Our world has been dominated by a “scientific, economic and political—materialism, which we imbue our trust in; that all of reality can be, and finally will be, explained by rational, physical laws. We believe that there ultimately exists “a theory of everything,” and that the truth will finally be discovered from the observation of parts and particles.
Jean Gebser refers to the stages of conscious development as expressions of our existence that are evolving all of which have deficient aspects. How we perceive the world is influenced by our stage of conscious development. In terms of our collective consciousness, “scientific, economic and political—materialism, seems to be the dominant influence in our day and age. Every stage of development has deficiencies that need to be overcome as part of the requirement that they are evolving. The consequences of our current way are now becoming apparent despite the innovation and amazing change to life that it has brought. A deficiency is that at the same time it has left much of what is not measurable and accessible to the human senses unavailable for consideration. There is a tendency of hypertrophying one aspect of the structure at the expense of others and a kind of superrationality that coolly dismisses all “human” considerations from its concerns. As Wendell Berry indicates, it accounts for “the vivisectionist who ignores the cries of his tortured laboratory animal; the concentration camp commander who meticulously works out the most “efficient” means of murdering his victims; the philosopher who denies the existence of consciousness because he has “never seen it.” This is the affectless, lucid reasoning of the “impersonal” scientists who view the world without a trace of any feeling for the living soul of nature, a view that allows them to “take it apart.”
There is a cost that is becoming increasingly apparent, for our remaining stuck at this point of human development and the inability to unfold towards a greater, more comprehensive illuminated embodied way of seeing. I do not know whether or not I have arrived yet at the place of realization that William Blake wrote about, knowing “that everything that exists is holy”; however, I am looking and I am hopeful that I am headed in that direction. There is something of me that knows that what Gebser, Berry and Blake point to, although it is immeasurable, it is of a “greater truth”At times I regress to this more fragmented and incomplete way of conventional perception but ultimately I feel that I have been touched by a more whole way of envisioning that will illuminate my way.