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Philosophy, Psychology and Science: The Collective
If philosophy, psychology, and science combined it would produce a decisive transformation in the structure of humanity. This image has been drawn by philosophers, psychologists and scientists. The problem is that it is mainly from the study of finished works recorded in textbooks by which each new generation practices its trade. Inevitably the concepts drawn from the textbooks no longer fit the subjects that produced them. In other words new ideas come from old paradigms and fail to grasp the true future. This essay will attempt to grasp this vision by the combining philosophy, psychology, and science. This attempt will have four parts. The first will start with the Stoic philosophical principles, focusing on what the Stoics started, but drawing conclusions of a more enlightened logic. The second will briefly discuss the influence of psychology and how without Jung this transformation would be impossible. The third will show how science has given us the model of humanity's next evolution, and finally a description of this evolution.
When studying the Stoic philosophy it is important for one to consider the Stoic conception of the ideal life. In particular, one should look at their view toward duty, the logos of the cosmos, the purpose of society and the Stoic attitude toward death.
In order to look at these aspects of the Stoic ideal life one must first understand that the Stoics put a huge emphasis on reason over emotion. The Stoics Believed that if one acts on emotion he is only reacting to external conditions. However, through reason, the Stoics contended, one can act on those external conditions. The Stoics saw everything as being interconnected from the tiny worker ant to the giant blue whale. They saw the universe itself as a living, growing community connecting all rational beings. It was living one's life as a citizen of this community that one gained kinship with all living things. It was through working for the good of the whole that one was able to live this way and gain this kinship. Putting the needs of the many over the needs of the few (or the needs of the one) describes this Stoic doctrine best. It is from this doctrine that the Stoics derive their principle of duty. One should always act (through reason) in a manner appropriate to circumstances at all times, and that this action should also be one directed for the greater good. This action could be as mundane as picking up some litter to the extreme of taking one's own life. The Stoics viewed death as natural. All things, according to the Stoics, happen by necessity, but through the use of reason one can always act. This means that even in death one can choose and so is therefore free. "Death is a rest from the contradictions of sense perception, from being jerked like a puppet by the strings of desire, from the mind's analysis and the service of the flesh." (Marcus Aurelius, Meditations VI 28).
The Stoics viewed the cosmos as a community connecting every living thing. It was the duty of the "Cosmic Citizen" to do what was right for the greater good of the whole. "Reflect frequently how all things in the universe are linked to one another and how they are related. For in a sense all things are interwoven and therefore in friendly sympathy. All things follow one another because of the active tension and the common spirit breathing through all, and because of the unity of all existence."(Marcus Aurelius, Meditations VI 38).
The Stoic doctrines all point in a certain direction yet never seem to arrive at the logical destination. There are many possible reasons for this. The theory that makes the most sense is that philosophy was so heavily pursued in classical Greek culture that other intellectual areas were left behind. This caused the Stoics to have "tunnel vision" meaning that although their ideas were new and original they were rooted in preexisting concepts and ideas leading to the wrong destination. One example of this, in The Meditations, is the Stoic view of god. The ultimate logos or reason governing all things is called the god (or the gods). The Stoics believed in monotheism, equating this governing of things to Zeus, but parts of this reason or logos, in different portions of the universe, could be divided into Hera goddess of air and Poseidon god of the Sea etc. The Stoics admitted polytheism (mainly symbolically). "But there is this gift from Zeus, the founder of the society of men," Marcus Aurelius XI (8). The Stoics, however, do not focus on the concept of a Zeus sitting atop Mt. Olympus and there is in their physics no qualitative difference between God and the rest of the universe. The evidence is clear. Even in the midst of these new ideas on the universe the Stoics are still rooted subconsciously to the old ways. Therefore, it is impossible for the Stoics to carry through their own thought process to its logical end. This logical end that they have missed is what can only be described as the collective consciousness.
To understand the concept of the collective consciousness we must first understand the idea of the collective unconscious created by Carl G. Jung. His thesis is as follows: "In addition to our immediate consciousness, which is of a thoroughly personal nature and which we believe to be the only empirical psychic (even if we tack on personal unconscious as an appendix), there exists a second psychic system of a collective, universal, and impersonal nature which is identical in all individuals. This collective unconscious does not develop individually but is inherited. It consists of pre-existent forms, the archetypes, which can only become conscious secondarily and which give definite form to certain psychic contents." (Joseph Campbell, The Portable Jung 60)
The idea that Jung has created with this hypothesis is that every human being has ideas, archetypes, images etc. that exist in every other human being. These ideas and archetypes exist regardless of whether the individual was born in Egypt or Scotland, whether they are rich or poor or large or small. What does this mean in regards to Stoicism and a collective consciousness? The Stoics also put forth a concept of collectiveness in The Meditations. If humans have intelligence in common then we have reason in common and if practical reason governs what we do and do not do, then the law is common to us all making us citizens of a universal city. This concept of a "Cosmopolis" (universal city) falls just an inch shy of grasping the truth. It is not a city in which to live as the Stoics believed but a universal entity to become part of. To understand this it is necessary to utilize the principles of Jung and use his idea of archetypes by applying them to previous philosophical and theological concepts. Now an archetype is defined as an original model after which other similar things are patterned. Combine this with Jung's theory and you have common ideas created by a true model existing within the unconscious mind. This revelation now makes it possible to see that ideas such as the prime mover, The Forms, Cosmopolis, Heaven, Nirvana etc. are all derived from the same archetype; with this said it logically follows that this one archetype is based off an original model. The Stoics came the closest to defining this model but again they fell short. It was the collective consciousness that they failed to comprehend.
Defining the collective consciousness is complicated because it encompasses so many different areas. The basic principle behind it (without meaning to come across as mystical) is a psychic link between all living things: from one human to another, from a human to a fish to a tree to a planetary entity and so on. This may seem impossible and unreasonable, but please consider that the average human uses less than 10% of their brain. In other words, if the brain was represented by a pyramid the average human only utilizes the very tip of that pyramid. It will be through the accessing of the other 90% of the brain that this psychic link will be established.
The Stoics saw that all life was interwoven "Each makes a different contribution, and even one who objects and tries to oppose and destroy what comes to be, contributed beyond his intention for the universe needed even him." Marcus Aurelius XI. Understanding that all life is interwoven or "one" is the first step toward this universal goal. Establishing the link to other consciousness is the second.
Conceptualizing this new world one question should be in the forefront; what about individualism? The answer is that individuality would still exist. Technology has given us the perfect model to prove this and complete the journey to enlightenment. This model is the internet. To understand why, it is necessary to see a computer symbolically as a consciousness. The hardware represents the brain (logic), the software represents the mind (imagination), and finally the telephone lines and digital messages represent the psychic link to other consciousness. The internet gives a personal computer access to other computers but it does not give it a free and unobstructed view of all files and documents contained in that host computer. Meaning that although a personal computer can view and share certain files and software there are still private documents and other information that remains solely the host computers. This then becomes the perfect example of what the collective conscious experience would be. Part of the brain would be connected to a higher consciousness in which instant and total communication would exist. The other part would remain the individual's making him capable of free will. Although free will exists the universal mind would play a big role in choices made. The universal mind would assert the Stoic doctrine of always doing what is right for the greater good. "Live free from ignorance, fear, superstition dedicated to the common good, above pettiness, anger, anguish, always with a view of the whole." Marcus Aurelius XI.
In the future when this becomes a reality it will mean many things for the world as we know it now. Take the example of Jeffrey Dommer. It was due to his childhood that he become what he did. Through molestation and other abuse he became a demented wacko who killed and ate his victims. In the world of the collective consciousness this becomes impossible. First think of his childhood. If there was a psychic link from a child sending images of a need of love or of food who could refuse? And even if the maternal mother did choose to refuse, all life would know and could intervene saving the child from the future of a demented wacko. Let’s go a step further though and say somehow the child did grow up a demented wacko. First everyone would recognize him for what he was, and second if he was ever in a situation to act out his wacko-ness images of the pain he would cause to the victim and the family of the victim would flood his head causing him to feel so guilty that he could not act out as he intended. In other words a world of the collective will produce only a psychologically healthy society.
One can conclude that there would be no crime, no hunger, no wars or strife of any kind. In fact one can go so far as to say that things such as money, vanity and extreme self-centered-ness would disappear completely. In other words, creating a utopian society based on the acknowledgment that we are all one connected in every way to everything in the universe.
If philosophy, psychology and science as we know them today combined it would produce a decisive transformation in the structure of humanity. This essay has attempted to grasp this vision. The Stoics produced a set of doctrines that brings this transformation into form. The Stoics fell short however in the final conclusions they drew due to subconscious beliefs rooted in the past. Along came Carl Jung who without meaning to gave us a very important piece to this universal puzzle. By revealing to us the concept of archetype he made it possible for all to see that very different views of the universe were derived from one true model. Jung also gave us the collective unconscious which we can now recognize as the soon to be collective conscious. It is from the fact that humans use so little of their brain capacity that we conclude that this psychic capability will exist. It is thorough science that the final insight is drawn. The internet has given us a very clear representation of the principles of the collective consciousness. The internet demonstrates the basic design, and also proves that the basic individualistic characteristics can still exist within a mind sharing environment. Although this idea might seem farfetched or radical to the reader, I would remind them that at one point in history the ideas of a finite universe and a flat Earth were accepted as truth and contrary ideas were thought of as being radical.
Finally, I would like to draw a mental picture for the reader. If we could have the opportunity to step beyond the universe and view it with an objective eye from beginning to end as a movie, our perceptions of the universe would drastically change. Being able to watch the universe's evolution (expanding, contracting, exploding, and changing) over an hour's time, we would be able to perceive that it was a living entity, making all life within it one piece of the whole.