Home Again, Home Again
Hello dear readers. I apologise for the long absence from the blog, but I was in hospital for some time with kidney failure and have only recently been discharged to return home. So that “shudder of death” of which I wrote last fall in the blog wasn’t just fantasy. I have had one foot in death and the other in life.
But then, so do we all.
I won’t annoy you with the usual details of how I seemed to slide into kidney disease. There is, as yet, no conclusive diagnosis. Fortunately, at this time I’ve no need of dreadful dialysis. But I am scheduled for a couple of surgeries again in the near future.
I hope to return once again to the the usual themes of The Chrysalis — the prospective metamorphosis of human consciousness in our time. The bare, tedious walls of a hospital ward will either drive you insane or into philosophising, which are very often one and the same thing anyway; that is, when one isn’t wrestling with the many self-contradictions of the medical care system. I’ve had a very bird’s-eye view of those, being, by turns, confused, bemused, and perplexed by the whole experience.
Being in hospital is basically to be reduced to a body-machine. In that regard, doctors are very much like your automobile mechanic. Nobody is interested in your “soul”. They want to know if the machine is running soundly or needs repair or a tune-up. Maybe a fluid change. Maybe a rebuild. Automobile mechanics use much the same diagnostic tools and approaches as doctors, I noted — pressure gauges, scopes, and so on.
To a certain extent, this impersonal approach is very good and necessary. It’s rooted in the assumptions and premises of The Mechanical Philosophy that has pretty much dominated the Modern Mind for the last four centuries. The Mechanical Philosophy conceives of the kosmos as a Great Machine — the Clockwork — and everything in it as correspondingly mechanical. To a certain extent, this approach has been valuable, but also very myopic. We in the Western World basically ingest the assumptions and hidden premises of the Mechanical Philosophy with our mother’s milk. We’ve been raised on it as being “the common sense”.
Against The Mechanical Philosophy today is emerging something we might call “The Holistic Philosophy”. As you may know from past posts in The Chrysalis, I’ve always tended to think of the Holistic Philosophy as arising from the rejected philosophy and ways of thought of the alchemists or early thinkers like Nicholas of Cusa. I would say that the two contending orientations of consciousness presently are either toward the Mechanical or the Holistic, and that these orientations may very well lie at the root of what we call “culture war”. Another word for “holistic” is, of course, “integral”.
This clash of consciousness structures informs many of the present social controversies — economics versus ecologics, conventional farming versus biodynamic-organic farming, classical physics or quantum physics, and so on. Past and future are in conflict, for it seems that the continuing hegemony of the Mechanical-Analytical Philosophy over the Modern Mind is very much in doubt, as much as the Newtonian hegemony over physics is also a thing of the past.
The differences between the Mechanical mode of perception and the Holistic mode of perception are sometimes quite stark. I’ll have more to say about that in future posts. But I do think that the clash between the Mechanical and the Holistic remains the dominant tendency of our time, although the Holistic is still struggling to really become fully eloquent and articulate.