Correcting the “Civilized” Ego … The Stormy Path to Self, Part Six — Critique of Homo Noeticus: Awareness of Death Leads to Taking Life Spiritually
Critique of Homo Noeticus
Finally, I’d like to make it clear that all of this is not to say that I don’t appreciate White’s enthusiasm for advances on the leading edges of science and spirit and for thinking that this might have something to do with an increased pace of changes in consciousness. Indeed, I do believe that we are seeing an incredible and positive change in Western consciousness: But I view these changes, in Wilber’s terms, as a translation on the existing “level” as opposed to a “transformation” to a “higher” level, to a “Homo noeticus.”
If We’re Lucky We’ll Regain the Unity of Consciousness We’ve Lost
To my way of thinking, there may in fact be pressures to bear upon changing the quality of Western consciousness, and possibly, even probably, in a positive direction. But I believe that these forces have more to do with the effects of our technological advance, in various ways, back upon ourselves.
For example, I believe that modern telecommunications has the effect of making an assault upon ego defenses, making the ego-narrowed, nationalistic or “tribal”-bound views increasingly untenable under an onslaught of information. We might also consider some of the side-effects of pharmaceutical advance. I believe that our exposure to altered states through a variety of prescription and illicit drugs makes narrow, single-state, ego-fortified beliefs and ideas increasingly untenable.
Awareness of Death Leads to Taking Life Spiritually
I also feel that the negative effects of technological advance—pollution, for example—are having positive effects on Western consciousness, albeit totally inadvertently and fortuitously. In this respect I might note that our co-habitation with the bomb and with environmental destruction is a spur to the growth of consciousness akin to more traditional spiritual paths that speak of the benefits of “having death as an ally.”
That is, that the imminent possibility of death is a spur to taking life seriously (and spiritually) and to “waking up” in general.
Chastened by the Environment We’ve Created
Another factor is that the declining quality of air and the increased level of toxins that we ingest also are attacks on ego defenses. It is known, for example, that breathing increased amounts of carbon dioxide can bring up primal and perinatal feelings (repressed traumas that our ego defenses normally keep safely [?] tucked away in our subconscious). Grof (1993) has described how at one point he explored the use of increased carbon dioxide as a method of inducing nonordinary and perinatal/transpersonal states. The reduction of oxygen apparently acts similarly to a reduction of blood sugar or glucose to the brain and thus results in an inhibition of the brain’s ability to keep out unwanted information. The evidence concerning heavy metal toxicity indicates that can have a similar effect (Watson, 1972).
Down Can Be Up
Now, I do not espouse environmental poisoning as a technique of higher consciousness. But I am saying that apparently Nature … and we are part of her … has ways of balancing herself.
And as we edge our way toward global destruction, we increasingly sicken ourselves in the process, causing us to psychologically “go back to the drawing board” and seek solutions—both inner and outer—to our misery. Specifically, I am saying that inhibited brain functioning, whether through oxygen depletion, heavy metal toxicity, or other environmental anomalies has the effect of heightened “mind” functioning (lowered ego and defensive functioning) in the sense of opening us to suppressed individual (and global/universal) truth.
Granted that many people, especially visible in our big cities, are not integrating this information from outside their ego boundaries (from the unconscious) and sadly are instead acting out the energy of these repressed materials … which our degenerating environment is opening up to them or giving them access to … in violent, destructive, wasteful, and pathetic ways.
That is indeed a tragedy and is something that, if that response ends up prevailing, could actually do us in.
But there are also many people who are integrating this emergent material, regaining their truth and the truths of this planet and the universe, expanding their consciousness to include this information, and carrying that information forward into positive action to heal themselves, the people around them, humanity at large, and the planet.
We can only hope that the forces of integration are more successful than those of disintegration and re-action in the face of this influx of material. That, and then again, that those of us who are dealing positively with these emergent truths can help to build societal structures and processes that make it easier and more likely for those less able to integrate and themselves grow in response to it.
Continue with Planet of the Apes? Thunderdome? No. But Only If We Are Lucky: Our Primal Return May Indeed Be a Primal Renaissance
Return to The “Patriarchal Mistake” Involves Struggling to Keep Out “Negative” Thoughts: For “There Is No Coming to Consciousness Without Pain.” – Carl Jung
To Access the Entire Book, of which this is an excerpt, Go To Falls from Grace
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