evolution of consciousness

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findingblanks
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evolution of consciousness

Post by findingblanks »

Bernardo clearly grasps Barfield's most general points, but hard to know if Bernardo agrees with Barfield's key insights regarding an evolution of consciousness; which, by the way, implies that nature-man evolved only-always together. Sometimes Bernardo talks about non-idealism metaphysicis as if they are merely other ideas about consciousnesses rather than individuated creations of consciousness.

Anyway, to me it seems pretty clear why materialism arose along with the first strong intuitions about universal rights. Along the same lines, it makes sense to me that we saw some of the strongest moral intuitions about protecting the Earth come from committed materialists. Again, I wouldn't attributed this to the content of the metaphysics. Rather, I'd see the content and the intuitions as falling out from a shift in conscioussness that allowed for a new perception of the relation between self-world.

And that shift also needed to become pathological after a period of time. It certainly has. But, again, it isn't the content that matters as much as the 'shape' or 'shaping' of what is coming-into-being that is the key issue.

It starts to become more clear why we are seeing materialists who live deeply spiritual lives. I don't think it was ever so confusing we've had thousands of years seeing idealists who have lived pretty horrible lives. And great lives. And, yes, materialists who are living selfish as well. I'm just saying that our model can help us see why we dont' learn much about a person's creative and moral living from the content of their beliefs.
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AshvinP
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Re: evolution of consciousness

Post by AshvinP »

findingblanks wrote: Fri Oct 15, 2021 6:36 pm Bernardo clearly grasps Barfield's most general points, but hard to know if Bernardo agrees with Barfield's key insights regarding an evolution of consciousness; which, by the way, implies that nature-man evolved only-always together. Sometimes Bernardo talks about non-idealism metaphysicis as if they are merely other ideas about consciousnesses rather than individuated creations of consciousness.

Anyway, to me it seems pretty clear why materialism arose along with the first strong intuitions about universal rights. Along the same lines, it makes sense to me that we saw some of the strongest moral intuitions about protecting the Earth come from committed materialists. Again, I wouldn't attributed this to the content of the metaphysics. Rather, I'd see the content and the intuitions as falling out from a shift in conscioussness that allowed for a new perception of the relation between self-world.

And that shift also needed to become pathological after a period of time. It certainly has. But, again, it isn't the content that matters as much as the 'shape' or 'shaping' of what is coming-into-being that is the key issue.

It starts to become more clear why we are seeing materialists who live deeply spiritual lives. I don't think it was ever so confusing we've had thousands of years seeing idealists who have lived pretty horrible lives. And great lives. And, yes, materialists who are living selfish as well. I'm just saying that our model can help us see why we dont' learn much about a person's creative and moral living from the content of their beliefs.
FB, glad you are back to debate Barfield again :)

The problem here is that, while you are correct about Barfield in broad strokes, you are using the same tactic you are criticizing BK idealism for, i.e. resting comfortable with "pure experiencing without ideas". You have progressed to the evolution of consciousness, which is very important, but now resting comfortable with it as an abstract framework which brings peace and harmony to everyone's choice of worldview. Again, what you say about those worldviews being effects of deeper evolutionary forces is absolutely true, but now we are at the stage where it is important to be very forthright and critical of those who freely choose to remain with those idolatrous and therefore dangerous worldviews despite having every opportunity to shift course. Steiner and Barfield were very critical of 20th century materialists and logical positivists and atomists throughout their writings. One cannot be a "committed materialist" and also genuinely advocate for environmental protection. Actions speak louder than words here. The implicit suppport for perceiving and conceiving Nature in hyper fragmented concepts speaks much louder than placard signs and twitter rants, or even throwing of money at these problems. If we take Barfield's evolution of consciousness seriously, then we can't simply assume this evolution suddenly stopped in the modern age because it's more convenient for us that way, and we will see how it is every individual's responsibility now to save the appearances by shifting their own perception-cognition to that which is more holistic. Likewise it is our responsibility to speak up when people insist on stubbornly promoting those old worldviews which deny the existence of a more holistic participatory consciousness, as does materialism and critical idealism alike.
“It is your presumption that freedom is something which you already possess that ensures that you will remain in chains."
findingblanks
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Re: evolution of consciousness

Post by findingblanks »

"If we take Barfield's evolution of consciousness seriously, then we can't simply assume this evolution suddenly stopped in the modern age because it's more convenient for us that way."

Yeah, we agree!
Jim Cross
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Re: evolution of consciousness

Post by Jim Cross »

findingblanks wrote: Sat Oct 16, 2021 12:13 am "If we take Barfield's evolution of consciousness seriously, then we can't simply assume this evolution suddenly stopped in the modern age because it's more convenient for us that way."

Yeah, we agree!
In the idealist perspective, reality is consciousness. So how can it evolve? It can't evolve from less consciousness to more since it was presumably already perfect consciousness in the beginning.

How does consciousness evolve in a timeless world?

There is fundamental contradiction between idealism and any notion of spiritual evolution.
Ben Iscatus
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Re: evolution of consciousness

Post by Ben Iscatus »

In the idealist perspective, reality is consciousness. So how can it evolve? It can't evolve from less consciousness to more since it was presumably already perfect consciousness in the beginning.

How does consciousness evolve in a timeless world?

There is fundamental contradiction between idealism and any notion of spiritual evolution.
Yes, it is a conundrum. But analytic idealism deals with it in this way: the universe represents the thoughts of MAL. MAL is instinctive, but not self-reflective because there is no pushback or resistance to its ideas. Dissociated aspects of that consciousness, restricted by resistance to their will in a planetary environment, become self-reflective. Their reflections eventually become part of MAL's self-understanding, thus enabling it to evolve preferences it didn't have before, such as the idea that lions eating elephants is unpleasant. Not there yet ;-)
Jim Cross
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Re: evolution of consciousness

Post by Jim Cross »

Ben Iscatus wrote: Sat Oct 16, 2021 11:37 am
In the idealist perspective, reality is consciousness. So how can it evolve? It can't evolve from less consciousness to more since it was presumably already perfect consciousness in the beginning.

How does consciousness evolve in a timeless world?

There is fundamental contradiction between idealism and any notion of spiritual evolution.
Yes, it is a conundrum. But analytic idealism deals with it in this way: the universe represents the thoughts of MAL. MAL is instinctive, but not self-reflective because there is no pushback or resistance to its ideas. Dissociated aspects of that consciousness, restricted by resistance to their will in a planetary environment, become self-reflective. Their reflections eventually become part of MAL's self-understanding, thus enabling it to evolve preferences it didn't have before, such as the idea that lions eating elephants is unpleasant. Not there yet ;-)
"Evolve" in the sense of change perhaps, although even that is somewhat problematic in a timeless world. But the evolution that Barfield and Steiner are talking about is from lower to higher which would imply that MAL was at some lesser than perfect state in the past and is moving toward a more perfect one. Yet there is no basis in idealism to differentiate levels since it is all consciousness to begin with.
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AshvinP
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Re: evolution of consciousness

Post by AshvinP »

Jim Cross wrote: Sat Oct 16, 2021 12:01 pm
Ben Iscatus wrote: Sat Oct 16, 2021 11:37 am
In the idealist perspective, reality is consciousness. So how can it evolve? It can't evolve from less consciousness to more since it was presumably already perfect consciousness in the beginning.

How does consciousness evolve in a timeless world?

There is fundamental contradiction between idealism and any notion of spiritual evolution.
Yes, it is a conundrum. But analytic idealism deals with it in this way: the universe represents the thoughts of MAL. MAL is instinctive, but not self-reflective because there is no pushback or resistance to its ideas. Dissociated aspects of that consciousness, restricted by resistance to their will in a planetary environment, become self-reflective. Their reflections eventually become part of MAL's self-understanding, thus enabling it to evolve preferences it didn't have before, such as the idea that lions eating elephants is unpleasant. Not there yet ;-)
"Evolve" in the sense of change perhaps, although even that is somewhat problematic in a timeless world. But the evolution that Barfield and Steiner are talking about is from lower to higher which would imply that MAL was at some lesser than perfect state in the past and is moving toward a more perfect one. Yet there is no basis in idealism to differentiate levels since it is all consciousness to begin with.

This confusion arises because we anthropomorphize and reify MAL. That is not very hard to do when a vague amorphous word like "MAL" is used. It is like the "dark matter" or "dark energy" of materialist science - it serves as a blank canvas for our projections, because what is within us deeply longs to know more, but we cannot know more when we have conceived of the phenomena as being inherently "dark" (without any logical warrant to do so). So the only other alternative is to project all of our own limited concepts and qualities onto it. I completely agree that this way of thinking about MAL, as reflected by BK's view and Ben's comment here, becomes pretty incoherent after reflecting on it for awhile.

The consistent idealist approach recognizes that we are not standing apart from the world and observing it from 'frame to frame' as a neutral spectator. The characterization of MAL as "instinctive will" is an expression of our own current and limited relational perspective on the noumenal world which stands behind the phenomena. This is actually the conclusion necessitated by any evolutionary approach. The fact that Reality (ideational activity) evolves is no more confusing than the fact that, as individuals, our own perception-cognition evolves from infancy to adolescence to adulthood. This evolutionary process is the story of our own lives, and it is only modern prejudice which assumes that all "stories" are "fictions" or "fantasies".

We perceive, desire, feel, think, and act in stories. We intuitively understand that they are all told from relational perspectives. Because we cannot imagine "timelessness" with our current relational perspective, we conceive of it as some static state of Being. Then we wonder how our own narrow experience of ticking Newtonian clock i.e. linear time, can be reconciled with our own intellectual creation of "static state of Being", i.e. how a "perfect" static state of Being can evolve. These are all self-imposed problems, and our desire to get quick and dirty answers to everything right this moment should not trump the simple logical fact that one cannot derive future evolutionary stages from earlier ones, and that many deep questions of spiritual evolution will take much time, patience, and effort to reveal.

That being said, Cleric has already made these notions as accessible as possibly can be made to intellect in various posts, such as this one below (more details at link):


viewtopic.php?f=5&t=503&p=10498&hilit=n ... ock#p10498
Cleric wrote:If one takes even the most preliminary steps in the path of higher development that I often describe, it'll be understood that Life only makes sense as continual development process, which outgrows layer after layer in rhythmic fashion. Every stage of evolution reveals the spiritual structure within which consciousness was forced to flow previously. As this processes continues one approaches the seed of the Cosmic Fractal. And here is the greatest challenge. One imagines that approaching this seed of pure potential is like sad event where all the fun ends (Steve's essay on perfection). Like I said, this only applies when one can't escape the intellect operating under the Newtonian clock. Just as we get false idea if we imagine the land around us continuing flatly in all directions, so we get false conception if we imagine Newtonian time continuing linearly till the 'last' state. One imagines this as riding on a train, approaching the last station and starting to worry "But I don't want this to end, I want to keep riding".

One has to work on his own to at least notice the glaring anthropomorphism of this conception. First, one imagines that consciousness experiences time in the same Newtonian ticks until the very last moment (or even after that if we assume 1.1 from your enumeration). Second, one imagines that up until that last moment one will feel as an atomic ego in quite the same way as today. Third, which is related to the second, is that in these states where the One Cosmic Consciousness encompasses more and more of the Eternal potential, it still feels as an isolated ego, feeling human-like emotions, desires to keep experiencing, fear of boredom at the end and so on.

I really can't convey these things in words. It's practically impossible to get true understanding of the nature of Time while caught into the intellectual rhythm.
“It is your presumption that freedom is something which you already possess that ensures that you will remain in chains."
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Re: evolution of consciousness

Post by Soul_of_Shu »

Jim Cross wrote: Sat Oct 16, 2021 11:14 amIn the idealist perspective, reality is consciousness. So how can it evolve? It can't evolve from less consciousness to more since it was presumably already perfect consciousness in the beginning.
Under idealism, ideation, inextricable from Mind, with an infinitude of ways to imperatively explore 'perfection', how can it not 'evolve'? ;) Playing a hepatonic scale in a single note sequence is no less perfect than evolving endless symphonies out of it.

Speaking of which, still pertinent to the topic, this dialogue is worth a listen, especially for the musically inclined, and perhaps even an approach to encounter the seraphic symphonies ...

Here out of instinct or grace we seek
soulmates in these galleries of hieroglyph and glass,
where mutual longings and sufferings of love
are laid bare in transfigured exhibition of our hearts,
we who crave deep secrets and mysteries,
as elusive as the avatars of our dreams.
findingblanks
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Re: evolution of consciousness

Post by findingblanks »

"It can't evolve from less consciousness to more since it was presumably already perfect consciousness in the beginning....."

Jim, the best troll in these here hills! Notice what presuppositions he packs into 'less to more', 'perfect' and 'beginning.' He's just playing.
findingblanks
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Re: evolution of consciousness

Post by findingblanks »

My materialist friends nearly all agree that fundamental reality can't be explained in other terms and that it is non-contingent.

Most of my idealist friends agree 100%.

All of them believe that reality evolves, but none of them try to 'prove the other side wrong' by pointing out how language necessarily will make many slips when it tries to justify a non-contingent, non-caused fundamental reality that evolves.

And that's not even the fun part.
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