Meditations: Consciousness, Revolution & Politics
Consciousness, Revolution, and Politics
What is the relationship between a revolution in human consciousness and world politics? That is, how would a worldwide psychological revolution manifest in political terms?
I feel that the ecological catastrophe humankind is generating either means the end of diversity of life on earth (and along with it, the human spiritual potential), or the end of the domination of thought-consciousness, which brought things to this pass.
Except for contemplatives, the vast majority of people assume there is no consciousness without thought. So how could enough people bring about a transmutation in themselves to ignite a psychological revolution, and thereby change the disastrous course of humankind?
During awakened states of consciousness, both useful thought (language, science, art, e.g.) and useless thought (conflict, grudges, chatter, e.g.) fall silent. Meditation gathers attention, enabling the brain to remain present in the present, rather than interpreting and acting out of the past, and that yields great clarity and joy.
But that state is the exception rather than the rule, even for adept meditators. So the regular ending of thought by enough individuals to change the nature of consciousness seems a long way off indeed. (To my mind, the exceedingly rare phenomenon of illumination occurs when an individual breaks through altogether, so that silent, insight-consciousness is the norm.)
Therefore it would appear that the near-term prospects for a leap from thought-based consciousness to attention-based consciousness are slim indeed. But the unprecedented character of the global ecological crisis, as well as the terminal boredom of a collective consciousness increasingly saturated with homogenous darkness, are tremendous driving forces for transmutation.
An awakened consciousness, previously rare and labeled as 'mystical,' is attainable for self-knowing people who retain their hearts through these most trying times. Subsequently children, whose brains aren't yet formed into ruts of conditioned thought, will develop insight-consciousness in significant numbers.
Few progressives feel the human crisis is evolutionary in scope and depth (though the word 'evolution', connoting gradual change, has become a cliché). The diagnosis from the Left is often one or two-dimensional, seeing little further than corporate globalization. The prescription that follows is simply a facile opposition espousing the ideal of self-determination for all people.
Thinking people need to make the connection between the spiritual destruction of the individual and entire peoples, and the extermination of animals and the annihilation of habitat. The spiritual is political; and faith in rational, secular thought has reached a dead-end.
Therefore the political manifestation of a revolution in consciousness would not promote the fantasy of an amalgamation of identities. Rather it would begin with the ending of divisiveness and actualization of wholeness in the individual. (It's fine and well to dream about the hundredth monkey, but since we're the monkeys, we have to do the arduous work of understanding consciousness in ourselves.)
As in nature, diversity flows from wholeness, not the separateness of fading and reactionary identities. Individual and group uniqueness, as well as self-determination, will not emerge from clinging to bygone notions of diversity, but by seeing to the root, and beyond, of human fragmentation.
The United Nations is unworkable because it is based on a wrong premise, especially in a global society--that of separate nations and peoples. The UN can only grow into an effective institution of global governance when thinking people stop trying to squeeze the global society into the UN's Procrustean bed, and create a Global Polity founded on the singularity of humankind.
Humankind has arrived at the end of the consciousness of particular cultures and traditions, which now exist only as backward-looking fragments of ethnic, national, and religious identification. Can consciousness have a new meaning, and political manifestation?
- 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.