A Pangeaic Idea of Emerging Consciousness

A Pangeaic Idea of Emerging Consciousness

NPS Photo by Neal Herbert
NPS Photo by Neal Herbert

There is always a concurrence between phenomena on different strata of existence. Other planes are sometimes unknown to us. By this principle we can at least glean some knowledge of what we would otherwise be totally ignorant of. As above, so below is a universal axiom. It applies to all layers of reality.

We live on the cusp of a new day. Just as the earth’s surface has formed over eons of time, so have the structures of human consciousness shifted and mutated from an original form.  Mountains have arisen from massive tectonic shifts below the surface, entire continents have drifted to their current locations. So also the topography of human consciousness has shifted first this way, then that. We are nearing the next shift, the next mutation that will supersede the current state of consciousness in favor of something wonderful, fresh, and deeply profound. Powerful tectonic movements are occurring now in the collective unconscious that will eventually irrupt into view.

In 1912, German geophysicist and meterologist, Alfred Wegener, formulated the theory of continental drift. He noticed how the shapes of the various continents could almost be fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. His hypothesis states that earth’s continents were originally one single land mass, and that, gradually, they broke apart and drifted away from each other. This single land mass he called, Urkontinent, meaning “primal continent.” This Urkontinent was later called Pangaea, which means “All-Earth.”

Wegener’s theory was not widely accepted until a viable explanation was offered to explain the mechanism of continental movement, that being plate-tectonics, evidence of which was discovered in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s.

I propose that continental drift theory is a beautiful metaphor of consciousness emerging from a “pangeaic” state at some point in human history. A few Western thinkers have postulated the idea that human consciousness has passed through several stages of change. One that is currently quite interesting to me is Julian Jayne’s Bicameralism. But even more interesting is the manner in which Colin Wilson altered Jaynes’ theory for his own use. Instead of positing a bicameral view of consciousness in the past, Wilson claims we were once unicameral, then became bicameral later on. In other words, ancient man used both sides of the brain working together, until the left brain began to dominate, which divided man’s consciousness. This occurred around the time writing was invented. Jaynes was probably correct that the current state of human consciousness, where the two hemispheres are alienated, is a fairly recent development in human evolution. Ian McGilchrist, in his recent book, The Master and his Emissary, seems to be in agreement with Wilson. Referring to Julian Jaynes, he says:

. . . I believe he got one important aspect of the story back to front. His contention that the phenomena he describes came about because of a breakdown of the ‘bicameral’ mind – so that the two hemispheres, previously separate, now merged – is the precise inverse of what happened. The phenomena came about because of a relative separation of the two chambers, the two hemispheres. Phenomena that were previously uncomplicated experienced as part of a relatively unified consciousness now became alien.1

This state of unicameral consciousness could have been mankind’s psychic Pangea. Of course, the metaphor does not precisely hold, since there are many more continents than hemispheres of the brain. On the other hand, who knows what correlations could be made in future brain research? There may be unknown psychic continents just waiting to be discovered.

Another interesting philosopher is Jean Gebser, whose work, The Ever-Present Origin, lays out structures of human consciousness from proto-hominids to our current place in evolution. Gebser’s stages of consciousness emerge from what he calls “the ever-present origin.” This is not simply a beginning at a certain point in human history. This origin, according to Gebser, is an atemporal and nonspatial source. The idea can be likened to the Pleroma of Neoplatonism, or the Ein Sof of Kabbalah. Writer and philosopher, Gary Lachman, says “It is ‘sheer presence,’ a primal spiritual radiance whose luminosity is obscured by the lesser light of the consciousness structures that proceed from it.”2 Gebser’s Origin could also be viewed in pangeaic fashion.

 

 

Bibliography

Lachman, Gary. A Secret History of Consciousness. Lindisfarne: Great Barrington, 2003. Kindle Edition.

McGilchrist, Iain (2009-12-15). The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World. Kindle ed. Yale University Press.

  1. The Master and his Emissary, 261-262
  2.  A Secret History of Consciousness, 236

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3 thoughts on “A Pangeaic Idea of Emerging Consciousness

  1. Then almost touching “Pluto” these days might be an outer sign for what happens in human psyche? Could it be needed to touch our depth before we are able to make, transformed, that new shift in consciousness, hence the words: “something wonderful, fresh and DEEPLY PROFOUND”? Will it give us the opportunity to return from our deepest point upwarts now towards”our sheer Presence”Love&Light, finally no longer obscured by “the lesser light”…

  2. Yes, I think the fact that Pluto is in the news means we are drawing closer to it psychologically. We desperately need to touch our depth; transformation cannot come until we do. Thanks for the poignant observation.

    Mark

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