I do occasional work for a local farm owner and businessman. I allow him to draw on my time when his full-time employees are spread too thin, being overasked and overtasked, which is fairly often. It is pretty demanding work because he’s a pretty demanding fellow, actually. He operates a farm, a seed plant, a grain elevator, and a rock quarry, all of which are in varying states of dilapidation or functioning only on the edge of chaos.
He is a fascinating character, although erratic and, by his own admission, quite “rash”. He thinks of himself as being an exceptional individual and an individualist, but in fact he is extraordinarily typical. Because he is erratic, rash and impetuous, he is also highly controlled and controlling. That seems like a contradiction, and it is. He’s my bellweather for what ails society, which is why I appreciate him so much. He’s the perfect representative of late modern society’s self-contradictions. He’s also extraordinarily narcissistic.
The gist of Nietzsche’s philosophy is this: life is value realisation. The principle of Seth’s teachings on consciousness is this: evolution is value realisation and “you create the reality you know”. The core teaching of Castaneda’s don Juan Matus is this: this is a universe of intent, and the intent of the universe is… value realisation. And what Nietzsche calls “will to power” is what is called intent in Castaneda. What is called “creativity” is value realisation.
Properly understood, this should blow your mind. That the meaning of life is value realisation should come to you as what Zen Buddhists call a “satori“. The problem is — the problem of why we do not perceive this clearly and without doubts — is because we have a very deficient and very distorted understanding of “value”.
It’s an old joke I once saw on a bumper sticker, and it made me laugh out loud. “My karma ran over my dogma”.
There’s a lot of truth in that, if it was properly understood. Another interpretation of that is Robbie Burns ode “To a Mouse“, in the famous verse and line:
But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain;
The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft agley,
An’lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!
A very good friend of mine, author of After Iraq, has written an article on ISIS. He sent me an advanced copy for review and critique. Because it is a pre-print copy, I can’t provide you with a link to it, but I thought I would post my reply to him.
Basically, my response states that the decision for peace or war is out of our hands now. We call such situations “intractable”. We like to think we have the freedom to choose one course of action over another, but there is a law of fatal consequence that cannot be so easily gainsayed. It is called the karmic law, and we will follow it whether we will or no.
So, here is my response to his article…
Civilisations, as Jean Gebser pointed out, can be interpreted as autobiographies, or self-disclosure, of consciousness structures or species of consciousness. Gebser identified four principal ones in human history: the archaic, the magical, the mythological, and the mental-rational. He also anticipated the emergence of a fifth major structure in our time which he called “the integral”, which is the consciousness structure presently struggling to be born amidst the turbulence of Late Modernity. He referred to the emergence of integral consciousness as a “mutation” or “irruption”. He believed that the emergence of the integral consciousness would be apocalyptic and shattering, attended by a global catastrophe.
After watching the excellent documentary film “The Promise and Peril of Democracy” suggested by Alex Jay in the last entry in The Chrysalis, I responded with a few comments on the close connection between the fate of liberal democracy and the state of health or ill-health of the mental-rational consciousness structure a.k.a. “universal reason”. It is the premise of many contemporary social observers and critics that the state of reason is in decline — “deficient” being the term used by Jean Gebser.
The documentary brought again to mind a few thoughts that I once posted in the old Dark Age Blog about the origins and unfulfilled promise of democracy. And after watching the documentary on the present state of democracy, it seemed appropriate to revisit those thoughts.
Susan Greenfield is Baronness Greenfield of Ot Moor and is a peer of the British House of Lords. She is also a neuroscientist. Baronness Greenfield has written a book entitled Mind Change: How Digital Technologies are Leaving Their Mark on Our Brains.
I have not read the book. My introduction to it was made through reading a very cranky review of it by Martin Robbins in The Guardian. It’s an unusually lengthy review for a newspaper column. My print-out of the article came to ten pages in which Mr. Robbins expresses his discomfort and displeasure at Baronness Greenfield’s hypothesis of a “brain apocalypse” in the making. He seems to have taken it a little too personally.