Consciousness Video Series: Episode 4: Ancient Beginnings to Modern Consciousness

Desc: Scientist leaving the world. Engraving c.1520. Allegorical representation of changes in medieval conception or interpretation of the heavens when it was thought that the world was flat ¥ Credit: [ The Art Archive

As modern 21st century humans, we tend to focus more of our attention on our current epoch, and in some ways have lost sight of the lessons provided to us by our ancient ancestors. The rapid pace of life in our time and the abundance of sources for both information and distraction have made consideration and contemplation of the achievements of ancient times less and less prominent. Our concerns about the challenges we face in our day, with the many troubling developments in various regions of the world, give us pause, and yet some of these same challenges were also faced by our predecessors in ancient times.

We have a distinct advantage in this epoch, with our modern technologies and scientific advancement, for solving many of the difficulties which were beyond the reach of our ancestors, and yet, with all we are capable of doing in our day, we still don’t seem to be able to avoid many of the same pitfalls which befell the peoples of the ancient world.

The death of Alexander the Great by Jean Restout, 1747

Eventually, if we are to progress and evolve and survive as a species, we must find a way to learn from the past and apply our considerable human progress to the task of avoiding the mistakes, which led to the demise of the great civilizations of the past. One of the most important steps we can take in this direction, in my view, is to find a way to understand ourselves more completely, and to turn away from the violent rhetoric and the politics of competition, and instead, look forward and beyond the temporal trappings of borders and empires, toward a more positive outlook based on an awareness of our common humanity and the unity of all life in our world and that which might exist elsewhere.

There is much work to do to gain in our understanding of our true nature, and my contention that “Life is the Spirit,” feels right to me. In this episode, I examine briefly the path from the ancient world, and how my own experience of life seems to indicate the existence of a much broader world of consciousness.

2 thoughts on “Consciousness Video Series: Episode 4: Ancient Beginnings to Modern Consciousness

  1. The Flammarion engraving – what a perfect choice of an illustration to accompany your video. Both of which I much enjoyed. I think we both agree in the wonders of science and all it has done for mankind. Perhaps, suitably re-oriented, it might lead us to Frank Tipler’s Omega Point, or that of Teilhard de Chardin. But I suspect that re-orientation would need to be pretty profound. Perhaps the scientist needs some of the mysticism which seems to be so entwined in the human psyche to reach his full potential. Perhaps he needs to suspend his rigid disbelief in the non-material. Perhaps he needs to disengage from the quest for more and concentrate instead on the search for better. Hmmm…

    1. There are some hopeful signs that scientists are beginning to consider a broader interpretation of the results of our current investigations in the scientific realm. I recommend John Horgan’s book entitled, “Rational Mysticism,” for anyone looking to reconcile the materialist viewpoint with a spiritual one. Horgan writes about a range of scientific and spiritual views by writers and experts on the subject of mysticism, which span the subject from just an acknowledgement that “science addresses the material world and mysticism addresses the world of spirit,” to the suggestion that there is “no incompatibility between the scientific and spiritual outlooks…They are not contradictory…They are complementary,” to the view that “Reality has both material and spiritual aspects; science addresses the material aspect and religion the spiritual aspect.”

      Horgan concludes that “the convergence between science and mysticism” can be summarized by saying, “Each in its own way reveals the miraculousness of our existence.” I think that both can co-exist.

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