New Mutation, New Renaissance

I’m back from my two-week travels in Wonderland, and very happy to be home again. Man, is it weird out there! It makes me appreciate the life of a hermit.

But what I want to address today is something that was alluded to in the comments to the earlier post on The Pursuit of Power, particularly in relation to Jean Gebser’s anticipation of a “new mutation” in the consciousness structure of late modern man, such as he attempted to describe it in his book The Ever-Present Origin (and thanks to David for digging up that quotation from the book about “synairesis” as Gebser introduced this term, which I’ve had some time to reflect upon in relation to Nora Bateson’s “symmathesy” and Rosenstock-Huessy’s “metanomics”).

One of the more pleasant events in my travels was meeting up with Chris Kutarna, co-author of the book The Age of Discovery: Navigating the Risks and Rewards of Our New Renaissance. One of the things I like about this book is its description of the pattern of “chaotic transition” in regards to the “Old Renaissance”. One of the things I dislike about the book is the presumption that any “New Renaissance” is simply a revival of the Old Renaissance — perspectivism and the old Renaissance “virtue” (or virtu). To my mind, such a Renaissance-of-the-Renaissance strikes me as akin to Bible Camp revivalism and that “give me that old time religion” traditionalism and nostalgia for which I have very little time or sympathy.

Nothing seems more unlikely, in the present context, than the notional prospect of a “New Renaissance” in that sense — as a kind of second coming of a Michaelangelo or a Leonardo. However, apart from that, the authors’ instincts seem sound if we consider any prospective “New Renaissance” in terms of Gebser’s “New Mutation” of the consciousness structure — as a kind of self-overcoming of Renaissance Man (or “Vitruvian Man”) itself. So, we want to rephrase Goldin’s and Kutarna’s issue of “New Renaissance” in terms rather of a “New Mutation” and revival, not as a return to the intellectual traditions of the Renaissance, but also in Gebser’s terms as a Nostos — or return journey — to the “vital centre”.

And one of the notable differences between this “New Mutation” and “Old Renaissance” is the shift from “system” and systematisation (which was the fruit of perspectivist consciousness) to what Gebser describes as “synairesis” — the activity of the “aperspectival-arational” mode of consciousness that Gebser calls not “systematising” by “integrating”. Systematisation, or rationalisation, is very much the issue of perspectivising consciousness in keeping with how Crane Brinton defined the main characteristic activity of the Modern Era descending from Renaissance and Reformation — “the invention of a system for creating systems”. Those of you familiar with Gebser’s history of consciousness structures will realise that the “system” that was invented for generating other systems was perspective consciousness itself — the discovery of the third dimension of space and its systematic arrangement in the triadic “ratio” of length, width, and depth. It’s this that Nietzche dismissed in his remark that “the will to a system is a lack of integrity”, which is pretty much the point where Gebser picks up the thread of Nietzsche’s critique of “modern ideas” and carries it further into “synairesis” which, in broad terms, we can describe as the integrating perception of wholes or patterns.

This is also pretty much the intent behind Nora Bateson’s coinage of the term “symmathesy” (as linked to above) but also the meaning of Rosenstock-Huessy’s “metanomics”, which is connected also to his anticipation of a “metanoia” or “new mind”, and thus, in those terms, also with Gebser’s New Mutation of consciousness. Rosenstock-Huessy gave a definition of his “metanomics” in an essay entitled “In Defense of the Grammatical Method” (from the book Speech and Reality) that strikes me as very much akin to the meaning of Gebser’s synairesis.

“My task is the meta-ethical and that is pressing today because of the coexistence of antagonistic laws of society. Meta-logic was needed when a new paganism disrupted the Christian Church in feudal and local worship. Metaphysics was needed when coordination of physical facts, discovery of America, etc, a system of distant continents and countries and bodies became compelling. Metanomics, or meta-ethics are, in the time of radio, the result of the pandemonium of propaganda for different systems, different types of man, different social orders that compete in our ears incessantly…. My own direction of thought, probably, will have to be listed as the meta-ethical search for a synchronization of mutually exclusive patterns of behaviour, as ‘the metanomics of the great society’ which must contain contradictory ways of life. My grammar of assent, my grammatical organon, is devoted to the task of supplementing the statue law of any given society with the metanomics that explain and justify our enthusiasm for the synchronization of the distemporary, of old and young, black, brown, and white, government and anarchy, primitive and refined, highbrow and lowbrow, innocence and sophistication, all at peace, in one human society.”

Metanomics, then, very much approaches the meaning of Gebser’s “synairesis” for, in effect, synairesis is also synchronisation of the various new and old consciousness structures — the systatic, the symbolic, the symbiotic corresponding to the mental, the mythical, the magical also “all at peace” in one human consciousness and personality, which is also Blake’s vision of “Albion” realised through the harmonisation (or synchronisation) of the “four Zoas” of the divided humanity. Gebser’s synairesis and Rosenstock-Huessy’s “metanomics” are, in those terms, pretty much the same thing.

Synchronisation of times, rather than coordination of spaces, thus seems the key to the theme of the New Mutation or “New Renaissance”, and Gebser’s “integral consciousness” is very similar to Rosenstock-Huessy’s “metanoia” or “new mind” (as well as Bateson’s “symmathesy”). What Rosenstock describes as “synchronisation of antagonistic distemporaries” also applies to the different consciousness structures that comprise the human form. The theme of the New Mutation is thus time and times, not so much space and spaces. And with the inclusion of time, the cosmic number shifts from “3” to “4”, and thus also to the relevance of William Blake’s “fourfold vision”.

It also bears recalling, here, Iain McGilchrist’s The Master and His Emissary in this respect for, in general terms in speaking of the “divided brain”, it is the left-hemisphere (the “Emissary”) that supplies the “coordination” (or analytical) activity, and the right-hemisphere (the “Master”) that provides the synchronising activity, thus corresponding to the distinction between “system” and “synairesis” in Gebser’s usage. The right-hemisphere mode of perception is involved in the symbolic (metaphorical) and symbiotic activities. This seems pretty clear even from neuroanatomist Jill Bolte-Taylor’s description of her own “stroke of insight”.

Metanoia. It’s in this respect, also, that, in conjunction with McGilchrist’s book on neurodynamics, that I often recommend Arthur I. Miller’s Deciphering the Cosmic Number: The Strange Friendship of Carl Jung and Wolfgang Pauli. Jung, the theorist of “synchronicity” and Pauli, the theorist of quantum field theory, are very appropriate representatives in microcosm of this transitional process from the cosmic number “3” to the cosmic number “4”. If anything, Deciphering the Cosmic Number is a very good description of “chaotic transition” in the personal realm that prefigures the same in the social realm. The shift to the cosmic number “4” is what is prefigured also in Gebser’s four structures of consciousness, Blake’s “four Zoas” and fourfold vision, time as the “fourth dimension”, and Rosenstock-Huessy’s four orientations of consciousness — trajective and prejective as regards times, and subjective and objective as regards spaces.

An ecological consciousness, following “ecodynamic laws”, is thus involved in a dual task of synchronising and coordinating. Gebser’s “synairesis” is essentially that integrating activity, equally described, to some extent, by Rosenstock-Huessy’s “metanomics”.

In those terms, then, New Renaissance is best described in terms of Gebser’s “New Mutation” or even as Rosenstock-Huessy’s “metanoia“.

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42 responses to “New Mutation, New Renaissance”

  1. abdulmonem says :

    Few days ago I was reading an article on how the christian literature is being hijacked by the secular literature, thus submerging its soul, the major tool of our connection to the divine spirit, the source of integrative consciousness. I see in your post and what it covers a call to return to the source and not as you put it to any previous human cultures. We are definitely in a new realm of consciousness that has no connection to any previous consciousness, save our better understanding of the source that used to be revealed only to the few while now it is available to the many. It is time to enhance our spiritual learning as to how to make our soul contacts its source. No wonder your soul yearns for its loneliness with the alone. I hope you find joy in your pursuit of meanings.

    • mikemackd says :

      Thanks for your earlier comments, abdulmonem, as well as this one. If you go back to the Star Key site, you will find that it has been submerged under advertisements again. Not sure for how many years it will last this time.

      A good example, actually, for what you describe above about secular hijacking. The Star Key’s still there, but all that is visible now is the advertisement.

  2. abdulmonem says :

    I forgot to ask you what happen to the archaic consciousness.

    • Scott Preston says :

      The archaic is a special instance, in Gebser’s taxonomy. It is synonymous with the “ever-present origin” since, from it, all other forms emerged. For all practical purposes, the archaic is identical with Bolte-Taylor’s “life force power of the universe”, which is, for Gebser, the diaphainon. The diaphainon differs from the archaic only in the sense that it is the fully realsed self-consciousness of the archaic. Otherwise, the archaic corresponds to the “dreaming”, as the Australian aborigines call it, “when the soul slept in beams of light” as William Blake described it. Seth calls it “the ancient force” and it corresponds, to a great extent, with Jung’s “collective unconscious”, which is a most unfortunate prhase since it’s not “unconscious” at all. It’s more the case that the other structures of consciousness — the magical, the mythical, and the mental — are largely unconscious of it — “the Itself” as Gebser refers to it, and it is often associated with what is called “oceanic feeling” and, in those terms, is the basis for what we call “cosmic consciousness”.

      So, the only real difference between the “archaic” and the “diaphainon”, as far as I can tell, is that the latter is the archaic become conscious of itself and all its various mutations through the other structures — as magic, as myth, and as mental-rational. To put that another way, the diaphainon is the archaic or ever-present origin, become conscious of itself as God, and in those terms corresponds to what you describe: “unto him we shall return”.

  3. Scott Preston says :

    There was a mess of books waiting for me this morning at the post office when I returned from my wanderings in Wonderland. Kahler’s The Meaning of History, George Morgan’s The Human Predicament, F. David Peat’s Blackfoot Physics and Roderick Seidenberg’s Post-Historic Man. Quite evidently, Kahler’s The Meaning of History and Seidenberg’s Post-Historic Man should be read together, and evidently (from a scan of them) have some value for Gebser studies, too.

    Kahler was, of course, influenced by Gebser, especially in his other notable book The Tower and the Abyss which is distinctly “Gebserian” in approach and one which I consider a companion volume to The Ever-Present Origin. Anyone having some difficult with EPO might find it more accessible after reading Kahler’s various writings (some of which also attracted Einstein’s attention, apparently), but especially The Tower and the Abyss which always brings to me, in my case, the digital domain of 1 and 0. Seems very appropriate even though it was none of Kahler’s conscious attempt to provide a “metaphysics” of the digital age in terms of Tower and Abyss in that way. Still, it’s appropriate to think of it as such.

    Having read but a little ways into his Meaning of History Kahler seems to keep up that Gebserian approach to the meaning of time as the fingerprint of changes in consciousness structure: “history can come about and develop only in connection with consciousness” is a statement that sets the theme for the book. Kahler is one of my favourite authors, so you can anticipate that I’ll have something to say about The Meaning of History in relation to Gebser’s evolution of consciousness in coming posts.

  4. Scott Preston says :

    I thought I would end the day by citing something from Kahler’s The Meaning of History which, I think, reflects something of Bolte-Taylor’s experience as well as McGilchrist’s remarks about the divided brain in The Master and His Emissary.

    “Meaning signifies coherence, order, unity of diverse happenings and phenomena, as grasped by a comprehending mind. When we say that something has a meaning we want to indicate that it forms part of something larger, or superior to itself, that it is a link, or a function within a comprehensive whole, that it points to something beyond. Or, that this something represents in itself a consistent whole, a coherent order in which the parts relate to each other and to the whole. Such coordinate wholeness as seen by the mind, such elucidation of a group of phenomena as a coherent order raises these phenomena from the level of mere being – of plainly sensory, incoherently factual perceptibility – to the level of clear comprehensibility; whereby order is established, the existence of order in the world, and again meaning is synonymous with pointing to something beyond….

    Meaning, then, is an indication of something beyond mere existence, either an end and aim, or the notion of form. Hence, two modes of meaning may be distinguished: meaning as purpose, or goal, and meaning as form. Any action, design, quest, or search carries meaning as purpose, any work of art is meaning as form.” (p.18 -19)

    I think you can see, perhaps, that “meaning as purpose or goal” pertains to the mode of perception called “the Emissary”, and that “meaning as form” pertains to the mode of perception called “the Master”. Kahler was certainly not familiar with McGilchrist’s “two modes of perception”associated with the divided brain, but he seems nonetheless to have described it here.

    The other aspect of this citation I wanted to highlight is how the first paragraph reflects something Blake wrote, that “where man is not, nature is barren”. To understand this properly is to understand that where human consciousness is not, Nature lacks meaning and is devoid of meaning. So, while it is true that the Earth and the cosmos would continue without human consciousness, it would continue only as “mere existence”, without meaning.

  5. Dwig says :

    I wonder about that last sentence. Were the earth and the cosmos without meaning for the billions of years before the arrival of homo sapiens? I suspect that your indigenous friends would see it differently given their understanding of their deep connection with all life, and their debt of gratitude to the “elder life forms”.

    • Scott Preston says :

      Animal and plant consciousness is an interesting thing, but it’s not reflexive in the way human consciousness is (which is a fact also recognised by Buddhism where life in the human form offers advantages for enlightenment that aren’t available to consciousness in the animal form). Basically, the distinction boils down to the difference between consciousness AS form and consciousness OF form. The former describes animal consciousness, the latter human consciousness. It’s only when consciousness OF form becomes possibility that the determination of meaning also becomes possible. The animal consciousness is not concerned with meaning, and therefore neither does it experience its contrary — meaninglessness. We might call it purely experiential consciousness or purely existential consciousness. Gebser describes it in much the same way through his distinction between “Being” and “Having”.

      Kahler also anticipates this objection of animal consciousness and meaning, which comes very close to this difference also:

      “Hence, the vegetable and animal world have no history, except the one that man, through the broadening scope of his understanding, has given them. The animal has no history because it lacks a conscious memory, an established consciousness of self. In the animal, memory is merely latent, that is to say, it is called up causally, by external stimuli, and their associations; it has never reached a stable, activated continuity, it has not come to form that inner continuum of emotion, thought and action, which constitutes personal identity. Such grasp of inner coherence, of personal identity is a first rudimentary concept, and without it no concept of any communal and collective identity — the prerequisite of history — is possible.”

      What he is describing here is the difference between consciousness AS and consciousness OF, and in those terms, respectively, Being ahd Having.

      Having, of course, brings to mind “acquisitive individualism” or possessiveness. But Kahler describes that as “the lowest kind of meaning” or purposive activity.

      This difference between consciousness AS form and consciousness AS and OF form, and therefore between Being-In-the-World and Having a World, raises the issue of responsibility, therefore. We don’t hold the animal responsible for its actions in the way we hold humans responsible. With Consciousness OF, also comes responsibility, and many do indeed find this burdensome and seek to escape it into purely animal (or vegetable) consciousness — into an irresponsible existence. They deny the very thing that makes us human — the capacity to be conscious not just AS, but OF. And this is that problem of the Kali Yuga also that M. Glass calls “Mutation into Machinery” — the escape from the burden of responsiblity which inevitably comes with “Having”.

      The animal consciousness is not concerned with meaning. But by the same token it doesn’t therefore experience meaninglessness either. It is not burdened by “self”, as it were. So, life in the animal form is a kind of vacation from self.

      Since I have been a fish (as I once recorded in “The Dream of the Fish”) — which I realise sounds crazy — I’ve had the experience of animal consciousness. Anybody can. Everybody is a potential “shaman” in those terms — a shape-shifter. The animal and the vegetable is part of our heritage, and “we are all related” is, indeed, true, as my indigenous friends put it. That’s even stamped in our biology, so it’s not as though we don’t have access to that as the basis for our empathy with the natural world. Here again, “to know the thing you must become the thing you want to know” applies.

    • InfiniteWarrior says :

      I wonder about that last sentence.

      Likewise. Do flora and fauna not exist in meaningful relationship without human beings to provide that meaningfulness for them? I’m certain they do. Would it be more true to say that “Nature lacks meaning and is devoid of meaning to humans where ‘human consciousness’ is not?”

      As for “human consciousness”: Are homo sapiens the only conscious beings in the cosmos? Can consciousness be divided up into “human” and “non-human” or do humans merely speak a different language born of consciousness than “non-humans”? Do humans have some privileged corner on consciousness?

      This is once again reminiscent of the notion that human beings are “the crowning achievement of evolution” and the earth somehow requires our guidance to survive and thrive.

      Until and unless I hear a convincing argument to the contrary, I will agree with George Carlin on this one. The earth and the cosmos would be just fine and meaningful without us as it was for billions of years before us. In fact, I’ve often thought and even said on occasion that it might even be better off without us, i.e. homo sapiens. Naturally, the utterly expected response is, “That would include you, too.” (As if I’m not aware of that.) What can I say other than, “I know.” At least I’m not afraid to admit the thought has crossed my mind and far more than once.

      Standup comedy is a low art; it’s a vulgar art; it’s an art of the People…but it is an art. It has to do with interpreting the world as you see it and then writing something and delivering it verbally. And I found a very liberating position for myself as an artist. And that was, I sort of gave up on the human race…and decided that I didn’t care about the outcome” (meaning “not having an emotional stake in whether this experiment with human beings works.”) And that gave me a lot of freedom from a kind of distant platform…to watch the whole thing with a combination of wonder and pity.” ~ George Carlin

      Such a practice is otherwise known as nekkhamma in Buddhist parlance; “renunciation” in Christian parlance; “zuhd” in Islamic parlance (kindly correct me, if wrong, abdulmonem). I could go on.

      Whether we liked him or not; whether we like standup comedy or not; whether we see any comedy in the tragedy or not; Carlin, at least, spoke the unadorned, unvarnished truth and did so unapologetically.

      It’s called the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it.

      I think we’re all aware at this point that it’s a human “dream” (or “the wetiko virus”) that has us all “circling the drain” in Carlin’s words. It’s not Nature that needs to change. It’s our perception of and relationship with Nature that needs to change.

      Animal and plant consciousness is an interesting thing, but it’s not reflexive in the way human consciousness is…. The animal consciousness is not concerned with meaning, and therefore neither does it experience its contrary — meaninglessness.

      I’d have to question that as well. In fact, I’m of the mind that animals are far more altruistic than the vast majority of human beings, for starters. We may have even learned selflessness from our observations of them. Is no reflexive consciousness at work here, for example? It’s obvious to me that these animals are being both attentive and intentive, and not just toward those of their own species.

      I’m tired of this human head-centeredness. Later all.

      • Scott Preston says :

        Of course, you are imagining a cosmos without human consciousness, which ends up in self-contradiction, since in such a situation there would be no consciousness around to imagine anything and therefore nothing meaningful to be said about it. And, of course, Descartes thought he could abstract consciousness, or mind, from the cosmos completely, and so imagined it in exactly that way also, and though it would still remain meaningful, in a peculiar sort of way, without any comprehending mind to perceive that meaning. And I have never yet met an animal who gave a shit about whether the cosmos was meaningful or meaningless or why there was something rather than nothing, although I did read recently a philosopher of sorts who insisted that human beings also give up the notion of meaning and quest for meaningfulness as being merely a torment, and somehow or other thought this statement was itself meaningful.

        The birds of the air, the beasts of the field, the fishes of the sea, certainly don’t tie themselves up in mental knots trying to understand the “meaning of life” or “what’s it all about, Alfie?”. They live like the proverbial “lilies of the field” and the “mustard seed” — by faith alone, which is to say, unreflectively and according to their nature, and “the truth that sets free” would be quite meaningless in itself unless it implied that the animal “man” was actually capable of changing his own nature or overcoming his own “nature”, and it is for that reason that life in the human form offers advantages and opportunities for spiritual growth that are not available to animal natures. And so while we might like to think of the ape in the jungle as “Born Free”, that is a romanticised notion that is contrary to fact, but we are estimating that “freedom” from a position of abject servitude to the clockwork mechanism which we have come to resemble ourselves.

        • InfiniteWarrior says :

          you are imagining a cosmos without human consciousness, which ends up in self-contradiction since in such a situation there would be no consciousness

          Bullshit. You can’t say “without human consciousness” is the equivalent of “no consciousness” in the same breath — especially without a definitive answer to one of those questions — and expect me to fall for that “self-contradictory” claptrap.

          With sincerest respect, Scott, you can rationalize all you want and it won’t change my impression that animal consciousness may be just as reflexive, attentive and intentive as ours. It’s been proven that animals dream (as if we didn’t already know that) and while I appreciate your inestimable talent for complexifying existing, human ideas (you are quite the tapestry weaver!) I believe I read everything you had to say on the subject of consciousness on TDAB.

          Before all is said and done, we may find that “integral consciousness” comes to fruition or find we’ve neglected Nature to the point that the earth becomes The Planet of the Apes. Either way, we can’t say we weren’t both fore-informed and forewarned.

          Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the interesting book recommendations and sound advice you’ve proferred over the years, but I’ve had enough of the prevailing anthropocentricity for the time being.

          • Scott Preston says :

            You can’t say “without human consciousness” is the equivalent of “no consciousness” in the same breath

            Of course, I didn’t say that at all, nor did I state anywhere that animal consciousness doesn’t function in the two modes of attention and intention. And it’s not me who’s being anthropocentric,since your apparent denial of any qualitative difference between human and animal consciousness is what constitutes the anthropocentricity. They aren’t at all equivalent. And yet, there is one area where we are all equal in one respect, animals, humans, flowers, trees, insects, worlds — we are altogether mortal beings doomed to die. Yet, I don’t know of any animals that actually bury their dead.

            • InfiniteWarrior says :

              you are imagining a cosmos without human consciousness, which ends up in self-contradiction since in such a situation there would be no consciousness

              What do you think, guys? Did he say that or not? I’ll leave it in rhetorical mode.

              Yet, I don’t know of any animals that actually bury their dead.

              I gather you didn’t actually watch the video I posted, then. Good night.

            • Scott Preston says :

              Consciousness is one, but infinitely diverse as well. It goes from very, very simple forms to more complex forms. There are “species of consciousness”, as Seth puts it. The spectrum of light is a rough analogy. Human consciousness is not the most complex, but it is growing in complexity very quickly.

              This is not self-willed either, because the natural inertia of the human (in fact all living forms) is in the other direction — towards greater simplification. There is a natural “conservative” tendency to resist greater complexity. But if anything, integral consciousness is a complexification which brings with it complication for an older form of consciousness. It is not by our will that this comes about. The logic that drives it is a transpersonal, transhuman logic that works on us despite ourselves — what I once wrote about in TDAB about being caught between “the hammer of God and the anvil of the Earth”. Circumstances presently are applying pressure and stress on human consciousness to transcend itself…or perish. Most people naturally resist such stress and pressure and seek to escape from it, but it’s part of the growth process. It’s not our doing. It’s an event whose time has come.

            • mikemackd says :

              I don’t see consciousness as either ours or animal’s: rather the reverse, but there are no property rights over consciousness. I see consciousness not as an “it” but a process our identities can surf on for a while.

  6. abdulmonem says :

    You know Scott I do not feel at ease with the distinction of meanings as purpose and as form since no forms in our universe that are divorced from purpose, even human artist can not produce any piece of art without having a purpose, silent or loud. On the point raised by Dwig I can not say that the cosmos without human consciousness has no meaning but the divine as the source of meaning has created human consciousness to appreciate the meaning of his creation including the human form as a mission. Of course human active consciousness is a must or the human will negate himself in play or death. On your statement of the archaic is the diaphainon is the same I fully agree,the first and the last that refer to the same entity. I wonder if you have read my last comment on the the pursuit of power.

    • Scott Preston says :

      Kahler’s two distinctions of meaning in terms of purpose and form is the old question of “function or form” that has often plagued philosophical discourse. But they aren’t discrete, since every act of perception or consciousness is both formative and purposive in imparting form. That is the nature of intent or intentionality of consciousness — that it is simultaneously purposive and formative.

      It’s quite clear here that, as I mentioned in my response to Dwig, we are dealing with the two modalities of consciousness as “attentional” and “intentional” when we speak of form and purpose, respectively, and thus we begin to touch on that area of neurology that McGilchrist described in terms of “Master” mode and “Emissary” mode. Both are involved, obviously, in the act of perception — intent and attent, as it were, although they don’t happen simultaneously. But the switch between one and the other is often so rapid as to appear simultaneous or instantaneous. To put that another way, for a large part of our time we are waveform, and for another we are particle-form, but this happens so rapidly that our corpuscular form seems continuous. But it’s not. We’re like an alternatiing current, the pulsations of energy, which take the form of attention and intention, like the poles of a battery. That polarity is stamped into the human form as the “divided brain”, and the alternating current is the activities of the right- and the left-hemispheres. The “Master” is always active in that sense. It’s the ego-consciousness that is unaware of this alternation of the modes.

      • Scott Preston says :

        I might add to this note that this alternation or pulse is what is represented in Indian drumming, as the “heartbeat of the Earth”, and also in dances as “movement and repose”, but which often happens so rapidly that it seems continuous flow. In the drumming, in other words, is the Tao — the Yin and Yang of events, for as in dance, movement and repose is the movement and repose of the Tao. And this is what is reflected in Gebser’s criteria for wisdom — to know when to let happen and to know when to make happen or, optionally, to know when to attend (or listen) and when to intend (or act).

        There used to be an indigenous radio show called “Dead Dog Cafe” on CBC. The sign-off for the show was something that always impressed me in that sense: “Stay calm! Be Brave! Wait for the signs!” I like that.

        • davidm58 says :

          “The rhythmic temporicity which sustains and encloses the stars as well as our hearts.” – Jean Gebser, p. 171.

          Hence rhythm and polarity being two of the most fundamental Patterns of the universe.

  7. abdulmonem says :

    With the mental flow of IW, I like to be careful in addressing the question of consciousness that is divinely distributed among the different species. I do not think it is a field for comparison because each species have its unique consciousness . in the quran we read that, all birds and animals are nations like the humans and thus we need to slow down. I only like to mention some stories that indicate that trajectory, I already mentioned the story of Cain and his murder of his brother Abel and how he did not know what to do with Abel body and how a crow taught him the ritual of burying the dead as it is narrated in the quran. We have the wise bees selection of food to produce their honey and the well designed valleys of the ants and their food storage then there is the water that responds in formulating beautiful form in lieu of beautiful sound and harmonious vibration and produce ugly shapes in response, to ugly sound or vibration, showing an empathy most humans are incapable to do. There is the salmon that navigate against the current to go to its birth place to die and there are the birds that cross continents without compass. There are the pets. It is a fact that humans can commit the most atrocious crime with cold blood not even the most voracious wild animals refrain from doing. However despite that I can not go so far as to have nature without humans because I am upset with some crooks, forgetting the great accomplishment of so many great humans and the artistic soul that not only appreciates the beauty around but itself create beauty in actions and forms.

    • tony says :

      Or the mathematical, artistic and esthetic Genius…of a fish

      A fine example that no consciousness is superior to another

      • Scott Preston says :

        I cannot concur with any conclusion that there is no qualitative difference between human consciousness and the consciousness of a pufferfish or, for that matter, a toad, or that the human “genius” is somehow equivalent to the species genius of the pufferfish or, in fact, any other creature in nature that creates or recreates such archetypal patterns. The Logos, as Heraclitus put it, is common to all (where by “Logos” may be taken to be equivalent to “ever-present origin”).

        However, certain matters pertaining to the human form become ununderstandable without recognising the qualitative differentiation of plant and animal and human consciousness. Blake’s “Where man is not, Nature is barren” would be uunderstandable. Likewise, Rumi’s description of the “evolutionary intelligence”

        I died as a mineral and became a plant,
        I died as plant and rose to animal,
        I died as animal and I was Man.
        Why should I fear? When was I less by dying?
        Yet once more I shall die as Man, to soar
        With angels blest; but even from angelhood
        I must pass on: all except God doth perish.
        When I have sacrificed my angel-soul,
        I shall become what no mind e’er conceived.

        Oh, let me not exist! for Non-existence
        Proclaims in organ tones, To Him we shall return.

        What Rumi is describing is learning, and what he is describing is growth from very, very simple forms of consciousness to more complex forms of consciousness — multiform, multidimensional. This being human is only a way-station on the road to something else.

        A Bohdisattva vows not to enter nirvana himself or herself until he has liberated every atom, mineral, plant, and animal from samsaric existence. So either he’s a fool and insane, or he (like Blake, like Rumi) understands something of the purpose of human consciousness once it is liberated from its own delusions — service to all other created beings lost in samsara. The human form is indeed not the “crown of creation”, but neither is it contrariwise “the naked ape” nor the “selfish gene” or “the lizard brain”, which is just going from bad to worse

        • abdulmonem says :

          No one can deny the qualitative differences but the problem appears when we want to use, these differences as a domain for ultimate preference. It is well known fact that the human can stoop below the animal or can rise above the angle .It is not a question of biology but a question of psychology. that is how the human performs his role ,to realize his divine purpose on earth and to see in all these demonstrations of plants, animals,birds etc consciousness some of our god manifestations of wonders that never stop disclosing to the humans in order to enhance their consciousness to skillfully and gratefully perform their roles. Animals do not need to know meaning because they already know the meaning of their messages and perform them, so are the birds and the plant only the humans are left to search for meaning for their life as a result of his internal antagonistic forces and in that resides the trail of the humans either up or down. Alas the humans are always in denial of all the astounding divine signs in themselves and around.

          • davidm58 says :

            Well said, abdulmonem. I agree with Scott about qualitative differences in consciousness, and i think that is an essential component of Gebser’s message about the new mutation to an integral consciousness structure.

            But as you say, “the problem appears when we want to use, these differences as a domain for ultimate preference.” I see this often among the Wilberians and Spiral Dynamicists, who have rightly, I think, come to an awareness of different “levels” of consciousness structures. This can be very helpful to our understanding and appreciation of qualitative differences. And maybe even help us transform our own consciousness structure more healthy and appropriate for a new circumstance. But inevitably, these constructs of different levels of consciousness get used to judge others. This may be part of the reason why Gebser was very careful about the wording he used, and clarifying that he was not talking about linear “progress,” “development,” or “evolution” in the commonly understood sense. And I don’t think he talked about these consciousness structures in terms of “levels.” The kind of integration he was talking about was as much about falling back and reinhabiting the best elements of what came before as it was about embracing the new that was emerging.

            Keep in mind that when we talk about “qualitative” differences, we’re talking about quality meaning distinctive features and characteristics that are healthy for the given organism. Not about “good” or “bad,” “high” or “low” quality.

            • davidm58 says :

              And having said that about being careful when we think about “levels,” I should also say that I think there is something to the idea regarding levels of development, or stages of development, and even of the idea that humans right now are playing a unique role.

              As Teilhard de Chardin said, “We are the universe becoming conscious of itself.”

              On the other hand, at some point we will go extinct. In the cosmic time scale, we’ve only been around for the last minute. Are we to say there was nothing significant going on in the billions of years before we came on the scene? And what about after we have gone extinct (which could happen sooner rather than later). Michael Dowd points out that racoons might be the next species to achieve higher consciousness structures, and after them perhaps crows.

              We do need to guard against getting too dogmatic, or too judgemental about these things. After his retirement, the philosopher Loyal Rue was asked to come speak at a special event. He was invited to share a summary of the most important things he had learned; the core of what he wanted to pass on. He came in and spoke one sentence, then he walked out and left. His message then, and his message to humankind: “Don’t take yourselves so seriously!”

            • mikemackd says :

              And well said too, David M!

              I studied Wilber and SD for many years, but never considered myself to be either.

              Ken Wilber once asked me to write an article for something he never published. I did, and began it by saying:

              “Let me preface my remarks by asserting that I am not a ‘Wilberite’ or a ‘Wilberian’. Further, I assert that anyone who said that such creatures truly exist could scarcely have begun to understand what Ken Wilber is talking about (for example, see Wilber, 1984, [A sociable God. Boulder: Shambhala New Science Library], particularly p. 66).”

              As I understand KW and SD it’s per se that nobody stabilised in what they term the second tier would consider themselves “holier than thou”. If any do, including KW, they are simply hoisting themselves on their own petards, with their reptilian, pecking order, levels kicking in when perceiving a threat to its identity as they have constructed. Later though, they may be able to reflect and accurately (meaning both intrinsically and extrinsically) value their own responses, and attempt to recover the situation if they acted splentively and rashly. One can’t unscramble an egg, but one may be able to make it more tasty.

            • Scott Preston says :

              Everything is on its way to becoming something else, including the human, or what’s a good flux for?

              Creation was not a “once-and-for-all” moment or a one-time event. It’s continuous, ongoing, and everything is implicated in it and involved in it, in the capacities of which they are capable.

            • Charles says :

              davidm- well articulated.
              But as you say, “the problem appears when we want to use, these differences as a domain for ultimate preference.” I see this often among the Wilberians and Spiral Dynamicists, who have rightly, I think, come to an awareness of different “levels” of consciousness structures. This can be very helpful to our understanding and appreciation of qualitative differences…..

            • Scott Preston says :

              I prefer to speak of “species of consciousness” rather than “levels”. Levels is a spatialisng conception.

      • Scott Preston says :

        Speaking of Bodhisattvas, might add Francis of Assisi, who believed it was his purpose to teach the Logos, or Gospel, to the flowers, the fishes, the birds, the animals too. Do we conclude that Francis was a fool, insane, presumptuous in that respect? Or was he also on to something like the Bodhisattva?

        • tony says :

          Our historical view of other species has been that of potential danger, prey or to domesticate for practical purpose. Scientific and environmental interest is finally widening an awareness which is lifting these blinkers. Interestingly enough these artistic creations of the puffer fish were only discoverered as recently as twenty years ago. We see what we are willing to see which has to conform to what is acceptable to the present state of consciousness. There is also the sticky subject of different complexities of consciousness within the same species. Some crows may not bury their dead but have a capacity of analysis which leads them to drop pebbles in a narrow jar in order to raise the surface of the water, enabling them to have access to food foating on the surface. There are many in the human species who would bury their dead, but wouldn’t have figured out that solution.

        • abdulmonem says :

          Ibn Arabi in one of his messages called the message of victory he talked of the ascending stations toward higher consciousness in the way up ,he said in one of these stations the seeker is invited to enter the domain of the plants where the plants start to disclose to him their traits and characteristics and so also into the other spheres of other species.The world of higher ascendancy know no ceiling.. It is sad that often time too much mental chatters prevent from clarity that is why the seeker is advised to control the monkey mind. The world is the teacher of the human, after all what is the world but the embodied words of god with their invitation to read.

  8. Scott Preston says :

    It is something of a misapprehension that the indigenous show any greater reverence for life, or for animal life, than the non-indigenous. Not in my experience, despite the impression left by the stories. I have never witnessed such reverence, but I have witnessed much cruelty and indifference to pain rather. One can no more say that the stories reflect a reverence for animals than naming a football or baseball team after birds of the air or the beasts of the field demonstrates reverence on the part of the non-indigenous.

    An archaelogist of the future might surmise, mistakenly, that names like “Eagles” or “Cardinals” or “Orioles” or “Blue Jays” or “Sharks” and such show great reverence for animal life in the culture. He would be mistaken in that wouldn’t he or she? Likewise, amongst the indigenous, with the exception of certain individuals as elsewhere, I have never witnessed the same reverence in action as one might surmise from the stories or from the tribal iconography.

    The stories are no more reflective of a reverence for life than are Aesop’s Fables or Grimm’s Fairy Tales or Walt Disney are.

    • Charles says :

      Scott, Good point when you write,

      It is something of a misapprehension that the indigenous show any greater reverence for life, or for animal life, than the non-indigenous. Not in my experience, despite the impression left by the stories. I have never witnessed such reverence, but I have witnessed much cruelty and indifference to pain rather. One can no more say that the stories reflect a reverence for animals than naming a football or baseball team after birds of the air or the beasts of the field demonstrates reverence on the part of the non-indigenous…

      The question could be asked, what is the notion of a modern self?

      Godwin’s book One Cosmos under God is insightful for many reasons, but in this context he is talking about the singularity of mind and the emergence of the modern self. He gives many examples of why it isn’t wise to romanticize the past and past cultures. He suggests a pattern in groups of humans: “logical coherence and social solitary are inversely related. So the more solidarity you have, the less logic you get, and vice versa.”

      A holistic human that is paradoxically integrally related individually to the earth and community is necessary.

  9. abdulmonem says :

    I am in the mood of let it happen not in the mood of make it happen. I always wonder where my will stops and his begins or where his will works and mine halts. This applies to the interplay of the human consciousness and the divine consciousness where the boundary is so translucent it is difficult to feel in order to define. Is it he in me or I in him, what a shifting ground that brings to mind the story of the wave and the particle and the rapid vanishing of the one in the other and the reversal of the process. No wonder Whitehead insisted on the never stopping processes of our cosmos where stability is not it is language but it is language is the language of the flow, this is to remind the humans of his transitional nature and warns them from falling in the illusion of perpetuity. It is the tragedy of our civilization that has forgotten its death. We are all speaking out of him and back into him,in this search of meanings. Nothing meaningless in our cosmos that is why one has to be careful as to what one says.

  10. davidm58 says :

    “Synchronisation of times, rather than coordination of spaces, thus seems the key to the theme of the New Mutation or “New Renaissance” ”

    Don’t we want to deal effectively with both space and time in the new mutation, i.e. integrating the cross of reality?

    I’m trying to interpret this, from page 311-312 of Gebser’s EPO:

    “Systatic values or energies are contained in every systematic quantity. This fact was not present to consciousness as long as it was compelled to realize the reality of space and devote itself exclusively to space and its dimensions. From this arose, moreover, the momentous interlinking of space with matter whereby matter limits and ‘secures’ space.

    “This will also make comprehensible the erroneous rational development which led to the materialism and mechanization to which latter generations have pad homage. As a result of its systematization, the three-dimensional consciousness rigidified in the material phenomena of space. Unless we are aware of this relation between space and matter we will miscontrue systasis in a perspectivistic, three-dimensional way as being a surrogate system.

    “…Acategorical systasis therefore ‘comprehends’ the ever-latent presence f the incalclulable time-energy component in the measurable space-matter state; it is the expression of our recognition of the mutability of all phenomena to which no systematization can do justice. The synairesis which systasis makes possible integrates phenomena, freeing us in the diaphany of ‘a-waring’ or perceiving truth from space and time.”

    “…The new form of statement based on systasis and synairesis, which retains the efficient co-validity of symbiosis, symbol, and system, is a form of expression and realization that renders perceptible the content and principal motif of the new mutation while at the same time consciously fulfilling its impartation of truth.”

    Is he saying we need to de-rigidify space in the new mutation?

    P.S. His comment that “matter limits and ‘secures’ space reinforces my theory of the fifth law of thermodynamics…Howard T. Odum’s “Maximum Power Principle” was called “Time’s Speed’s Regulator” as well as the 4th Law of thermodynamics. So I think the “Maximum Entropy Production Principle” is the polarity of that 4th Law, thus a fifth law which we can call “Space’s Girth Regulator.” Space, that is, as understood and constrained in the material world. Thus Expand/Contract.

    • Scott Preston says :

      Gebser (or maybe his translators) sometimes speak in riddles — maybe a translation issue, but I’ve never acquired the original German copy Ursprung und Gegenwart to test my suspicion about that.

      “Rigidification of space” is otherwise referred to as “reification” or “reification of consciousness”, which perhaps makes his statement a little clearer, which is otherwise, it seems to me, a statement about the principle of flux or impermanence which renders all spatialised systematising moot — due to the “incalculable time-energy” (flux or transience, in other words). Basically, it seems to me here that Gebser is saying little more than “time is of the essence” and also Nietzsche’s “the will to a system is a lack of integrity”.

      To me it reads much like Blake’s “Eternity in the hour” or “Heaven in a Wild Flower”, since the incalculable is also the eternal or the infinite, or the qualitative.

      So, it seems to me that the “derigidification of space” (and matter) is something that occurs spontaneously with the shift to a “time-energy” focus as something also bearing on Blake’s statement that “Energy is Eternal Delight”. Did Gebser, like Castaneda, perceive directly “energy as it flows in the universe” as the fundamental reality of all things? I don’t know. Sometimes it reads like he did, other times not. This is one passage where it sounds as if he did.

      Time-Energy seems to me just another way of stating “continuous transformation” that necessarily renders all attempts at systematisation dubious or only temporary.

    • Scott Preston says :

      Looks like Mr. Trump will have his hands-full with American women. (What am I saying! As if he hasn’t already). I like some of the transitional effects in the video — the various goddess figures morphing into one another. It does really look like one face going through different transformations. That’s an interesting effect.

  11. Charles says :

    Let me mention William I Thompson’s book Coming Into Being -Artifacts and Texts in the Evolution of Consciousness as being a insightful book. In one chapter he relates how the Buddha used the word Skanda which means heap, pile or aggregates as one moved downward from complex to fundamental. They were forms, feelings , perceptions, dispositional attitudes and consciousness.

    I appreciate the good ideas from everyone. The foundational transformation in my mind is the move from homo-economic to homo-spiritus. To move from production values to relationship values. Lewis Hyde suggests “that given material abundance, scarcity must be a function of boundaries.”

    Each of us in our own way is a process in history. I can learn from whatever I experience as a so-called “human being.”

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