Animaterialism. The very fact that we can differentiate between Soul and Spirit, for example, via consciousness is a very interesting thing. Consciousness itself is self-recursive, since we must possess a certain mode of consciousness in order to realize we have consciousness in the first place.
Is consciousness synonymous with what I have referred to as The Cosmic Mind, i.e. the fusion of Soul and Spirit? This is one question I will keep in mind as I proceed.
According to philosopher, Christian de Quincey, when we discuss consciousness, there are really two meanings we must come to terms with:
1) Philosophical consciousness: "a state or quality of being with a capacity for sentience and subjectivity" (Radical Nature, p. 64).
In my idea of consciousness, I talk about modes of consciousness. Again, I don't care for hierarchical ideas, so I do not think of these modes of consciousness as being hierarchical, as in "levels of consciousness." I prefer to think of them as horizontal, or better yet, rhizomal in nature. This, also, has been discussed on Soul Spelunker.
All things in the universe, in my thinking, have their own particular mode of being. A rock has a different mode of being (and corresponding consciousness) than a human. Both are viable, valuable creations, but exist according to a different manner of consciousness. Being is not static, as the phrase, "state of being," implies. Our language is very limited when attempting to explain the idea of being. Just don't think of it as a static entity. It is dynamic!
2) Psychological consciousness: "a state of awareness characterized by being awake or alert, and is contrasted with the "unconscious," a state being asleep, or with psychic contents below the threshold of conscious-awake awareness" (ibid.)
This is what we are referring to when we speak of the unconscious in Jungian terms. It is merely the state of not-being-aware. The unconscious is not an entity, it is a state of unawareness.
This article will deal with philosophical consciousness, as it relates to Animaterialism.
I realize that most of us, including myself, do not thoroughly understand the complexities of quantum mechanics. I am not a physicist. On the other hand, physicists are just as baffled by a phenomenon like quantum entanglement as we laypeople. This puzzling behavior has been experimentally verified, so we definitely know it is occurring. It is also known as "nonlocality." Granted, this phenomenon occurs in space-time, or at least the empirically verifiable effects do. What I am interested in is that the particles in question seem to share a kind of innate awareness of what is occurring between them, thus possessing a certain mode of consciousness, even if the mode is simply that one particle has awareness of what its counterpart is doing. The phenomenon itself exists in isolated areas of space-time, but the awareness does not. This is why it is faster than light speed; it is instantaneous because it is not bound by Einstein's light-speed-limit. All modes of consciousness exist in non-space-time. As de Quincey says, consciousness "is non-located" ( ibid. p. 62).
I keep being reminded of my studies of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, where he states that space and time are "transcendentally ideal." By this, he means that space and time are two
primary ways our minds order our sensory experience. Space and time are
innate, a priori structures of the human mind. They are not
substances in and of themselves, nor are they properties of substances.
Rather, they are like lenses through which we view the world. Kant also claims that space and time are empirically real. They have
objective validity since they are present in the actual experiencing of
objects (Kant, here, is presupposing the subject/object dichotomy,
which I reject). They are not substances, but, according to Kant, they are supplied by the
mind when we experience the manifold of sensation. Space is the form of
outer intuition; time is the form of inner intuition. The mind presents
outer objects to us in space. Our inner states succeed one another in
time. By these inner states, time is applied to our experience of outer
objects. Of course, Kant did not believe we could have any knowledge of the noumenal world, the world as it is in itself. Kant merely added another dichotomy to the mix, in positing his phenomenal/noumenal distinction. This is actually hyper-Cartesianism, since now one cannot know anything about the real world.
I do not wish for my thinking to operate only on the level of the empirical. I am in agreement with Albert Einstein, who said, “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” Most of my writing is based on both reason and intuition. Like Einstein, I believe intuition is a valid epistemological tool.
In my thinking, the first mode of consciousness is a substratum of awareness, via act and creative choice, that is innate to all things in the universe. This awareness acts and chooses how forms are organized and are shaped from matter, so this mode of consciousness exists at the very bottom of the Great Circle of Being. Even seemingly insentient rocks and amoebae share this mode of consciousness. It is important because it is a mode of value, since all things in our universe have value, not in a hierarchical fashion, but rhizomally. I reject the notion that some modes of consciousness are superior to others.
This primal mode of consciousness is a whirling Vortex of creativity and intelligence, constantly and vortically bringing order and complexity from chaos. It is pure awareness. It spins infinitely, ever in flux.
To be continued......
Aug 31, 2012
Aug 27, 2012
|Photo by José Luis Navarro Lizandra|
...there is an intellect that gives being to everything, which the Pythagoreans and the Timaeus call the ‘giver of forms’; a soul and a formal principle which becomes and informs everything, that they call ‘fountain of forms’; there is matter, out of which everything is produced and formed, and which is called by everyone the ‘receptacle of forms’ (Giordano Bruno, Cause, Principle, and Unity).The Vortex of the Cosmos, from whence emerges all types of animatter, is the fusion of Anima Universi (Soul of the Universe) and Spiritus Universi (Spirit of the Universe), universal female and male Principles who are continually and eternally bringing forth increasing creativity and complexity in our universe. The World Spirit provides the Intellect to assign forms to the World Soul's Mater Materia, the Mother of all things. This Divine union gives us animatter, which is infinite and homogeneous throughout the universe. Animatter possesses intelligence from Spirit and consciousness from Soul. This Maelstrom, that I have called elsewhere Soul's Maelstrom, is ever whirling, ever changing things from one form to another. There is no death, no cessation of being, only a change of form, according to animatter's mode of Being.
This desk, my keyboard, this monitor are animatter. All animatter has consciousness and is intelligent, albeit according to different modes of these.
The relationship between the Spiritus Universi and the Anima Universi is such that Spirit is the potentiality of Soul. Soul provides undifferentiated matter for the fashioning of Spirit. Spirit acts as a Divine Artificer to mold and shape matter into animatter. What we experience empirically in the universe is intelligent, ensouled animatter. Universal Spirit is the power that shapes a spiral Aloe plant, or a Nautilus shell, or anything else. These shapes in Nature are not accidental. Soul provides material; Spirit provides intelligence for the emergence of complexity in Nature.
Spirit and Soul are one Reality, known by many names: the Demiurge, World Soul, Cosmic Mind, etc.
Aug 25, 2012
In the above passage, de Quincey uses the term, matter, with the same meaning as I use the word, animatter. Animatter is the holistic reality of the universe. Animatter is ensouled matter. There is nothing that is not animated. Even so-called antimatter displays Shadow characteristics of animatter. Animatter communicates its story throughout the fabric of all things. There is an informational flow via all avenues of reality because all forms of matter are interconnected, even all the way down to the subatomic level. There is a story being told up, down, and across the great crossroads of Being.
Matter is adventurous. And in some very real sense, the story of...evolution is a story matter tells to itself. It is a story in which matter communicates the details of its earlier, less organized stages, to its later more organized stages, so that each stage is meaningful - is full of meaning, full of reference to its antecedent conditions. Matter is full of information about its past - about its own structure and dynamics, about its process. Cells contain information about molecules, molecules contain information about atoms, atoms about quantum particles and fields. And the matter of brains contains information about all of these, and so the human mind can reflect on the history of matter and tell itself the story of biological and cosmological evolution (Radical Nature, by Christian de Quincey, p. 41-42).
Along the Coast, Alfred Bricher
What story is being told? It's the story of Reality, how our universe came into existence, what is real, what is error, and where we are headed in in this great saga of evolution. Because all forms of animatter are interconnected, communication, it seems, is superluminal. But it doesn't really matter how fast it is. The fact that there is communication at all between forms of animatter proves they are operating in some mode of consciousness.
I hesitate to use the phrase, "levels of consciousness," even though this is fine. I prefer "modes of consciousness" because "levels" implies hierarchies. I reject hierarchical structures in favor of unranked structures, at times vortical, at other times horizontal. The usage of "modes of consciousness" infers equality, while hierarchy infers superiority and inferiority. I am of the mind that all forms of animatter, while they may have different modal consciousness, are all of equal meaning and value. This is due to the fact that they all horizontally depend on one another.
Such a view can explain so much! Take Jung's idea of the collective unconscious, for instance. If Jung is correct about the CU, and I believe he is, then the communicative ability of animatter would help explain how all of us contain certain innate, instinctual patterns within our psyches. It would explain all forms of psi phenomena, as well.
The reason why the science of the West has, for the most part, rejected religious, mystical, and psi phenomena as falsehood is due to the mind-matter dichotomy. We know that. Now, we are repairing the breach for future generations, in order that they may enjoy the innate human abilities that our ancestors have so long denied us. Furthermore, with the restoration of the story of animatter, all reality can reap the rewards of our amazing universe.
The story of animatter is not new. It has been in circulation for many millenia. Our problem is, for a time we forgot it. Now, we are remembering it again. We are realizing what we have missed and are taking action to, once again, resurrect the myth.
Physicist, John Archibald Wheeler, once said,
Someday we'll understand the whole thing as one single marvelous vision that will seem so overwhelmingly simple and beautiful that we may say to each other; 'Oh, how could be have been so stupid for so long? How could it have been otherwise!Now that we're again spinning the yarn of animatter, this vision is very much realizable.
The philosophy of mind known as "eliminative materialism" asserts that realities like Soul, imagination, belief, or just a common sense view of the mind (folk psychology) are false and will eventually be explained as products of biology. Since matter is dead, without meaning or value, proponents of this philosophy claim that such "metaphysical" realities are just misunderstandings on the part of uneducated, unsophisticated people.
We are...left dangling in the paradox of corpsed matter and incorporeal mind - the first dead, insentient and without the possibility of meaning or creativity, the second a ghost, a mere figment or phantasm "squirted out" by chance arrangements of the first. Yet it was precisely this subjective "fiction" that had somehow managed to construct the objective world picture in the first place (Christian de Quincey, Radical Nature, p. 37).
Catalina Island Coast under a Moonlit Sky, by Granville Redmond
I am quite surprised that such educated paladins of Reason would make such a glaring mistake in their argument. The very reality they utilize to form their theory is what they deny existence to! Think about this for a moment. Use the reality that does not exist, that we "folk psychologists" call a mind, to muse on the absurdity of their position! If you are anywhere near the folk psychologist you should be, it won't take long for you to understand the paper tiger they have unleashed upon us.
This type of nonsensical thinking is the direct result of Descartes' mind-body dualism, except that EM goes further, denying even the mind of Descartes, which he simply took for granted. How can a belief in dead, insentient matter lead anywhere but to this kind of absurdity? We certainly are minds, Souls, Spirits, have beliefs, visions, dreams, etc. We are not inanimate, as some would have us believe.
Granted, this is extreme materialism, but I provide this as being illustrative of the ways of scientism. I personally don't understand why there seems to be a need to rid the world of all mythopoeic beauty and nature. What these scientists don't seem to realize is that their theories are just as mythical as what we folk psychologists claim.
In my quest to promote a living world, matter that is teeming with Soul and Spirit, I've decided to call my philosophy Animaterialism. This word, of course, combines Soul (anima) with matter (materia). In my article, Anima Materia, I attempted to erect a foundation. This view begins with a view of matter that influences not only mind and Soul, but how we treat our planet and each other. Our view of matter directly affects our ethics. Furthermore, our view of matter affects our entire ontology and epistemology. Actually, it touches every aspect of our lives.
Physicist, David Bohm, writes
It is proposed that the widespread and pervasive distinctions between people (race, nation, family, profession, etc., etc.) which are now preventing mankind from working together for the common good, and indeed, even for survival, have one of the key factors of their origin in a kind of thought that treats things as inherently divided, disconnected, and "broken up" into yet smaller constituent parts. Each part is considered to be essentially independent and self-existent. (David Bohm, Wholeness and the Implicate Order)We citizens of planet Earth should be daily striving to bridge the chasms that separate us. The way we begin is to bridge the chasm between mind and matter. The so-called mind-body problem is so ingrained in our culture that it will be difficult to overcome. Do not doubt that it will come to pass. Do not lose hope. Truth inevitably rules the day. It may not seem so now, in this current era of corrupt politics, war, and greed. But there will come a day when mind and matter will, again, be seen as one reality and this will change the course of humanity forever.
Aug 21, 2012
At some point in the progress of thinking, we must move beyond reason to a form of thought that is able to deal with truths that do not conform to the rules of logic. We must formulate a way of knowing that has the ability to deal with paradox. I am not referring to artificial paradoxes, such as the so-called mind-body problem. When we have exhausted our reasoning powers upon a particular paradoxical problem, there is a leap that must be made to a form of thought that includes our powers of intuition, emotion, and feelings. Certainly, we must follow reason as far as it can take us, but, in the end, other ways of knowing must come into play.
Let us take, for example, the seeming paradox that states:
The Divine is immanent in the world
The Divine transcends the world
This is clearly a mystery to the rational mind, but is a powerful reality to those who have experienced altered states of consciousness. Our materialistic state of consciousness, ruled by logic, would reject this as meaningless. But there are other dimensions of consciousness where reason and logic are exhausted and are no longer applicable.
Other dimensions of consciousness have no problem embracing the above assertions as one Reality. The statement, "Everything is contained within the Divine," is the product of such a state of consciousness. Instead of a confused irrationality, the two assertions are synthesized into a meaningful statement. If everything is contained within the Divine, then both ideas become one. If one were to say, The Divine is in everything, this would only agree with one of the assertions, i.e. The Divine is immanent in the world. The former statement contains both ideas. By the way, we are here speaking of what is known as panentheism.
This "epistemology of paradox" is a way to gain knowledge of the world in addition to the mundane scientific method, which can only help us know empirical phenomena. It's nothing new. This mode of thought goes back thousands of years and was crucial to the development of Taoism, Hinduism, and Buddhism.
Nathaniel Moya writes,
The use of paradox and linguistic ambiguity in Taoism is meant to convey one simple fact: words are of the human mind, and to believe that what is communicated in a sentence, a book, a poem, or whatever, communicates exactly and concretely every nuance and subtly of someone’s thought is missing the point. Language is a tool to differentiate, not necessarily unify. So, rather than thinking of paradox as an impassable abyss, think of it as metaphor pointing to that which is entirely ineffable.Language so limits what we can express about the ineffable! That is why we must use metaphor and symbol so much. That is why Jesus taught in parables. That is why Jung was so enamored with mandalas. These images touch a much deeper part of the Soul, where words cannot tread.
The great Taoist philosopher, Chuan Tzu, once said: “Destruction is construction, construction is destruction. There is no destruction or construction. They fuse into one.” They fuse into one experience, or episode, that is part of a larger unity (Taoism's Use of Paradox).
Paradoxes can be resolved in the Soul, for it is the middle-ground between opposites, the point of connection, par excellence, the Metaxy. Soul is the nexus between Matter and Spirit.
Aug 19, 2012
|Chariot of Apollo, by Odilon Redon|
As I understand it, Ego is simply one of many archetypes of Soul. It is via Ego that we know we are conscious of ourselves and others.
So far as we know, consciousness is always ego-consciousness. In order to be conscious of myself, I must be able to distinguish myself from others. Relationship can only take place where this distinction exists (Marriage as a Psychological Relationship" (1925). In C.G. Jung's CW 17: The Development of the Personality. P.326).With a balanced Ego, things run smoothly. One does not sink into a miry melancholy nor does one become overinflated, puffed up, pompous, and condescending toward others. Balance seems to be the most desirable state for Soul. Also to be desired is that all archetypes work together within the Soul, i.e. no single Person becomes more important than another.
At some point in Western culture, Ego alone became identifiable with the Self. James Hillman claims it occurred at the beginning of Christianity, due to a "monotheism of ego-consciousness," influenced, of course, by the new religion's emergence from Judaism.
This path suits when the consciousness of an era or of an individual senses that its survival is best served by an archetypal pattern of heroism and unity. The early image of Christ was compounded with the military Mithra and the muscular Hercules, and Constantine's conversion, which finally turned the tide against classical polytheism, was heralded by a martial vision which came to him before he set forth into battle (Revisioning Psychology, p. 28).For two millennia, the predominant state of consciousness of Western individuals has been that of "an undivided unit of arms-bearing responsibility who stands before God, one to one, the primal encounter" (ibid.).
For most Westerners, the remaining archetypes of Soul have been largely ignored and repressed. Most just assume that any type of psychology is, necessarily, a psychology of the Ego. As we have learned from Freud and Jung, it is disastrous to ignore these other psychic elements.
It can be very dangerous to be possessed by an overinflated Ego. The classic myth of Narcissus is the best example of this. Narcissus fell in love with himself, while gazing at an image of himself in a pool of water. He was doomed to stare at himself the remainder of his life, being totally self-absorbed until he died.
We have discussed the differences between Soul and Spirit. Since our consciousness seems to operate in this world through Ego, I began thinking that Ego may be a kind of bridge to a viable and beneficial experience of Spirit. Or could it be that all the archetypes, working in unison (not as an integrated single reality, but simply in unity), create our consciousness and become a connection to Spirit? Remember, the true spiritual experience is one that transcends our earthly realm and touches a reality beyond what our reason can comprehend.
Since it is beyond comprehension, the best we can do when discussing Spirit is through images. As I said previously, the myth of Icarus is a great example of trying to attain Spirit at all cost. Hillman uses the image of "peaks and vales" to describe Soul and Spirit. Spirit lives in the peaks, Soul in the vales. Any form of transcendent spirituality, such as trying to perfect the body with various yogas or diet, positive thinking and affirmations to get what you want, climbing the corporate ladder, or just going to the gym to have a perfect body are examples of Spirit in manifestation. Curiously, these things are also connected with Ego to some extent. This is why I think it may be a bridge in some way to Spirit.
There must be a connection between these two, one masculine, one feminine. Spirit and Soul must have intercourse, in order for human consciousness to be complete. The current Dalai Lama once wrote something very enlightening. He said,
People need to climb the mountain not simply because it is there but because the soulful divinity needs to be mated with the spirit (qtd. in Peaks and Vales, James Hillman).In order for humanity to arrive at their destination in this life, there must be interaction between Soul and Spirit. Spirit is indeed masculine, Apollonian, filled with light, intellect, and action. These all must be part of the human composition. Nowadays, we emphasize Soul, which is feminine, because it has been ignored for so long and there is need of compensation. In reality, both must work together and function as equals.
If Ego is to be a bridge between Soul and Spirit, it seems to me it would be due to the fact that our conscious awareness is in the Ego, as well as our decision-making capacities. Perhaps through our will based on our awareness, we can allow Soul and Spirit to commune together, as need be.
Aug 18, 2012
There is much confusion concerning Soul and Spirit. They are commonly thought of as indistinguishable. The best way I know to relate the differences is the idea, prevalent in Meister Eckhart, and other theologies, of the God beyond God. This notion asserts there is a God who is totally transcendent to human ratiocination, totally beyond anything we are able to conceive of using the human mind. This is the God of apophatic theology, where the only thing one can say is what God is not. This idea is rather meta-macrocosmic, since it is really above what we conceive of as the macrocosmic God. The God beyond God is Pure Spirit and can never be understood by rational means. The macrocosmic God, on the other hand, can be discussed cataphatically, or in a positive sense. One can describe how this God is. One can make positive assertions about this God. This God is accessible to the human mind and can be spoken of, to a certain extent, using rational terminology. This God possesses attributes that can be spoken and thought of. The God beyond this God has no attributes that we can speak or think of.
C. G. Jung said that the soul itself is fundamentally oriented toward life--the soul, he said, is the archetype of life--while the search for meaning or the quest for higher consciousness has some other root. The soul finds its home in the ordinary details of everyday life and does not in itself have an urgent need for understanding or achievement. James Hillman, Jung's unorthodox follower, picks up on Jung's distinction between soul and spirit, saying that soul resides in the valleys of life and not on the peaks of intellectual, spiritual, or technological efforts. In his essay on this theme, "Peaks and Vales," Hillman writes that the soul is the psyche's actual life, including "the present mess it is in, its discontent, dishonesties, and thrilling illusions."
Something in us--tradition calls it spirit--wants to transcend these messy conditions of actual life to find some blissful or at least brighter experience, or an expression of meaning that will take us away intellectually from the quagmire of actual existence. When the soul does rise above the conditions of ordinary life into meaning and healing, it hovers closely and floats; it doesn't soar. Its mode of reflection is reverie rather than intellectual analysis, and its process of healing takes place amid the everyday flux of mood, the ups and downs of emotions, and the certain knowledge that there is no ultimate healing: death is an eternal presence for the soul (Thomas Moore, Soul Mates).
The relationship between the transcendent God and the immanent God is similar to the relationship between what we call Spirit and Soul.
Spirit is really not within the purview of the human mind. It is not earth-bound. It wants nothing to do with the tangled web of earthly activity. All is transcendence. Spirit desires total union with God, to the exclusion of everything else in life. An overemphasis on Spirit produces a person who, as the old saying goes, is so heavenly minded they are no earthly good.
The human Ego aspires to be like Spirit. Ego is drawn to the Sun. It is Ego that builds skyscrapers to the heavens in an attempt to commune with Spirit. It is Ego that travels to the highest mountain peaks, thinking that Spirit can be contacted there. Ego is that element of Soul that most desires union with Spirit. In this way, a healthy Ego can be a bridge between Spirit and Soul. An overemphasis on Spirit, however, produces an overinflated Ego, which, as we know, is big trouble. The story of Icarus is a good example of someone who flew too high and perished in the sea. Those who fly too high are sometimes victims of Soul's depths.
Soul is within the purview of the human mind, even though the depths of Soul are unlimited. Heraclitus said, “You could not discover the limits of Soul even if you traveled by every path in order to do so; such is the depth of its meaning” (qtd. in The Presocratics, by Philip Wheelwright, p. 72). Soul loves the tangled web of life on earth. It would rather trudge through the boggy swamps, dark caves, and deep oceans than to soar through the heavens. In Soul is mystery, all the mysteries of the earth and under the earth. Soul is innate in all things, interconnected with all matter. Distinctions between the two are illusory, even though we can speak cataphatically concerning Soul. We can only speak apophatically concerning Spirit. One of the myths of Soul is the legend of Hades, the god of the hidden wealth of the earth.
I do not possess Soul as I would a coat or tie, I am Soul. I cannot experience the world apart from Soul. Positivism or Behaviorism cannot tell me why my breath is taken away by Berlioz’ Symphonie Fantastique; or when I read Poe, Keats, or Goethe; or when I walk in the forest and relish the green earth. They might try and tell me these are merely chemical reactions in my brain, but anyone who has experienced these things will know of a certainty how ridiculous this is. The depth of the experience tells the story. All that I do and feel is because I am Soul.
If I am Soul, what about my body? What role does it play, besides enabling me to operate in the material world? I see material things (including the human body) as images and metaphors. To me, this world is filled with images of Soul. Through these images, I am able to learn more about reality. Through living in this body, I am better able learn about Soul. For untold generations, the material universe has been viewed as an image of the inner workings of the human being. The ancient saying, “As above, so below,” speaks to this fact. Such a view makes the world incredibly fascinating and alive, for there is always something nearby to pique one’s interest and to shed light on the True.
Our yearning for a so-called “spiritual life” is actually due to our yearning for a connection to Soul, for we can have very limited concourse with Spirit in this imperfect life. But, even though this life is imperfect, Soul holds treasures far beyond our wildest dreams!
Aug 17, 2012
As long as we remain within the current dominant paradigm of science--of universal materialism and mechanism--the puzzle of subjectivity will continue to confound us, and we will continue to be troubled by our failed efforts to find value and meaning in the complex dynamics of chaos and emergent order of insentient atoms in the void. If we don't know how to face the paradoxes they will, sooner or later, manifest as intellectual, psychological, or other systemic pathologies (Radical Nature, Christian de Quincey, p. 7).The days of thinking that the scientific method alone will solve all the conundrums of human existence are over. We have moved into an era where a strictly mechanistic and materialist worldview will not suffice. One reason for this is that we have recognized an enigmatic paradox behind the practice of science itself. Science studies the empirical and the quantifiable, and makes conclusions based on empirical data and rationality. The puzzling catch is that the consciousness of the scientist is utilized, in that she observes and experiences the data of the experiment, to arrive at a scientific conclusion. Yet science tries to deny that consciousness exists, even though it is required for the experiencing of the empirical data!
The future of human thought rests with whether we accept some form of thinking beyond ratiocination, or whether we remain in our current materialistic and mechanistic morass. To move forward with the former, we will need to formulate a new brand of paradoxically-based thinking that will move beyond empiricism. Instead of thinking of this new form of thought as transcending the old scientific method, in the sense of rising above it, I propose we think in terms of moving beyond it in all directions, as waves move outward after a stone is tossed into a pond. Transcendence smacks too much of the upward movement to Heaven. God knows we've heard that until we were blue in the face! We need a lateral movement toward each other, if this world is going to survive.
We have been duped into believing that "thinking" is just cogitating, rationalizing, and empirical observation. It is much more! What type of thinking would you say Einstein used in his most famous though-experiment, where he imaginally chased after a beam of light? This is certainly not ratiocination. There is imaginative thinking and paradoxical thinking. There is mythopoetic thinking, as well. There are experiences that cannot be classified as empirical. Dreams, visions, and such realities are just as valid as observing how a subatomic particle behaves in a particle collider. These types of meta-thinking will all play a very important role in the new paradigm, the Epoch of Soul.
Blaise Pascal said this:
Reason’s last step is the recognition that there are an infinite number of things which are beyond it.It is time we learned this and get on with making our world a better place to live out our days.
Aug 15, 2012
|Orpheus in the Underworld, by Henryk Siemiradzki (1843–1902)|
Each night when we drift off into sleep, Ego dies. We enter the Underworld in our dreams. But it is not the Ego that experiences them. It's kind of like the old childhood story of toys coming to life while their young owner is sleeping. When we fall asleep, in this case, the gods have a field day on the playgrounds of our minds. It is just that this playground is the Land of the Dead. Ego dies and the gods and goddesses awaken.The Ego is resurrected every morning, as the dying and rising god myth plays itself out daily. As the light of Sol awakens the Ego every morning, the gods, in turn, rest until it is once again their time to frolic.
Unconsciousness in sleep is like death. It is as if Ego has perished. We spend about one-third of our lives in the world of shades, visiting the Land of the Dead. Just as Persephone was snatched from the dayworld by Hades and taken into the Underworld, we, too, descend into that dark world upon falling asleep every night. It is no mistake that the dead are buried below the ground. This is a very old instinctual and archetypal practice. It is actually a ritualistic acting out of the nightly death and burial of Ego.
James Hillman believes that our visits to the Underworld each night teach us to
abandon our hopes for achieving unification of personality by means of the dream (The Dream and the Underworld, p. 41).He says that, in the Underworld, the spirits there are spoken of in terms of plurality. He thinks the myriad personalities in Hades represent "the endlessness of the soul, and dreams restore to consciousness this sense of multiplicity (ibid.). This, of course, is Hillman's famous opposition to Jung's notion of integration of the archetypes into a unified whole, which Jung called the Self.
This makes sense to me, since the Greeks, when referring to the shades, the spirits of the dead, were usually spoken of in the plural sense. Furthermore, I like to use the lessons of Nature Herself in these matters. Just look up into a clear night sky if you want a clue as to what Soul really looks like. As above, so below. Just as the heavens are composed of billions of gods--stars, galaxies, planets--so also Soul is similarly composed. The myriad heavenly bodies do not integrate into one single mass; why would we think Soul would be any different?
Psychologist, David Miller, says
A polytheistic theology will release man into depth. He may now trust that breadth in life will be accounted for by all those others who are living the forms of other Gods and Goddesses. He will be relieved from a Puritan sense of duty to perfection and completeness. … He will return to the Gods who have been forgotten and repressed. And there he will find the depth that has been hiding all along (The New Polytheism).The way we meet these innumerable gods and goddesses is through our dreams. I can hardly wait to fall asleep!
Aug 11, 2012
|Oil painting by Gerard Prent: “Zonder titel (tuin)”|
The predominant Western mindset has never broken free of this false idea of centrality, since they have never recognized it as the result of enthroning an overinflated Ego as the center of their universe. It is even more obvious today that Ego controls most of humanity. It sits on the throne of most of the world's material powers, as it has for millenia.
It is said, "The love of money is the root of all evil." The origin of this perverted love is the overinflated Ego. We must be brutally honest here: The World Soul has a Shadow, just as we do individually. The overinflated World Ego is part of this collective Shadow of the Anima Mundi. This collective Shadow must be dealt with somehow. I am of the belief that as we avoid isolation from one another, and unite in Soul and in love, our collective beneficence will mitigate the collective Shadow.
James Hillman did not advocate the Jungian idea of integrating the archetypes into a teleological image called The Self. On the contrary, he believed the Archetypes should be thought of as separate Persons altogether. He viewed the attempted integration of these Persons to be destructive to Soul. Instead, his idea was one of interaction. This flowing-together of the various archetypes creates the atmosphere conducive for Soul-making, of which he was so fond of referring to.
The collective Shadow, manifesting itself through the overinflated collective Ego, is getting very much out of hand these days, as it has many times throughout history. The European Dark Age, which is also called the Medieval period, is one example of a time when ideas that previously created magnificent cultures had been lost to the general knowledge of the populous. The Church very efficiently saw to that, centralizing their control in Rome, and using the Inquisition to handle anyone who attempted to bring enlightenment to the people. Giordano Bruno was one such victim. Read his story in The Tragedy of Giordano Bruno.
The end of the so-called Dark Ages, and the beginning of the European Renaissance occurred after translations by Marsilio Ficino of ancient documents, including the Emerald Tablet and the works of Plato. Gradually, there was a resurgence in knowledge and wisdom of Soul. This gnosis manifested itself in art, philosophy, literature, and other areas of human creativity, and, in turn, brought about one of the greatest flowerings of Nature in the history of the Earth. An increased knowledge of Soul led to the construction of a grand Soul-House in those days, which gifted humanity with much beauty and benefit.
Needless to say, with what we are experiencing on the Internet these days, another time of renaissance is imminent. I have called this current period The Epoch of Soul. It is here now, even though we are at the threshold. One day, the alchemical marriage will take place and we will all be swept into a glorious era that humanity has never before experienced, a time that will overshadow the European Renaissance.
In conclusion, there is really no center at all. We are not the center of anything and there is no center to our individual Being. All creatures of the Universe are intertwined with what we call Soul. The overinflated Ego tries to be the center of everything and is at the root of all attempts at centralization in all areas of human endeavor. This Herculean strongman must be dethroned in order for our world to, once again, unfold it's beauty.
Aug 10, 2012
|Photo by Cwawebber|
Typically, we would consider a rock to be about the lowest, most unconscious form of matter. I challenge you to jettison your usual way of thinking hierarchically about the world. Believing that certain forms of matter are higher or lower on some "scale of being" is what leads to such evils as racism and bigotry. Humans are not superior to other forms of matter; we merely operate at different modes of consciousness. This is because of the way we have emerged from the Cosmic Mind. All forms of matter have a mission to carry out in the Universe. The modes of consciousness we have been given, both the actual and the potential, are necessary equipment that will enable us to fulfill our mission here. A rock has a mission too, and a corresponding mode of consciousness.
Now, what could the modes of consciousness be like for a rock? Perhaps one mode of consciousness could be an aesthetic mode. Rocks and rock formations are some of the most beautiful things in the Universe. Untouched, at times, they are works of art in themselves. Another mode of consciousness could be a simple form of self-awareness. Imagine, for a moment, if a rock could ponder it's own existence:
I am a rock. I see the world through a lens of stone. In the time of my formation, I was but a glob of molten liquid. As I cooled, I received, from the Old Ones, consciousness. They fashioned me to sit quietly and endure.
For eons I have sat here, thrown to and fro by the whims of Nature, not caring where I was being taken, not regretting my seemingly lowly estate. I was content, just as long as I could ponder my own existence and experience the world around me. Humans may not think that one such as I could be aware of these things, but humans have much to learn.
In my long history, I have witnessed the long evolution of humanity. The entire story has been quite tragic from my point of view. I have ruminated many long millenia on their plight. Suffice it to say, they are an enigma to me.
Look at the lines on my face. I am an old Soul.
|Photo by David Hiser|
Aug 8, 2012
The source of all dualistic concepts is our Western tendency to project onto Nature two distinct substances from what I will call Anima Materia (Soul-Matter). In reality, Anima Materia means that all physical objects are Soulful, undivided and holistic creatures. The concept of "inanimate objects" is oxymoronic. The word, "inanimate," is to be banished from our language in the Epoch of Soul. Any religion or philosophy that continues to accept the dualistic mindset is anathema to me! Why am I so adamant? Because dualism has done such great damage to our planet, human nature, and the Universe. We should no longer accept the assertion that we dwell in a schizophrenic world, where matter and mind are split off from each other, where an unbridgeable chasm exists between them. We should rail against a worldview that believes it has dominion over this planet to the point of raping and pillaging it for profit. It is unnatural and it is immoral!
Physicist David Bohm said,
Man's general way of thinking of the totality, i.e. his general world view, is crucial for overall order of the human mind itself. If he thinks of the totality as constituted of independent fragments, then that is how his mind will tend to operate, but if he can include everything coherently and harmoniously in an overall whole that is undivided, unbroken and without border (for every border is a division or break) then his mind will tend to move in a similar way, and from this will flow an orderly action within the whole (Wholeness and the Implicate Order, p. ix).This is why I say that one's view of matter directly influences one's ethics. If you believe you are not connected to the Earth, that you are its master instead of its brother or sister, then you will have no qualms about blowing off the tops of mountains for coal, or incinerating thousands of acres of rainforest, or dumping millions of gallons of crude oil into our oceans, or for that matter, allowing your fellow humans to starve to death just because you want wealth and success. When dualism is banished from the Earth, only then will we begin to live as we were meant to live.
Bohm's contention is that a fragmented view of the totality of reality will lead to a disorderly way of thinking. The Earth has experienced the result of such thought for hundreds of years. But now, we are beginning to see the truth. Because of mass communication via the Internet, millions and millions are coming to the realization that reality is One, that all things are closely interconnected. The naysayers will eventually fade away. Our world is currently undergoing a tremendous transformation toward wholeness. We have great hope for the future.
Aug 5, 2012
|The Glory of the Heavens, oil on canvas painting by William Keith, 1891, De Young Museum|
Man is not body. The heart, the spirit, is man. And this spirit is an entire star, out of which he is built. If therefore a man is perfect in his heart, nothing in the whole light of Nature is hidden from him…The first step in the operation of these sciences is this: to beget the spirit from the inner firmament by means of the imagination (Paracelsus, qtd. in The Occult, by Colin Wilson).Again, I believe that the word, "spirit," here may be a mistranslation, seeing that many people believe spirit and soul to be synonymous. If anyone has the original reference in German, I'd like to know if I am right.
If taken thusly, Paracelsus' statement comes alive:
Man is not body. The heart, the Soul, is man. And this Soul is an entire star, out of which he is built. If therefore a man is perfect in his heart, nothing in the whole light of Nature is hidden from him…The first step in the operation of these sciences is this: to beget the Soul from the inner firmament by means of the imagination.Now, doesn't that make a lot more sense, seeing we have some understanding of Soul and its imaginal dynamics?
Paracelsus tells us we must birth Soul from the "inner firmament" using the Imagination. Now, I haven't read much of Paracelsus' original writings, but this sounds very much like Henry Corbin's Mundus Imaginalis. Paracelsus even distinguishes between imagination and fantasy, as does Corbin.
Paracelsus' believed the inner firmament was correlated to the infinite stars in the physical heavens, which I have discussed before. I have believed this for many years, myself. As above, so below. We are microcosmic universes that are constantly giving birth to new stars via imagination.
Therefore we are from the father and mother, corporeally out of the elements, spiritually from the stars: together in white of marriage, these produce the complete man (Paracelsus, translation by Roy Freeman).What is birthed from the inner firmament is what he calls "the complete man," or what I would call the "fully mature Soul." We are not born with a fully mature Soul. It is built throughout one's lifetime. It is not an entity that we possess inside our bodies. That is simply a metaphor. We construct our Soul-house brick-by-brick. Regarding the inner firmament, Jung says,
It strikes me as significant, particularly in regard to our hypothesis of a multiple consciousness and its phenomena, that the characteristic alchemical vision of sparks scintillating in the blackness of the arcane substance should, for Paracelsus, change into the spectacle of the "interior firmament" and its stars. He beholds the darksome psyche as a star-strewn night sky, whose planets and fixed constellations represent the archetypes in all their luminosity and numinosity (Jung, CW Volume 8, 392).Paracelsus may have been one of the first depth psychologists. I can see, now, where Jung derived some of his ideas.
Aug 4, 2012
Religions try to corral their adherents into agreement by asking for an assent to a set of dogmatic assertions usually in the form of a creed. Some of us do this, some of us reject outright any attempt made to limit freedom in these matters. There are dogmatic atheists just as there are dogmatic theists. There are scientists who claim their path is the only one to truth, and because they are high priests of Science, we are expected to simply get in line with them.
I, for one, prefer to be very precise in my thinking and writing. I have a definite left-brain slant on methodology. That's probably why I work in information technology and with high-performance computing. I very much enjoy technology, mathematics, and science. However, this does not infer that I must apply my left-brain slant to my heartfelt beliefs as a human being without some furthering of experience by other means. I am not only analytical, but very imaginally-oriented, as well. If I allowed my analytical tendencies to overrun my spiritual viewpoint, I would claim there was only one way in which to understand God and religion. I know because I was once that person, many years ago. I believed very strongly that I possessed the one way to God and all else was to be rejected.
In this day and time, I believe all benign spiritual paths lead to the Divine (there are paths of malevolence too). The word, "God," is so loaded with baggage that we should just banish it from our language. I see labels, such as "theism," "pantheism," "panentheism," etc. as problematic points of distinction that accomplish nothing productive. Rather, they divide people, just like Christian, Jew, Muslim, Pagan, etc. So many labels! So much division. We, as people of the Earth, need to rid ourselves of petty distinctions, preserving the ones that nurture and further our walk into Eternity, and that together in unity.
My article entitled, Bruno Was Not a Pantheist, was written just a little over a month ago, but in that short time, I have learned that such labels are not beneficial to me as a thinker. I found it interesting, intellectually, however, that so many articles on the Internet claim Bruno was a pantheist. I saw that claim, intellectually, as a mistake and sought to refute it. That was my left-brain, logical, philosophical mode kicking in.
No, Bruno was not a pantheist, in my opinion, for reasons already stated. The most important point I see in all of this is the acting out of the dialectical Dance of Being. The reason why labels like pantheist and theist are to be rejected is that they are limiting to one's viewpoint. Bruno, in my opinion, was both theist and pantheist. Yes, it is paradoxical. That's what the Dance of Being is, an energy that totally transcends human reason. Our language is so limiting and imprecise! That is why symbols are so powerful. We should learn more about thinking imaginally.
So, the sum of the matter is that most of us are on a benign journey that is spiraling, twisting, and snaking its way through this world. C'est la vie! :)
In my last article, The Involution of Soul, I introduced a symbol that spontaneously arose in my consciousness. I called it Soul's Maelstrom, named for a poem by Poe the Crow. I would like to elaborate on this image a bit further, if I may.
In 1992, I saw something that chilled me to the core of Being. I had an imaginal experience of peering into a raging maelstrom, which I took to be the very source of all reality. This whirling abyss contained all potentiality. From it, emerged all things. Like Poe, I wanted to explore its mysteries, even if it meant my death:
It may look like boasting -- but what I tell you is truth -- I began to reflect how magnificent a thing it was to die in such a manner, and how foolish it was in me to think of so paltry a consideration as my own individual life, in view of so wonderful a manifestation of God's power. I do believe that I blushed with shame when this idea crossed my mind. After a little while I became possessed with the keenest curiosity about the whirl itself. I positively felt a wish to explore its depths, even at the sacrifice I was going to make; and my principal grief was that I should never be able to tell my old companions on shore about the mysteries I should see. These, no doubt, were singular fancies to occupy a man's mind in such extremity -- and I have often thought since, that the revolutions of the boat around the pool might have rendered me a little light-headed (A Descent Into the Malestrom, by Edgar Allan Poe).At the time, I took it to be Anaximander's Apeiron, for I had been studying the Presocratics in my early days as a Philosophy major, and was familiar with the idea. Gazing into its limitless depths, I became vertiginous, as if I were atop the summit of Everest.
Never shall I forget the sensation of awe, horror, and admiration with which I gazed about me. The boat appeared to be hanging, as if by magic, midway down, upon the interior surface of a funnel vast in circumference, prodigious in depth, and whose perfectly smooth sides might have been mistaken for ebony, but for the bewildering rapidity with which they spun around, and for the gleaming and ghastly radiance they shot forth, as the rays of the full moon, from that circular rift amid the clouds which I have already described, streamed in a flood of golden glory along the black walls, and far away down into the inmost recesses of the abyss (ibid.).My paltry words cannot begin to describe what I saw and felt. I read Poe's short story some time later and knew that he had seen it too. His wordsmithery is much better than mine, so I quote freely from him.
The Maelstrom contains all polarities, so it's not just positive, feel-good, and New-Agey. It contains much danger. The reward, however, is worth the risk. Being connected to the vast potentiality that is the Cosmic Mind is worth it all, in my opinion.
To plunge freely into Soul's Maelstrom means you are opening yourself to the spinning infinitude of the collective unconscious. This is no cakewalk.
It is no accident that the vortex, based on the spiral, is one of the oldest spiritual symbols in human history. It is similar to the Einstein-Rosen Bridge, a wormhole, that theoretically connects two points in spacetime. Soul's Maelstrom connects the consciousness with unconsciousness. I have also called it The Metaxy.
The rays of the moon seemed to search the very bottom of the profound gulf: but still I could make out nothing distinctly on account of a thick mist in which everything there was enveloped, and over which there hung a magnificent rainbow, like that narrow and tottering bridge which Mussulmans says is the only pathway between Time and Eternity. This mist, or spray, was no doubt occasioned by the clashing of the great walls of the funnel, as they all met together at the bottom -- but the yell that went up to the heavens from out of that mist I dare not attempt to describe (ibid.).Soul's Maelstrom is infinite in depth. The light of the moon will never find the bottom of this vortex. Out of it pours all forms that the Mater-Materia chooses to bring forth. Soul's Maelstrom is not only this, but also the font of all dreams and visions, for it contains all possible images.
The rainbow bridge idea is very illuminating here. Poe says the Muslims (Mussulmans) believe this bridge is the "only pathway between Time and Eternity," which tells me he had probably heard some of the Muslim philosophy Henry Corbin was exploring.
As all archetypal symbols, Soul's Maelstrom has an infinite number of meanings. All we need do is take the plunge.
Aug 2, 2012
Since we are living in the Epoch of Soul, the day in which consciousness of Soul is growing very rapidly due to the mass usage of the Internet, we are learning that the idea of an increasing consciousness is not as we once thought, i.e. it is not necessarily a higher consciousness, but an involuting consciousness. The metaphor of increasing consciousness is changing to one that increases inwardly, as our individual Souls spiral into each other. These are merging together as we whirl inward. As we acknowledge the power of Soul and the Cosmic Mind, we are becoming One upon the Earth.
We have been distant from each other due to our ignorance of the collective unconscious. As we all, in unison, abandon our projections upon each other and become more aware of our True Selves, we grow closer and closer to one another, thus allowing the World Soul to individuate and experience greater and greater consciousness.
We are swirling within Soul's Maelstrom. Round and round we go in this world, and ever downward. But, as we move deeper into the Vortex of Life, we move, simultaneously, inward and closer together. The lower we go into the Maelstrom, the quicker consciousness increases. Let this image burn within your mind.
This is the revolution of Immanence that is upon the Earth in the Epoch of Soul.
A new spiritual understanding is being born that is not a transcendent religion, but an immanent truth: based upon insight and subjective experience. And this insight is changing the way we think about our relationship to each other and the world around us. A shift is occurring at the root of life, in the spiritual body of life, and this shift is altering the larger social body of humanity. This shift of consciousness will change the world, as vertical power structures lose their potency, and horizontal and rhizomal movements take root. New ways of organizing, socializing, creating, and sharing are emerging: the culture of immanence is blossoming forth (The Culture of Immanence, by Dr. Jennifer Lilla).As the world pathologizes more everyday, what with wars, financial and political corruption, violence, and the growing debilitation of capitalism, rhizomal Soul flourishes, growing incessantly underground, where no one really notices. It is like the subterranean movements that occur prior to a massive volcanic eruption or an earthquake. The power of Soul is rumbling just below the surface. It's eruption is imminent.
Remember the Maelstrom and the Rhizome. These are very important images to hold in your mind.
Aug 1, 2012
|Cosmic Composition, by Paul Klee|
I am of the opinion that one's view of matter ultimately leads to one's system of ethics. So, after examining Bruno's ontology and metaphysics for some time now, what are the ethical implications of accepting these things as truth? In this article, I will attempt to outline the resulting effects of accepting the following Brunian assertions,
The one infinite is perfect, in simplicity, of itself, absolutely, nor can aught be greater or better, This is the one Whole, God, universal Nature, occupying all space, of whom naught but infinity can give the perfect image or semblance. [De Immenso ii.12, Singer p61].
Divinity reveals herself in all things . . . everything has Divinity latent within itself. For she enfolds and imparts herself even unto the smallest beings, and from the smallest beings, according to their capacity. Without her presence nothing would have being, because she is the essence of the existence of the first unto the last being. [Expulsion p 242]
Those wise men knew God to be in things, and Divinity to be latent in Nature, working and glowing differently in different subjects and succeeding through diverse physical forms, in certain arrangements, in making them participants in her, I say, in her being, in her life and intellect. [Expulsion p 237]First of all, and perhaps the most obvious, is that if one believes the Divine is innate to matter, One will treat all material things with reverence and respect. Think of how this one point would totally transform our world, if acted upon! Think of the tremendous damage being done to this world by various corporations all in the name of profit and someone's twisted idea of freedom! It is a crime against the Soul of the World and all of us individual Souls. The ethical ramifications of the fusion of matter and Soul are mind-boggling!
The so-called Copernican revolution was really not very revolutionary, since all he did was replace the earth with the sun; he retained all the other nonsense from the Ptolemaic worldview. It was Bruno who truly revolutionized cosmology by asserting there was no center at all, which is how we view the universe today.
Also, the idea that the universe is totally homogeneous, i.e. matter and Soul are intertwined everywhere in our infinite universe, and it is all in constant flux.
Bruno's view of humanity was also revolutionary. He sought to overturn age-old traditions concerning human nature and humanity's place in the universe. Instead of worn-out anthropocentrisms, Bruno claimed that humans are linked by the same Soul that permeates everything. The same Soul that is in all our bodies is the same Soul that creates worlds and beings in those worlds. Soul and matter are indissoluble.
If all of this is true, the manner in which we treat our fellow humans changes. No longer will we allow racism, sectarianism, chauvinism, or bigotry to exist in our societies. Jingoism will have no place in any nation. War would necessarily be a thing of the past, since we would not want to harm the Soul that is innate to all of us by harming anyone, since we are all interconnected by Soul. Of course, this is a Utopian dream. I have stated before that I do not believe such a state of existence is possible. It is something, however, for which we must strive if our world is to continue.
The Universal Intellect coupled with Soul, what I am calling The Cosmic Mind, has the potential of providing humanity with an unlimited intellect. We have limitless potential because we all share the Mind of God. I think this is what Jesus was referring to when he quoted Psalm 82:6, which says, "You are gods; you are all children of the Most High." Jesus was trying to teach humanity the truth of who we really are. Giordano Bruno was attempting to do the same thing.