I think I briefly touched on the meaning of the “Egregore” in one or two earlier posts. And while I had thought of giving the blog (and its readership) a bit of a rest for a spell, a comment this morning by LittleBigMan (and my reply) to “A Very Brief History of Capitalism” suggested I expand upon this a bit. So the meaning of the “Egregore” is the subject of today’s posting.
You can learn a very great deal about what we mean by “human nature” from studying human beings caught up in the process of revolution. Revolution is “time out of joint”, as Shakespeare put it in Hamlet. “These are the times that try men’s souls”, wrote Tom Paine in one of his revolutionary pamphlets entitled The American Crisis, and it has much the same meaning. Dickens cast the crisis of time and times as A Tale of Two Cities, while Robert Louis Stevenson cast the conflict of times as a struggle between Mr. Hyde and Dr. Jekyll within one and the same personality. Times out of joint means polarisation, de-coherence, schism. To be “out of joint” means to not articulate. We also call it “culture war” today, or situations where there is no bridge, no common meeting ground.
Once again, last evening, I found myself musing over the difference between “the truth that sets free” and “the facts of the matter”. I was trying to understand the tendency of some people to treat Big Science as a surrogate religion, which is actually a quite appalling form of idolatry.
But more than that, we find ourselves now having to navigate some very contradictory statements and conclusions issuing from contemporary science, particularly as regards issues of the human body and human health, diet and fitness, and so on, and which indicate perhaps a growing de-coherence of what we call “science”, especially when it comes to the analysis of living forms.
Here in Canada, we are approaching a federal election. The Conservatives, Liberals, New Democrats, and the Greens will duke-it-out in the public arena for a chance to form a government. An election, once a cause for celebration (as it is in many freshly-minted electoral democracies), is now widely greeted with a groan, or with disdain and antipathy, or with a certain degree of weariness. In the long-standing democracies (relatively speaking), participation rates are plummeting, and Canada is no different.
To better appreciate what we mean by “perspective perception”, or point-of-view-line-of-thought consciousness, (and also what Jean Gebser means by “pre-perspectival” or “unperspectival” or “aperspectival” consciousness structures), I want to relate an amusing anecdote that I came upon while studying at university. Not until later did I realise the full significance of it.
Das Kapital is Karl Marx’s most thorough work on capitalism, although The Communist Manifesto is probably his most popular and widely read work. In reading Kapital, one can’t help but be impressed by the precision of Marx’s logic (the premisses upon which that logic is erected are another matter). It’s a classic work of the mental-rational consciousness structure, and it certainly left an impression on world history.
There was, nonetheless, an intriguing “mystical” side to Marx that was discovered later and assembled as The Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844. Probably, then, Marx was still under the influence of Hegel and Hegelian “Spirit” before he “turned Hegel on his head” and adopted his method of dialectical materialism and quantification for the sake of making his Socialism “scientific”. But if Marx felt he had to make Socialism “scientific”, it was because the origins of socialism (just like all contemporary ideologies — liberalism, conservatism, anarchism, etc) lie in religion and in an interpretation of the Gospels. They were, originally, various “heretical” sects or theologies of the Protestant Reformation.
This morning feels like a watershed moment in the fortunes and direction of The Chrysalis, connected to a comment by reader “John” to my last post and my response, along with a comment by LittleBigMan to an earlier posting and my reply there, too. Something “twigged” in my mind, as they say.