Tuesday, September 21, 2004


Epinoumenology is as an oasis for the fractured psyche of the World Mind as it presently constellates.   I must, perforce, issue a few caveats to those who would join me in my walk through the Forests of Ideas that presently shape our current world paradigm.

One, I intend to make extensive use of metaphor - which hopefully does justice to Northrup Frye’s careful exposition on the subject: The Motive for Metaphor- to refocus the present conscious expression of what currently manifests as World Mind.

Two, I make a number of assumptions about our Sociology, Psychology, Philosophy, Science, Mathematics, Theology, Art and Scientific Technology, building on what I consider to be the texts which have most significantly informed the present expression of World Mind, and hoping that many readers will have had a passing acquaintance with their contents.

Three, I am on a mission and am confident that the mountain I have climbed is at least as significant as say Sir Edmund Hilary’s conquest of Mount Everest, or the journey of the five Jewish Rabbis that the late literary critic Edmund Wilson referred to in his book on the Dead Sea Scrolls. Keep that in mind as your personal barometer when you judge the efficacy of my presentation.

Four, I consider this to be an attempt to carry The Spear of Destiny without the assist of nefarious Occult Masters that characterised Hitler’s untimely , ill-conceived and ultimately disastrous - for humanity at least - Grail voyage.

Five, I believe that our increasing preoccupation with specialization and technology produces an effect wherein we are looking at the world from increasingly smaller F-Stops and that the required aperture necessary for positive paradigm shift is being stepped down unnecessarily. To elaborate, I offer the following story to demonstrate how difficult it will be to change both the aperture opening and focus.

Currently we are behaving like an ancient Peruvian tribe which under the direction of its Shaman used to beat its children whenever there was a solar eclipse, believing that to do so would encourage the sun to return and thus ensure their survival. Eventually an outsider discovered them. Witnessing the ritual he attempted to convince them that the sun still would reappear even if they did not beat their children. Most of the tribe were afraid to break with tradition or as we call it today, the reigning paradigm, for fear that they would anger their god and thus lose the benefit of its life giving light. Undeterred the stranger continued to campaign and finally convinced a few families not to follow the group. True enough the sun came back the following morning. The majority, however, still refused to believe and attributed the result to their overwhelming continuation of the tradition. (Something like the society dramatised in Shirley Jackson’s one act play, The Lottery.) With each subsequent eclipse more and more of the villagers gave up the tradition and eventually the tribe realized the error of their ways.

We are behaving in exactly the same manner today as we cling to outdated paradigms about the nature of consciousness, not to mention the even larger issues such as how close we are to extinction as a species if we do not redefine the present world paradigm with respect to land, air and water pollution. I argue that at the very least we have a biological imperative (irrespective of group cosmologies, i.e., Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islamism and Aboriginalism upon which a significant number of us have bet our conscious futures) to perpetuate the species and extend this experience of consciousness; a consciousness that we have inherited from The Egyptians, The Sumerians, The Babylonians, The Greeks, The Romans, and upon which we have developed our present systems of knowing.

Further, we it may be time to apply that 'knowing' to our existing explorations of this thing called consciousness, especially as it relates to the continued experience of the noumen as it has been developed through our translations of the Word (Logos) and its subsequent applications to our sense of who we are as inhabitants of a planet called Gaia - a planet which our scientists claim is some four and a half billion years in at least one known Universal expression variously reputed to be at least 12 to 16 billion years ahead of us. These numbers, of course, change almost yearly as science continues its dialectic on the topic.

Definition of Terms

Ludwig Wittgenstein argued that language defines reality as much or more than mathematics does; therefore, I ask your indulgence as I define my terms. The prefix epi I am using to mean bridge; the root, noumen, as that which is both knowable as a concept by mind but unknowable as truth (Immanuel Kant) and/or the psychism of the cell and its impulse to growth. (Theilhard de Chardin). The suffix logos means The Word in all its connotative splendour. Thus, Epinoumenology becomes an examination of the noumen as presently being experienced, observed and recorded in the various disciplines which give dimension to that which we call Mind or the World of Mind. Some like Chardin have called it the noosphere.

Simplistically, it becomes the study of the rivers of Art, Science and Technological Consciousness that presently converge, swell and threaten the cosmological pillars upon which we now stand, view and ultimately define ourselves. Here then are the working definitions I employ to facilitate the development of Epinoumenology as one of the initial pillars on the Bridge towards a New World Order, or as I prefer: A New Golden Dawn in A New Golden Age.

(i) trope: a pause and then a turning
(ii) meme: a genetic term to describe cellular replication and evolution)
(iii) cosmology: a creation story, i.e., The Bible, The Koran, The Upanishads, The Torah
(iv) cosmogony: an integrative story that encompasses all cosmologies, i.e., The Big Bang
(v) rhetorical trope: the point where our rationalizations explore the boundaries of rationality
(v) socio trope: a change of the magnitude that characterised the movement from agrarian to
(vi) industrial society; Greeks to Romans; Babylonians to Greeks
(vii) cosmic trope: change reflective of ape to homo sapien
(viii) paradigm: a generally accepted and lived understanding of the world and one’s place within it,                              i.e., the world is flat; the earth is the center of the universe; DarwinismvsCreationism
(ix) nous: mind/soul/spirit
(x) noosphere: the world of mind, populated by world minds

Rhetorical Trope:

To begin I wish to focus on the idea that as a World Civilization - especially as defined by our 1) Philosophy, 2) Psychology, 3) Biology, 4) Physics, 5) History, 6) Paleontology, 7) Mathematics, 8) Astro-Physics and 9) Governing Cosmologies, we are at Rhetorical Trope: Which simply means, in philosophical parlance, that we can, with great intellectual vigour, describe (i) where we are as a Conscious Physical Manifestation in a perceived Universe; and (ii) how we got here.

The question now becomes: where do we go from here?

Where we go will depend on our understanding that rhetorical trope occurs as a function of genetically determined meme trope which, in turn, asserts itself as a biological imperative whenever the species reaches the end of an acceptable defining paradigm with respect to who and what we are viv-a-vis what we know about our position in the Universe. Historically this occurs as a prelude to Socio trope and has always been precipitated when our Science (reason) outgrew our theologies/cosmologies, and is best understood and summarised contemporarily by Alvin Toffler in his seminal work the The Third Wave. We are in the midst of change similar to that between Agrarian Society - where peasants toiled in fields, and Industrial Society where they now toil in factories on assembly lines. This inexorable and historical rise and fall of civilizations is most recently and aptly summarized in Paul Tarnas’ tome: The Passion of the Western Mind.

Presently, as we hurtle towards the New Millennium and/or the Apocalypse of the Book of Revelations paradigm, I posit that our present cosmologies and our subsequently expressive World Mind are experiencing a serious and potentially debilitating fracture of the Collective Psyche. Worse, the Shadow of the Collective Unconscious has burst forth yet again. This time, unlike its focalized emergence and dominance in Hitler’s Nazi Germany - aided and abetted by sinister occult practitioners described by Trevor Ravenscroft in his masterful exposé, The Spear of Longinus - it has burst forth with equal tenacity and power across the globe. Sadly, too many of those in its vice-grip now possess the nuclear capability not only to eliminate our species, but perhaps worse, to disturb the Universal Harmonic (see the The Cycles of Heaven) and life as we know it. Our very survival as an evolutionary consciousness is at risk.

I feel/intuit that we are genetically programmed (meme trope) to awaken to an expansion of this thing called consciousness, at the same time as the Shadow emerges; and that the subsequent tension between the forces of the conscious and the unconscious is like The Dance of the Wu Li Masters in some Hegelian dialectic where we engage in thesis (consciousness), antithesis (unconsciousness), and synthesis (socio trope). I argue, that consciousness can only be expanded by facing the unconscious and absorbing its archetypes (Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell), however frightful or inexplicable they may be. Furthermore, I argue that this process is solely a function of the noumen’s burst to the fore of consciousness (Jung: Modern Man In Search of Soul). To facilitate dialectic on this notion, I wish to focus on the convergence of that which we now understand about the noumen as explained and experienced in our Art, our Science and our Technology. Finally, I am going to go Out On A Limb and suggest that this present movement towards Tofflerian Scientific/Technological socio trope is but a prelude to cosmic trope, which will be facilitated by the rapid expansion of consciousness as we embrace features of its emerging paradigm. That is for later. I should like now to bring the paper down to the microcosmic or personal level to assist in the development of the metaphors I have employed to date.

Paradigm Development

During the past twenty-five years I have been involved in research about the noumen, not only as an intellectual exercise but as a lived experience. I didn’t know it then and it wasn’t until I read Ken Wilbur’s In The Mind’s Eye that I realized that what I was doing was learning first hand how a reigning paradigm was established. I ask Mr. Wilbur’s indulgence as I attempt a simple analogy as to how a reigning World Mind is convicted. Namely, if you tell me something is such and such, i.e., that an apple (Please excuse the blatant satire!) is red or green and that it tastes good, I have one of two choices: One, I can accept what you say and parrot it for others believing that you would have no good reason to deceive me ; or two, I can test it for myself and decide first hand if your experience is the same as mine. Whatever the result, the majority who either accept on faith, or experience and join-- become convicted (much like the Evangelicals currently enjoying notoriety), and invariably give rise to a paradigm. By extension, they give shape to the consciousness of the moment with respect to the shared experience, be it an apple, a theology (Judeo-Christianity) or a theory (Relativity).

As a researcher, I have often wondered about this concept called God, manifesting--according to others of similar proclivities, as Spirit/Soul/Mind.

Was it real? (Buddha/Jesus/Mohammed/Sudar Singh/Kihail Kibran/ Mary Baker Eddy/ KrishnaMurti/ Rudolph Steiner Meher Baba/Maharishi Mahesh Yogi/Paul Twitchell);

Or an imaginative construct? (Marx/Lenin/Stalin/Mao/Castro/Ayn Rand).

If so, how did it manifest? (WilliamJames/ Edmund Wilson)

As my experiential and intellectual experiences took shape and evolved, I thought I saw connections, initially at least, as they related to the way that the noumen was first apprehended and written about by our epic poets and then glorified by painters down through the mists of time. Eventually, as the arcane world of Physics was made understandable by people like Gary Zukal in The Dancing Wu Li Masters and Fritz Capra my sense of the pervasive growth of the noumen grew, as well as my apprehension (understanding) of the phenomenon.

It also seemed to me that my experiences fell firmly within the strut of psychology. And spinning my Ariadnian thread further I found myself hanging firmly upon the struts/gridirons/paradigms of Philosophy and Mythology. In an attempt to connect circles - and not redefine them, let me suggest through this poem entitled ID (my one concession to the morpho-tropic deliberations of Freud on the subject of the unconscious) where I was led.

We approach on cat’s feet
the Guardians of the Outer Door
finding dry roses
in dusty cellars
leading to doors
cloaked in webs
of intricate design

It was through these doors that Jung went when he descended into the unconscious to confront both his own shadow and that which he termed the Shadow of the Collective Unconscious. Thankfully, he was able to make the return journey. In Modern Man In Search of Soul he advances the notion that the present ennui or deep-seated emptiness so characteristic in his world (and more so now in ours) can only be sated by confronting our own shadows which are, paradoxically, thrust closer and closer to the surface of consciousness as our individual spirit reaches for its physically expressing manifestation. This process begins in the dream state as we confront, assimilate and understand Archetypes -- a prelude, I argue, to becoming a lucid dreamer and thereby expanding the known limits of consciousness.

Lucid Dreaming as Trope
Lucid Dreaming, a pillar of Epinoumenology, represents another aspect of genetic meme trope at the psychological level. Step these stones to the dream world; begin yet another truth. Before elaborating on the revelatory nature of dreams both (i) as a pathway to what the Greeks called Parrhesia or experience of the Godhead, and (ii) an ability to understand how a dramatic governing paradigm, i.e., the Book of Revelations, is testament to the spiritual centrality of Lucid Dreams. (And by extension Revelations is further proof of psycho-genic meme trope. Again, that is for later discussion. ),  I wish to clarify what constitutes a lucid dream. Again,  this is based on my own recorded experiences of the phenomenon.

I will begin by talking about consciousness in the waking state. We know that we are not dreaming because we can engage in dialogue with others, pinch ourselves and/or use any of the five senses to confirm that we are awake. Interestingly enough, this is also what happens as a lucid dreamer. You are as conscious within the structure of the dream, just  as you are wherever or however you are reading this. In some instances, you can be a spectator watching events unfold much as you might, in the physical world, e.g., watching a passing parade of street walkers, joggers or cyclists.

This experience can be expanded. For instance, you can choose to be involved as a member of the parade, or you can decide to change the dream at will. For further confirmation, you can even apply the five senses test. This is where it becomes interesting in terms of paradigm building and acceptance. I must emphasise that this can all be achieved without the use of psychedelic drugs. I’m sure however, that there are many of you reading this who can attest to the validity of walking through what Huxley and  Leary made famous: The Doors of Perception under such stimulation.

It is not my intention to develop a system for Lucid Dreaming at this point in the presentation. I raise the subject to explain Jung’s subsequent and deeply rooted commitment to mysticism after his lucid dream experiences. As he relates in one of his journals: "I awoke (within the dream) and found myself walking down a beautiful country road. Off to my right was a church. I went in and noted that there were no pews, nor even an altar. Instead the church was filled with flowers, and where the altar should have been was a Yogi meditating." At that point Jung maintained that he knew he was the dream of that Yogi and that when the Yogi finished his meditation Jung too would be finished as a conscious expression on this planet. (Marie Louise Franz)

In the section on cosmic trope I intend to elaborate on my own experiences on the Inner and what these may or may not mean as we strive to develop a New World Cosmogony. Consonant however with my earlier statement about genetic meme trope, Lucid Dreaming is but another indicator of meme trope as we awaken to a new river of Consciousness. Thus this poem, as part of my theme that Epinoumenology facilitates an examination of the convergence of Art, Science and Technology as metaphor, as symbol and as Trope.

La Rivière

I am on The River
I am the River
flowing slowly thence murderously
through your arteries
your veins
cleansing, polluting
I know not which
I am the River...
your destiny
your sustenance
your growth
the pathway
of your tomorrow...

Oh yes, I am the River
bordered by forests, canyons
ravines and meadows
cities, towns
villages , hamlets
estuaries and strangers
I present and present
as a guiding metaphor...

Indeed! I think too
that You are The River...

Sociology as Trope

I want to spin out from here onto the strut of sociology and the most recent summation of where we are as a World Civilization: Tarnas’ The Passion of the Western Mind. In this extraordinary display of scholarship and synthesis Tarnas develops the thesis that we are experiencing the last gasps of Modern Man and entering the decline of Western Civilization. It is not my intent to summarize his carefully woven analysis of comparable civilizations and their experiences. Rather I want to build on his notion of the Nous or what he terms spirit. To do so I must also refer to John Ralston Saul’sVoltaire’s Bastards, equally as compelling, wherein he argues that the Nous is Mind and that as a function of Reason we have reached a point where our Reason and blind adherence to same has boxed us in to a corner - with no apparent way out. I wish to run the thread of Epinoumenology through both texts and suggest that the Nous manifests first as Mind thence as Spirit. I believe this is consistent with Jung’s and Campbell’s explorations and delineations of the mind’s manifestations as it leads one on the personal and transpersonal towards the experience of the Noumen.

The End of Carbon Based Reality

Stay tuned. 

1 comment:

Murray said...

Intersting reading. I enjoyed the story of the Peruvian tribe- we continue to "beat" children in educational institutions in the mistaken belief that subjecting them to delivery methods of instruction is good for them in the 21st century...

Regarding: "...larger issues such as how close we are to extinction as a species if we do not redefine the present world paradigm with respect to land, air and water pollution"

Are we the only species in the history of the world (or universe) that has become capable of self-destruction? What would be the point of that from an evolutionary point of view (assuming there is a higher purpose in evolution).

Interestingly, Discovery Channel's recent animation series depicting what life on earth may be like some 20, 50 or 100 million years in the future did not include any human-like life forms.

I cannot help but think of the writings of Nostradamus...