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 and 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 the actuality of existence, an artificial actuality imposed upon nature which requires also the construction of an image of individuality, a self, with which to explore and navigate through this artificial construction, this city of self-consciousness human beings.
It is the self’s desire for eternal life in the face of death that motivates the individual male’s sexual urge, to propagate and pass on his seed through generation in a competitive status with other individual males, giving rise to all male aggression, including aggression for the purpose of procuring territory or property needed to attract a mate, which aggression is thus sexually based, the urge of the fruit of an inauthentic individuality, the self, a false image of the soul reflected against the illegitimate order of civilization, for immortality. To establish its own immortality the self wills to vanquish its rival!
But my anxiety in regards to my human life confronted by death, my eternal being in a temporal environment, is not merely about the threat of death in whose shadow I stand at every moment of time, but also about my ability to live an ordered life in the midst of the chaos of the unknown that borders the circumference of what I think I know. I accept the order of civilization because I fear chaos and am then further terrorized into submission by those who seize control of this false order of civilization and use the fear of death as their tool.
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.
Pagan consciousness is confined within the intellectual categories of existence, time and space, and cannot acknowledge the reality described by the absolute categories of eternity and infinity. Neither can pagans develop a proper understanding of nature, which is the expression of undetermined being, since they introduce objectivity and reflection into an actuality that can only be truly apprehended subjectively and immediately as the present moment. There is no present moment of time, only the past exists. Existence is time past. The moment is eternally present, stretching to infinity and therefore one with the void of being, the soul of the absolute. The individual soul may therefore be defined as a conscious moment, a moment of consciousness which can choose to be determined spiritually or materially. The spiritually determined soul becomes one with the absolute, while the materially determined soul is eventually lost in the chaos of existence, of time past.
Where I am !
I am, of course, in Alaska, where I came for a brief interlude eleven years ago and where I remain. Alaska is on the planet Earth, the Earth is in the physical universe and the physical universe, where everything is relative, finite and temporal, is in the void which is absolute, infinite and eternal. The void cannot be sensually apprehended or even intellectually apprehended other than following a movement of conscious faith. The void is also, I believe, present at the core of my being, a spiritual presence which renders my being an absolute, infinite and eternal being. The universe is not so. My being transcends the universe and places me in the void. I am, in the void!
Existence, the sensually apprehended and intellectually conceived four dimensional space/time continuum, can be defined as a physical universe of relativity while the true vacuum of the absolute void into which this universe is expanding is a spiritually transcendent presence that cannot be sensually apprehended or intellectually known. The human conception of the relative universe of existence is striving to expand into the absolute presence of being, in order to comprehend an ultimate reality in an intellectual, unified theory and become absolute, the finite desiring to become infinite, the temporal to become eternal. This, of course, can never be achieved.
Reality is transcendent to every actuality, as the absolute is transcendent to existence. Reality is spiritual, encompassing the void and the physical universe within the void. The universe is a universe of relativity in which the only presence of the absolute is the presence of the void at the center of each living being. Within the relative actualities there can be no absolutes. These relative actualities are limited by the boundaries of rational thought, and it is precisely faith that introduces the absolute into the actual universe, not as idea but as transcendent reality. Faith instructs us that there is a reality beyond the actuality of intellectual existence. This reality is transcendent and absolute while existence is intellectual and relative.
The idea is not infinite. If it were infinite it would not be possible. There are no infinite possibilities. The possibilities imaged in the idea are finite and cannot grasp what is real or distinguish between the real and the actual. Existence, the actualized possibility, is only a negative image of a reality which cannot be known by those reflective processes of rational thought that discover the idea, the ground of possibility. The actualities in which we each exist, the actualized possibilities, are only related coincidentally and impartially to the infinite reality of being.