A Word on Consciousness

Consciousness arises here and now. This here and now is called “ever-present origin”. And in its arising consciousness directs its attention backwards and forwards as time; and in its arising it directs its attention inwards and outwards as the spaces. This orientation towards reality is thus fourfold — the trajective, prejective, subjective, and objective attentions and orientations, or backwards, forwards, inwards, and outwards.

And its looking backwards and forwards is called “synchronisation”; and its looking inwards and outwards is called “coordination”. Its synchronisation of the times is an integration into presence; and its coordination of the spaces is an integration into presence. Successful synchronisation of all times past and all times future, and successful coordination of all space inner and all space outer — this is called “presentiation” and is the “integral consciousness” or also “cosmic consciousness”.

Consciousness, in those terms, thus has four facets or aspects, and these facets or aspects are called the “Guardians of the Four Directions”. Consciousness is the Sacred Hoop and the Cross of Reality, so…

Sacred Hoop /Medicine Wheel

Sacred Hoop /Medicine Wheel

Basic Cross of Reality

Basic Cross of Reality

The word “symbol” means “to bring together” — to integrate, in other words. This is connected in meaning to the word “consciousness” itself — also meaning to “know altogether”. In turn, this is related to the meaning of “intelligence” — inter-ligare meaning to “connect between” or “connect together” and which is called the power to bind or the power to loose.

As noted, it is said that “the Sacred Hoop is in language” and of the wise that they “speak from the centre of the voice”. The centre of the voice is the centre of the Sacred Hoop or Cross of Reality and is called “ever-present origin” or “here and now”. To speak from the centre of the voice is the symbolic power in the sense that it synchronises the times and coordinates the spaces into a whole, which is called “integrity”. And to speak from the centre of the voice is what we also call “sincerity”, for the word “sincerity” means “without decay” or “against decay”, which decay is what we call “nihilism” or cynicism. It is, in those terms, true intelligence. Integration and intelligence are equivalent in meaning.

The threat of decay (or nihilism) owing to insincere speech (untruthful speech) is called “disintegration” of the cross of reality or Sacred Hoop. If the word “symbolic” means to “bring together”, it’s contrary is the word “diabolic” — to thrust apart or to hinder. It is a failure of the intelligence and, therefore, a failure to integrate the times and spaces. This breakdown of the intelligence and the failure of consciousness to integrate the four directions is called “chaos”.

Consciousness intends, therefore, not in just two but in four directions — thrusting backwards, forwards, inwards, and outwards. It is fourfold, and our present logic fails to account for this fourfoldness. Grammatical speech is the means by which the integration is effected, the means by which inner and outer are coordinated and past and future are synchronised. This is what it means to “speak from the centre of the voice”. It is speech which is sincere, inspired, and which in its power of sincerity and inspiration and intelligence restores the integrity of the Sacred Hoop and of the cross of reality.

“To speak truth to power” has much the same meaning as “to speak from the centre of the voice”, as my indigenous friends refer to it and the Sacred Hoop. It means, to restore the cross of reality in its manifest fourfoldness. It is in this sense that the mandala form is the true form of the consciousness and of the implicit intelligence.

Havoc or “chaotic transition” is thus a failure of consciousness in some way in which the dynamic equilibrium represented by Sacred Hoop and Cross of Reality is disrupted in some “diabolical” way. Often this comes from over-emphasising or exaggerating (ie “privileging”) the value of one front of life while devaluing or ignoring the other fronts. This is called, by Gebser, a consciousness structure beginning to function in “deficient” mode.

It may then be appreciated why phenomena like spam, disinformation, “fake news”, “ratfucking”, “branding”, “culture of narcissism”, the hyper-partisan, and such things represent an existential threat and are drivers of chaos inasmuch as they belong to the meaning of the “diabolical” as the obstruction and hindrance of the symbolic functions of the consciousness and therefore they belong to the unintelligent.

Traditionally, the guardians of the four directions (who are also William Blake’s ‘Zoas’ of the disintegrate Adam) are also referred to as “mind, body, soul, and spirit” of the fourfold human form, and “intelligence” — as “connecting between” – was the integrating function. It is in that sense that true intelligence is ecological, and functions according to ecodynamic laws. This kind of thinking is creative. Analytics is not the essence of the intelligence — the integrative is the essence of the intelligence and is holistic.

In secular society, it is the secular ideologies that perform the functions of the traditional guardians — liberalism, conservatism, socialism, environmentalism. They correspond to the future, the past, the inner and the outer respectively. Many of these have become quite dysfunctional and self-contradictory, reflecting the “chaotic transition” and the disintegration of the cross of reality.


18 responses to “A Word on Consciousness”

  1. donsalmon says :

    Sri Krishna Prem, in an appendix to his commentary on the Bhagavad Gita, notes, in regard to consciousness, that the word for many people wrongly evokes a dualism – “I” am “here”, conscious of some “thing” out “there.” He tentatively recommended the word “consciring” which means “knowing together.” But of course, if the words are expressed by someone whose consciousness is fundamentally dualistic, no words will suffice. I noticed Scott above (correctly) notes that consciousness in fact does mean “knowing together.”

    Here is the appendix:

    From Sri Krishna Prem’s “The Yoga of the Bhavagad Gita”: APPENDIX A – NOTE ON THE TERMS CONSCIOUSNESS AND FORM

    The two terms, consciousness and form, are in constant use throughout this book and an understanding of the sense in which they are used is of vital importance.

    If any experience is analyzed – say, for example, the visual experience of a blue disc – two aspects can be distinguished. There is the content, a round blue shape in this instance, and the ‘awareness’ of that shape. The content is what I have termed form and the awareness consciousness.

    It must be carefully noted that ‘form’ does not here mean outline, but filled-in content-shape, and the term must also be understood in the same way of other elements of experience, sensuous or non-sensuous. For instance we have the ‘form’ of a sound, a taste, a feeling, or a thought, which must be understood by analogy with the forms of visual experience.

    In contrast with these forms, which are all different both as regards individual forms within one class and as regards different classes of forms, there is the awareness or consciousness, which is of the same sort throughout.

    There are many drawbacks to the use of the word ‘consciousness.’ In the first place it is used in half a dozen different senses by philosophers and psychologists, and in the second place it suffers from the great drawback that it has no active verbal form. One can say ‘to be conscious of’ but not ‘to conscious’ such-and-such an object. There is the word ‘awareness’ and the dubious coined derivative ‘awaring,’ which I have also occasionally pressed into service, but it is ugly and not very current. The best term is one that was coined by E. D. Fawcett in his The World as Imagination, Zermatt Dialogues, etc. The term in question is consciring – i.e. “knowing together” – and has as its correlative, for the content-form, the word conscitum (plural, conscita). I should certainly have availed myself of these coinages but, unfortunately, they are not as yet sufficiently widely current to be generally understood and, moreover, a great deal of the book had been written before I came across Fawcett’s writings.

    It should be clear from introspective meditation that all forms are sustained in consciousness, and that, apart from consciousness, we know nothing and can know nothing of forms. It is in fact meaningless to talk of forms as existing apart from consciousness [he adds this footnote: “This position must by no means be confused with that of subjective idealism. The consciousness spoken of is not ‘your’ or ‘my’ consciousness, in fact ‘you’ and ‘I’ exist only as constellated form-sequences brought to foci in that consciousness which, in itself, is neither human nor individualized, but a pervading Light.”] The objects supposed by some to exist behind the forms are mere mental constructs devised fror dealing with experience in practice. No one knows them, no one can ever know them; to believe in their existence is a pure and quite uncalled-for act of faith.

    It should not be supposed that by the forms are meant sensations, camera pictures of reality located somewhere in the brain. The brain itself (as an ‘object’) is one of the constructs of which mention has just been made. The usefulness of such constructs in certain realms of thought and study is not at all denied, but they are irrelevant here.

    The primary bedrock of experience is not sensations in the eye, ear, or brain, but visual and other forms in space. All the rest is inference and construction. Materialistic science begins by abstracting consciousness from the forms in order to deal with them more objectively and impersonally and then, when analysis fails to reveal any life or conscious principle in those forms, triumphantly exclaims that all is mechanism, nowhere is there anything of a spiritual nature. Behaviorist psychology is an example of the same procedure applied to mental life. If you start by abstracting consciousness from phenomena it is obviously absurd to expect to find it as a term in your concluded analysis. For this reason no one should feel disappointed that science (as nowadays practised) does not know anything of the existence of the ‘soul.’ It is the old story of looking for one’s spectacles when they are on one’s nose.

    To go into this subject fully would require a volume and not an appendix. Here I am only concerned to indicate the sense in which the word ‘consciousness’ has been used in this book. It follows from that sense that the modern term ‘unconscious’ mind can have no meaning. There is not the slightest reason for supposing that anything whatever, physical or mental, exists or can exist save as the content of consciousness. Hence we can talk of a sub- or a super-conscious mind, meaning by those terms mental processes that are sustained in consciousness below or above the level at which it is normally focused, processes which are not attended to by normal consciousness, but we cannot talk of an unconscious mind, for that would have no meaning.

    It only remains to add that the Sanskrit term for hat is here termed consciousness is chit, as distinct from chitta, which means the mind. The Buddhists, on the other hand, speak of Vijnana (Pali – vinnana). Thus consciousness illuminating visual forms is called caksuh-vijnana (eye-consciousenss), illuminating thoughts, mano-vijnana (mind-consciousness), and so on. Beyond the sense and mind consciousness (at least in Mahayana systems) is the Alaya Vijnana or store-consciousness, corresponding to the Mahat Atman as used in this book. The Mahayanists also use the word chitta to do duty for consciousness as well as for mind. For instance they will speak indifferently of chitta-matra or Vijnana-matra, meaning by both terms pure consciousness.

  2. Scott Preston says :

    Jonathan Freedland, writing in today’s Guardian has a pretty good article on “post-truth”, but insists rather that we should just call it “lying”.


    But that’s not entirely accurate, even more than just lying, post-truth means also weasel words and pretzel logic. Those may well be symptoms of a predisposition to lying, but many people afflicted with the mental disease of weasel words and pretzel logic wouldn’t even recognise it as lying, evasion, dissembling, mendacity, prevarication, etc, etc.

    How you undo the Gordian Knot represented by weasel words and pretzel logic is a good question, since this is a strategy to inoculate oneself against the truth, and is a form of denialism.

    We all know how Alexander finally solved the problem of the Gordian Knot, though.

  3. abdulmonem says :

    Who is the source of consciousness and who puts this consciousness in forms. Ibn Arabi, 1165-1240 said that god needs physical supports to express his words and actions and the humans are his physical support to manifest his consciousness. Alas the humans who are supposed to be supportive turned against the one who makes them think and enables them to put their thoughts into words. The first and the last, the seen and the unseen, the four Scott is always talking about, the past and the future, the outward and the inward and the in-between (consciousness) that helps communicating among these realms.It is the joint consciousness,we are conscious through his consciousness, a ball with billion and billion of holes that radiates his light. We are busy with the words of our peers and forgetting the originator of the words we use and our peers. Time and space are the divine platforms across which all words and actions are demonstrated. It is farness and nearness from the source that determines the outcome, no wonder Seth called upon the ego-consciousness to return to the roots before the doom. Our language based universe demands honest words once the polluted words permeate the human discourse all signs of perversions prevail. One has to ask who are behind all these diseases and truly pointing the fingers to them under the refereeship of the divine. This is the only way to navigate toward safe ground. This is the methodology off all prophets that insured the truthful result. We really need to feel honestly that there is a god that requires our respect,by respecting his truth.

  4. dadaharm says :


    What is described as post-truth society can also be described as the collapse of consensus reality. It seems to me that there is some logic behind it:

    Good old-fashioned consensus reality (concerning politics, economics, etc.) was to a large extend determined by propaganda and advertising. So it is largely a magical construct. People have started to realise that this consensus reality does not correspond to the facts anymore.

    When the magic of consensus reality starts to fade you have basically two possibilities. You either try to find facts and truths that correspond better to reality or you conclude that truth and facts are irrelevant.

    The first option is difficult, because the truth is well-hidden behind propaganda and misinformation. The second option is easy. So most people will be in favour of the second choice.

    • thinking green says :

      It seems that many of the leaders of the alt-right are in fact consciously adopting a form of sorcery or brujeria — embracing the possibilities of a breakdown of consensus reality.

      I’ve only just started looking into this, but the use of “meme-magic” (Pepe the Frog as Lord Kek anyone?) and more traditional forms of manipulative image-magic is clearly visible now. (Ioan Couliano’s ‘Eros and Magic in the Renaissance’ is a good analysis of the history and development of the subject and it’s adoption by advertisers).



      Also a recent book doing the rounds, and endorsed by Jeffrey Kripal, surprisingly, is ‘Prometheus and Atlas’ which is an aristocratic articulation of anti-materialist philosophy, and seems to be inspired by fascist occultist Julius Evola. I was sent a copy of this by a friend at a university who himself had received a free copy, anonymously.

      I haven’t read it yet. But it seems to be of a piece with a new tendency of the alt-right towards the use of magic and sorcery to empower itself. And most mainstream analyses are totally incapable of seeing it, let alone countering it.

      They’ve learned a great deal from the power of advertising it seems. A fitting slogan for the alt-right might be, “Consumers of the world, unite.” Not workers, not citizens…but angry shoppers.

      • Scott Preston says :

        Thanks for the comment. It’s been a while! (I owe you a debt, I think, for digging up a copy of Ehrenfeld’s “The Coming Collapse of Technologial Civilization”).

        Don’t know if you caught the earlier posts in The Chrysalis on “technocratic shamanism” and branding, but your comment fits right in with that theme. Yes, Julius Evola’s name has been linked to Steve Bannon. I suppose the only way to counter “meme magic” is to expose it as necromancy. There is where Jean Gebser might come in handy.

      • donsalmon says :

        Speaking of nefarious uses of magic, Sri Aurobindo repeatedly warned – as far back as the early 1930s, that Hitler was being used by occult forces, and in fact, both World Wars were an upsurge of magical forces suppressed by the “Enlightenment.”

        This is one of the clearest descriptions I’ve seen of these forces as encountered in the midst of contemplative practice:

        http://www.kheper.net/topics/Aurobindo/intermediate_zone.htm (Alan Kazlav, aka “Kheper” introduces the text then provides the entire letter)

        • donsalmon says :

          This is also good:

          Do you not know the story of the Elephant Brahman? All is Brahman, but in action you have to treat the elephant as the Elephant Brahman and the Asura as the Asura Brahman and neither as merely Brahman pure and simple. One has either to avoid the Rakshasa or overcome him; otherwise the Rakshasa may eat up the man, all Brahman though both be. The Brahman realisation is an inner static realisation, until one has become the dynamic instrument of the Divine Consciousness and Force – then the problem of the elephant and the Rakshasa won’t arise, for the Divine Consciousness will know and the Divine Force will execute what is to be done in each case. There is no need to have vaira inside, but to be friendly with the Rakshasa is not prudent, as the Rakshasa is impervious to that kind of thing – he will take advantage of it to farther his own purpose.


        • thinking green says :

          Hi Scott,

          If anyone owes a debt, it’s me. I’ve been reading your work since TDAB, about 10years ago. I was at university, reading Gebser, and pondering his links to Blake and renaissance alchemy and thus I found your blog. Over the years you’ve given me a great deal to think about! For which I am very grateful.

          I’ll certainly have a read of those technocratic shamanism posts. Yes, intriguing to think that Evola is in some ways the power behind the Trump throne. Thanks.

        • thinking green says :

          Don, that’s interesting about Sri Aurobindo’s comment. I think that the suppression of alchemy and the folk-animistic practices of the cults of the saints in Europe during the enlightenment caused many of our current problems. The return of the repressed, as they say. The enlightenment stifled some of the the voices and experiences available to us, shut them away in the shadows, so to speak, where they became monstrous. And perhaps began informing our technological aims.

          (Incidentally, I stayed at Auroville for a few months, many years ago…a marvellous place).

          • donsalmon says :

            Hi TG:

            Good points about the suppression of those folk practices (actually, hardly only “folk” – some of the greatest sages of that era were practicing alchemy, astrology, etc).

            A phenomenological psychologist, Jan Van den Berg, wrote some very interesting essays on the Romantic Era and the emergence of the idea of the “unconscious,” noting that this was one of the earlier “eruptions of the repressed.” I was particularly taken by his view of Frankenstein. he noted that the Jews had a story of the Golem, and both stories related to the dangers inherent in trying to reduce qualitative life to quantity.

            This is what Rene Guenon (a traditionalist somewhat like Jules Evola, though I dont think as much of a fascist) wrote about in his book, “The Reign of Quantity.”

            There have actually been predictions for thousands of years of a time (the Kali Yuga) when all quality is reduced to quantity. Krishna Prem describes it beautifully in his Gita commentary, saying of the Pandavas 13 years exile in the forest, there is a year in which the soul is entirely eclipsed, in which, as the 19th century scientist put it, the view is that the brain secretes thought as the liver secretes bile.

            That cross currents site you linked to is very scary. I almost feel it’s best to refer to it as little as possible. I get a palpable feeling of hostile forces just in the photos of the authors on the site.

            A spiritual teacher I trust a great deal said, a few years ago, “There’s lots of bad people in the world, and most of them are Republicans.” It’s funny, because if you saw the way he dresses and talks (he’s one of the only meditation teachers I know who always wears a jacket and tie to his talks; and his accent is still that of the rural farm country where he grew up, the child of fundamentalist parents, in which is now a red state) you’d think he was a conservative himself.

            When I’m centered, I can take it all in stride and see the Divine lila in it all. It seems to me the best “activism” is that seeing, that vision, that consciring, that “knowing together,” while rooted in the ever present Origin.

            • thinking green says :

              Hi Don, yes, certainly alchemy was a ‘high-brow’ pursuit. All stratas of society in those times had access to transcendence and magic (for want of a better word), be it through old Greek hermetic texts coming in via Italia from crumbling Byzantium, or at the lower levels, the venerable saint cults, which in some cases had roots in pre-Roman practices. The puritan tendency of the northern Europeans suppressed it successfully, as we know, and began settling and invading the americas around the same time.

              I know what you mean about the energy around certain websites. Linking to them sometimes seems to risk feeding them the attention they need. But I think the cat is out of the bag now, and here at the Chrysalis, we might safely risk a little extra light (to misquote Gandalf!) despite the goblins out there.

              Nice to meet you!

      • Scott Preston says :

        One should probably make note of the fact that Pepe the Frog bears a quite striking resemblance to one Darth Vader (in fact, “Evil Kermit” plays the role of Darth Vader too). So I’m not surprised to see Pepe linked with Kek, Lord of the Chaos and so to with the cult of Pepe on the alt-right.

        Pretty disturbing example, though, of what Gebser warned about.

  5. davidm58 says :

    I had the interesting experience of reading this blog post while simultaneously listening to the FuturePrimitive podcast interview with Nora Bateson (daughter of Gregory Bateson, author of Steps to an Ecology of Mind).
    Some nice parallels.

    Complexity Is A Love Story
    “Nora Bateson speaks with Joanna about: The International Bateson Institute in Sweden, studying the complexity of life; the freedom of opening up to multiplicity; a lifetime of cultivating wisdom; articulating the ways of interdependence and interrelationship of life; science is not neutral; choosing complexity over reductionism; remembering the origins of a holistic science, the Macy Conferences; finding the intimacy within the complexity we live in; a love affair with Nature.”

    • Scott Preston says :

      A most interesting broadcast. Thanks for the link. Her talk about “trans-contextuality” did bring to mind Gebser’s “arational-aperspectival” mode of consciousness. At least, that is how I understood it. And there were lots of little gems like that in the interview. Even the title of the website “Future Primitive” brings to mind Gebser.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: