Martin LeFevre: Awareness Is Action
Awareness Is Action
It’s an absolutely gorgeous Sunday afternoon, full of light and color and shadow. Many people are in the quarter-mile wide sanctuary of parkland, which follows a substantial creek as it wends through town. Most, whether alone or in small groups, are with ‘man’s best friend,’ but they (and their dogs) are well behaved.
Nearly all the trees have turned, and are shedding their leaves in droves, but the foliage is still thick overhanging the stream. One of the ubiquitous, infernal leaf blowers is being used on an adjacent street, but it stops after 20 minutes or so. No one stops long enough to notice, or be bothered by it.
A bird flies in close, and shyly takes cover behind a branch. Each smell, sight, and sound grows vivid, and meaningful beyond the verbal level, and indeed, beyond the power of language to express. When I get up, everything is new. The beauty around me is astonishing, as if I had never been to the place, never seen an autumn, never heard the waters of a stream.
The sense of newness is neither an illusion, nor a ‘mystical experience.’ It is simply the unsought result of attending, without division or exclusion, to everything outside and inside while sitting in a relatively unspoiled corner of nature. When one simply observes without goal or time, the brain cleanses itself of the past, and one sees nature and the world afresh.
There is an intelligence in the universe that is available to self-aware human beings who have the intent to understand and liberate themselves. But to this point, human consciousness, as a whole, is impervious to insight and universal intelligence.
What is the relationship between our individual consciousness, and the collective consciousness of humankind? Like the individual lasers that comprise a hologram, each of us enfolds the entirety of human consciousness within us, though we only project a small segment of it. Self-awareness that isn’t self-centered opens one to the entirety of content-consciousness, and beyond its increasingly dark domain.
Indeed, human consciousness is darkness, to varying degrees, which is also the world as it is. That is, the world is the outward expression of collective human consciousness. Therefore if awareness and insight do not awaken and grow in enough people, the world will not change, and will continue to darken and deteriorate.
I’m not referring to awareness about something-Darfur, child soldiers in Uganda, or the oppression of the Burmese people—but awareness that is inseparable from action. The 60’s notion that ‘raising awareness’ will lead to redressing injustice is based on the same fallacy as traditional journalism, which is that if people know about something, if they have the right information, they will act on it, and the situation will improve.
But we have a surplus of knowledge and information, and yet economic injustice and environmental degradation aren’t decreasing, they’re increasing. And on the individual level, more and more people are simply tuning out, and concerning themselves only with the personal dimension--themselves, their families, and their friends.
Is there any other way? Yes, the material of the past, which is human consciousness, can ignite within us, allowing humankind to move in a new direction. That’s the only thing that can change the course of humankind.
What is the threshold for such a phenomenon? When awareness and insight awaken in enough people (perhaps only 1% of the world’s population), human consciousness will ignite.
So our individual responsibility is very great, especially since most of the world’s people live at or below a subsistence level and cannot concern themselves with such matters. Obviously, people who are barely eking by do not have the energy and time to transform consciousness within themselves.
Those who require the tangible cannot see the ineffable, but those who experience the ineffable will manifest intelligence tangibly. Trying to implement visions and plans before the revolution ignites is a prescription for more fragmentation and destruction.
Because there is no utopia does not mean the only option is adapting to a world of increasing dystopia. In my last column I said the revolution wouldn’t begin in America. But perhaps it has to be kindled, at least where human consciousness is the darkest, and where the material is the densest.
- Martin LeFevre is a contemplative, and non-academic religious and political philosopher. He has been publishing in North America, Latin America, Africa, and Europe (and now New Zealand) for 20 years. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The author welcomes comments.