Holonic Awareness and “The Age of Discovery”.

I recently spent another enjoyable afternoon of coffee-drinking and conversation with Chris Kutarna, co-author (with Ian Goldlin) of The Age of Discovery: Navigating the Risks and Rewards of Our New Renaissance. The conversation was pretty wide-ranging — anything from the meaning of the “zombie” as cultural meme, to Game of Thrones, to contemporary politics (local and global), to the limits of Cartesianism and dialectics (and thus to perspectivisation or the “point-of-view” consciousness and mode of perception). Always stimulating, these conversations over coffee help me articulate what is my “Holy Grail” in terms of any  prospective “New Renaissance” or “Age of Discovery” — that is to say, that which remains  to be “discovered” (rather than simply invented) and why we must move from a triadic or tripartite logic to a four-term or quadratic logic. My “Age of Discovery” thus involves the realisation of holonic awareness and perception.

There have been a number of such “Ages of Discovery” in human history — the “discovery of the soul”, the “discovery of the will”, the “discovery of the mind“. The discovery of a new “dimension” to our reality was always coincident with the disclosure of some new potency or faculty in the human form and configuration leading to a radical reconstruction of perception and to the meanings of “truth”, “human nature”, or “cosmos” — literally a “new Heaven and a new Earth”. This is what Gebser refers to as the “irruption” of a new consciousness structure and the self-revelation of what was previously a hidden dimension or domain.

For Jean Gebser, the as yet “undiscovered country”, as it were, is the diaphainon and diaphaneity — a more truly “universal way of looking at things” and the “transparency of the world”, as he puts it in The Ever-Present Origin. Gebser describes this diaphainon in other terms as “the Itself”, or “aperspectival consciousness”, or “ever-present origin” or “integral consciousness”, but we can just as well name it “holonic awareness”.

Ages of Discovery are very turbulent, chaotic, disruptive, and even very violent and nihilistic ages — Axial Age, Heroic Age, Age of Reason (also being the Age of Revolutions), and so on. The New attacks the Old, and the Old attacks the New. Past and Future are in conflict and the “times are out of joint”, as Shakespeare aptly put it. New Ages irrupt only when an older Age has already run it’s course and has exhausted its creative possibilities and potentialities for further growth and articulation. They become, in a sense, over-articulated. Gebser refers to that as the “deficient” mode of functioning of a consciousness structure. The original fund of inspiration is spent, and what remains is only an empty shell without vitality.

That is the real meaning, for example, of Jesus’ cursing of the tree that no longer bore any fruit. Decadent Ages and civilisations as “consciousness structures” are spiritually fruitless ages because their original fund of sustaining inspiration — the vitality and life-blood of society — is spent. Nihilism is the term for this condition of “deficiency”. Fundamentalism in religion and reductionism in thinking are present proof that the original fund of inspiration that drove Renaissance and Reformation is now exhausted, and we are indeed “post-modern” in that sense. In other words, the “Perspectival Age” has run its course and “The Age of Reason” is in deep, deep crisis.

Any previous Age of Discovery, though, represented a self-overcoming and self-transcendence. Life abhors stagnation and a vacuum and revolts against it. Times of crisis are, at a deeper level, the struggle of Life with Death, of Genesis with the Nihil, of creation with destruction, of inspiration with expiration, of the revolutionary with the reactionary. Previous Ages of Discovery were the form of the revival and resuscitation of dead forms of human and social life by new inspiration, which is a new influx of vital energy — often initially, wild, disorganised, and arriving apocalyptically or like a “force of nature” and as “the shock of the real”. Only gradually amidst the shouting and the slogans, does the “shattering truth” of the “hidden dimension” or “hidden domain” reveal itself as a “discovery”. Gebser’s “irruption” is the self-realisation of what was previously the same hidden dimension or repressed domain.

That, to me, is the significance of works like anthropologist Edward T. Hall’s The Hidden Dimension or Norman Friedman’s The Hidden Domain. The discovery of a new dimension or domain requires a mutation in the consciousness structure and its mode of perception, because a “dimension” is less a quantifiable magnitude than it is a directedness of our consciousness (also called “intentionality” of consciousness). The discovery of any new “dimension” is practically synonymous with the term “Age of Discovery”, and the discovery of any new domain or dimension is correspondingly the result of a mutation in the way of looking or in the mode of perception.

It’s becoming quite evident that the mutation in question, presently, is towards holonic perception. It’s suggested in such developments as the “holographic universe” or “the holotropic mind“. It’s suggested in the growth and development of eco-logical thinking, or in Rosenstock-Huessy’s “ecodynamic laws” of society. It’s suggested also in the shift from analytical modes to notions of “pattern recognition” — the perception of wholes or holons — and thus to more metaphorical or symbolic modes of cognitising. More generally, it is represented in the shift from the Mechanical Philosophy to what I call “the Hermetic Philosophy”.

The irruption of this “hidden domain” or “hidden dimension” into consciousness is not going to happen without a lot of anxiety, confusion, havoc, mayhem, pandaemonium, social turbulence, and an extreme polarisation into reactionary and revolutionary (or trajective and prejective) orientations. The times are, indeed, in those terms, “out of joint”.

I want to illustrate that by an image that circulated not long ago that, to my mind, represents a confrontation of the deficient perspectival with the emergent aperspectival, or the “point-of-view” consciousness structure with the holonic consciousness — the pyramid meets the sphere, as it were, for it beautifully illustrates (despite its intentions) the deficiency of the mental-rational or perspectival in relation to the holonic

Logo of the DARPA “Total Information Awareness” Programme

This is the logo of the Total Information Awareness (TIA) Programme. Here, the perspectival eye and mode of perception — symbolised by the pyramid — is declaring its rightful hegemony over the spherical, global, or holonic. It’s absurd. It’s one of the most absurd and irrational statements about the present reality I’ve ever seen. You will note that the perspectival eye is blind to at least half of the sphere, yet claims to be “total” awareness when it is quite obviously not. The all-seeing eye presumes to be “global”, when it’s not. In this logo, I see the past attempting to preserve its hegemony over the future, perspective consciousness attempting to assert its power and authority over holonic perception and consciousness. This logo is a pretty good example of what Gebser means by the “deficient mode” of the mental-rational or perspectival consciousness structure. It claims to be a “total” view when it is, evidently, only partial.

In this logo, I don’t see a “clash of civilisations”, but a clash of past and future, and of consciousness structures — a clash of the deficient perspectival with the incipient aperspectival or holonic. This logo is very reactionary.

Would it be too much to suggest that this logo perfectly illustrates the war of the Emissary on the Master or what Ian McGilchrist describes as the Emissary’s “usurpation” of the Master in his book on neurodynamics and the divided brain: The Master of His Emissary ? I would suggest that it does represent that. Here is , I think, that fateful confusion of the meanings of the Whole and the Totality, and the merely partial and partisan to declare its hegemony over the whole as a “totality”.

Feel your way into this symbolisation. Which of these structures most describes you and satisfies your intuition about yourself? The pyramid or the sphere? Note how Picasso, for example, completely differs from this kind of perspectivist representation in its attempt to actually be holistic representation. I can’t help but feel that this logo summarises, beautifully if inadvertently, the essential contemporary problem, and the struggle of the whole with the mere totality, or of the Master with the Emissary.








15 responses to “Holonic Awareness and “The Age of Discovery”.”

  1. Scott Preston says :

    Anyone interested in delving deeper into the issue of perspective consciousness and perception might be interested in James Gibson’s The Perception of the Visual World, although it is very, very pricey even for used copies. Some discussion and excerpts appear in Edward Hall’s The Hidden Dimension, which is also a pretty good source of information on perspective perception.

  2. Scott Preston says :

    BTW, the first chapter of Hall’s The Hidden Domain describes what I think is probably a very accurate interpretation of what Jean Gebser somewhat enigmatically refers to as “the law of the Earth” in The Ever-Present Origin (for those of you who have read or are reading Gebser, and who might be puzzled by his reference to “the law of the Earth”).

  3. abdulmonem says :

    I was reading a short book by Frithjof Schuon titled Spiritual perspective and human facts,after I finished it, I turned as usual to see what is new in Scott world only to find the holonic awareness and age of discovery. Holonic awareness as you know it means to me and to Schuon, divine consciousness which any alienation from its domain causes a rupture in human consciousness. Schuon identified that rapture in the four falsities he called, the false life that is ridden by passion that engenders suffering, false death is the egoism that hardens the heart and distance the human from god and his mercy, false activity dissipation that casts the soul into an insatiable vortex and makes it forgets god, and false rest where human energy is misplaced,wholly dictated to the world and the self with nothing left to address god and his role in the world or the human self. God speaks in a different language which touches us through destiny across time and through symbols that surrounds us across space to ignites the faculties given to us to ponder both destiny and the symbols abound. It is an adventure in the world of language which requires our utmost care and attentive scrutiny because the concepts we carry have their energies, negative or positive that determine our final destiny and our understanding of the symbols, in this life of trial and test. I read some writer calling the body biogram and the soul logogram and thought to myself I prefer to stick with the original names, together with the integral consciousness, because my problem is how to attain it not how to speak about it. Spiritual destitution is the motto of our time despite the many artificial spiritual schools that are involved in addressing the human problem and not to correct the human relation with god the source of all our problems, God call us to help our neighbor including god as our closest neighbor and yet we want to build wall with our neighbors.

  4. mikemackd says :

    I had seen this DARPA logo years ago and thought it sinister, but had not developed my interpretation of it as far as you did in this post. My musings:

    To me, this essay inspired the metaphor of shining a laser into the universe. The logo designers might retort to your post that the earth rotates around to its gaze, so soon they would gain full spectrum dominance, with the rest of us fit only to bow in shock and awe to its powerful majesty. However, as the universe is timespace, by the time you pin a butterfly your laser located to the wall, the rest of the universe has moved on in time and space.

    In my mull, I also thought of the idea from the Donovan song that they might as well “try and catch the wind”. That reminded me of John 3:8: “the wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is everyone that is born of the Spirit.” They would retort, “Hell yes we can! Now, we can knoweth where it bloweth and cometh, Jesus! Wrong again, loser!”, In so saying, they quite forget that the total is not the whole, and the way that can be known is still not the way.

    So then I listened to the song by Donovan at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8hjEYTpwE8

    Its lyrics include:

    In the chilly hours and minutes of uncertainty, I want to be in the warm hold of your loving mind. To feel you all around me and to take your hand along the sand; ah, but I may as well try and catch the wind …
    When rain has hung the leaves with tears I want you near to kill my fears; to help me to leave all my blues behind. For standin’ in your heart is where I want to be and long to be; ah, but I may as well try and catch the wind.

    From the above framing, it seemed to me that Donovan was on to an emotional truth here: perhaps parts of us whose cries like Donovan’s have gone unheeded, might try, metaphorically, to catch the wind: “mummy, look at me! I’ve caught the wind / topped the class / Won a medal! Look at me, mummy! … Mummy? … Dad? … Anyone … at … all?”

    Perhaps our unsatisfied love hunger can turn into insatiable regard hunger and the milk of our own human kindness, spurned, curdles into a spiteful hate? As Mumford put it, perhaps “People turned from their inner life, which was disordered and confused … they centered their attention upon the outer world and turned impulses that might have been suicidal into acts of aggression and mastery, perpetrated against nature and nature’s children’? (The Condition of Man, p. 232). Eckhart Tolle’s “pain body”?

    Just before all that musing happened this morning, there was a replay on the radio of a chap touting his new book:

    The author, David Gillespie, suggested that we check Donald Trump out in the context of whether he’s a psychopath. Personally, I am more inclined to see Trump as Mr. Robinson as in the You Tube I.W. linked us to, whom I consider more representative of the curdled soul I have just mentioned; arrested and fixated at the terrible twos. I am also personally not of the view that I am in no position to make such a call.

    As quoted in the link, David Gillespie further states, “The thing that drives psychopaths is absolute power over people”, the type of power that would be a driver towards obtaining total information awareness.

    Perhaps those most vulnerable to such submission to absolute power are those ensnared in that hate? Perhaps those crippled thusly come to rule, because between them and their psychopathic masters, they mainly comprise those who want to rule in the first place? Those who crave to shock and awe, to gain full spectrum dominance?

    Nah, of course not! They are like us, they ARE us! Americans, Canadians, British, Australians, Israelis, Palestinians, North Koreans, Iranians, Iraqis, Muslims, Nazis, Christians, Jews, or whichever other in-and-exclusionary flags and banners people have flocked to over the millennia to inflate their sense of self-worth. Ipso facto, that way, we can pretend we’re the good guys, “like us, not like them, mummy. They are bad. DARPA bad. ISIS bad”.

    So then I thought of “by their works we shall know them”, not by their various mythic membership affliliations. As such, the ones they have most to fear from aren’t us, and nor are they to be most afraid of us.

    Expressed from that same mythic level, but nonetheless real for that, the genuine judgement is to come from within (or via) our inner selves, personified through the ages across Eurasia as Daena or similar, from (arguably) Ta-no in the extreme east of Eurasia, Japan, to Dana at the extreme west, in Ireland, where A.E. called Dana: “the Great Mother and Spirit of Nature, grows thirsty to receive its imprint on her bosom, and to bear again her offspring of stars and starry beings. (Russell, G.W. 1918, The Candle of Vision, p. 154).

    She is personified in Sanskrit as dhénā, Avestan as daena, and Lithuanian as daina: “all thought, but thought in its higher and spiritual reaches. Both phonetics and semantics proclaim them own sisters in the old Indo-European family circle” (Oliphant, 1912. Journal of the American Oriental Society 32 (4):393). Wikipedia describes Daena as insight and revelation, hence “conscience” or “religion”, “that which is seen or observed”. And within each of us, not just outside us historically as A.E.’s friend W.B, Yeats put it, but as part of that Daena-insight and revaluation of values, our own empires may stand appalled, drop the reins of peace and war, when that fierce virgin and her star out of the fabulous darkness calls.

    In Mumford/McGilchrist parlance, I suggest that the left hemisphere machine / Caliban-id personal imperium has, hidden within what is dark to it, the right hemisphere, this Mistress, mythically identified as Daena, and Her Emissary. For as life enfolds genders, both the “Master” and “His Emissary” enfold genders. As far as I can recall, that is unaddressed by either McGilchrist or Mumford.

    It should be so, though, for we are all nature’s children, whether we are terrible twos, rebellious teenagers, mature adults … Beyond our babyhood, whatever stage of psychological development we operate at in response to challenges, we may be able to subdue our hatred and angers.

    However, that does not mean we have any control over such challenges engendering tumults in our inner life: our control may be only how we deal with them, including toxic ones such as by suicide of the body, or of the soul by our hate against nature and nature’s children.

    Out of the fabulous darkness, our Masters call to our Emissaries.

    • Scott Preston says :

      Yes, the DARPA logo was designed with “Full Spectrum Dominance” and a unipolar world in mind. Well, how’s that going these days? Not too good for its advocates.

      It’s interesting how Full Spectrum Dominance is linked to Bacon’s scientia potens est, as if the former followed naturally and logically from the latter (as indeed it does). The irony of the logo though is that, although it pretends to “full spectrum dominance” via “total information awareness”, it completely fails to do so. The all-seeing eye is not only blind to half the globe at any one time, but it is completely blind to what is, as Gebser put it, “behind, before, beneath” etc — the zone around it’s beam or cone of illumination, which only touches a part of the surface of the globe at any one time. (it also relies solely on one sense — the eye. That’s not “full spectrum”).

      As a symbolisation of “Full Spectrum Dominance”, it is not only pretty pathetic, but completely irrational. It’s quite tragi-comic in that sense — sort of “Keystone Cops Police the World”.

      I came across a passage from a book called The Painter’s Eye last night. It’s by an artist named Maurice Grosser, who is quoted in Hall’s The Hidden Dimension. The “eye” in question here is the perspectivising eye. The passage beautifully illustrates also the TIA Office logo, leaving no doubt about that logo’s meaning as a structure of perception and consciousness. Grosser is here describing the proper perspective distance one must keep from the subject in portraiture in terms Gebser would very much appreciate in terms of perspective or point-of-view consciousness, the pyramid of vision, and “distantiation” versus “presentiation” as it were. Here’s Grosser,

      “At more than thirteen feet away….twice the suau height of our bodies, the human figure can be seen in its entirety as a single whole. At this distance… we are chiefly aware of its outline and proportions… we can look at a man as if he were a shape cut out of cardboard, and see him… as something as having little connection with ourselves…. It is only the solidity and depth we see in nearby objects that produce in us feelings of sympathy and kinship with things we look at. At twice its height, the figure can be seen at once. It can be comprehended at a glance… understood as a unit and a whole… At this distance whatever meaning or feeling the figure may convey is dominated, not by expression or features of the face, but by the position of the members of the body. .. The painter can look at his model as if he were a tree in a landscape or an apple in a still life…the sitter’s personal warmth does not disturb him.

      But four to eight feet is the portrait distance. At this distance the painter is near enough so that his eyes have no trouble in understanding the sitter’s solid forms, yet he is far enough away so that the foreshortening of the forms presents him no real problem. Here, at the normal distance of social intimacy and easy conversation the sitter’s soul begins to appear… Nearer than three feet, within touching distance, the soul is far too much in evidence for any sort of disinterested observation. Three feet is the sculptor’s working distance, not the painter’s. The sculptor must stand near enough to his model to be able to judge forms by sense of touch.

      At touching distance, the problems of foreshortening make the business of painting itself too difficult…. Moreover at touching distance, the sitter’s personality is too strong. The influence of the model on the painter is too powerful, too disturbing to the artist’s necessary detachment, touching distance being not the position of visual rendition, but of motor reaction of some physical expression of sentiment, like fisticuffs, or the various acts of love.” (pp. 77-78 of The Hidden Dimension, Hall’s emphasis)

      Gebser would have loved this, I’m sure, as touching also on his problem of “distantiation”. You also see here expressed the scientific attitude — objectification — and the meaning of the “Ego-It” relation that Rosenstock-Huessy deplored in his essay “Farewell to Descartes”.

      Click to access I-am-an-Impure-Thinker.pdf

      That “Ego-It” (or strictly subject-object relation and dichotomisation) is Herbert Marcuse’s One Dimensional Man who is the same as Mumford’s and Seidenberg’s “Post-Historic Man” as well.

      I could go on at great length about the significance of this passage from Grosser, and how it illustrates the paradox of the popular sayings “distance makes the heart grow fonder” but “familiarity breeds contempt”.

      Note how Grosser’s perspectival space avoids tactile space, avoids conversation space, and avoids soul space or personal space and seeks rather that space where “subjective values” play no role — detachment, disinterestedness, non-engagement, tries to avoid, in other words, any form of empathetic identification.

      This is fine and necessary, under certain conditions. You want your doctor or surgeon to be very objective for as long as he or she is treating you or operating on you. You want a scientist to also be objective for as long as he or she wears their scientist hat too. It becomes something else completely when it becomes normalised as the “common sense” and habitual way of looking at things. It becomes aberrant, even pathological as a habit.

      Yet, this is what is represented in the DARPA logo.

    • InfiniteWarrior says :

      Personally, I am more inclined to see Trump as [“BP” “Richfield”] as in the YouTube [video] linked

      And with that in mind, it’s not at all difficult see what “makes sense” to “the corporate dinosaur” and both defies all logic/reason and defines pathological for the rest of us.

      As the 16th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan approaches, President Donald Trump is reportedly being pressured by a billionaire financier and a chemical executive to extend the scope of the conflict for one simple, greedy reason: to exploit Afghanistan’s mineral reserves. – Colonialism and Greed: Trump Considers Afghan War Expansion to Exploit Minerals


      No. “Resource wars” are very much our present, and the dystopian future of the “Fallout” universe may not be far behind if we don’t change our ways.

      • mikemackd says :

        Another book I found while packing them into boxes was Philip Zimbardo’s “The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil’ (2008, New York, Random House).

        Zimbardo gives an account of the notorious Stanford Prison Experiment (SPE) that he ran. Before doing that, however, in his framing of his book he states the following (pp. 3-4):

        Three psychological truths emerge from Escher’s image. First, the world is filled with both good and evil — was, is, will always be. Second, the barrier between good and evil is permeable and nebulous. And third, it is possible for angels to become devils and, perhaps more difficult to conceive, for devils to become angels.

        Perhaps this image reminds you of the ultimate transformation of good into evil, the metamorphosis of Lucifer into Satan. Lucifer, the “light bearer,” was God’s favorite angel until he challenged God’s authority and was cast into Hell along with his band of fallen angels. “Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven,” boasts Satan, the “adversary of God” in Milton’s Paradise Lost. In Hell, Lucifer-Satan becomes a liar, an empty imposter who uses boasts, spears, trumpets, and banners, as some national leaders do today. At the Demonic Conference in Hell of all the major demons, Satan is assured that he cannot regain Heaven in any direct confrontation. However, Satan’s statesman, Beelzebub, comes up with the most evil of solutions in proposing to avenge themselves against God by corrupting God’s greatest creation, humankind. Though Satan succeeds in tempting Adam and Eve to disobey God and be led into evil, God decrees that they will in time be saved. However, for the rest of time, Satan will be allowed to slither around that injunction, enlisting witches to tempt people to evil. Satan’s intermediaries would thereafter become the target of zealous inquisitors who want to rid the world of evil, but their horrific methods would breed a new form of systemic evil the world had never before known.

        Lucifer’s sin is what thinkers in the Middle Ages called “cupiditas.”* For Dante, the sins that spring from that root are the most extreme “sins of the wolf,” the spiritual condition of having an inner black hole so deep within oneself that no amount of power or money can ever fill it. For those suffering the mortal malady called cupiditas, whatever exists outside of one’s self has worth only as it can be exploited by, or taken into one’s self. In Dante’s Hell those guilty of that sin are in the ninth circle, frozen in the Lake of Ice. Having cared for nothing but self in life, they are encased in icy Self for eternity. By making people focus only on oneself in this way, Satan and his followers turn their eyes away from the harmony of love that unites all living creatures.


        Actors can consciously turn this Zeliggish phenomenon off and on; others of us are less aware and thereby more vulnerable. That is, just as Scott has pointed out Hall’s and Grosser’s insights into the effects of proximity, so we get sucked into the megamachine and thereby into the maws of those who use books like The Lucifer Effect, 1984, Lord of the Flies, Brave New World etc. not as warnings as they were written to be, but as operating manuals.
        Not everyone like that is as hideous as BP Richfield; on the surface, at least. But everyone has to compete against the Richfields to survive in business, and people who are kind, decent and honourable by nature can be forced by philosophies, laws and circumstance to sell their souls to the devil and out-Richfield Richfield: all the while believing themselves to be the good guys for doing that, and all the while bringing yet more evil into the world. Clever of Satan, that.

        However, I submit that Newton’s Law that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, may apply in our psyches to different degrees as well as in physics, but in our psyches it will not be as mechanical as it can be in physics, and as we often think of karma as being. Rather, it could come from nowhere, non-linear, up close, and personal.

        Mother Nature has her little ways.

        * I’ve just been reading about cupiditas in Mumford. Odd how it’s not mentioned more these days, with all that is going on, such as in the resource wars you mentioned.

        • mikemackd says :

          I mentioned Erik Kramer last February, and his theory of Dimensional Accrual and Dissociation built on the works of Gebser, Mumford and others. As a result of Scott’s mention of Grosser, I just googled Grosser and Mumford’s names, and came across Kramer again in the context of intercultural communication at:


          Which includes this comment under the heading “Intercultural Adaption”:

          “As Bourdieu (1977) maintains, the effect of symbolic violence such as host cultural coercion, the catalyst for “positive” cross-cultural adaptation according to Gudykunst and Kim (2003), results in the personal disintegration of the minority person’s psyche. If the coercive power is great enough and the self-efficacy and self-esteem of the minority immigrant is destroyed, the effect leads to a mis-recognition of power relations situated in the social matrix of a given field. … Symbolic violence, therefore, is fundamentally the imposition of categories of thought and perception upon dominated social agents who, once they begin observing and evaluating the world in terms of those categories — and without necessarily being aware of the change in their perspective — then perceive the existing social order as just, thereby perpetuating a social structure favored by and serving the interests of those agents who are already dominant. Symbolic violence is in some senses much more powerful than physical violence in that it is embedded in the very modes of action and structures of cognition of individuals, and imposes the specter of legitimacy of the social order.”

          A.K.A. Zimbardo’s Lucifer Effect, and the genesis of authoritarian followers. However, it also implies the possibility of cross cultural cooperation and cross-fertilisation, and that once people emerge from beneath the megamachine’s symbolic and actual violence, some may be able to grow from cupiditas to caritas. They may not have to abandon the megamachine for that to happen; in fact it’s probably better for the rest of us if they don’t; because once they grow up enough to stop being Satan’s suckers, they may be able to turn the megamachine from from cupiditas to caritas

          • mikemackd says :

            Even better about Loy; I googled his and Mumford’s names together, and found Loy’s familiar with Mumford. For example, in his 2002 work “A Buddhist History of the West” (available online) Loy quotes from The Pentagon of Power (1970) as follows:

            The result is that nation-states evolved early into what Lewis Mumford (1970) calls “war states”: “all the great national states, and the empires formed around a national core, are at bottom war states; their politics are war politics; and the all-absorbing
            preoccupation of their governing classes lies in collective preparation for armed assault” (349).

        • InfiniteWarrior says :

          the spiritual condition of having an inner black hole so deep within oneself that no amount of power or money can ever fill it.

          The issue with that is really quite simple. That “black hole” is “emptiness,” but few have ever realized that, attempting to fill it with…whatever.

          Early on, in TDAB days, I stumbled upon an article by David Loy, which illustrated Lack and Liberation in Self and Society” as clear as a bell. I shared it far and wide at every opportunity, but the link at which it was located now resolves to Lion’s Roar. It may have been this interview I’m remembering.

          Although dukkha is usually translated as “suffering,” that is too narrow. The point of dukkha is that even those who are wealthy and healthy experience a basic dissatisfaction, a dis-ease, which continually festers….

          Buddhism is saying that our dukkha isn’t just due to impermanence and death, our dukkha is pointing at something fundamental about the groundlessness of the sense of self right now.

          As for a popular, contemporary reference, the movie Tombstone touched on it, at least, though I’m not sure even the screenwriters knew what they were pointing at in this scene.

          Wyatt Earp: What makes a man like Ringo, Doc? Makes him do the things he does?

          Doc Holliday: A man like Ringo got a great empty hole, right through the middle of him. He can never kill enough, or steal enough, or inflict enough pain to ever fill it.

          Wyatt Earp: What does he need?

          Doc Holliday: Revenge.

          Wyatt Earp: For what?

          Doc Holliday: Bein’ born.

  5. Charles says :

    Jenny Wade wrote a book Change of Mind A Holonomic Theory of the Evolution of Consciousness which is a good book. She appreciates Bohm’s idea of the Holomovement, an undivided whole in perpetual flux.” Wade’s purpose is to “formulate a noetic theory of human development, that is, a theory focusing on the unfolding of individual consciousness. That word holonomic

    Scott mentioned “clash of civvilizations.” Could be called a clash of paradigms, of conceptions of human nature. Wade

    The machine metaphor (paradigm) has majors problems with consciousness Wade makes the suggestion that the “possibility exists that psychology per se has never fit the Newtonian paradigm, owing to the irreducible nature of consciousness and its suspect ontological status when conceived empirically.

    I agree with about the black whole of emptiness. I have before about the Cartesian “alienated ego.”

    The signs are everywhere about the-interlocking crises in the world at this juncture. Richard Tarnas (Cosmos ad Pshche) is insightful and articulate. Some of his passages

    Our deepest spiritual and psychological aspirations are fundamentally incoherent with the very nature of the cosmos as revealed by the modern mind…defined in the end by its disenchanted context, the human self too is inevitably disenchanted. Ultimately, it becomes , like everything else, a mere object of material forces and efficient causes..

    The problem with this dissociative condition is not merely cognitive dissonance or internal distress. Nor is it only the “privatization of spirituality” that has become so characteristic of our time. Since the encompassing cosmological context in which all human activity takes place has eliminated any enduring ground of transcendent values—spiritual, moral, aesthetic—the resulting vacuum has empowered the reductive values of the market and the mass media to colonize the collective human imagination and drain it of all depth. If the cosmology is disenchanted, the world is logically seen in predominantly utilitarian ways, and the utilitarian mind-set begins to shape all human motivation at the collective level. What might be considered means to larger ends ineluctably become ends in themselves. The drive to achieve ever-greater financial profit, political power, and technological prowess becomes the dominant impulse moving individuals and societies, until these values, despite ritual claims to the contrary, supersede all other aspirations.

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