Sunday, August 12, 2012

IV Manchester Talk 31 May, 2012

      There are profound moral and ethical differences between the self-conscious mind and the deep mind, which there is time to mention only in passing. The self-conscious mind likes to think it is the only game in town and will do everything it can to reinforce its feedback loops and enlarge its hegemony; it is willing to deceive, even to do violence to hang on to its illusions; it pretends to be non-judgemental. By contrast, in the person who has re-centered in deep mind through the work of silence, morals and ethics and, we might add, asceticism, arise organically and of necessity to sustain the flow through which deep mind may inform everyday life, exercising, in the process, its transfiguring critique.
            The physical senses are operative in both ways of knowing, though they are far more subtle in deep mind as anyone knows who has had the hairs on the back of his neck prickle when a grizzly bear is nearby, even though there is no sight, smell, sound, movement, or other evidence to confirm its presence. Understanding how the mind works is fundamental to human survival in wilderness and emerges from it organically in the person whose life is ecologically coinherent. The degrading of the global ecology reflects the degrading of our humanity, our refusal of direct perception, and the absence of both self-forgetful engagement and disinterested self-observation. The dis-equilibrium of human beings in their relation to the ecology reflects the dis-equilibrium of the modern mind.
These two ways of knowing are linked by what I have called liminality, where self-consciousness is gradually effaced until the person arrives at what might be likened to the event horizon of a black hole. Beyond this horizon, self-consciousness, and what the Cartesian method counts as analytical and conceptual thinking, are no longer operative. This suspension of self-consciousness is a focused attention that relinquishes all of what we call experience, for all experience, without exception is interpretation. The word relinquishing indicates an alert passivity of attention turned away from the distractions of self-consciousness. The suspension of self-consciousness is a gift; it cannot be forced or accomplished by technique.


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