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…
I’ve been Googling… actually, haven’t made it much outside of Wikipedia. First, the term “collective consciousness” was coined as a sociological term meaning shared beliefs and moral attitudes. I think we were both using it in a more metaphysical way.
Along the metaphysical lines there seem to have been a lot of thoughts about experience being collected and stored on some etheric level as well as other unifying principles acting outside our normal experience.
That word “collective” is interesting in that it puts me in the position of being a source (or transmitter) into the collection. Then looking at the other side of that it is also apparent that the collective acts on me (a reciever); thus my big thought isn’t really mine in any tangible sense.
So, if both are true then even the terms “transmitter” and “receiver” are… well, kind of making me sound like a cell phone. (Hmmm, now I wonder who’s talking on either end.) No, still too passive… I’ve also heard terms used to describe this such as: conduit, river channel, lens, prism… but these all seem to have a quality of diverting energy without having much relationship with it in the process.
Well, like you said you “rather like the practical approach Chan took” (i.e. “…the breakthrough was not to the realization of “pure mind” or some “other” state outside of normal existence.”) I am one who enjoys going through these mental games of trying to pin down the stuff of existence and keep ending up with things just as they are being far better than any definition.
Maybe more like a party-line? :-)
You are brilliant musician! Your thoughts shared in Ottmar’s = Friends Diary are filled with miracles of inspiration. Thank you so very much!
As for me, I thank you for hours spent not sleeping but enjoying life.
You are a Good Man! Peace be with you.