Psychedelics, the will, (self-)consciousness, and ‘early apemen’ intoxicated with ‘(self-)consciousness’
June 6th, 2018 •
States of enlightenment are also, beyond the question of ‘higher states of consciousness’ completely ordinary, the same as ordinary consciousness, like music in different octaves, but with a kind of clarity that the more usual ‘mechanized’ states of consciousness lose, simply ‘seeing’. Hence the jargon, you are already enlightened, there is nothing to achieve.
This situation arises in relation to the almost primordial theme/meme of ‘one pointedness’ as the road to this consciousness of consciousness (jargon, jargon). If we stop thought for a second we experience that enlightenment, sort of, as a test case. This raises the question, why does man’s natural condition get lost? One answer, as with the meme of ‘stopping thought’ is that ‘mind’ is a complex form of mental software that entered homo sapiens (or marginally homo erectus, or even chimps???) and this tends to distract man and displace consciousness into mechanical acts of mind. (Zenists are always talking about no mind. Mind is like your personal computer, but far more complex and confusingly mixed with elements of consciousness, confusing the issue of stopping thought). Man is a very complex being, and often fails to understand himself at all. In many ways the issue is not simply consciousness, but understanding ‘what the blazes is happening to me, who the heck am i?’.
It is said over and over, the one and only sutra, that persistent one pointedness results in real enlightenment very quickly, but this is almost impossible to achieve. Perhaps because there is no mechanical causation as such. We can’t cause the mind to stop, or to stop being causal (to the extent it is causal).
We have to wonder, at the fringes of science fiction if some way could be found to deal with this perpetual stalemate that can produce a result that isn’t result, and on the spot, quickly. Here we see psychedelics are ‘causal’ inductions, only, or else maybe there is a way here…
We should note a distinction of consciousness and attention. Consciousness is a state, but attention is an act of will, voluntary (if we say, ‘concentrate’, we mean willfully focus mind, or beyond mind/thought), that manipulates or acts on the mind to expose that consciousness, the ego yet not the ego, what does this mean? Thus the missing issue is the ‘act of will’, and the ‘will’ is consistently denigrated in yoga, but explicitly considered in sufism (and in garbled forms in monotheism, the will of god, etc…). As with bennett often cited here, we can distinguish functionality (mechanical situations), being and will, he was a student of sufism. The issue of consciousness is one of ‘being’, and there are paths of being, meditation, say, and paths of will, very rare, (unless ordinary monotheism). But the path to the ‘will’ and the path to ‘enlightenment’ in the end are probably the same, or very similar. Yogis have to indulge sneaky uses of the ‘will’ to meditate…
If we follow Schopenhauer past his possible mistakes (and past bennett whose ‘will’ is a realist thesis) we see that the ‘will’ has a noumenal aspect (the whole range of issues has a strange resemblance to kant’s transcendental idealism). Bon idee! problem solved if we refect on this beyond all the hopeless jargon. We experience ego and think it the will, and it is, but also it isn’t: there is a hypermental version of the will, and it is associated with the man of miracles (more bad jargon), but everyone exerts his real ‘will’ once in a (great) while, and the effect seems to spring from nowhere, yet influence causal events.
If yogis bypass the will or claim to it is because the ‘path of will’ passes the land of some horrible monsters. The man of the ‘will’ is soon bewitched by the chance to be a magician, a true superman of the will, and is soon on Faust’s path to hell with ghastly experiments in the land of witchcraft and wonders. The christian world’s theme of repentance, more bad jargon, is really about paths of recovery from derailed derelicts of the will. The culprit can be ‘saved’. Nice if it were true.
We have to wonder if early homo sapiens didn’t have frequent bouts of ‘real consciousness’. Bennett explores this ‘myth’ of early man drunk on consciousness in a kind of euphoria. A later mechanization seems to have befallen man. But the real history is still unknown…Nonetheless we should note that primitive man, so-called, and men in advance technological civilizations are about equal in their potential for ‘real consciousness’.
Let’s wonder if psychedelic research can help here in the future but remain mindful of the need to cultivate consciousness, and to understand who we are: we are a very complicated mechanism and if we don’t understand ourselves we remain unconscious (but still conscious in one way, note the reversal in the usage of the term ‘conscious’, must be a clue of some kind….Many jargons thus distinguish consciousness and self-consciousness…)
Note then that ‘understanding’ is a complex mystery, often unmentioned, more complex than knowledge, as both will and consciousness. We often sense that what we know we may not understand. Understanding is the cinderella in the world of big words like consciousness. Right under our noses, yet crucial to the whole question which cannot,as such, be reduced to a chemical equivalent, as far as we know…freom what we have said we see that consciousness and materiality (chemistry) are related, twins so…?
Note: this approach may still misunderstand certain aspects of these questions…