Monday 28 September 2015

Just exactly how are we supposed to achieve the next stage in evolution of Consciousness - Final Participation?

The scheme of the evolution of human consciousness, goes something like this:

1. A child-like state of immersion in the world, the world experienced as alive, conscious, purposive - from which the self is not clearly differentiated - there is little or nothing in the way of self-awareness, conscience, individuality, 'ego'. The 'gods' are very close, frequently experienced, involved in life, our task is simply to discern the will of the gods and the patterns of the world and to fit to it, smoothly, seamlessly.

2. The adolescent-analogous stage of differentiation of the self, of self-awareness, self-consciousness - and also the being cut-off from the rest of reality, which is experienced as remote; often as non-living/ dead, purposeless, random - all meaning being located in the subjective self- and/or a qualitatively remote and utterly un-like God.

This phase was supposed to have been achieved by the ancient Hebrews, with their one personal supreme God and rejection of the (minor) gods; and by the Ancient Greeks with their philosophical concept of one abstract god as the explanation for creation, the first cause, and encompassing everything eternally.

3. The future and final adult and mature stage in which we retain the self, self-awareness, conscience, a personal identity... but move back into an active relationship with the world - all else again becoming conceptualized and experienced as alive, purposive, conscious (to various degrees and in various ways).

So we are no longer 'immersed' in everything, but neither are we trapped, alone inside our consciousness - instead be are participating and related to 'everything'.


The idea from Rudolf Steiner and Owen Barfield is that Jesus Christ - coming after the Ancient Hebrews and Greeks, made possible this final participation - for Himself, and for everyone... if they choose it.

So final participation is what we are 'meant' to do: if we agree with this analysis, and choose to take this as our goal; then how do we set about achieving this?

A few things can perhaps be said:

1. The first, vital and most important step is to understand what it is that is being aimed-at, and making the inner choice that this is what we want.

(In other words, we need the right metaphysical system, a correct basic understanding of the fundamental structure and nature of reality.)

2. Since we are talking about relationships, our destiny is individual, personal - each person is meant to be somewhat different and distinctive (because that is the nature of relationships) - this suggests that we are significantly different to begin-with, and in at least some respects each is intended to have a distinctive path. (What is meant for us is unique overall, and in a specific aspect may not be meant for all others; and vice versa).

We should expect to find and use some general guidance, that is indeed applicable to all; but also some specific and personal destiny - applicable only to ourselves. We will share some of the path, and other parts of the path we will tread alone.

3. To embark on this quest, it seems necessary to have a belief in the ultimate power of individual discernment. We must, that is, believe that the situation of Life has been set-up such that we are equipped with inner guidance that can - over time - lead us to the truth.

On the one hand, it seems obvious that we cannot possibly (and are therefore not intended to) use personal discernment for each and every choice; but on the other hand, we cannot accept authoritative guidance (for example from scripture, the church leadership, tradition, reason or whatever) without some valid discernment about which of the innumerable self-styled, claimed sources of 'authority' are genuine (overall, and in any particular instance).

Therefore we need to assume that we have some kind of reliable 'inner guidance system', some personal revelation at some level of analysis, that will - if properly deployed, and in-the-end - enable us to discern good from evil, truth from dishonesty, beauty from corruption and so on.

I envisage this as God-within-us, an inner divinity - albeit partial - which is a direct consequence of us being Children of God. Often this works by our personal guidance informing us (cumulatively, over time) which are, and which are not, valid sources of knowledge, authority, inspiration etc.

4. There is no single organized or institutional group, no religion or denomination, within which an individual can pursue Final Participation or the development of consciousness in himself, and to make this as widely as possible available for others. But some are better suited to this than others - which are actively antagonistic.

The same applies to methods or paths: there is no single one, necessary to all. Meditation may help some, harm others; a particular Christian practice or tradition (rules of life, confession, regular Eucharist, group improvised prayer etc.) may help some, many or most people - but not everybody; and will harm some people overall, maybe including you.

(This does not apply to the Commandments and other definitions of basic sin and virtue - some behaviours are bad and need to be repented.)

Also, some groups are better suited to any specific person than others (in terms of the dispositions, strengths and weaknesses of each specific person).

5. In the end, spiritual progression towards Final Participation of consciousness is something which each person must chisel-out for himself: knowing where he wants to end-up; proceeding by the best authority he can recognise (plus trial and error and repentance); and learning to detect and read-off his divinely installed inner guidance system.

1 comment:

JP said...

Off topic. This weekend a friend of mine described a book he had just read, which was the first book in the Star Wars sequel. As you may know, in the "original" Star Wars trilogy, the rebels succeeded in overthrowing the Empire. Apparently, in this new book, the Empire came back into power and the previously successful rebels were, once again, resisting the Empire.

I mentioned to my friend your point that these days the Left is not working towards any kind of "utopia". They are all about eternal resistance and opposition, and they cannot even imagine what they would do if their resistance succeeded. Moreover, "the resistance" are always the good guys, and "those in power" are always the bad guys. This Star Wars book reflects the Left's total lack of imagination - the author drew a complete blank when it came to describing any program for the victorious rebels, and had to default to making them the (perpetual) opposition once again. Otherwise they'd have to make the former bad guys (the Imperials) into the new good guys (underdogs resisting those in power) and that would be too confusing!