This Business Of Consciousness -govos

Self-Improvement Newton and Einstein drove their minds into regions untouched by experience. Mozart and Debussy appeared to be men born without some obstruction that prevents ordinary people from .munion with the sublime. Both varieties are archetypes of the furthest advancement of an evolutionary process which relates their consciousness to the chemical constituents of the planet. It has been my thought that solar radiation acting upon sea water first enabled matter to reproduce itself, and thus life began. Now it is thought that this salt sea soup is a more likely a cradle. I had always imagined that the earliest essays in life would be found to be microscopically small, but now the contrary is thought to be true, that it was probably in quite large masses of matter that reproduction began. But whatever the size of the first pieces of life, whether they preferred sea water or sea water soup, nothing but some fifteen hundred million years separate them from the Newton/Einstein or Mozart/Debussy out.e. The process has grown butterflies, the elaborate lobster and the simple worm. But the significant process in those millions of years has been that each step toward .plexity was ac.panied by a heightening of consciousness. Consciousness remains the only apparent opening for significant development for the future human. Among the earliest creatures known from the Cambrian rocks are the trilobites, a large family of primitive crustaceans, which for an almost unimaginably span of time were the aristocrats of life. Today the lobster is a very fine fellow whether he promenades the sea-floor in flashing blue or lies pink and opulent in an entre dish; whether he eats men under water or is eaten by them in their world of air. But alas, he has gone too far in his specialization, he has imprisoned himself within his splendid external skeleton. He has no expanding future. That it is no better with the birds is exemplified by the wrens. In their isolation, the wrens of St. Kilda have grown longer tails than the wrens of the mainland, but even with their longer tails, they havent achieved anything much more significant. The birds burnt all their boats when they left the ground; so it has been with all our fellow creaturesthey have in their specializing successes .mitted themselves too far. The gazelle is given over to fleetness, the rhinoceros to strength, the giraffe, though he can reach the topmost leaves, well, he already looks impossible. It seems, although it is only we in our ignorance who say so (the aardvark may have an entirely different opinion), that our minds alone allow us the freedom to go forward to something significantly new. Men of the Newton and Einstein, Mozart and Debussy sort, men of this class of genius, move in a country far beyond our present guessing. This heightening of consciousness has been a diverse yet constant process. It was among the early reptiles that consciousness gained a new incentive and a tremendous new agency for its own perfection. For the first time the male had to seek and take the female. Before the great reptiles had disappeared, the mammals were there with their keener senses and their far more .plex brains. They experienced fear and anger, and, beyond the reptilian sex, they knew family life. Even the nest of a tree shrew can do much to incubate consciousness. And stepping from tree shrew to apes to men, it took a long-drawn effort to coordinate hand and eye and brain in non-instinctive movement: a .plication of emotion tending towards refinements of love and hate, a widening separation of the self from its surroundings. Then, suddenly, there were bison painted on the cave wall. What has happened since the creation of that bison art is fifty thousand years of the accumulation of experience and an erratic but pitiless sharpening of thought and feeling. This gathering up of consciousness can be followed through time. It stretches up through time from the placid mass of cells in the salt sea soup, through reptiles browsing on the branches of trees, to the little mammals peeping on them through the leaves, up to Newton and Debussy in this exquisite, agonizing web of time. Consciousness must surely be traced back to the rocksthe rocks which have been there since life began and so make a meeting place for the roots of life in time and space, the earliest and the simplest. As the human fetus physically recapitulates episodes in the history of our evolution, so each individual consciousness, that most fleeting manifestation, carries beneath it, far out of reach of normal memory, episodes in the history of consciousness back to its remotest origins. Because the mind, like the matter in which it is immanent, seeks to continue itself, it suffers the strange pangs of love, love which can serve its end in two ways. Either it leads mind to strive for union with another, and so to continue its existence in a new creature, or excites it to creative activity of all kinds, and above all to project itself through the arts. Whereas the new physical creature represents the prolongation of consciousness in the stream of time, these projectionspictures, poems, symphoniesare the perpetuation of a phase of consciousness motionless within the stream. Fossils, as it were, of the psyche. If I were to speculate as to the future evolution of consciousness I would note that we, as a species, have be.e very conscious of the individual being, apparently neatly enclosed by its covering of skin, recognizable as me, a being to be disliked or desired but certainly a distinct and particular entity. It is the natural tendency of our mode of perception. How we think of a fire exemplifies this mode of perception. When we contrive a fire we see it as a separate thing rather than as a .plex chemical process affecting a wide area round the visible flames and smoke. A human being is hardly more cut off from its surroundings than is a naked fire. It is continuously exuding gases and moisture and consuming other gases; a variety of waves can pass through a wall, through air and through a human body almost without interruption. I suggest that waves akin to those already existant may develop, waves that affect the consciousness of one individual, and can be transmitted to other minds. As for me, what other force has driven me to attempt this exploration? About the Author: 相关的主题文章: