Big Change is A’Gonna Come, II

Maybe future historians (and I’m assuming there will be future historians) will dub our time of chaotic transition “The Big Change” and everybody will know what they’re referring to. I think I’m going to anticipate them and call it that anyway — The Big Change.

This morning, appropriately, I received one of my regular circulars from The Nation Institute — a “Tomgram” by Tom Engelhardt — and the subject was “The Fate of Our Earth“. Mr. Engelhardt apparently is none too impressed with the accomplishments of COP21 either (and I also noted that he has now published a new book on The Shadow Government too). Mr. Engelhardt starts off his essay with the imperative: “It’s time to panic!”. I can’t concur with the appropriateness of that response, given what I wrote in the last post. But I can certainly appreciate why Mr. Engelhardt feels that way.

Again, a sober appraisal of our situation is in order. And our story begins, once again, with the poignant remarks uttered about four decades ago by the “energy personality essence” self-named “Seth” and the warning he issued then about the fate of the Earth. It bears repeating (from The Unknown Reality)

Ego consciousness must now be familiarized with its roots, or it will turn into something else. You are in a position where your private experience of yourself does not correlate with what you are told by your societies, churches, sciences, archaeologies, or other disciplines. Man’s “unconscious” knowledge is becoming more and more consciously apparent. This will be done under and with the direction of an enlightened and expanding egotistical awareness, that can organize the hereto neglected knowledge–or it will be done at the expense of the reasoning intellect, leading to a rebirth of superstition, chaos, and the unnecessary war between reason and intuitive knowledge.

When, at this point now, of mankind’s development, his emerging unconscious knowledge is denied by his institutions, then it will rise up despite those institutions, and annihilate them. Cult after cult will emerge, each unrestrained by the use of reason, because reason will have denied the existence of rampant unconscious knowledge, disorganized and feeling only its own ancient force.

If this happens, all kinds of old and new religious denominations will war, and all kinds of ideologies surface. This need not take place, for the conscious mind – basically, now —  having learned to focus in physical terms, is meant to expand, to accept unconscious intuitions and knowledge, and to organize these deeply creative principles into cultural patterns…

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.

OK. So, we missed whatever opportunity there was to take ourselves in hand and so avoid the kind of scenario and outcome that Seth anticipated as a probability. We are now in the thick of that probable future, as Mr. Engelhardt aptly describes. And we missed that opportunity to change course because, in our time, we expect to be shaped and moulded by “objective conditions” and the external environment. We failed to take ourselves in hand and simply allowed the inertia of events and “objective conditions” to transport us into that probable future.

But because the urgency of change had become acute, and was an inner impulse denied, that impulse was transferred to the environment, and became the “objective conditions” themselves. Whereas, if we had indeed heeded the promptings of the intuitive self, or “voice of conscience” as it were then, we could have evaded all the present consequences of our inertia. We were far too conservative. We were far too ignorant of the significance of events. Our own apathy and passivity in relation to “objective conditions”, when urgent action was called for, has led us into the present predicament.

Since we did not heed the inner promptings, mainly because we had been conditioned to devalue such things as unimportant compared to the “objective conditions” and the impressions made by the environment upon the consciousness — that is, sensate consciousness — those inner promptings, experienced as irritants, were expelled or “projected” outwards themselves, becoming “the environment” and course of events, where they are least manageable. They have “assumed a life of their own”, as we say. And even today, we still can’t seem to make the connection in recognising the sympathy of outer events with the inner ones.

The inner impulse as the urgency of change was an evolutionary one which, having been denied reality by a stubborn and resistant ego-consciousness, found expression in the only way it could. It became a fate. It forced itself on our attention as, now, an external pressure, having cloaked itself in the garb of “objective conditions”, materialising in that way because it was the only pathway for this impulse’s realisation — the “it” being, of course, the same “ancient force”.

None of it was necessary. But because, as a species, we failed to act at the appointed time, we lost the chance of acting freely, which is to choice to act at the right time and in the appropriate manner. So, in consequence, what was not necessary ultimately became necessity, in the philosophic sense of that word. It became a fatalism. Since our belief and habit of thought is that change only comes through the environment, this is the modality in which we will be changed now.

Everything “outside”, the so-called “objective conditions” or “environment”, is now a precise reflection of inner events and conditions. Or, as Seth summed it up back then “storms to the stormy”. In that sense, if we are going to pacify the raging “objective conditions” and avoid the ultimately disastrous possibility foreseen by Seth — the end of the human race — we have to “withdraw the projections”, as some call it. “Withdrawing the projections” is really insight into them as being projections.

In that case, “panic” is the wrong response.

“Projection” is a complex topic, but is connected with the inherent intentionality of consciousness and its innate creativity. Consciousness generates form, and not vice versa. It’s because we have believed the contrary that we are in this mess. Perception is not a passive affair. It actively shapes and constitutes the reality it perceives. Yet, we have pretty much overlooked and ignored the act of perception and privileged mentation, intellection, and conceptualisation, ie, the “reflection”. A very appropriate term is “reflection”. Reflection deals only with the images of the real — which we call the “abstractions”. Abstractions are mental pictures, mental images which we have come to confuse with the real and concrete itself. This faculty of constantly making mental pictures (abstractions) and then trying to live inside of them is what Buddhism calls “Monkey Mind”.

But that the act of perception is primary, and yet not itself understood except in a few circles (Phenomenology, for instance), is now however being forced upon us by the paradoxes of quantum mechanics — the wave-particle duality, quantum entanglement, the so-called “Measurement Problem”, and the discomforting fact that its quite impossible to make a mental picture of the quantum universe, unlike the classical model. In that sense, the act of perception is very much akin to the paradox of Heraclitus: “the road up and the road down are the same”.

Of course, present mainstream evolutionary theory doesn’t permit of such “subjective factors”. It excludes them on principle, which is part of the problem — a big part, although many are beginning to understand that reliance exclusively on “objective conditions” and the impressions that the “world” makes upon the organism as the engine of evolution  is merely a dogma, as much of a dogma as Freud’s refusal to give up the “sexual theory” of libido even when confronted with contrary facts (and mainly because, as he told Jung, he didn’t want to “risk his authority”). In fact, a lot of evolutionary thinking relies on a hidden and merely assumed philosophical position called “naive realism” that has been discredited.

In short, and to conclude, the “objective conditions” aren’t. They are shaped by inner ones.



21 responses to “Big Change is A’Gonna Come, II”

    • Steve Lavendusky says :

      And we are here as on a darkling plain
      Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight
      Where ignorant armies clash by night. (M. Arnold)

      Here one can neither stand nor lie nor sit
      There is not even silence in the mountains
      But dry sterile thunder without rain…(T.S. Eliot)

    • Steve Lavendusky says :


    • LittleBigMan says :

      LOL……especially the first three tweets 🙂 up to “Meal Team 6” 🙂

  1. abdulmonem says :

    I think the big change is already here, I see it vitally expressing itself over the middle earth that radiates its calmness and commotion to the other parts of the world. Unity of feeling, separation is no longer tolerable. Human waves are moving fast into each other , among accepting voices and negating ones. Voices that have no effect on what is happening. It is the exposure of the deluded human control. It is a non-stoppable move like climate change, however the human change is more frightening. We are speeding toward Him, toward Truth, as he postulated that we will all return to Him and He will tell us about all the things that we were differing in and settles for us all our disputes. It is a truly imaginable world that is turning into actuality. Dark forces beware! and people of truth continues your courses, it is our blue-print book in the process of turning its pages. We have no choice but either to trust the book or deny it.

  2. Steve Haines says :

    Hey Scott, I’ll second Steve Lavendusky’s recommendation of THE MASTER AND HIS EMISSARY: THE DIVIDED BRAIN AND THE MAKING OF THE WESTERN WORLD by Iain McGilchrist! Best book in a long time for understanding the two-sided body and brain – and the war within us. I highly recommend this tome…
    I thought this book had spiritual import because in highlighting our anatomical self-division, it also showed our wholeness. A good place to begin our consideration and contemplation…

    • Scott Preston says :

      With all these recommendations, I guess I’ll drop everything and dive right into it.

    • Scott Preston says :

      Very interesting! I worked my way through some of McGilchrist’s book last night. The Introduction certainly whets the appetite. I didn’t realise at first that the title “The Master and His Emissary” is derived from a parable from Nietzsche (and like McGilchrist, I’m not sure where in Nietzsche’s work it occurs, but it sounds right, as it reflects what he wrote about the Self and the Ego in “The Despisers of the Body” in his Zarathustra). The “Master” is then also the equivalent of Meister Eckhardt’s “the Aristocrat” — the inner, as yet unrealised “Self” (which Seth calls “inner ego”).

      But, it’s a contemporary reworking of the parable of the Prodigal Son, isn’t it? Nietzsche’s parable of the King and the usurping vizier (the emissary) is an example of Nietzsche’s “revaluation of values” applied to the parable of the Prodigal, but which McGilchrist is going to re-interpret through the framework narrative of neuroscience — that is to say, he’s going to attempt to interpret the relationship between the “Self” (the “inner ego” or “Master”) and the Ego-Consciousness (the “outer ego” or “Emissary”) through brain structure.

      So far, this looks very promising. Thanks to those who pointed it out to me. I don’t want to anticipate where McGilchrist is going to go with this yet (although his Introduction sort of lays it out), so I won’t blog about it until I’ve gone some ways further into it.

  3. abdulmonem says :

    Back to integral consciousness. Separation is deceptive. The nervous conceptual system is an integrative network. God is the whole and his prophets are the parts and both are one despite their apparent division and that is why the prophets are warned from claiming worship for themselves, forgetting they are parts. Both these forces are represented in the structure of the human as a whole, in order for the main energy and its three subsidiaries to function. Interbirth of occasions. Each experience gives birth to another in a non-stoppable flow. Divine manifestations never stop and the human is the platform for the conceptual manifestations of this dynamic creative process. Dissection gets us no where. Assigning mastership to the right and emisseryship to the left make us fall in the same disease we are fighting. I think we need to slow in this time of urgency and give more thought to the original source of our knowledge. The sufis say enter the abode of your soul in silence and remember the unutterable in side you and the first step is to leave your books and learning and launch yourself in a process of unlearning, as an interlude stillness in the way of forming new knowledge that is nearer to the source of the truth.

    • Scott Preston says :

      Mr. McGilchrist’s book is really about the nature of attention, about the first attention and the second attention. In broader terms, its about the proper relationship of the part and the whole, and he gets at this by reading the brain structure as a map in which these relationships are reflected. In fact, I’ld say the book is a great contribution to Gebser’s history of consciousness structures.

      “The Master and His Emissary” (or which I’ll write more once I get a handle on it) is very rich, indeed. Everything we’ve talked about in The Chrysalis is there, only expressed in terms of neuroanatomy. It’s a book about the relationship between perception and thinking, or between intention and attention, and he brings to the discussion of brain-mind the paradoxes of quantum mechanics.

      It’s not reductionistic at all. It moves in the exact opposite direction. But I’m too early into the book to give an overview yet, or to say what’s really been accomplished here. But I will. I’m making notes — lots of notes.

  4. abdulmonem says :

    God is the master and the human is his emissary. A relation that needs to be understood and activated, all prophets are sent down to show humanity how to activate that relation and benefit from it in running the human journey back to him, without relapsing in the abyss by using his knowledge against his rules and instructions and playing his role in earth. It seems humanity does not learn easily and never wake up despite her knowledge of the destruction of all previous civilizations that have fallen in the den of excess and narcissism. The sufis say the master never sleeps and the servant the emissary is always in sleep and in his waking hour you find him expending his time in triviality and idle discourse. Most peoples are unaware of the effective divine force until death opens his mouth.

    • Scott Preston says :

      Everything will become clear in due course… very, very clear.

      • Steve Lavendusky says :

        Scott – I agree with you completely that McGilchrist’s book is a great contribution to Gebser. Also check out on youtube MALCOLM GUITE ON OWEN BARFIELD. What sweet, intelligent, and humble men McGilchrist and Malcom Guite seem to be. It really is about attention Scott. Gurdjieff always emphasized that one is one’s attention. If there’s no attention, then I am merely a thing, an automaton. We are not attentive automatically, we have to work at it. A little gem of a book on the subject of attention is called THE ATTENTION REVOLUTION by the great Buddhist scholar B. Alan Wallace.

        • Scott Preston says :

          I realise, upon reading McGilchrist’s book, that I paid insufficient attention to the neurobiological and neuropsychological correlates to those things I’ve written about. And I couldn’t be more elated about it!

          I’ll get to the reasons why later. But I think McGilchrist’s book is a fantastic example of what Gebser means by “concretion of the spiritual” and therefore a major contribution to the post-metaphysical (ie,to existential truth). It also goes a long way in accounting for Castaneda’s experience (of which, more later in this respect). In fact, it explains it perfectly. Blake, too. The greatness of this book is that it marks the end — the absolute end — of “otherworldliness” and regrounds truth in this one, encoded in the very structure of the brain, too, which we simply have to learn to read properly.

          The evidence compiled by McGilchrist is very convincing and persuasive — perhaps irrefutable, even. Things I’ve written about like “coincidentia oppositorum” or the confusion of the whole and the totality, the integral and the assimilationist, even Nietzsche’s diagnosis of nihilism overall — can be related to neurobiology-neuropsychology, the problem of the “divided brain”, and indeed how to put it back together again. How to train the brain to perceive integrally. Integral consciousness needs the integral brain.

          I have to restrain myself from jumping in and blogging about it right away (I’m only up to page 80 so far). I don’t want to anticipate where McGilchrist is going with it. But, so far, this is a book that really does deserve to be called “seminal”.

  5. alex jay says :

    McGilchrist is very impressive. If reading the book is somewhat futuristic for your readers, here’s a quick and immediate summary:

    I also recommend his Scumacher College lectures:

    • Scott Preston says :

      Yes. Very good talks. Thanks for the links. Not as rich as his book, but they give a hint at what to expect in it.

      • alex jay says :

        ” Not as rich as his book, but they give a hint at what to expect in it.”

        Never is … a book allows you to go at your own pace to digest, ferment, and revisit the contents until it settles into your memory bank – that’s the point of taking notes in class (remember those days?). I did imply by qualifying “quick and immediate” as a “hint” ,,,,

        By all means read the book.

      • Steve Lavendusky says :

        I have seen the sun break through
        to illuminate a small field
        for a while, and gone my way
        and forgotten it. But that was the
        pearl of great price, the one field that had
        treasure in it. I realise now
        that I must give all that I have
        to possess it. Life is not hurrying

        on to a receding future, nor hankering after
        an imagined past. It is the turning
        aside like Moses to the miracle
        of the lit bush, to a brightness
        that seemed as transitory as your youth
        once, but is the eternity that awaits you.

        Poem by R.S Thomas

  6. abdulmonem says :

    Thank you Alex, the call of McGilchrist is the same call of Blake and Gibser and others, is to move from the perspective mode of attention to the aperspective mode or in Blake terms from the single vision to the overall vision or in Ibn Arabi terms from your limited single force into the encompassing divine force. The human has both the dark and the light, both evil force and the virtual force in order to function and to be a testing ground for the divine who says that I have created death and life in order to see who is a better performer in the context of my overall rules and laws and avoid being trapped in the ego consciousness prison of distrust and distortion, even different religions and cultures are part of that testing ground. The human needs to learn who is master and who is the emissary in their truthful modes.

  7. LittleBigMan says :

    ” In that sense, the act of perception is very much akin to the paradox of Heraclitus: “the road up and the road down are the same”.”

    Yes, and here is one old favorite of mine about the problem with our perception 🙂

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