For the last few posts, we’ve been probing for the meaning of the phrase “the collapse of reality”, and how this “collapse of reality” might also relate to Rolf Jensen’s influential bestseller The Dream Society: How The Coming Shift From Information to Imagination Will Transform Your Business, (and to an apparent spin-off of that called “marketing 3.0” or “spiritual branding”). We’ve also made note of the paradox and ambiguity in the phrase “collapse of reality” (and attendant “chaos” or “chaotic transition”), for in many respects it could be equally said of what is happening in quantum physics and even history.
So before I continue with my critique of The Dream Society and its contribution to the collapse of reality, I want to speak to this other aspect of the collapse of reality, as also being an aspect of what Jean Gebser called the paradoxical “double-movement” of our times — a time of disintegration coincident with a new integration. Therein lies the paradox and the double-meaning of the phrase “collapse of reality” or the irony and ambiguity resident in Karl Marx’s observation (explored by Marshall Berman in a book by that title available online) that “all that is solid melts into air”.
Since there seems to be some great confusion and misunderstanding of the purposes and meanings of The Chrysalis, which is primarily about the ongoing and rather turbulent shift from the cosmic number 3 to the cosmic number 4 — or from a reality construed in three dimensions to a reality construed in four dimensions along with the corresponding restructuration of consciousness that is implied in this — I’m going to reach back into The Chrysalis archives and raise once again the key issues in the transition or metamorphosis — the emergence of the quadrilateral or fourfold as it is represented in the Holling Adaptive Cycle, Rosenstock-Huessy’s “cross of reality”, the native North American “Sacred Hoop”, and on to what William Blake also means by his “four Zoas” and “fourfold vision”.
Regular Guardian columnist Kenan Malik published a short piece today about the deep connections between Europe and Islam as revealed in Renaissance art. It is necessarily short because the invention of perspectivism in the Renaissance marked a parting of the ways, since perspective in art — and photographic effect — was rejected by Islamic authorities at the time as “competing with God” (ie “magic” or sorcery). Ironically, though, it was Islamic scholars — men like Averroes (ibn Rushd), Avicenna, among others – who helped prepare the way for the European Renaissance, including Islamic works on optics that were used by Europe’s “first scientist”, the monk Roger Bacon (also called Doctor Mirabilis). That work on optics laid the important foundations for the invention of perspective art in the Renaissance, beginning largely with the pioneering works of Giotto.
If you have been with The Chrysalis for any length of time — or have read cultural philosopher Jean Gebser’s account of the ascendance of the mental-rational or perspective consciousness — you will perhaps appreciate how the invention of perspective is foundational to what we call “modern mind” or “modern self”, presently in the throes of dissolution, confusion and chaos. Malik’s short article has reminded me to revisit those earlier postings and the dissolution and incoherence of perspective consciousness now manifesting in today’s social and individual phenomena of chaotic emotion and cognitive dissonance.