What is consciousness? It is the state of being aware. For example, we are conscious of ourselves as Ego. Many times, we are unconscious (unaware) that we are also Shadow, Mother, Father, Wise Old Man, Child, and many others. These are archetypes of the unconscious. Most humans are not aware of themselves as being these Persons (and They are Persons).
What is the origin of consciousness? How do we become aware of unconscious things? First of all, we must not reify consciousness. It is a state, not a Being in and of itself. It is a quality of Being. Many times, we tend to talk about “the unconscious” and “consciousness” as if we were referring to Beings. They are not. Rather, they are qualities of Beings. The avoidance of anthropomorphism is the best route to take when thinking along these lines. On the other hand, the unconscious is populated with living Persons who should be taken very seriously.
Max Velmans and Susan Schneider said in The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness:
Anything that we are aware of at a given moment forms part of our consciousness, making conscious experience at once the most familiar and most mysterious aspect of our lives.
Consciousness emerges from intercourse with the unconscious. Our experiences inform our consciousness. As we experience the Universe, our consciousness is constructed of innumerable monads of Gnosis, which we call images. Little by little, as we progress and regress through life, our house of consciousness is being built entirely of images. Consciousness is also composed of images which emerge, sometimes spontaneously, from the collective unconscious. These are images we share with collective humanity.
Consciousness and unconsciousness are two sides of the same reality, i.e. Soul. Our experience is always a blending and intertwining of both; each bears the Other’s seed. As chaos and order intermingle, so do consciousness and unconsciousness. Soul is a seething cauldron, constantly cooking and bubbling, the alchemical retort par excellence! Our daily ascent and descent to and from consciousness paints an image of how these interact.
This infers a waxing and waning consciousness. There are many levels of consciousness and unconsciousness, which constantly pull and tug against the Other like rising and falling ocean tides. Instead of visualizing consciousness as an ever-ascending linear climb, it is really more like a sine wave that has the potential to gradually increase in magnitude, after many ascents and descents. If we attain higher consciousness, it is a roller-coaster ride.
To accompany my newfound philosophy of immanence, I propose a horizontal movement of consciousness in rhizomal fashion. Transcendent consciousness is fine, but horizontal consciousness is better because we grow toward each other instead of trying to rise above each other. Westerners have been inculcated with the desire to progress vertically, but that paradigm is dying. Our future will be one of horizontal consciousness and empathic connections with each other.
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