The word “desire” has a peculiar origin and etymology. It means, quite literally, “from the stars” or “down from the stars” — de sidere. It comes from a time, evidently — a time that was, a time that is, a time that will be — when there was no separation of the “in here” from the “out there”. The still weak human ego consciousness experienced its own desires and passions as being outside or external to itself. To be in the grip of strong passions and desires was to be possessed by a god.
This is still registered in related meanings of words like “influence” (in-flowing) or “enthusiasm” (en-theos, or “a god within”). This is quite characteristic of both the magical and mythical structures of consciousness, and it is returning again with the disintegration of the ego consciousness, or breakdown of the mental-rational consciousness and “the return of the repressed”. So, it’s something that needs to be understood, especially for understanding Jean Gebser’s concerns expressed in The Ever-Present Origin.
The contraction of the personal consciousness into this fixture — this fixed point called “point-of-view”, or what is known as egoism — is, quite evidently, connected to both the “empathy deficit” as well as the crisis of identity. This contraction into the point is implicated, too, in both Lewis Mumford’s and Roderick Seidenberg’s thoughts on “post-historic man”, who is, in those terms, post-conscious too. This contraction — one might almost describe it as an implosion — by the same token contributes to the problem of “symbolic belief” and the loss of fluidity of awareness, so that one is unable to “switch perspectives” — say between background and foreground effects, or the context and the text (consequently, the whole and the totality). That is to say, there comes with this contraction an almost complete loss of discernment and discerning reason that begins to look a lot like mass derangement.
Just a quick follow-up to the previous post on the carrying capacity of a consciousness structure by drawing on an analogy sometimes described as “Russian fatalism” — a phenomenon that engaged Nietzsche, and which illustrates something of his technique of “revaluation of values”.
The term “carrying capacity”, derived from ecology, may also be a very useful term to describe the limits and boundaries of a consciousness structure. A “consciousness structure”, in Jean Gebser’s terms, in order to be intelligible as a structure at all, has boundaries, definition, limits, which constitute what we call its “limits of intelligibility”. In the cases of the magical, the mythical, and the mental-rational structures — or the “unperspectival”, the “pre-perspectival”, and the “perspectival” correspondingly, each has its own limits of intelligibility.
In those terrms, a consciousness structure can be described as having a certain “carrying capacity” . A consciousness structure is something akin to an ecological “niche”. It can become overstressed, overloaded, overtaxed and overtasked at which point it begins to breakdown. It would appear, today, that the perspectival or mental-rational structure has reached, and overstepped, its own limits of intelligibility.
“Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.” — George Orwell, “1984”.
“Power remains strong when it remains in the dark; exposed to the sunlight it begins to evaporate.” — Samuel Huntington
These two statements are related, of course, in terms of what we might call “Reality Control”. What underlies both formulas, though, is a metaphysical principle: “perception is reality”. I really want to emphasise and highlight this, because it lies at the root of almost everything today that seems absurd, surreal, dream-like, or chaotic, especially the apparent breakdown of discernment between the subjective and objective aspects of existence, and, consequently, fact and fiction, fantasy and reality, or the representations (images) and that which is represented. This lack of discernment, which we are calling “chaos”, attests to the disintegration of the ego-consciousness or what Jean Gebser describes as “the breakdown of the mental-rational” (or “perspectival”) consciousness structure, also known as “the Modern Mind”.
I’ve been absent from The Chrysalis for some time. What time I’ve had lately has been spent glued to the German news websites, as I follow political and social developments there (and also found, to my chagrin, that I have unlearned much of my German — or else the German language has changed). There has been, once again, an ominous upsurge of nativism and tribalism in that country as there has been in other jurisdictions, representing a serious challenge to principles of universality.
Still, I have also been pursuing this question of the post-modern “the Dream Society”, as previously discussed in the pages of The Chrysalis, and which, by happy coincidence, has been the ongoing theme, too, of the “subjectivity of nations” on the Aurobindo website. In fact, one posting on “the rise of the subjective age” and the role of Germany in that was published there even as I was immersed in the news from Deutsche Welle.
So, today I want to discuss such matters of nativism or retribalisation, their connection to “the Dream Society”, and altogether in the context of Jean Gebser’s “irruption” and the correlative breakdown of the mental-rational (or perspectival) consciousness structure, as well as Aurobindo’s musings on the “subjectivity of nations”
‘Power remains strong when it remains in the dark; exposed to the sunlight it begins to evaporate.’ — Samuel Huntington
The hegemonic power of the 21st century will be the one that wins control of the Global Brain. Combined with Samuel Huntington’s formula for the exercise of power, and justified by the metaphysics of “perception is reality”, you begin, perhaps, to see the problem I also see in Rolf Jensen’s plans for “The Dream Society”, and for what Algis Mikunas describes as “technocratic shamanism”.
This is one of the scenarios in which the prospective emergence of “integral consciousness” may be abortive. Others, of course, may be climate catastrophe or a global nuclear war, in which case all questions about the hegemonic power become rather moot. Death would be the hegemon.