond every concept and knowledge. In fact, as Plotinus asserted, God is even beyond ‘being,’ understood as ‘being something specific and determinable’ (Mendoza 140). Gebser views Origin as the ground from which all things spring forth. But this originary presence is not to be viewed as a telos, or as some origin in the past. Origin is non-temporal and non-spatial in every way. It is ever-present.
There is a deceptive idea that many followers of depth psychology seem to adhere to. It is the perception that what depth psychologists call “the unconscious” is some sort of objective reality, or compartment of the mind that stores the thoughts, ideas, images we repress, things we forget, etc. Basically, anything we are not consciously aware of is supposedly “stored” in the unconscious. This is inaccurate. The word simply means, “not aware.” We treat “the unconscious,” as a place or thing when, in reality, there is much we are simply unaware of. Not very hard to understand, but lots of people who are interested in the human mind, and especially Freudian, Jungian and post-Jungian psychology, make this mistake. In fact, some seem to speak of the unconscious as a divine entity, even capitalizing the word and attributing all sorts of powers to it. I’m sure I’ve been guilty of this, myself.
The new consciousness that is emerging is, first of all, not a phenomenon we should view as yet another rung on what Saint John Climacus called the scala paradisi, or “ladder of divine ascent.” Western man is obsessed with climbing higher and higher, as in “climbing the corporate ladder, or “making it to the top.” In spiritual matters, the general consensus is that one draws closer to God if one ascends into the heavens. Why the preoccupation with an upward path? Why is heaven up and hell down? It is because we still view reality is terms of space, whether it is two-dimensional or three-dimensional. The West has been consumed with space since the advent of what Gebser calls the mental-rational mode of consciousness. One of the milestones of this obsession was when a human stepped out onto the lunar surface in 1969. The new consciousness will supersede spatial considerations. Three-dimensionality will be transcended to include the fourth dimension of time.
“I’ve got a head full of quandary And a mighty, mighty thirst” Joni Mitchell “We think we can congratulate ourselves on having already reached such a pinnacle of clarity, imagining that we have left all these phantasmal gods far behind.
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