Emergent Reality and the Social Contract

Let’s continue with this theme of the breakdown and fragmentation of what is called “the Social Contract”. It is, of course, consistent with the decay of the Modern Era that its Social Contract is also in crisis. In more fundamental terms, it is a crisis of human consciousness — specifically of that mode and structure of consciousness that Jean Gebser describes as “perspectival” or “mental-rational” consciousness.

The existing Social Contract is, by and large, an artefact of the Newtonian-Cartesian paradigm and worldview, which is itself a development out of the invention of perspective in the Renaissance which disclosed the “third dimension”. The Renaissance itself entailed a radical restructuration of consciousness and perception, and we have traced the influence of Renaissance perspectivism also through Copernicus and Descartes, and, indeed, the entire period called “The Enlightenment”. The disclosure of the third dimension profoundly altered the terms of our conscious relation to reality.

Human beings will always seek to harmonise their social organisation and social arrangements to be faithful to their cosmic picture, according to the old formula “as above, so below”. This “cosmic picture”, as such — or “reality”, as such — is always an artefact of what consciousness is able to perceive in any given era, so that our changing picture of the cosmos implies a “mutation” in consciousness and perception — the emergence of some new possibility or faculty of perception. This process of “mutation” results in tremendous releases of new energy, but also tremendous social upheavals and tumult. Jean Gebser has described much of this in his great book The Ever-Present Origin. We are in such a period now.

While I was musing on this crisis of the Social Contract, by a bit of kismet I received an invitation to attend a series of talks given by the Pari Centre on “Multiple Universes: Parallel Worlds in Quantum Physics, Cosmology and Imagination“. It is important to understand, then, how this still emergent new picture of the cosmos not only mirrors changes in our consciousness structure, but also begins to clash with the existing Social Contract, rooted in an older paradigm or framework about what constitutes “reality”. In other words, what is in process of emergence with this new insight into reality will also provide the framework for a new Social Contract in accordance with the rule “as above, so below”. Some physicists are quite aware of the implications of the new picture for the organisation of consciousness and society.

One of those cosmologists, Brian Greene, is quoted in the invitation

What’s at the heart of the subject is the suggestion that what we’ve long thought to be the universe may only be one component of a far grander, perhaps far stranger, and mostly hidden reality

So, despite this seeming multiplicity of parallel worlds and probably universes, there is still the sense of an underlying wholeness in which a marvelous harmony prevails. David Bohm described that fundamental reality as “undivided wholeness in flowing movement”. Each of these probable worlds are, in these terms, like a cell in a larger structure that is truly mind-boggling to contemplate. There is, in other words, a true “ecology” of probable universes, and that’s probably a good way to think about it. There is a “meta-reality”, as it were, that nonetheless informs and sustains all probable realities.

Furthermore, what is being sown here is also the seeds of a new Social Contract, one that is quite consistent with Gebser’s decades old anticipation of a new “integral consciousness”. The basic theme here is, of course, the old paradox of the One and the Many, or the fundamental unity of diversity. This re-orientation of consciousness is happening on many fronts simultaneously, as also described by Gebser in his book on the evolution of consciousness. What Greene refers to as “hidden reality” is what Gebser refers to as “the Itself” or “the ever-present origin”.

So to sum up — emergent reality also inevitably bears with it the seed-germ of a new Social Contract, still only vaguely discernable amidst the tumult of the present time — a time of transition. But acknowledging and recognising the essential unity that still underlies all diversity is not only the meaning of “integral consciousness”, but of what Gebser refers to as “diaphaneity” or “the transparency of the world”.


26 responses to “Emergent Reality and the Social Contract”

  1. Smitty's Gelato: A Film Blog says :

    Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a great movie that explores the idea of the one and the many, or the unity of diversity. You not only have Peter Parker, but also Miles Morales as another Spider-Man, and Gwen Stacey as Spider-Woman and even Peter Porker as Spider-Ham. And of, course, all of these various Spider-Men come from various alternate universes, and together, form a multiverse.

  2. Charles says :

    Good writing. I can suggest there is a momentum to cultural movements. The names of Hobbes, Locke, Smith and their contemporaries gave voice to a transformed view of a human being that was supposedly selfish, seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. Smith provided the moral justification of self-interest by the “invisble hand” idea. He didn’t realize that the ethical community didn’t exist because competition became the norm in what became capitalism. Life became a contest in the west.

  3. Steve says :

    Infinite Warrior: Watching that made me think of two books you most definitely should read. ” Magus of Java” and “Nei Kung” same writer, Kosta Danoas. Read
    the Magus first. You will not be disappointed.

    • InfiniteWarrior says :

      Color me skeptical of The Magus of Java, but the practice of Neigong, as opposed to the more ridiculous claims made about it, is right up my ally.

      I viewed a random video recently about how and why the Martial Arts are supposedly, suddenly being exposed as fake. The video was actually about the challenges Mixed Martial Arts has posed to supposed “masters” of their respective disciplines, exposing the weaknesses of, as well as certain delusions about, each of the Martial Arts, which tend to become stagnant over time and are unintegrated with one another, as all our other disciplines. That is what is being revealed, not that the Martial Arts themselves are “fake.”

      This is not a new story. It’s because Bruce Lee felt that traditional forms of Kung Fu had become stagnant and ineffectual that he developed Jeet Kune Do, the signature style that was as effective as it was performative.

      • John says :

        Why do these claims always have to be “ridiculous”? A friend of my first acupuncturist was healed “from a distance” of a tumor while attending a talk of master Chunyi Lin ( (relativistic-quantum physics) . Then later in life I ran into oddball.Drew Hempel who also studied with Lin and shared similar stories about him and Jim Nance. Drew has also read “The Magus of Java”, as well as with many other books on anthropology, philosophy, physics etc.

        Ignore the title and the stuff about the charlatan Wilcock. Drew joins the stream at 136:00 and breaks down the latest pioneering research into quantum-relativistic science to confirm his experiences of taoist alchemy — the ancient practice of storing bio-photonic charge in the lechitin/micro-tubulin and small intestine… the quasi-asymmetry of non-local (ever present) proto-consciousness of primordial reverse time AS the non visible FUTURE — the SOURCE of PRECOGNITION — a.k.a. the virtual photons, etc.. (which manifest as the variated spectrum of light).

        Two points of interest we’d like to point out for fun…

        The NSA classified his physics professor Herbert Berstein’s research without his knowledge. Berstein went on to work for NASA designing their quantum teleportation program…

        Olivier Costa de Beaureagard’s work was also classified in relation to the CIA’s project ‘Grill Flame’…

        It seems like the scientific ontology Drew consolidates for us here, can potentially explain how I was able to “summon” or “inter-subjectively interact with” a powerful “space-time vortex” — a vortex eerily similar to the one that Drew speaks about experiencing himself several years ago. For us, this event was like undergoing a stripping of our entire identity because a great quasi-physical sound reverberated throughout our entire body and outdoor environment that also manifested as a POWERFUL BLOWING WIND OF PRESSURE AND ELECTRIC CHARGE which rushed around and through our body and spooked the birds sleeping within the trees into a cacophony of sound (including what seemed like all the animals that were present in the entire river valley all at that exact moment… dogs or coyotes were barking, yipping, etc..). So this powerful pressure field was like a LIVING INTELLIGENCE that “appeared” from (and as) an INVISIBLE PRIMORDIAL SPACE-TIME — OR — the negative frequency of non-local consciousness (pre temporal/pre-spatial, aural, ear-based power of LISTENING and MEDITATION… a practice of blissful deep listening to the presen mtoment as the unmanifested FUTURE of non visible potentiality AS energy) which seemed to coincide with the ignition of our internal bliss processes of meditation (a year long intensive process at that point) that also coincided with many unexplainable precognitive events and synchronicities occurring periodically throughout our life and especially peaking during the years around 2018.

        Drew’s knowledge of science journals and physics professors might be close to unrivaled among lay people. He may be a bit too hyped up toward the very end where he loses patience and touch with his audience, although I understand his passion and how his unique experiences have isolated him (and many of us) and made him the target of ridicule for many years. It can make a person feel over-burdened and sometimes even possessed by a sense of passion for things forgotten and little understood. Like Scott has mentioned, there is fine line between ego-inflation and the integrity of right speech and honesty. See the article he referenced here — ‘The Cry of Merlin: Carl Jung and the Insanity of Reason’ https://marginalia.lareviewofbooks.org/the-cry-of-merlin-carl-jung-and-the-insanity-of-reason/

        So magic is real and ordinary as the physics of life after death and consciousness beyond form. See psychiatrist Bruce Greyson’s
        comprehensive research and analysis into the many accounts of people experiencing life after death, communicating with their ex family members, looking down on their own “dead” bodies from an invisible a-temporal non-spatial consciousness OUTSIDE their dead bodies while easily moving through solid objects like walls and ceilings and then looking down on the hospital roof to see red playground toy balls sitting on top of the roof. Then when the formerly “dead” person re-entered their body, they related their account of life after death and having consciounsess outside their physical body to the hospital staff and their family. Then the red toy ball was found to be on the roof at the exact location described. See especially this interview with Jose Hernandez. Unbelievable!

        So this is the authentic MAGIC of quantum-relativistic physics which allowed us to inter-subjectively undergo incredible events of synchronicity and communication with ephemeral living entities of non-visible consciousnesses.

        These experiences were part of the reason we were labelled “mentally disordered”. And all that began with the label of “obsessive compulsive disorder” when I was five years of age. BUT REALLY, in my view, the terms “obessive compulsive” or “anxiety disordered” boil down more accurately to the insight that “compulsive” and “ritualistic” behaviors of children are imbued with meaning, often unseen meanings hidden by latent hypercontexts. And these contexts of meaning and behavior are actually perfectly normal reactions to the obsessive platonic cult of symmetry and geometry that children are born into in the globalized world of commodified profit as the domination of space-time. What Gebser called “the spatialization of time” etc.

        Society’s quasi-conscious worship and idealization of certain behaviors ends up shaping our childhood reality. When the baseline of cultural expectations and difficult traumas — along with the sea of differing opinions from politicians, schools and family — clash against the freshly forming will of the child, divergent behavior often emerges.

        Some anthropologists now are now advocating for an overhaul of the hermeneutics underlying the theoretics of mental disorders. They are saying that anxiety disorders and depressive disorders don’t exist as such because these divergent behaviors are actually natural and intelligent evolutionary responses to adversity and socio-cultural environments of insanity.
        “…CONCLUDING REMARKS…Mental disorders cause a large fraction of disease burden, even in the low- and middle-income countries where biological anthropologists often conduct their research (Figure 3). This fraction will only increase as infectious disease burden continues to decrease. There is widespread agreement that many decades of research on mental disorders has failed to understand them or lessen the burden they impose on society. Understanding the complex, multi-level mechanisms that underlie mental disorders, and cognition and behavior more generally, cannot be achieved by focusing only on the lowest mechanistic levels (e.g., molecules, neurotransmitters) (Sapolsky, 2018). Nor can we rely solely on the descriptive symptom-based approach to mental disorders epitomized by the DSM.

        We sketched a provisional evolutionary scheme that categorizes a group of relatively rare disorders, such as autism and schizophrenia, as disorders of development that involve dysfunctions of cognitive adaptations related to sociality and defenses against socioecological threats. These are highly heritable and probably caused, in large part, by genetic variants. There is a second group of disorders, such as Alzheimer’s, that appear late in life and are probably explained by senescence. A third group of disorders, such as ADHD some eating disorders, might be explained by mismatches between modern and ancestral environments.

        A final group of disorders, such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD, have low heritability, are caused by adversity, and involve symptoms that seem to be adaptive responses to adversity. Because they are relatively common throughout adult life, they account for a substantial fraction of disease burden attributable to mental illness. These might not be disorders at all, however, but instead aversive yet adaptive responses to adversity. If so, this has several important implications. First, these conditions would largely indicate social problems, not medical ones, and therefore call for social, not medical, solutions. Research and social policy on these “disorders” should shift from altering brain chemistry to avoiding and mitigating adversity and resolving conflicts. Second, treatment would still be valuable, but could not ignore circumstances. A broken bone is a biological dysfunction, for example, but the physical pain it causes is not. Therefore, it would be unethical to provide pain medication without also setting the broken bone. Similarly, it would be unethical to suppress the psychic pain without addressing the source of adversity. Third, effective psychotropic medication that suppressed these emotions and behaviors would provide substantial benefits to those who are inconvenienced by them, raising the troubling specter of chemical forms of social control, which, at least in some cases, might already be occurring with the use of stimulants and other medications to treat ADHD….”

        Once you figure out that all the substances like dioxins, laundry detergent phosphates, pesticides, fertilizers, — and all the other crap industrialization dumps into the biosphere — are actually causing cancer, you start to lose a little bit of your grip on sanity. This “insanity” often brings up a lot of disbelief, anger, and grief, which is a perfectly normal response to such mass social stupidity — ethical acts of intensified consciousness in service to the integrity of human shame and the safety of ‘the whole’.

        • InfiniteWarrior says :

          In context: more ridiculous claims.

          This video should really be titled, “Why Certain Martial Arts ‘Masters’ Are Being Exposed As Fake” or something actually representative of the video’s contents, imho. But that’s why I don’t much appreciate recommendation algorithms. Even the titles of books, articles, videos, etc. on the Internet are usually misleading. This one isn’t too bad, though. It actually contains some trustworthy information.

    • InfiniteWarrior says :

      If anyone else watched that silly, but entertaining video, they may be wondering about the various, unintelligible “shouts” in use. (The “shouts” are supposedly in the “dragon tongue” in-game and make a modicum of sense when translated, but that’s beside the point.)

      Skyrim’s “Way of the Voice” is one of the most fun and interesting things about the game, imo. I’ve mentioned it before. To be honest, I never expected anything like it to appear in a video game. In reality, it’s just a gimmick that makes full use of the Creation Engine’s wonky physics system and cast in-game as a form of magic. Most players probably don’t think anything more of it than that, but the “Way of the Voice” is treated as a philosophy become religion in the game’s main storyline. In accordance with the fictional canon of Tamriel, the Graybeards tell the player character that the gift of “the Voice” came from the god of Time, Akatosh, and was bestowed upon men by the goddess, Kynareth; instruct that the gift was meant for “the glory and worship of the gods, not the glory of men;” is to be used “only in true need;” etc. The Graybeards will question whether the player’s character has the discipline and temperament to “follow the path laid out” for them and so on.

      Fictional treatments such as this fit neatly into our contemplations of Rosenstock’s sober and serious explorations of the power of human speech, imho. I find it interesting how it is that concepts intrinsic to our wisdom traditions are being expressed, subconsciously and otherwise, in contemporary Arts and Literature, popular and otherwise.

      Such things are probably of no interest to anyone else here, though. So, I’ll leave it at that.

    • InfiniteWarrior says :

      Isn’t it funny (i.e. peculiar and strange in a comitragedy sort of way) that past ways are making a rather obviously necessary reappearance in these most critical times?

      Generally dismissed as “conservative” nonsense, such ways include the present homesteading movement; a renewal of interest in food preservation history and techniques; natural burial practices; etc. — iow, all the skills, knowledge and practices our grandparents and great grandparents took for granted, some proving absolutely necessary to the survival of themselves and their families during times like the Great Depression here in the States — ways that have been all but lost to us.

      Many apparently like to poke fun at “survivalists” and even include the work of people like Carolyn Baker in the mix of things to avoid if one desires to be considered a “rational” person, but I think the the sane “survivalists” actually have a lot to teach us, namely: the lost ways of our ancestors, which served humanity beautifully over the course of our brief history on Earth but, especially, before the industrial revolution.

    • Scott Preston says :

      That’s a good article. Hints of Gebser in there at times. “Wisdom famine” or “meaning crisis” is another way of describing “deficient mode of the mental-rational consciousness structure” or the “perspectival” structure.

  4. Scott Preston says :

    “Once we have surrendered our senses and nervous systems to the private manipulation of those who would try to benefit from taking a lease on our eyes and ears and nerves, we don’t really have any rights left.”

    — Marshall McLuhan

    What we have been referring to in The Chrysalis as “technocratic shamanism” — an very egregious violation.

    • InfiniteWarrior says :

      “Technocratic shamanism” is under scrutiny as it has never been before, ironically due in large part to our apparent inability to control our own technologies. So, there is that. The Pandora Papers, the Facebook Papers…papers, papers flying everywhere. It’s beginning to look like The Sorcerer’s Apprentice starring Mickey Mouse with a guest appearance by the whistling Dwarves of Snow White. Whether or not it’s enough to break the spell of neoliberalism or any other spell mezmerizing us today remains to be seen.

  5. chasingthesquirrel says :

    “Human beings will always seek to harmonise their social organisation and social arrangements to be faithful to their cosmic picture”

    Why? They never have before.

    • Scott Preston says :

      O they most certainly have. Even a simple example like the “Virgo Cathedrals” of France, their position reflecting the constellation Virgo on Earth. Earlier, of course, astrologers (in mythological civilisation) were the proper interpreters of how social and celestial organisation were to be harmonised, as they conceived of the cosmos at the time. The Newton-Cartesian cosmology (or what we call “the Modern Wordview”) was also appropriated as the proper model of social and political organisation. Terms like “the individual” and “the mass” are derived from physics, the arrangement of cities was rationalised and follows the pattern of the Cartesian grid, and from that particular atomistic worldview, which is no longer seen as completely valid, and not truly or completely an accurate description of how the cosmos is organised. The new picture, once again, has implications for the re-organisation of society.

    • Scott Preston says :

      Another example that occurs to me — the “7 Campfires” of the Sioux Confederacy which they perceived as faithfully harmonious with and reflected equally in the Seven Sisters of the Pleiades constellation.

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