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.