Archive | October 2013

Modernity’s Shadow: The Dark Side of the Age of Reason

Therefore, I will suppose that, not God who is the source of truth but some evil demon, who is all powerful and cunning, has devoted all their energies to deceiving me. I will imagine that the sky, air, earth, colours, shapes, sounds and everything external to me are nothing more than the creatures of dreams by means of which an evil spirit entraps my credulity. I shall imagine myself as if I had no hands, no eyes, no flesh, no blood, no senses at all, but as if my beliefs in all these things were false. I will remain resolutely steady in this meditation and, in that way, if I cannot discover anything true, I will certainly do what is possible for me, namely, I will take great care not to assent to what is false, nor can that deceiver – no matter how powerful or cunning they may be – impose anything on me.” — Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy

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Species of Consciousness

I am saying that the individual self must become consciously aware of far more reality; that it must allow its recognition of identity to expand so that it includes previously unconscious knowledge. To do this you must understand, again, that man must move beyond the concepts of one god, one self, one body, one world, as these ideas are currently understood. You are now poised, in your terms, upon a threshold from which the race can go many ways. There are species of consciousness. Your species is in a time of change. There are potentials within the body’s mechanisms, in your terms not as yet used. Developed, they can immeasurably enrich the race, and bring it to levels of spiritual and psychic and physical fulfillment. If some changes are not made, the race as such will not endure. — Seth, from The Unknown Reality

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Sanctuary — the sanctum of an inviolable sacred space and a time-out of time — is becoming increasingly difficult to find and to preserve.  Muslims bombing mosques; secular governments and churches disrespecting the principles of sanctuary. We are, today, also subjected to universal surveillance.  But without sanctuary, there can be no true autonomy and preservation of the person as an individual.

My thoughts turned to this issue this morning after reading an article on artificial intelligence in The Guardian entitled “Smart robots, driverless cars work – but they bring ethical issues too“.  All received and present custom, law, tradition, meanings and values are being challenged, and are being threatened with annihilation, by the potentialities of new technology — bio-technology, robotics, and technologies of social regulation and political control.  But the whole notion of the individual and of individuality as autonomous personality with an inviolable consciousness may well be one of the first casualties of this “brave new world”.

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