If you wish, call me "Origene"; recall, then subsume, the many names I have had – God, Allah, Atman, Yahweh, the Divine, the Great Spirit, the One, the All... Feel me in you, beneath your feet and above your head, in and among and all around you, within others, in the animals and the plants, in the physical firmament, the rocks, and the shimmering seas, as far and farther than the eye can see; and know that herein I present to you a special story. I call this story The Dream. The Dream comes forth as all dreams do, from the Essence, Nature, Me - and comes to inform you and re-form you in my image - an image that never sleeps, that changes and evolves, yet sleeps deep within your inner cores.
This Dream comes according to the age and understanding of the time, in this place, according to your present consciousness structure and through your language and cultural forms. This state of things allows the Dream to coalesce, so that you perceive its image through thought. This is a knowing through the "lightning rods" of your body/minds.
Take in the Dream, you creatures that stand between Earth and Heaven, Matter and Spirit, connect your female and male energies, unconscious with consciousness, myth with math, micro with macro...and learn from the Dream that you can "transcend into self-forgetfulness by an abysmal plunge into the absorption of the formative and creative material process." (Aurobindo, 1987:107) But let the Dream break that bubble. Let your face shine, your mouth smile - lay down the burdens of your daily grind; dance for a while with rocking- horse mountain tops, among the flickering stars, as we float on our backs through tropical rainforest streams to a pooling sea - a blue-green ocean as wide and as vast and as deep as outer/inner space.
Lie down, young friends, fall down laughing; close your eyes, feel your forehead unwrinkle, your limbs grow heavy, your neck and chest and breathing sink into the ground of being, as your jaw unclenches and gets ready to listen, not speak. The Dream comes up into you. It's coming now, in a quiet gurgling brook where rays of sunlight slant through trees and eternal repose echoes in the bullfrog's vibrating monochord. This Dream of the earth is your dreaming, as infinite and timeless as Me. It came out of Me and my dreaming - and thus from within you - from before the Big Bang (and maybe many Big Bangs before and to come - expanding/contracting, universes appearing/disappearing - supernovas, stars, black holes, white dwarfs, red giants - infra-red, ultra-violet, x-rays, gamma-rays, quasars - the rhythm of our present universe in photons, in wave, in time, in pulse - like the barely-moving skin from gently beating hearts.
Our Earth is carried along on this pulsing stream, the Milky Way. In the galaxy's journeying outward, our Sun and the orbs of matter, its solar system, revolve within an arm of the spiraling, like a molecule in the nerve pathway of some immense churning beast. Let that beast be an aspect of Me, like what you might see in the reflection of a tiny mirror from across the room.
So in the Dream, we dream ourselves: both our planetary and cosmological selves - in holons, like mirrors, or like turtles stacked all the way down and all the way up. (Wilber, 1995) From simple, inorganic elements to complex life forms, we compose a family of interacting, interdependent beingness. How did this stack o' things come to be?
Scientists say that, once upon a time, there was an unimaginably huge Big Bang resulting in gaseous-like interstellar matter being formed around attractor basins. Through gravity, electromagnetism, and nuclear processes these celestial stews became hotter and denser as they formed stars. One star in particular, our Sun, was born of a violent supernova and is our focus (from whence our speculations may then proceed outward - like the sputum from this mass that was chucked into space - self-organizing itself in discrete orbital accretions, together with their moons, all of whose integrity was sufficient to set them in "perpetual motion" around one another, around our star). Check with these scientists for details on star formation if you want to know the how more "exactly." Thanks to them we are allowed a kind of blind assurance that they have checked each others' sources and what they tell us about astronomy and physics is more likely true than not. This birth of our Sun, Friends, is estimated to have happened between 15 to 20 billion years ago.
Our Earth, let me tell you, was a blob, a cinder, a smudge - a rotating swirl of gasses and orange-brown molten-solid, sizzling in its orbit, without a sky, without an ocean - just gathering unto itself the elements that naturally bind - in a lucky location, not too close and not too far from the Sun. Here it churned on, day after day, for billions of years, hydrogen and carbon and methane, etc., complexifying - with its mass, ideal for attracting and binding itself into a primeval firmament that could begin t retain a proto-atmosphere. Great salt oceans too covered the Earth when it sufficiently cooled to bathe itself in its own liquid binding.
Assimilate this name, "Earth," while remembering it too as "Gaia." Gaia is a living system. The old word, "Earth," conjures up "earth" or "soil," that unique mix of organic and inorganic compounds that hosts an immensity of life in its richness. Thus, the word "Earth" tends toward a more solid mentalization. But what of the hydrosphere? - oceans, seas, bays, lakes, rivers, streams (and underground springs and aquifers) that cover most of the planet today? What of the miles of lithosphere, that protective layer of air, of life-friendly atmospheric gasses?
The new, Dream-name is "Gaia." The name Gaia is meant to recognize that planet as a life form in and of itself; it is a complex ecological system of interdependencies of which we are, in a sense, only one - the most complex one, perhaps, a self-reflecting one which has added another, cultural ecology, but none-the-less...only one. Through involution, the Earth - matter - came into being in a kind of autopoiesis, a self-creating out of the elemental processes of an intelligible universe. The on-going cosmogenesis of Gaia, with its slowly-creeping, long-to-emerge, conscient life, came swirling into being through a process we call "evolution." The "living" Gaia was really born in the primordial soupy seas when the first prokaryotic cell burst forth, jolted into being by electric thunderbolts. Then, Gaia was the incipient life system that was groping toward my image. The word-image of Me, can be seen in the First Flaring Forth; you can also identify 'Origene' with this first minuscule 'seedling' bacterium – 'ori" meaning 'source/essence' and 'gene" meaning 'birth/relation'. As I was involution, so am I now evolution. I am all process – as you are at once the beneficiaries of the process and the process itself.
I interrupt this dream-story for a commercial. A word or two must be said here about trying to “grok” our Dream from "where we are," i.e., how our consciousness speaks to us – how we perceive reality from this contemporary or "modern" point in our evolution.
To have science at all, we have had to separate out, differentiate, in order to speak of our world, Gaia, the universe, the cosmos. We have dualized by our mental-rational structures of conscious mind a self/other, subject/object, observer/observed empirical outlook that implicitly inheres in all that we try to express. Now we might seek to "participate" with the "other," to interiorize it through a more integrated body-mind union with our environment; to be less dualist in our take on this phenomenon of existence in the cosmos.
Still, as self-reflective creatures, it was perhaps our destiny to separate out in order to conceptualize – to develop consciousness out of an undifferentiated unconscious pleroma, just as these primitive cells separated themselves out from their inorganic bedrock sea-origins. Yet we cannot be imposing our contemporary perception of events of so long ago, imbuing them with modem dualist values or 'Westernized' ways of seeing and knowing, If we do, we can scientize this world and perhaps be comfortable there too – but by so doing, we lose the thread of how science can fit into the story rather than dictating our story to us.
So what I propose is that we hear the story on a more “cellular level”; that we somehow regress back through the mythic, magical and archaic structures of consciousness (Gebser, 1985) to rebuild in our being what preceded even these ancient mind-views, thought to be a consequence of recently emerging time and space, yet stretching back as far as 1.7 million years, 'only' 1.7 million years since human-like creatures started their long evolutional journey. That is, now, as you hear my words, let your minds fall back further, further – 15 billion years back. You are now not an undifferentiated inorganic mass of physio-being. Instead, you have attained, after so many billions of years of planetary convulsion, the inner enclosed protoplasm of something that does more than passively react to elemental forces. Albeit in a weak and extremely attenuated form, the prokaryotic cell, this cyano-bacteria. trumpets the first awakening of the planet into agentic action, representing the initial building block of all differentiating organic life to come. There is no thinking, only being. These are just barely the baby steps of action – raw biospheric life in its most elementary beginnings. And this bobbing...about-while-mutating proceeded for about one billion years.
First...you find yourself floating in a turbulent sea among other interchangeable microscopic "points." You are like Aries. You are bunting out chemicals that your proto-brain-membrane senses are needed. You absorb this chemo-food and have one and only one imperative – to eat and keep on eating, to remain alive. Nothing else – no other living thing physically exists.
Thousands of years pass...you've changed and you "feel" the change. You're no longer like those other interchangeable points. Like Prospero, the magician, you've learned to absorb the sun's light and use it for food. But you don't just do that. As a by-product you slough-off oxygen. The air pumps out with this new unstable element – for thousands of more years – while it destroys the old hunter, Aries. Its time is over, you feel. As you bask in this photon bath, memories of the future, laying on the sunny beach, come streaming in. You ARE Prospero, whose tricks create a host of newer entries – cells that invade your self-image like a Viking, mutating you once again into a scavenger of other cells' wastes; you're jolted yet again as the old sensitivity to oxygen rears seemingly out of nowhere. You're Engla. Latching on desperately to the Viking ravisher but working out a symbiant role, you emerge as Vikengla. Success again! You're still alive, still able to eat, still reproducing, meitotically. Tens, even hundreds, of thousands of years are flying by. The planet is awash with cell variety. Still the sea lashes and splashes about the planet, carrying its invisible admix in its watery cape. Another hunter appears – but this is a hunter of other cells – Kronos, the heterotrophic predator/gobbler. Your mind flashes out for a moment and you are a naked hairy ape man crushing the skull of some warm-blooded quadruped, anxious to tear into it with savage, hungry jaws.
Millennia are going by like days. Something new is afoot – sex! You are Sappho discovering the joys of meiotic reproduction. Suddenly, there is an explosion of life known as "genetic exchange." From here it's an all-out grab-bag and only some few more thousands of years until cells are specializing into multi-cellular microbial life forms. Soon, you are the "proto-animal" – Argos – no lover, no fighter, but a collective of both and more– you come on the scene, cells inter-functioning, sensing multiplicity within. Truly, we're on our way now.
Commercial: All this drama has taken place on a microscopic level. Visible creatures have not yet arrived. On a linear time frame, scientists say that our sun had taken perhaps a few billion years to organize itself. Cellular life, invisible to the naked eye (of course there were no eyes around then to see) took about 4 to 5 billion years. During this period the physiosphere – which includes the Gaian atmosphere and the great oceans – were forming. Dry land was slowly being pushed up; continent building activity continued. These vast dry expanses are devoid of organic life, soil and mud – sediment not yet come into existence, just rocky terrain and perhaps sand where the wave action has pulverized some rock.
Esoteric writings tell of the akashic record, another invisible repository wherein the drama of life plays out incessantly in time-freedom. We need only access it. Clock time does not exist here. All that has ever happened (and ever is and will be?) is contained in the akashic record. Ah, if only all historians had the ability to probe the depths of its interior cinematography! By shifting our consciousness into this psychic realm we can witness what has come before – we can "relive it," in a sense. That, Friends, is perhaps what we need to do to better acquaint ourselves with this Dream, this universe story. How might we become more like psychic space explorers to uncover a past that is still awaiting us? Is this only the province of science-fiction? Is it possible to probe the multi-dimensions of non-ordinary states of consciousness by certain techniques known especially to the mystics among us? I leave this inquiry open, Friends.
But this, I think, is why we need mystics in all fields, all occupations and professions, not the least of which is science. In fact, the world's greatest physicists – those whose lives have been dedicated to trying to sort out this material realm of matter – have all been mystics of one degree or another. (Wilber, 1985) They need not be considered confined to the spirito-religious. In this respect, Copernicus and Galileo, even Einstein, were a type of prophet. ...But let us return to our Dream...
You are evolution – mutation, random selection, primitive conscious choice – Spirit infused and immanent in matter, blindly groping toward expression in life-through-action, through interaction, through chaos. Life forms are infused with the primordial Me, and you are there. In the jellyfish, the worm, the trilobite with its exoskeleton – millions of species advancing, evolving or disappearing in blind evolutionary alleys – always subject to environmental changes. Glaciations devastating all, from time to time, but life – perhaps the eternal, archetypal forms having come into physical existence – remain somehow, persist in spite of every adversity, and spring back when conditions permit – my Essence inexorably pulsing in the Gaian soul. I am the arrow of time. My energy force is unstoppable. I permeate the intelligible universe – I am the intelligible universe, the cosmological mystery that proceeds unabated in and out of time, manifesting in space, deforming and reforming all and everything. You can feel me now in your core, in your body, your emotions, intellect and intuition. Your mind plays with me, as I play with your mind. In this universal playfulness, this seemingly paradoxical life – being and not-being – you are driven forward like the matter/anti-matter that cannot meet without unimagined violence, but which need each other for balance. You are Nature. You are driven by Nature. All difficulties are imbalances that seek and need harmony; the secret of life is in this harmony of Spirit in Matter, Matter in Spirit – yin and yang – the biological at the meeting ground of the physical and the ineffable. And throughout this dynamic interplay is arising a more complete, more harmonized Me – You.
And there you are, swimming in a water world or propelling yourself, squid-like, through this morass of alleviated gravity. Twisting, playing, competing for food, preying on one another – proving your adaptability, your flexible mutability – allying with other life forms for some mutually sensed advantage, or, that advantage arising spontaneously from just your own 'being' as you dimly perceive it to be best worked-out. This floating, osmosis, free-form beingness in a uterine pleroma, a water-encased uroboros, is your world; a sensing, a sensitivity to light and slight variances of temperature, a movement reaction to wave fluctuations, are your primeval consciousness. Your struggle to keep alive, to pro-create – these are embedded imperatives contained in your genetic material. And this geometric" recombinant naturalism, tuned to the ecology in which you churn, is the powerhouse of evolution. This bio-chemical blueprint is encoded within a give-and-take symbiosis in everything you do, in everything that enters and leaves you. Each new life that is spawned, that You spawn, is starting on a new adventure, but ratcheted-up infinitesimally. This is my power, Friends, this is the Glory of the Universe. And I am the Universe in the genetic code – that coded life force within You.
The air is now breathable and the sedimentation from organic thrashing, of living and processing, defecating, dying and re-depositing is mounting all the while, washing up on beaches and river banks. You are driven toward it. It is food. It is life. You are a fish, flopping at the extremities of your world, coming to feed at the banquet table where wave meets land. In the swampy netherworld of marsh, sediment too is changing, sensing, genetically adapting its structures toward new forms, sending out feelers, granualizing, as the life force inheres. Such is the self-formative individuating. a subjective projection onto oneself. And when a sufficient amount of this raw psychic energy inheres, then a phase change can occur. Evolution drives from within, affected from without and effecting all. This is the Gaian drama. The old implodes into the new, improved (perhaps) version of Yourself. Meta-changes manifest in new physical forms.
Embryonic larval secretions abound at the rim of life-exploding possibilities, bursting forth at the curving shore. There is a pushing, an advancing. Insects, without the heavy bulk of an exoskeleton, crawl and then take flight. You are exploring in another gravity-reduced environment, floating on a new, lighter stream of sun and air. You look back at the fish, and there you are, writhing after this new food – insects and seaweeds taking root. You are pushing, pulling yourself up, fighting this new feeling of downward heaviness. Yet you struggle forward, drawn on by instinctual urges of hunger and health and sexual impulse. Tiny protuberances emerge, genetically directed from your writhings, helping you to better your quest toward the land-locked banquet at the edge. Many are lost. You lay there in jitters and twitches of last life, life denied. But your dying adds to the sediments as you become the food you are seeking. What you sought is what you have now become.
The sun bakes on. The rain works incessantly, breaking down the rocks. The freezing and heating cycles also crush, in its incessant subtlety, all of the seemingly impermeable terrain before you. And you are these forces too. You are the wind that drives and rages in an electrical storm, cutting swaths through volcanic rock, stiffing up the waves that lap and tug at the shore. Metamorphic changes engulf you. Coursing rivers wear down this firmament too, sending detritus out to sea, adding, always adding to the sludge of creation as it swirls and deposits stacks of dissolved elements, mixing with decayed remnants of animal and plant life. Mud is born – muddy, muddy mud – and slime and goo and an unspeakable collage of putrefying flesh and bones that form the ever-growing Petri dish for new cultures to grope forth into the light. You are these elemental forces too, those same forces that made you at this dawning time.
From here on, our Dream is somewhat better known, and is a replay of the foregoing account but on a more "visible" scale: fish grow legs, "amphibianize" themselves, and come upon the land, as gymnosperm plants too encroach from the water boundaries onto land; over millennia some amphibians differentiate into reptiles, whose cold-blood is kept circulating by the warmth of the sun. Your deepest ancestral brain is traced back to the reptilian one; it exists today, contained in/extending out from the human brain stem, forming one of your "triune brains." You are still "reptilian" in this vestige you still carry (as well as "mammalian" and human).
As mammoth dinosaurs, one direction in which the reptiles have groped, we had our time for millions of years. This monster-like world was brought to a close, presumably from the impact of a meteor – but not until another little furry creature bounded out of ME. This small marsupial was the proto-You – probably a rat-like thing – the first mammal; a dirty, stinking, horrible rat!
Other theories abound too, such as the earth crust displacement theory (Hancock, 1994) and the better known continental drift theory – all of these cogitations appear to help us better understand this whole evolutionary trajectory of our Gaian heritage. – These theories, too – are You – emanating out of Supermind or the Oversoul perhaps.
More thoughts might be called for now, as we pause for another commercial: Like the creatures who grope blindly and often disastrously, as they "try out new forms," theories too often end up on the scrap heap of "false" or unfruitful paths. Yet the generating of new physical forms, like the formulation of new modes of thinking and theories-of-being-and-existence, creates diversity from which untold serendipitous events can emerge, including the spurring of more viable options. That is, thought and theory are a noospheric mirror of our physical evolution, and are at one and the same time brought into being because of it.
A further thought is that evolution should perhaps be better conceived of as "co-evolution." It has not been a straight, detached line of development, but rather a branching-out, inter-subjective development; all organic and inorganic life forms and processes impacting with one another in an exchange of interdependencies, an energy exchange – this same pulsing rhythmic sound wave that can yet be heard, even in our breath; the echo of the Big Bang (and maybe echoes of innumerable Big Bangs). We are this, and not-this. Forever paradoxical creatures? For now, at least, and by necessity – as we use language's limitations to convey The Dream.
After the dinosaurs, the world was a cold, dark, dungeon-of-a-place and you are scurrying about, as always foraging for food, weaning your young, and ever-vigilant against being eaten by some bigger You. Magically, in through the mists, from the fertile abundance of the land comes forth a yellowish, powdery cloud. You suddenly find that about your head is a crown of color. In the airy brightness, your pollen glistens on stamens; and magenta, pink, and crimson petals surround you. Flowers have come. Insects buzz and revel in your sweet fragrance. They alight and you kiss.
Look up! You are tree, a towering, vine-covered tree. Pine cones and spores now float all about in a new greening. On your toes that arch out from the trunk into the earth, fungus, mushrooms grow. Moss carpets scale off over the broken, rock-strewn terrain. while you stand, silent and still, as a mighty look-out among other tree giants.
The seas are off in the distance. A swelling... then a fountain spouts and you are a colossal streamlined creature of the deep. A whale, as free and as fearless as a mountain. In screechy underwater songs you commune with your fellows. They are miles away but are here instantly in their songlines. All are gushing and frolicking in a timeless peace.
Then a thundering is heard way off and a cloud rises skyward. It's so loud now it's deafening. Bison, like a wave, surge over the plains, trampling the sod and shaking the earth, even in the burrow where the groundhog you now crouches. Your litter nestles and squirms as you hunker over them to give them some calm, some warmth. Poking your head out as the rustling thunder recedes, the straw grass lays flattened and a calf in the distance bleats hideously as it's being torn apart by a canine pack. You scamper toward the darkness of underbrush to look for a meal. But before you can reach safety, a shadow claims you; razor-sharp talons tear into your neck. You're seized off the ground...
You're a bird of prey, feeling your muscles as they flap tremendous wings, taking you up, up toward your mountain perch. Your eagle eyes behold dimensions never before known to you. The wind blows through you, and out you go...you're adrift now...bodiless, hovering over the planet. You can see the whole planet. A pod appears to your right – a space capsule. You notice a tether. Now you're looking out through the visor of your space helmet. You are astro-man, high-tech control man – a freak, dangling in space. Thoughts flood into you, one after another. They won't stop...
A fire is roaring. Aboriginals – and you are one among them – sit around staring into the fire. Liquid from the cup is passed around, and around again. Visions rise in the night. Dancing horses, lions, tigers and bears...bounce about. The last wave has come. Man, once a monkey, came down from the trees, built his structures and machines and killed most of Gaia. Here on this forgotten continent you relax with your mates – waiting. Maybe there will come nothing – eternal nothingness – maybe a tidal wave, a radioactive cloud. The plague took most, but didn't touch our tribe.
Oh, Man! Why do you ravage Me? How I long to be in the community of planet-brains, connected noospherically to other planets that have made it. You realized too late that You are Me – I am You. Recall when you lived in motherly bliss, alive in the female element of Me. Oh you foolish, foolish man! How was it that you made your ego your Self. Overinflated Ego – the Satan, my dark side, the Shadow. How did you become stuck there? Ice destroyed you at least twice – water destroyed you at least twice. Fires raged, but went away, burned themselves out. But the fire in your mind consumes you. You made a hell-on-Earth from which you may be suffering until you die.
Wise men came and left, imparting what they could, according to their special time and place and the language and culture of their birth. Did you not know that that was simply ME – coming time and time again? You worshipped them, instead of doing as I did, living as I live within You. And what once came as advice and wisdom remained as a hollow shell. The rituals that might have served as reconnection became empty and meaningless. But they served the social structure, an extension of your egos, this Mammon, and – hideously - YOU DID NOT KNOW IT!
Stand back from yourselves, Friends. Is this the outcome? – waiting for Valhalla? Hear the story, dream The Dream – your Dream, my Dream, the Dream of the Earth, of Gaia. The end of the world is a tragic end, even if it is only for a while – a good long while. Your eternal forms are still about. Maybe with persistence you'll have another go at Me. I long for you to join Me. The membership of true planets awaits. But you must make the effort, let go of your mental-rational ways, embrace the body, Gaia, and make science the steward, not your master.
Most of all, still yourselves and hear the story that rises up when you do. Step into the Dream. Re-find the harmony of the spheres – physio/bio/noo – talk to each other too as you would talk to a mountain or a forest, a deer or a blade of grass. Befriend the dolphin, who rides the interstellar cosmic stream. Return to your Essence, your roots – with the Gaia-friendly knowledge you have store-housed, that we have generated together, with less patri-centric, more indigenous modes of knowing. Use this as a template for returning to a normative relationship with our Gaia and the Universe. Start creating a planet friendly to all species; revive the inherent notion of the sacredness within us and in the world around us. Is it too late?
Yes, “I am who am, but ain't.” I could be, but You must embrace Me, the Me in You – which is the Me of Gaia. Listen to your body – to the body/mind.
Morris Berman's observations on "the body" (Berman, 1989) are strung together below to emphasize the crucial role it plays in our consciousness – in our need to re-find it and how to somatically articulate our expository presentations:
Regardless of what a person visibly presents to the world, they have a secret life, one that is grounded in their emotions, their bodily relationship to the world and to themselves... Academic discourses generally lack the power to shock, to move the reader; which is to say, they lack the power to teach. They fail to address the felt, visceral level of our being, and so possess an air of unreality. (110) …you will generally confront the problem of reading about things that somehow fail to resonate with what is most familiar to you, and what is that? In a word, your emotions, or more broadly. your "spiritual" and psychic life. These things are what real life is about; they reflect the things that matter the most to you, for they are experienced in the body. (108) “The essential truth,” writes Morris Berman, "was an interior one; to omit this was to give the reader, or listener, no significant information whatsoever, in the transition to modernity. This emphasis on interior knowing was severely attenuated." (111) ... The human drama is first and foremost a somatic one. (108) I think it is safe to say that we have penetrated down to the hidden, or invisible, layer of history here, and found, at the core of it – the human body... Coming to our senses means sorting this out once and for all. It also means becoming embodied. And the two ultimately amount to the same thing. (342)So too does Sri Aurobindo, the yoga adept make this crucial point about us and our bodies:
...it is the body that he must make his own foundation and the starting-point for his development of life and mind and spirit in the physical existence. That assumption of body we call birth, and in it only can take place here the development of self and the play of relations between the individual and the universal and all other individuals; in it only can there be the growth by the progressive development of our conscious being towards a supreme recovery of unity with God and with all in God: all the sum of what we call Life in the physical world is a progress of the soul and proceeds by birth into the body and has that for its fulcrum... (Aurobindo, 1987: 107)Elements of the archaic and magical linger on within our consciousness in this modern era of the mythic/mental/rational. Even as some of us grasp at the next emerging structure – Jean Gebser's aperspectival/integral – we remain, for the most part, tangled in these consciousness holons that are more fundamental to those that are more complex. Regressions are not uncommon in our day – from magical thinking in New Age groups to mythic membership playing out in ultra-nationalist "Balkanizations" or within the unchecked zeal of fundamentalist religious groups.
Once again, the thread of our story can be taken up by Morris Berman. In Coming To Our Senses, Berman (1989) so neatly summarizes two 'bright spots' in our struggle against the pathos that has brought us to this mental/rational point in the history of consciousness, the extract is worth repeating here in its entirety:
The notion of a psychic revolution in the West, based on Eastern influences and a revaluation of the archetypal feminine, gets us to the heart of what I have been pursuing in this chapter on heresy as a secret, somatic "skeleton key," as it were, to the history of Western consciousness at large. It amounts to a breakthrough in interiority, an overturning of previous "masculine" mentalite at certain nodal points in our political history; and it is the immediate political context that shaped, in each case, what happened to the immense psychic energy that got released. In the case of our Greek model, it had (in my view) an unfortunate ending: amidst the rich diversity of Greek philosophy and shamanism, Jewish ethics and magic, and Oriental Gnostic practices that made the world of the Mediterranean basin so exciting and heterogeneous, one system managed to triumph. Christianity was victorious over its competitors, including the Roman Empire, only to become a Roman Empire of the mind for the next several hundred years. When the next challenge to it arose, it could only respond as a political monolith, repressing the opposition and/or co-opting it by means of the Cult of the Virgin Mary... The French model [Cathars, known more commonly in history as the Albigensians] has as a major characteristic the creation of unintended side-effects that are still with us today: the rise of the nation-state; the final canonization of dualistic thinking, which is ultimately simplistic; the legitimizing of investigation into "thought crime," and the administrative persecution (to varying degrees); the unexpected channeling of the gnostic impulse of moving toward union with God into the love of another human being as a secular/ecstatic experience. Both romantic love and mind control get institutionalized as a result of the Church's repression and co-optation of the Cathars. This process of a rebellious heresy actually playing into the hands of the powers that be is what I take to be the central feature of the French model, and it is certainly one capable of being repeated today. (214-215)Jean Gebser's Ever-Present Origin (1985) is as dense and rich as a Claxton fruitcake. This seminal work on consciousness studies chronicles the evolutionary development of humanity with such skill and artistry it staggers the mind. Gebser's thesis is here presented, taken from his chapter on The Irruption of Time, under the subtitle, The Awakening of Consciousness of Freedom from Time. In it is his projection of where consciousness is headed – out of an “already obsolete three-dimensional dualistic-materialistic world conception" (288) to an aperspectival integrated structure ("[t]he whole [that] can be perceived only aperspectivally.") (289) in which we plumb the fourth-dimensional depths of time; an understanding that I interpret as a "conscious" re-immersion in the Essence – our genetic heritage and our future:
It is from origin, which is not bound to time, that all time forms constituting us have mutated. Origin lies "before" all timelessness, temporicity, and time. Wherever man becomes conscious of the pre-given, pre-conscious, originary pre-timelessness, he is in the time-freedom, consciously recovering its presence. Where this is accomplished, origin and the present are integrated by the intensified consciousness. The irruption of time into our consciousness is the first indication, the initial motif of the consciousness mutation that is today acute. This mutation will bear its fruits of transforming the world if we succeed in superseding the irruption of time; but that is tantamount to what we have called the presentiation of origin, which can be achieved only by the successful achievement of the main task posed by the new mutation: the coming of consciousness of time-freedom, the achronon. (Gebser, 1985: 289)The last word is the word of Gaia, which is no word at all – just pure beingness in and of its Self: Us – You and Me. We are all together looking back into, while again looking forward to, our Garden of Eden, our dear Origene.
June, 1999/ San Francisco BIBLIOGRAPHY Sri Aurobindo, The Essential Aurobindo (McDermott, R., Ed.) Hudson NY: Lindisfarne Press, 1987) Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine (Pondicherry, India: Sri Aurobindo Ashram, 1985) Morris Berman, Coming To Our Senses; Body and Spirit in the Hidden History of the West (Seattle, WA: Seattle Writer’s Guild, 1989) Jean Gebser, The Ever-Present Origin (Ohio University Press: Athens, Ohio, Eng. trans., 1985 (orig. pub. 1949 and 1953)) Graham Hancock, Footprints of the Gods (1994) Ken Wilber, Sex, Ecology, and Spirituality: The Spirit of Evolution (Boston: Shambhala Publications, 1995) Ken Wilber, Quantum Questions: The Mystical Writings of the World's Greatest Physicists (1985)