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.
The nations rally again for war, and the imagination of men’s hearts is again full of violence. The petty-minded meet the small-souled on the field of battle, which now happens to be the entire Earth, and the only outcome of this will be the mutual attrition of both.
That you can “take to the bank”, as they say. We’ve passed this way before, which would be self-evident were it not for the great paucity of historical memory. In the planetary era, though, all wars become civil wars within the one body of mankind.