An acquaintance who reads my blog asked me to define consciousness and I choose my response to this by delineating the difference, as I see it, between consciousness and awareness. Awareness is, in my view, a non-reflective natural consciousness, a consciousness of the immediate actuality of the aware subject and thus the consciousness of all sentient being. Consciousness, as I define it on the other hand, begins with reflection, when the human intellect discovers the duality of existence and begins to distinguish between the positive and the negative in existence, between good and evil, and impose this duality of existence upon the actuality of the natural world, denying the reality of spiritual being. Consciousness, therefore, involves a movement, a descent, if you will, from an immediate awareness of the reality of being into a reflective consciousness of an actuality of existence, human civilization, an artificial actuality projected into nature, which demands the projection of an individual image of being, a self, with which to explore and navigate through this artificial construction, this city of self-conscious human beings.
The highest task of the individual soul within the universe is to express in consciousness its own absolute being, the being of the absolute, subjecting its existence to the transcendent reality of being. The physical universe appears to the existential human consciousness as an expression in lower dimensions of the higher dimensions of being and a consciousness of the absolute appears as the highest form of consciousness, revealed as transcendent to the physical universe and thereby infinite and eternal. The seed of consciousness implanted in the universe is able to transcend the physical limitations of form, passed on through generation, which delineate existence. The existential expansion of consciousness through faith in the absoluteness of all being becomes the direction of the evolution of life within the universe.
The ability to distinguish between universals and the absolute, between a relative actuality and an absolute reality, is surely a leap in the development of human consciousness, a consciousness which is confined within an intellectual existence where everything is relative. There are multiple relative actualities but only one absolute reality, which absolute can exist only once within the universe, if it exists at all, and where it can only be an object of faith.
The physical universe apprehended by human conceptual thought which conceives the object and constructs the objective world consists only of dust and ashes and the immanent phenomenon of life. This world of relativity only takes shape through the elimination of the subjective. It exists, but cannot articulate reality since reality demands the subjectivity of human consciousness to the absolute categories. Existence is an actuality imposed by human invention and therefore limited to the expression of that which is objective and rational. Consequently, the phenomenon of life as subjective consciousness becomes our sole avenue into the reality of being. The construction of an objective world proves to be an error on the path of development for human consciousness, a descent from that subjective apprehension of the absolute, which is familiar to all forms of life, into a conceptual framework of an invented and artificial actuality imposed upon the reality of nature as human civilization, the city.
The physical universe is as an expression in lower dimensions of higher dimensions of being. The absolute consciousness of being is the highest consciousness, revealed as the infinite void within which the universe is inflating. This absolute consciousness of being must be an article of faith to the growing consciousness of human being and the expansion of consciousness the direction of the evolution of life within the universe. The seed of consciousness implanted in the universe transcends the physical limitations of form that delineate existence and is passed on through generation. Increased consciousness is not a means to an end but an end in and of itself, not to be achieved in order to manipulate the physical universe but in order to transcend the physical universe which has a beginning and therefore will have an end, while the absolute consciousness of being is eternal and infinite.
I sat recently with an elder acquaintance as he regaled me with stories from his past, citing numerous places where he had traveled and the numerous people he had spent time with, some of them famous in their own venues, but of most of whom I was unaware. He had been, according to his stories, invited to dinners and festive gatherings all over the world and felt himself singled out and fortunate and happy to share memories of these occasions with me, over a glass or two of wine. At one point in his narrative he mentioned a local doctor to whom he had imparted some information, who approached him later saying, “You lied to me!” He had replied, “Of course, I always lie,” and passed the matter off as an embellishment or an exaggeration. I must admit that I enjoyed listening to him almost as much as he enjoyed telling his stories, so what matter if they were not true! No harm appeared to have been done and anyway, what is truth?
Truth is not relative and everything in the rational universe is relative. Truth transcends relativity, the Socratic secret, so cannot be discovered in the universe until the absolute is discovered. But the absolute does not exist, it simply is, behind the scenes as it were. Can the human mind even fathom where it is since it is nowhere in the universe? Surely, if the absolute were to make an appearance within the universe at a particular point in time and space, it would bring all of relativity into subjection, thereby establishing truth. This, of course, is not a possibility. It is merely an absolute necessity.
In reality the essential task of every human being is to remain conscious of the absolute categories and practice a selfless compassion, thereby to annul the negative brought about by the expression of the self in existence. Instead of pursuing this task however, the worldly are engaged in a rampage of self-actualization, seeking to outdo each other in a frenzy of greed and pride. In the place of denial of the self, which is merely an image of their true being reflected against the artificial world of the city, they have cast themselves loose in the universe of dust and ashes, fabricating the idea and actualizing the self’s fulfillment of success in the intellectual construct of existence, although real success in life is, not the actualization of the idea of an individual self, but the realization of one’s true being in an eternal and infinite harmony with the absolute.