Rising Tempers, Rising Temperatures
Some time ago I posted a piece entitled “Storms to the Stormy”, which — having taken a queue from one of the Seth books — looked to draw out the connection between “inside” and “outside” events, following the Hermetic principle of coincidentia oppositorum or “as above, so below”. It also follows from this Hermetic principole, that there is an intimate, if yet undisclosed or non-transparent, connection between environmental and psychic events through the medium of “the field” — the energy webs in which everything is implicated, and in which we are immersed much as a fish is immersed in its watery element. We have, in a sense, become blind to our own immersion in what physicist David Bohm calls “the implicate order” (or what others call “the field”) owing to the “deficient mode” of the perspectivising consciousness which has had the pernicious effect of abstracting us and psychologically distantiating us from intimate knowledge of this energy continuum, or “web of life”, that some now refer to as “Gaia Mind,” or the return of Gaia — or, indeed, “the return of the repressed”.
There is, today, a “progressive” tendency (if “progressive” is the right word) to acknowledge that what we call “the unconscious” — whether as personal unconscious or as collective unconscious — doesn’t exist as a place “inside” us so much as it is the very medium in which we live, move, and have our being, as it were. It’s our mental environment, and coextensive with our environment. Here, the Christian symbol of the personal or ego consciousness as a fish is most appropriate, rather than some more traditional images like the cork bobbing upon the waves of an infinite ocean which was supposed to depict the relation of the ego-consciousness to the soul force.
This realisation that “the unconscious” is not some thing, as such, inside us, but that we are “inside” it makes everything strange, anomalous and uncanny in contemporary life quite intelligible, including the return of the magical and mythical now in technological guise and garb. If our very environment is “the collective unconscious” (and the personal unconscious) then Jung’s synchronicity makes perfect sense, in that requires no “mechanism” for explaining how “inner events” become simultaneously manifested as “outer events”. It’s because there is a continuum between the subjective and objective — and in fact it makes little sense in such terms to even speak of subject and object except as conventions for describing the relation of the ego consciousness to the greater unconsciousness within which it is embedded. And if “the collective unconscious” is, indeed, our collective environment, then the “akasha” or “akashic records” as the indelible memory or “library” of all life’s experiences retained in “the field” also makes perfect sense.
And, in those terms, so does the continuum of climate and psyche, or cosmos and psyche, make perfect sense in those terms. David Abram gave a talk on “Climate and Psyche” that takes the position that what we call “climate” is the vaster “unconscious” aspects of the psychic whole, and that the turbulence in climate today is connected with the “return of the repressed” — in other words the return of Gaia or the Anima Mundi — the World Soul. If so, that means, essentially, that what Jung calls “the collective unconscious” as our psychic environment and what is called Anima Mundi or World Soul (or The Great Mother) are equivalent terms.
That means, in effect, that everything we experience in daily life as “objective fact” or as “reality” is a symbolic form that arises into manifestation from the collective unconscious or the Earth Soul as it seeks expression through human consciousness, and returns to latency within that perceptual field.
It also accounts for why poets and artists often have greater insight into the metaphorical and symbolic nature and essence of reality than natural science.
Like Abram, Richard Tarnas has explored this identify of climate and psyche in his Cosmos and Psyche, as “Archetypal Cosmology and Deep History” in which “deep history” is pretty much identical with depth psychology. In effect, deep history and depth psychology become one and the same because, as Augustine put it, “time is of the soul” — the deeper we dive into the depths of the “collective unconscious” so-called, the further back we go in time or history to very ancient and archaic realms of time — magical time, mythical time, and archaic time as described by Jean Gebser in his Ever-Present Origin. In fact, what we call “quantum non-locality” or “transluminal effect” which is the equivalent in physics of Jungian sychronicity, makes much more sense in terms of the underlying reality of the cosmos being “the collective unconscious” itself. Moreover, the Hindu principle of Tat Tvam Asi, or “Thou Art That”, also makes perfect sense.
It seems to me that the beginnings of the real revolution, or metanoia, in consciousness structure begins when we realise that “the unconscious” or “the collective unconscious” is not some existing thing or place inside us, but that we are inside it — embeddedness. And it seems to me that this is the only proper way to understand Jean Gebser’s cultural philosophy as well as the “metabletic phenomenology” as discussed by Robert Romanyshyn in “The Despotic Eye”. While to describe ego-consciousness as all foreground effect and “the unconscious” as all background effect, has some utility, it is still a very perspectivising way of conceiving the relationship between conscious and unconscious effects. Gebser’s image of “the sphere” is perhaps more akin to this notion of our being embedded in “the unconscious”.
That also means that technology becomes also metaphor and symbolic form, and explains why the technological object (or for that matter “the brand”) arises within the perceptual field as the emergent new form of the gods, or the archetypes, or as “the extensions of man” (McLuhan), and why there is an implicit component of magic and myth to the technological object, as investigated by Richard Stivers in Technology as Magic or Lee Worth Bailey in The Enchantments of Technology.
The Buddhists say, for example, that “everything is a dharma teaching”. And North American indigenous people will also tell you that “everything is a teaching”. That is to say, everything and every being is metaphor, symbolic form, and communicates. It makes perfect sense if everything we call “environment” is the same as “the unconscious” or “collective unconscious” or “the field” or “Gaia Mind” and “Anima Mundi“. That would include the body structure and the body consciousness.