I have been turning that comment over and over in my mind:
1. Victor Hornback Says:
“…in my view nothing is ever lost…”
I sometimes wonder if anything is ever created. If not then collective consciousness is not so much a collection growing over time as a shifting in and out of form whatever is already there.
To which I answered:
3. Ottmar Says:
Victor, that’s a mighty big thought and I like it.
Just consciousness shifting, turning, dancing, flexing, shining, fractalizing…
Methinks one would find examples of this thought in Hindu and Buddhist texts, don’t you think? Maybe some Googling is in order.
Haven’t googled anything, but listened to this talk by Alan Wallace at Upaya – part od the free podcast series at Upaya.org. I don’t think it’s a very good talk. Mr. Wallace goes on and on and appears to enjoy hearing himself talk, but does not actually say much. But, I had to stay in the studio to make sure a candle wasn’t falling over and burning the place down (here and here) and so I listened to the entire 90+ minute podcast. (((yes, that’s my bell that starts the podcast – I gave the sound to Upaya)))
Mr. Wallace mentions that while we can observe the physcial changes in the brain – e.g. see the Wikipedia list of different Neurotransmitters – when it comes to studying the interior life we have to depend on a research subject’s word. Two subjects experience and relate the same situation very differently. I find it’s useful to know Ken Wilber’s Four Quadrant Model – I, We, It and Its, or the Subjective and Objective view of an individual, and the intersubjective and the interobjective view of the collective – check it out here if you like. (((are you feeling sleepy?)))
Alan Wallace draws an interesting comparison with Science around Galileo’s time. Before Galileo no powerful telescopes existed, therefore astronomy depended on naked-eye observations. If I remember the talk correctly, before Galileo the most powerful telescop had 3x magnification, but Galileo was able to devise one with 30x magnification. With the help of this telescope Galileo was able to observe that Venus had moons orbiting around it. That, of course, started trouble for Galileo, because since Aristotle it was understood that the Earth was the center of the universe.
Well, in terms of studying the interior world of our Minds we are still using naked-eye observation. We have to take a subject’s word for what they are experiencing. We can observe what is going on in the brain objectively, by measuring currents and chemistry, but we can’t look into the interior life of Mind. Yet. Will someone invent the equivalent of a telescope – for the mind? Or is that just not possible?
So, from there my mind jumped to thinking that nothing every REALLY happens. TIme is a construct. And, as Victor wrote, Collective Consciousness is not so much a collection growing over time as a shifting in and out of form whatever is already there. (((that does sound like something Nagarjuna might have expressed – must look for Stephen Batchelor’s translation, which is somewhere among my stacks of books…)))
We discover “new” definitions, based on the current culture, data and knowledge, but I would venture to guess that in terms of the mind’s interior, we don’t know any more than some of the monks, hermits or philosophers in India or China thousands of years ago. On the other hand we can certainly distract ourselves better than they were able to… :-)
I wish I could express myself better. I swear, sometimes this stuff aligns wordlessly and miraculously in my mind while I am meditating, but holding on to that experience and putting it into words, that’s a whole other matter. Well, I tried and by now you are probably asleep, so no harm done…