I have arrived at the point in my thinking where I feel there is a need to, not define, but lay down some groundwork for my particular ideas concerning consciousness, according to Animaterialism. The very fact that we can differentiate between Soul and Spirit, for example, via consciousness is a very interesting thing. Consciousness itself is self-recursive, since we must possess a certain mode of consciousness in order to realize we have consciousness in the first place.
Is consciousness synonymous with what I have referred to as The Cosmic Mind, i.e. the fusion of Soul and Spirit? This is one question I will keep in mind as I proceed.
According to philosopher, Christian de Quincey, when we discuss consciousness, there are really two meanings we must come to terms with:
1) Philosophical consciousness: “a state or quality of being with a capacity for sentience and subjectivity” (Radical Nature, p. 64).
In my idea of consciousness, I talk about modes of consciousness. Again, I don’t care for hierarchical ideas, so I do not think of these modes of consciousness as being hierarchical, as in “levels of consciousness.” I prefer to think of them as horizontal, or better yet, rhizomal in nature. This, also, has been discussed on Soul Spelunker.
All things in the universe, in my thinking, have their own particular mode of being. A rock has a different mode of being (and corresponding consciousness) than a human. Both are viable, valuable creations, but exist according to a different manner of consciousness. Being is not static, as the phrase, “state of being,” implies. Our language is very limited when attempting to explain the idea of being. Just don’t think of it as a static entity. It is dynamic!
2) Psychological consciousness: “a state of awareness characterized by being awake or alert, and is contrasted with the “unconscious,” a state being asleep, or with psychic contents below the threshold of conscious-awake awareness” (ibid.)
This is what we are referring to when we speak of the unconscious in Jungian terms. It is merely the state of not-being-aware. The unconscious is not an entity, it is a state of unawareness.
This article will deal with philosophical consciousness, as it relates to Animaterialism.
I realize that most of us, including myself, do not thoroughly understand the complexities of quantum mechanics. I am not a physicist. On the other hand, physicists are just as baffled by a phenomenon like quantum entanglement as we laypeople. This puzzling behavior has been experimentally verified, so we definitely know it is occurring. It is also known as “nonlocality.” Granted, this phenomenon occurs in space-time, or at least the empirically verifiable effects do. What I am interested in is that the particles in question seem to share a kind of innate awareness of what is occurring between them, thus possessing a certain mode of consciousness, even if the mode is simply that one particle has awareness of what its counterpart is doing. The phenomenon itself exists in isolated areas of space-time, but the awareness does not. This is why it is faster than light speed; it is instantaneous because it is not bound by Einstein’s light-speed-limit. All modes of consciousness exist in non-space-time. As de Quincey says, consciousness “is non-located” ( ibid. p. 62).
I keep being reminded of my studies of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, where he states that space and time are “transcendentally ideal.” By this, he means that space and time are two
primary ways our minds order our sensory experience. Space and time are
innate, a priori structures of the human mind. They are not
substances in and of themselves, nor are they properties of substances.
Rather, they are like lenses through which we view the world. Kant also claims that space and time are empirically real. They have
objective validity since they are present in the actual experiencing of
objects (Kant, here, is presupposing the subject/object dichotomy,
which I reject). They are not substances, but, according to Kant, they are supplied by the
mind when we experience the manifold of sensation. Space is the form of
outer intuition; time is the form of inner intuition. The mind presents
outer objects to us in space. Our inner states succeed one another in
time. By these inner states, time is applied to our experience of outer
objects. Of course, Kant did not believe we could have any knowledge of the noumenal world, the world as it is in itself. Kant merely added another dichotomy to the mix, in positing his phenomenal/noumenal distinction. This is actually hyper-Cartesianism, since now one cannot know anything about the real world.
I do not wish for my thinking to operate only on the level of the empirical. I am in agreement with Albert Einstein, who said, “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” Most of my writing is based on both reason and intuition. Like Einstein, I believe intuition is a valid epistemological tool.
In my thinking, the first mode of consciousness is a substratum of awareness, via act and creative choice, that is innate to all things in the universe. This awareness acts and chooses how forms are organized and are shaped from matter, so this mode of consciousness exists at the very bottom of the Great Circle of Being. Even seemingly insentient rocks and amoebae share this mode of consciousness. It is important because it is a mode of value, since all things in our universe have value, not in a hierarchical fashion, but rhizomally. I reject the notion that some modes of consciousness are superior to others.
This primal mode of consciousness is a whirling Vortex of creativity and intelligence, constantly and vortically bringing order and complexity from chaos. It is pure awareness. It spins infinitely, ever in flux.
To be continued……