Tuesday, August 21, 2018

When you look at the world and yourself what do you see?

The perennial psychology distinguishes between the states of human consciousness as asleep and awake. Most human beings spend most of their lives with their consciousness asleep. Steve Taylor describes the sleep state of consciousness in his book, The Leap, as having four categories of signs and symptoms: affective, perceptual, conceptual and behavioral. We will be taking these categories of signs and symptoms of a sleeping consciousness one at a time. In this article we will describe the signs and symptoms of the perceptual category. These signs and symptoms of the perceptual category are not in any particular order.

The perceptual category involves the underlying understanding of the world. In our Western Civilization we have been educated in the Aristotelian model of reduction and causation. With the development of this understanding the scientific method has been created. We see things in linear sequences of causation; a lead to b leads to c leads to d and so on. We have broken things down into component parts, named them as objects, and learned how to manipulate their configurations and interactions. This has given us humans great power over our physical world and motivates the basic questioning of 4 years old who harass their parents with the constant question of "why?"

With maturity and further development in cognitive abilities we come to realize that objects are part of greater wholes and a system awareness dawns on us that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. We come to realize that the objects in the universe are interdependent and imbued with a power that isn't explained by its component parts and thus scientists become mystics.

We are told in the Tao Te Ching that "The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao. The name that can be named is not the eternal name. The nameless is the beginnings of the heaven and earth. The named is the mother of ten thousand things." Those ten thousand things though only exist because of the Nameless.

When we awaken from our sleep we no longer just perceive objects. We not only know there is more, but we sense it intuitively. The seventh principle of Unitarian Universalism involves covenanting together with others to affirm and promote the "respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part." Perhaps love is a better word than respect.

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