I have commented on Chopra’s series here, with a reference to Bennett’s model. This essay suddenly critiques models and I don’t know if there is a connection. I see the problem with models, but my point was that we can’t take the term ‘consciousness’ out of context: it has its place in a larger reality and we should be wary of anthropomorphism all over again.
My point was to cite Bennett’s take, which is highly problematical, but with a useful feature: the evolution of the organism ‘man’ was one thing, but his entry into ‘consciousness’, which is not mechanical consciousness was larger than evolution, because a cosmic energy, none other than ‘consciousness’ (this is Bennett’s take), enters man as he steps beyond global nature to a cosmic nature. There consciousness is relatively limited and probably not suitable for a larger generalization.
The point here is that consciousness explanation is no better than materialist explanation: matter and consciousness are poles apart but a unity in Being. We cannot separate the two and make one a universal category.
We think consciousness is the highest category, but it is not. In Bennett’s ‘story/theory’ there are three realms, the hyponomic (matter, roughly), the autonomic (the life realm), and the hypernomic. We should not use the term ‘matter’ here: matter applies high low. the reason Bennett changed terminology. The latter is intriguing but unknown to us. We intersect with its lowest rung, which is higher than than the highest rung of life. In Bennett’s scheme an oddity enters here. I think he realized he couldn’t see to the ‘top rung’ and created a kind of filler effect, as standins: the progression goes: conscious energy, creative energy, unitive energy and… I forget the top case. It hardly matters: we can’t detect this aspect, fully one third of the triad of tetrads. These terms must be standins, I don’t quite follow Bennett. But the curious term ‘unitive’ is a reminder that our thought suddenly confronts a non-dual logic of some sort, and here our analysis is confronted with still another barrier. We conclude a few things, maybe: the hypernomic is what all the religions tried and failed to grasp: god, spirit, consciousness, Mind with capital M, Humping Munchkins, the list is long but understanding limited. Using Bennett’s scheme we see that the hypernomic is mirrored or symmetric to the hyponomic and that ‘matter’ and ‘?humping munchkins’ are ‘reconciled’ in life. That’s not very helpful. But it is a start. Man’s confusions about religion are intersections via a still primitive ape with a new form of energy (but there Bennett confused the term ‘energy’, but his point is roughly clear) as man tries to transcend his animal nature and start to interact with the larger cosmos. That’s it, all we know, not much. But we can see that this mystery may not be necessary, at first, to understand. We clearly confuse the hypernomic with god, but god would have to be beyond all this, beyond consciousness, beyond matter and spirit, and life. The issue shows the mistake Bennett made in not distinguishing noumenal and phenomenal. All three levels must be ‘material’ and/or phenomenal. The real ‘spiritual’ is beyond the realm of the spiritual. It is a point Samkhya yogis always make (I hope better that this material here!). In any case the unifying skeleton is not ‘conscisousness’ but Will, in the sense of Schopenhauer, perhaps.
We don’t have to square with Bennett’s outlandish ‘dodecad’ to see the point: we simply don’t know anything about a full one third of cosmic reality. We aren’t even in the ballpark, outside of the marginal intersection as the low end which has some sort of connection to the issue of great concern to us: consciousness, a term so vague we forget that it is a very mechanical process in the animal man, and should really be distinguished from this other consciousness, more like meditative self-awareness. This scheme of Bennett is flawed, but the point is clear that we can’t resolve the mystery at the high end with such a low property as consciousness. Consciousness and mind, along with feet and fingers are poor candidates via anthropomorphism. To see the point study your pet dog: you share consciousness of one kind with this creature, consciousness, but the peculiar ‘self-consciousness’ spoken of by meditators is a bare glimpse of a different entity. I think dogs can share this too. But man was a far greater capacity, still not so great, to enter the cosmic field by waking up.
We are confusing ourselves with one word describing two opposites. But the exact situation has always been pointed to by yogis, who note the way the term ‘consciousness’ slips between two definitions.
All of our discussions are incoherent, so it is hard to conclude much of anything. We are trying to figure the answer by inventing solutions to problems for which we have no empirical referent.
Three cheers for the Humping Munchkins.