“Life is complex in its expression, involving more than percipience, namely desire, emotion, will, and feeling.”― Alfred North Whitehead
The more one researches what is meant by the term consciousness, the less it seems that there is any consensus of meaning. Most discussions I have come across seem to rather assume its meaning. Language, as useful as it is, also reminds us of the difficulty of articulating with precision any underlying nature of reality, especially as a seamless whole. And yet, this vagueness itself perpetually leads us into the increasingly smaller wholes within the Whole that excite further, increasingly deeper explorations. Perhaps too, this difficulty helps us to understand why mapping reality through mathematics and calculations has come to dominate the scientific approach because of its efficacy in producing functionally practical results. But it is the imagination of the still unknown that precedes the scientific approach as that which makes manifest the very objects of our images. If it can be measured and display repetition, it is indeed, as Richard Grossinger calls it, a Thoughtform.
As this post is a followup to a previous post about Richard Grossinger’s book, Bottoming Out the Universe, I want to go back and reconsider the very idea of consciousness itself. Here is a quote from a short article by Robert Van Gulick that provides a few examples of the variety of ways in which consciousness as an idea can be thought of.
The words “conscious” and “consciousness” are umbrella terms that cover a wide variety of mental phenomena. Both are used with a diversity of meanings, and the adjective “conscious” is heterogeneous in its range, being applied both to whole organisms—creature consciousness—and to particular mental states and processes—state consciousness (Rosenthal 1986, Gennaro 1995, Carruthers 2000).Van Gulick, Robert, “Consciousness”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2018 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2018/entries/consciousness/>.
In short, the term can refer to reflective states of knowing, mainly as perceived through thinking, feeling, and more specifically in both the capacity and qualities for agency through particular qualities:
- Qualities or the nature of experience (what is it like)
- Subjectivity or identity
- Transitive, or being “conscious of something”
Although not exhaustive, all of the above definitions are useful, but specifically the ideas of awareness and perception articulate for me the more essential qualities of experience that are both prelingual and somatic ways to describe conscious states. They also acknowledge the need for expanding the idea of intelligence beyond human intellectual experience to include the underlying nature of the cosmos itself, or what Grossinger refers to as, “All That Is.”
The question that arises without this expansion is how would a greater, more aware, and self-reflective intelligence, such as we claim for ourselves, originate from an environment of a lesser intelligence? Are we mistakenly defining intelligence as a mental phenomena because we humans are overidentified with it? Does a measure comprehensive enough exist to step outside of our own ontological limits to make ample comparisons to All That Is? Human comprehension remains dependent upon the tools of its somatic experience subject to the limits of, not only bodily perception which includes mentation, but both the qualities and nature of the exclusive environment of this planet Earth that we find ourselves in. Can we acknowledge that there is such a thing as cosmic intelligence? By cosmos, or All That Is, we mean that which forms and orders by its very nature, hence the idea of Grossinger’s Thoughtforms to describe this underlying intelligence that permeates, or rather is the cosmos. To ascribe qualities to the cosmos is itself difficult and prone to both error and misuse. Both science and religion, or any belief system are only partially reflective of All That Is, and are perhaps forever subject to somatic limits, the more so to the degree that we are not aware of all that influences our perception.
Even within the human realm, I try to remind myself of how limited my perceptual awareness is. I must remain continually open to the existence of the unknown. By comparison I can recognize and acknowledge something as newly perceived, or defer to collective cultural sources that make reference to someone’s expertise, but whose acceptance bears the weight of potentially coercive, blind acceptance. To accept without understanding, although sometimes necessary, can act as a devaluation of one’s own agency and may never take root as knowledge at the somatic level.
Much of what qualifies as intelligence in the human realm is either intellectual or moral, both of which are insufficient for an open ended examination of cosmic intelligence, while their influence affects us in ways we may not comprehend. What is comprehended somatically is that which becomes incorporated as ritual and habit, with or without language or logic. Yet what the cell knows literally becomes us in ways that we don’t identify as within the purview of our agency and yet without this intelligence, we cease to be.
Grossinger suggests that ultimately, All That Is can be understood best as thoughtforms, which I understand as a descriptor for the undivided, analogical, organistic nature of reality, which in its wholeness is interactive, interdependent and relational:
Reality is a plasmalike matrix of thoughtforms, energy fields, and dimensionalities, creating and transforming information. The “starry vacuum” astrophysical universe is astrophysical at one frequency, Astral at another, Atmic at another, and so on. Countless other planes and tiers of planes, each of them subtler and more informationally complex, radiate through the field, shimmering, transmitting, converting. That sets the parameters of the universe we are in.
The reason the universe doesn’t read like a thoughtform is that so many entities, living and dead, are projecting it through the physics of its own manifestation. It’s impossible to see behind such a screen or ruffle its mirage. The conundrum is how consciousness in the form of individual personal identities, each known subjectively only to itself, gets inserted into a collective thoughtform such that the awareness of reality becomes identical to the physics of that reality.Richard Grossinger
Why does our belief and understanding of consciousness matter, or does it? As the most primary aspect of not only our being, but every being, and that from which all else that we experience follows, the quality of our habituated experience acts as a filter from a more expansive potential consciousness. Both the nature of consciousness and a reflective awareness that seeks to know its nature precedes all somatic perception. Although it’s much more than that, consciousness is that which provides awareness at every level of our being, not merely mental function, but functionality right down to the marrow bone. From a functional perspective, the body appears mechanical in nature because to us, the ordering occurs through the exchange of information unbeknownst to our conscious awareness. In this sense it has everything to do with intelligence and integrity, not only of the individual, but of the entire human species and beyond. So intelligence, by definition, needn’t be limited, but rather a useful way to contextualize our subjective experience. We are perhaps over-identified with our subjective consciousness at the expense of any and all knowledge gained from what we think of as material nature. That knowledge might broaden the sense of identity beyond mentations, and allow us to not only see the bigger picture of who we are, but to experience and act from within organistic, cosmologic and analogically relational priorities.
Within the human realm as we know it, we experience very specific inherited, inherent and shared qualities as living beings. While we may postulate many ideas about life, there remains the primacy of the necessity of the environment in which planet Earth facilitates being as we know it. Within the experience of being we are subject to both life and death of a somatic existence that seems too personal to the extent that we are unable to incorporate the relational nature of our existence within the greater cosmos. We don’t seemingly choose this life, or the nature of the environment or the culture that feeds the psyche. We are prone to feel ourselves as subjects in a world we don’t fully comprehend. Strangers in a strange land. To ponder the greater reality is remarkably humbling, but I think also provides a way to place ourselves within the Whole through acceptance of the ordering principles of the cosmos that recognize ourselves as willing participants within this “ordering” of thoughtforms.
Look around; there are lots of demolished cities, panting fangs, and gluttons seeking requital and peace—in their hearts and our hearts. Leaving aside a science and species mind unable to solve the problems it has created, we have a depletion of meaning and context that itself is unsustainable. That there are no easy answers is the true depth of All That Is. Undumbing the universe begins with the nonrenouncability of our own situation.Richard Grossinger