Globalism, The Global Brain, and Integral Consciousness, II

As mentioned in the last post, Duane Elgin’s views on “The Awakening Earth” and Howard Bloom’s The Global Brain are two aspects of the same process, and are implicated also in Jean Gebser’s reorganisation of consciousness as the “arational-aperspectival”. Also pertinent in this respect are Marshall McLuhan’s earlier reflections on media as “the extensions of man” (or projections, if you will) and the social disruptions that would come with the transition from Industrial Age (and Blake’s “dark Satanic Mill”) to the Age of Electric in which the human brain, nervous system, and sensory system are “extended” around the globe, and beyond the globe, as network or web. This was of great concern to McLuhan because of the potential for abuse, where others would, as he put it then, “do tap-dances on our exposed nervous system”.

And that pretty much has come to pass, as exemplified in things like the “fake news” controversy, “Gamergate”, trolling, “viruses”, “spam”, and Trojan Horses and other forms of malignant and malicious online behaviours — also post-rational and post-truth.

Usually, however, when we speak of the “Global Brain” and the extended nervous system, what we mean by that is the specialist functions of the left-hemisphere only — those mental functions associated with Iain McGilchrist’s “Emissary” (an equally effective term is the “pilot” or “scout”). It is, however, the whole brain and nervous system functions that are extended, and not just a specialist portion. As a result we are blind-sided when the dream also reveals itself as nightmare too in terms of “unintended consequence”, “perverse outcome”, “blowback”, “revenge effect”, or ironic reversal of what was expected.

This illustrates the deficiency, and limitations, of the perspectivist consciousness structure associated with the left-hemispheric mode of attention — its tendency to “sectoralise” or “compartmentalise” things in such a way as to be blind-sided or side-swiped by unintended consequences. Dialectics and dialectical rationality isn’t the most effective tool for handling the massively interconnected and multivariate world of network and the webwork. As expected, the result is chaos and our received logics are not capable of handling such “chaos” precisely because they were, and are, sectoral or specialist logics.

The analogy I’ve often drawn in connection with this is the Roman roads — built to expand and extend the range of power and empire, they also were the same roads followed by the Northern barbarian tribes to invade and sack Rome, which brings to mind one of Heraclitus’s famous paradoxes: “the road up and the road down are the same”. That is to say, a coincidence of opposites in which the dynamics of rise and fall resemble each other. Rome’s triumphant expansion was also coincidentally its unraveling too.

The global internet, especially, compels us to reflect now on the deficiencies of the mental-rational or perspectival mode of consciousness, because it is quite obvious that the “extended nervous system” includes more “subterranean” or “underlying” dynamics than the specialist functions associated with the left-hemisphere of the brain, and which do not respond to “regulation” in terms of logic, morals, or the protocols of what we call “civilised life”, but includes darker aspects of the whole brain too. It is not only “light” that is extended along the neural pathways of the internet as extended brain and nervous system, but also “shadow”, Dr. Jekyll-and-Mr. Hyde both.

And we know how that sorry tale ended.

So, there is coincident with the global brain also a crisis of the implicit ethos. It is inadequate for our times, which are characterised now by multilateralism, inter-connectedness, and “Butterfly Effect” and the flux of energy which we refer to as “chaotic”. So, our time needs Heraclitus more than it needs Parmenides, so to speak. We need, in other words, a whole-brain logic to handle chaos. We need, in other words, “overview” rather than “point-of-view”. In other words also, we need a “global soul”, otherwise we are done for, because it’s become quite evident that our consciousness is being invaded from the “hidden domain” beyond the boundaries or parameters of the “Emissary”, or the perspectivising consciousness structure or “the Shadow” or, in other words, the unintegrated aspects of the human psychic structure that have hitherto been suppressed or repressed by the protocols of perspectivism itself. We think we are in control of our projections, today in the form of technologies, but we are not. We have command but no mastery. We are kidding ourselves. And that has become quite obvious.

The Anthropocene, in its present form, as “global brain” is presently only the image of our inadequacy in that respect — the negative manifestation of the extended nervous system. Nonetheless, these very same circumstances are forcing us to a metanoia — a new consciousness mutation in which we must move from this…

annuit coeptis

…to this…

Sacred Hoop /Medicine Wheel

…which is to say, from “Single Vision & Newtons sleep” to “fourfold vision”.

It isn’t just the portion of the brain we associate with self-consciousness that is extended into space, but also that greater realm we refer to as “the unconscious”, and of which we urgently need to become conscious through our insight, which is Gebser’s “transparency of the world” correspondingly. Insight is integration. We are going to have to become much more than we presently are in order to survive ourselves, and we have to remain open to being so transformed and transfigured by the very paradox of the situation.

For nothing resembles the old paradoxical situation represented by the present than the Hermetic principle of old, that “God is a circle whose circumference is nowhere but whose centre is everywhere”. That Hermetic principle and foundational logic is also what Rosenstock-Huessy attempted to implement with is “Cross of Reality” and Gebser through his integral philsophy of the four structures of consciousness and the “vital centre”. The same Hermetic principle is implied in Thich Nhat Hanh’s notion of “inter-being”.

It’s the very threat of what Blake celebrates as “the dance of Eternal Death” (Shiva’s Dance, in other words) that is forcing us to shift towards “the Master” mode of attention, meeting again the true meaning of another of Blake’s Proverbs of Hell: “the road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom”.  In other words, hubris and Nemesis (or the karmic law of action and reaction) is meant for man’s education, not his “punishment”.

“Post-truth” is, to my mind, a measure of the intensity of the human mind’s self-alienation, estrangement or “distantiation”, as Gebser calls it, from the vital centre and is to my mind more dangerous for the human prospect than even the existence of nuclear weapons. Post-truth acknowledges the extremity of the nihilism of our time and of the dissolution of the consciousness structure of modern man, at the periphery, by the momentum of its own centrifugal force.  “Post-rational” is a measure of the disintegration and dissolution of its ratio and sense of balance and proportionality (which we call “justice”). But “post-truth” is a measure of the self-alienation and loss of self.

There is, of course, the counter-dynamic which can be described in terms of the “mandala of integration”, as “whole-brain thinking”, and only this presently represents the possibility of a “New Renaissance”. And it’s in those terms, too, that the present dissolution of truth can also be appreciated as being simultaneously a restructuration of truth itself, coincident with the recovery of the vital centre, and consequently of “human nature” itself — assuming, that is, we manage also to arrest the momentum of “post-truth” and the “post-rational”.

Actually, “whole brain” and “whole body” are quite synonymous, since we are speaking of the brain-body pathways as a whole, since the brain-body is the portal by which, energy as latency or potentiality, enters the physical system and becomes manifest and “concrete” as sensory data or as “knowledge”.  (Hence Blake’s paradox that “energy is of the body” and yet “energy is eternal delight”), which is also fourfold in expression — as respiratory, circulatory, metabolic, and nervous system (or Air, Water, Earth, and Fire and their governance through and by the “Logos”. The Logos is the same as “vital centre” and therefore as “truth”).

This isn’t “mysticism”. This is biology or ecology as real “life science”, and is ancient knowledge as well.



14 responses to “Globalism, The Global Brain, and Integral Consciousness, II”

  1. Scott Preston says :

    Should mention in this respect that disease (and death) is defined as “homeostatic failure” — the loss of the dynamic equilibrium of the bodily systems mentioned. This also applies to society as much as the body.

    Both Rosenstock-Huessy’s “Cross of Reality” and the Sacred Hoop are prophylactics against homeostatic failure. To travel too far along one direction or axis of the cruciform or fourfold structure (into “Single Vision”) is homeostatic failure. And this is essentially what “post-truth” or “post-rational” society is — overspecialisation of one aspect of the fourfold.

    • Scott Preston says :

      I might mention in this connection also the symbolism of the pearl — the “pearl of great price” or about “throwing one’s pearls before swine”. The pearl is what is hid or concealed in the oyster shell — (Blake’s “mundane shell” is much the same). It is the core and corresponds to “vital centre”. Gebser, in speaking about the “transparency of the world” is very much referring to this “pearl” that is hid within the surface appearances, and one can think of the distinction he makes between the “latent” and the “manifest” in terms of the pearl and the oyster shell.

  2. Scott Preston says :

    Wow. An example of that just appeared on The Guardian’s website — the internet as playground for “the Shadow”.

  3. Steve Lavendusky says :

    I must thank you again for this blog site Scott. The scope of this blog site is vast. You are very coherent and enlightening, passionate and urgent. And you have put it all together in a way that I was not scholar enough to pin down. I never disagree with your take on things. And the fact that you put out what seems like one every day is great. Always look forward to checking my e-mail to see it a new one has arrived.

    • Scott Preston says :

      Thanks. But, as you might note, I take liberties with the protocols of scholarship myself. In other words, I’m transgressive, maybe even to the point of criminality.

      At least, one or two of my profs at uni thought so.

    • Scott Preston says :

      Also, I’m running out of time, and I still have a lot to get off my plate. I only have 11% kidney function left, so I’m “staring into the abyss” myself, so to speak. I like the name they give to my condition: “End Stage Renal Failure” — So definitive. It’s the medical equivalent of sorceric bone-pointing.


      • abdulmonem says :

        I have never imagined you as a suicidal person. Self-suggestion is always used for happy ending. Death is a god decision and not a human fabrication, no one takes more or less than what is divinely allocated to him or her. So please be strong and do not let unsure medical diagnosis shakes your confidence, after all you are a fighter for big purpose. I wish you well and I do not have faith in the legend you cited.

        • Scott Preston says :

          That’s OK. I already recognise the “nocebo effect” in the diagnosis, which is why I can recognise it also as “bone-pointing”, so I’m inoculated against it. I’ve already outlived their predictions by two years. But no matter. None of us is inoculated against mortality. In any case, I’m not going to give up the ghost until my plate is empty.

          • InfiniteWarrior says :

            No doubt. Pardon me if I’m not as inoculated to your condition as you, but I’m saddened at the news. I was aware you’d encountered difficulties, but was unaware of their severity. My thoughts (read: energy) are with you.

            • Scott Preston says :

              Thanks for the well-wishes. Actually, if my nephro didn’t tell me I had minimal kidney function left, I wouldn’t really know it otherwise — I (usually) feel quite normal. They keep a close eye on me, though, as I’m supposedly just a hair’s-width away from needing dialysis. I’ve been pretty stable for the last two years since the incident that led to my hospitaisation and emergency surgery, so that’s a plus.

              Appears to be a congenital deformity of the kidneys that just caught up with me. The surgeon assured me he had never seen anything like it before.

      • mikemackd says :

        Well Scott, you should know that through your blog you have enriched my life and understanding, along with those of who-knows-how-many others. Not only in what you wrote, but in how you engaged.

        I hope you can continue do that for a long time to come, but we all have our own journey to Ithaca to make:

        • Scott Preston says :

          “Journey to Ithaca”. Brings to mind Castaneda’s Journey to Ixtlan (the third book of his series after Teachings of Don Juan and A Separate Reality. The conclusion to Journey to Ixltan is quite moving.

          Thanks for the comment (and encouragement). I’ll try to live up to it with whatever time I have left to me.

  4. abdulmonem says :

    Thank you Scott for always pointing to the main stones of building our road to correction. Every demonstration of new opening in human consciousness is a signal to the humans to be aware of the over all consciousness that rules over all existence in both its physical aspect and non-physical. As there is a human internet and web, god has also his internet and web. There is a verse in the islamic book that reads as follow, and he has the keys of the unseen,he knows what is in land and what is in the sea and knows every leaf that falls from its tree and knows every seed in the darkness of the earth and every humid and dry which has its operating system book. We are all under divine surveillance ,surveiller and serveilled, the only difference is that there is no abuse of information in the divine world but only to show the human his earthly performance record which is made known to the human, prior to his physical departure, because there in no spiritual departure. it is time to stop throwing general sweeping statement of accusation , because not every jew is evil,not every moslem bad and not every christian good. it is time of separation where the true bad among any gathering be identified and personified if we really want for the civilization to move in the correct path. There are definitely heads of corruption in our dying world that need to be exposed, major among them are the banksters who drowned our world in debt and continue to eat the wealth of others wrongfully and the militarists that manufacture the weapon of destruction and annihilation in stead of utilizing the money in what is constructive and the media-mongers who sell lie and abuse. There is no choice but to co-exist with this sad story without losing hope and be persistent in the way of truth , knowing that the final victory is for truth thus proclaimed all scriptures of our god.

  5. Charles Leiden says :

    Scott, thanks for your writing and your disclosure of you condition. I agree with your meaning of Post-truth. “a measure of the self-alienation and loss of self.” ..

    abdulmonem says

    There is no choice but to co-exist with this sad story without losing hope and be persistent in the way of truth good advice.

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