Cosmos And Consciousness
“Then there is the further question of what is the relationship of thinking to reality. As careful attention shows, thought itself is in an actual process of movement. That is to say, one can feel a sense of flow in the stream of consciousness not dissimilar to the sense of flow in the movement of matter in general. May not thought itself thus be a part of reality as a whole?”
David Bohm, _WHOLENESS AND THE IMPLICATE ORDER_, p. ix
Cosmos [from the Greek, “kosmos”] is all there is – the universe, reality, or existence as human minds attempt to conceive of it. Consciousness [from the Latin, “conscius”] is all that humans sense, perceive, conceive, or reflect upon as sentient beings. Consciousness also is what we attribute to other living species that are aware of and interactive with their environments.
More people might agree that cosmos contains consciousness than agree that the reverse is true, where consciousness contains cosmos. The latter would imply that a cosmic consciousness pervades all substances and somehow is aware of its all-pervasive existence. Such a claim most likely would support a belief in God.
If all there is can be aware of itself, then this awareness most likely has always been and always will be, without boundaries. Mortal flesh, then, might be a peculiar arrangement in which peak instants of consciousness could define itself apart from its greater whole. Human beings, thus, could be granules of consciousness that emerge from and return to this greater awareness.
Along this line of thinking, I might suggest that eternity smoothes out individual granules of consciousness into a sea where individual minds are complex ripples, seemingly long-lasting structures to themselves but actually ephemeral events in a greater, more expansive dynamic flow.
Should we, therefore, think of consciousness as a primary material that is different in all respects from any other materials we touch, taste, smell or feel? What is this material of consciousness made of?
Without admitting outright that I believe what I suggest, I suggest that something similar to a fine gas might be the ground of reality. Minds that demand tangibility require such an analogy, because non-tangible material is contradictory. If flesh is a condensation (of sorts) of consciousness material, then a fine aether relates the molecules of anatomy to the ineffable ground of all being. Such an analogy maintains consciousness as the primary material, while allowing flesh to be a secondary material, derivative of it.
Consciousness, in this scheme of thinking, is a very special kind of matter that has the potential to know something of itself. It does not originate, however, with this self-centered, self-knowing. It might or might not advance to this stage of being.
Raw consciousness has all that is knowable already distributed in its every infinitesimal speck. Each speck has a primal predisposition of being in touch somehow with every other speck. The truth might be that there are NO parts ever – there are ONLY aspects of the same one reality, like different notes of the same song.
Sea Of Sentience
Here I am toying with the idea that human self-awareness is only one level of awareness in an ocean of varying tiers of self-awareness. Each part of this ocean that human minds can separate from the whole has a seed of self-knowing ready to unfold into full bloom, under the right circumstances.
If star dust remains star dust, then this seed never knows itself. If, however, star dust becomes an aggregate of organic molecular structures, then the dust will gain some sense of itself. In this respect, everything (every aspect of the one thing) is living to varying degrees, because everything (living or non-living) is bound up together in the same fluid reality.
How could life emerge from that which has no seed of life already prepared to unfold? How is the potential for living self-awareness coded into a spec of so-called “empty space”? My answer is that space is NOT empty. Space is rich with living potential that moves towards higher organization naturally.
In my conception, there is no God that stands apart from mortals absolutely. There is no Godly consciousness divided from and overriding the consciousness of living things on this Earth or other planets where life might also exist.
If we are to conceive of a Supreme Being, then we are perhaps better to think of human beings as peak expressions of it. We humans are Godly molecules, Godly atoms, or Godly quanta, all connected, intertwined and participating immediately in the Supreme Being. The idea of a power-wielding father, then, seems to come form childish fear, rather than from divine insight.