Fourfold Vision and The Global Soul
Before they trundle me off to hospital, we should perhaps discuss the implications of Gebser’s “aperspectival consciousness” (or integral consciousness) for the fate of capitalist society.
Capitalist society is rooted in the primacy of the self-interest principle, i.e, “the rational pursuit of self-interest”. This emphasis on the self and its interest as the keystone (which also gave birth to the ethos of utilitarianism) emerged from the invention of perspective and the perspectival “point-of-view” in the Renaissance. The self-interest principle has become so much the expected norm of thought and behaviour that anything not motivated by the self-interest and for gaining personal advantage has come to be suspect, and it has now decayed into “the culture of narcissism”.
What, then, are the implications for social relations that may arise from “aperspectival/arational” mode of consciousness and perception?
Presently, the “vital centre” is presumed to be this self (or the ego nature) and its interests. But with the aperspectival or integral consciousness, this is no longer the case. The emphasis shifts, and the “I” is no longer considered to be identical with the vital centre. If you examine closely what Blake, Nietzsche, Gebser, Rosenstock-Huessy, McGilchrist, and others mean by the “Self” — or what we might call “the You of you” — it is quite different from the ego-consciousness, for this greater Self is identified not with the ego-nature but with the entirety of life and the life process and it’s interests, as such, are concerned with the welfare of the whole. This is what we are calling “the emergence of the Global Soul” and it is also the implicit meaning of Nietzsche’s maxim: “Be true to the Earth!”. In these terms, what we call “the self-interest” has a valid, but very narrow and limited, sphere of relevance.
Blake’s “fourfold vision” is the mode of manifestation of this emergent Global Soul (which Blake also calls “the Universal Humanity”) and that it does refer to this Global Soul is indicated in Blake’s own hand, for the four Zoas of this Global Soul named “Albion” are depicted as coincident with the four cardinal points of the Earth (which are barely legible in this illustration)
To Blake’s perception, this is the energetic essential or implicate form of the human for which the physical body is only a “cloud” or a “cloak” or camouflage. It’s Blake’s insight into the nature of the Universal Humanity as also being the “fourfold Atman” of the Upanishads and Aurobindo’s Integral Yoga. This is made all the more poignant if we consider that the name “Adam” may actually be a derivation from “Atman”.
Presently, for Blake, this form is eclipsed by the hegemony of the Zoa named “Urizen”, who is pretty much identical with the “rational self-interest” and with “Single Vision”. And in an absolutely brilliant illustration, Blake depicts Urizen in the same perspectivising pose as Descartes’ own illustration of his method of reasoning
Newton is also depicted in the same pose and posture as his God of Space “Urizen”
In effect, every human being is a representative holon or holograph, or what Jung calls an “individuation”, of the Universal Humanity called “Atman”, who is a tetramorph, and whose manifested form in “the New Age” Blake calls “Albion”. Albion would be the equivalent of what we call “Buddha Nature” or “Christ Consciousness” as both are also tetramorphs. Likewise, Jung’s integral “Self” is a tetramorph.
Blake gives to his four Zoas certain representative names and types — the poetic, the prophetic, the philosophic, and the scientific, and the relationships between the Zoas (who are “out Energies”) we can describe as being “ecodynamic” or following ecodynamic laws (Bohm refers to this as “holonomy”) meaning they have a relative autonomy within the whole psychic structure, but not absolute autonomy, since they are interdependent. Urizen’s flaw (and his fallen form) is his claim to absolute sovereignty and autonomy. This is, evidently, also what Iain McGilchrist describes as the “Emissary’s usurpation” of the whole. The Emissary can be described as “the rational self-interest” or as “the narcissistic mode of thinking” or “hyper-partisan”, etc.
(It might not, then, come as a surprise in these terms that the four main ideologies of the Modern Era — conservatism, liberalism, socialism, environmentalism — are expressions of the moods of the Zoas in terms of the mental-rational consciousness structure and are, in those terms, not autonomous but interdependent and also ecodynamic in their relations, and likewise regulated by the “law of holonomy” which would specify the limit of their applicability or relevance).
There is here also an echo of Jean Gebser’s four civilisational types as “structures of consciousness” (archaic, magical, mythical, mental-rational) and their arising from what Gebser detected as a “pre-existing pattern”. If these distinct consciousness structures are various articulations of “our Energies” (or the Zoas), then Gebser’s pre-existing pattern is also fourfold in structure. Ages, in this sense, may be thought of as articulations or unfoldings or manifestations of aspects of one underlying or implicate pattern.
Now, we did see, in a previous post on ecodynamic civilisation, that emergent new thinking follows this quadrilateral or quadripartite (or phasic) pattern reflective of the fact that we now live within a fourfold cosmos (which might be a better term than “four-dimensional”). This is largely owing to the irruption of time into the perspectival, space-oriented consciousness structure. This, as a result, has a tendency to completely perplex the Cartesian perspectivising mind. Not only is the cosmos now fourfold in terms of the four cosmic formative forces, but as the “spacetime field” it is fourfold in terms of spaces and times — inner and outer spaces, and past and future times, and we are having great difficulty bringing these four aspects of reality into a coherent or harmonious concord, which is why Bohm speaks of “fragmentation” overall and fragmenting modes of thought.
Achievement of a new “inner harmony”, as Bohm seeks, is apparently then going to be a matter of reaching a concord between “our Energies” — Blake’s Zoas. This is where Bohm’s rheomode also intersects with Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy’s “metanomics” and “grammatical method”, which is basically described as the science of coordination of spaces inner and outer, and synchronisation of times past and future, and which is represented in his “cross of reality” model
We’ll have perhaps more of an opportunity to draw out the meaning of this later, but Bohn’s rheomode of thinking does follow the path represented in Rosenstock-Huessy’s grammatical method and cross of reality, which is likewise an effort to harmonise the fragments of reality through an ecodynamic or mandala-like logic which would, in effect, also meet the requirements for “integral consciousness”.
It should be noted here, though, that the “I” form (or the self-interest) is displaced from the “vital centre”. Likewise, Rosenstock-Huessy’s “cross of reality” is holonic or holographic. The totality of the “Self” as such is represented in the whole cross of reality so that the “I” form (or ego-nature) is granted no special status in relation to the whole. It simply becomes one of the phases or articulations in the rheomode and in the process of making explicate what is implicate.
(When Cusanus described “God” as “a circle whose circumference is nowhere and whose centre is everywhere” he was reaching for what we now describe as the holonic or holographic principle. And there are features, too, of Bohm’s views of quantum reality that resemble this).
We do note, however, the affinity or convergence around this quadripartite or tetramorphic mode of thinking across broadly different disciplines which indicates an underlying movement of the whole consciousness structure in the process of becoming manifest from a previous state of latency. And hopefully we’ll be able to continue to draw this out and its implications further.