Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Consciousness-Raising

Originally posted on April 25, 2014

(This was written more than a week ago, too)

The first point is to recognize that people can participate in raising their own consciousness. This is not a small step. Most folks take their own view of life, the world, people, themselves, pretty much for granted. It is what it seems to be. But of course, few things are actually what they seem to be. They have many invisible parts, and in turn they affect systems larger than themselves. This view is invisible—for most folks, it is what it is. There are no germs if they’re invisible; there are no distant galaxies or even stars beyond what’s visible. There is no unconscious realm—that’s all made up by those weird psychoanalysts with beards and couches, those folks who want to mess with your mind.

So the second point is that knowing this, questioning the “meta-narrative,” which is the hallmark of postmodernist consciousness, liberates people to question many assumptions operating at many levels. What is the meaning of this symbol or that event? How else might it be explained?

A third, related point is recognizing that the world is more complex than we can understand. Nobody’s making it seem that way because of their need for status. It really, truly, is more complex, more complex than even the smartest people, the smartest committee can understand. No bad guys are making it more complex than it should be. Our minds are far too simple to appreciate this complexity, but being childish, we feel entitled to it being simple enough for our minds to know. But it all is not there for our benefit; it’s not about us; it really is way too large for our minds.

Fourth, related to the aforementioned: This is also a theological idea: That what is imagined as God or the realm of the gods is beyond us is clearly articulated by many theologians, but the mainstream of the scriptures, as interpreted by the mainstream of clergy in many religions, suggests a simplistic system aimed at children: Do good and you get rewarded, do bad and you get punished. End of story. Hints that it’s all grand indeed, but not really emphasized. The truth is that it’s way more complex, a million times way more complex than any minds can do more than begin to appreciate.

A fifth point related to the fourth: This is an affront to our right to know, to be able to know. It takes us down a notch—indeed, several notches. It seems not to be fair. It seems to be an imposed demotion. But it isn’t. It’s simply recognizing that the cosmos is not only vast in space and time, unimaginably vast, but also unimaginably complex! It hints at their being dimensions and aspects of life we don’t yet know about, and were we to find out, even then we couldn’t begin to appreciate. It hints that we, the summit of creation, as far as we knew, are collectively and individually not only small in size compared to the hugeness of the everything, but small in our capacity to appreciate how small in size we are. In short, for most folks it’s quite unacceptable.

Sixth, deriving from all this: A willingness to be humble—very humble—is a prerequisite for true introspection. A corollary is the willingness to consider that our very thinking might be mistaken, misleading, misguided, and inadequate. This goes against the grain, but no more so than opening to the idea that the world is round, not flat; or opening to the idea that the world goes around the sun, rather than what seems obvious—that the sun goes around the earth. To consider that our minds may be as limited as our eyes and ears is not really more astounding than to consider that there are lots of things we can’t see because they’re too small, or too far away, or partake of types of radiation that is invisible to our eyes.

Seventh: The assumption that what is real is simple and occult is weird? Wrong. Lots of stuff is occult, which simply means not apparent to the raw senses. The word, “occult” doesn’t in itself imply wacko theories. Some folks with shallow minds might think, “But anything that is occult seems to be the product of weird folks who are trying to mystify us. Everyone knows there is nothing occult, not really.” But the idea that “everyone knows” is also a misleading illusion.

Two Types of Consciousness

All the above is a preamble to a rather shocking distinction to be drawn: There’s a distinction that needs to be drawn between people who call their own consciousness into question and those who do not.

For one thing, those who don’t look at their own consciousness are a bit draining to those who do. One tries to be compassionate, but this ignorance of the simple fact that one’s own consciousness is a factor in one’s own state of happiness or unconsciousness—this ignorance is a bit draining. Not that those who do look at their own consciousness are so much better, please note; but seeking to investigate the foundations of one’s own habitual attitudes makes for another level or order of discussion.

Psychotherapy is thus quite different if it involves patients or clients who take responsibility for their own consciousness, in contrast to those who do not. Even social interchange is less congested, as the less conscious ones tend to either indulge in life-is-tough complaining mode with a turn towards blaming others, or towards blaming and putting down themselves, neither of which are particularly constructive. Those around them who are more psychologically-minded tend to want to make more constructive suggestions, and when those suggestions are continually met with “yes, but…,” it becomes a bit exhausting.


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