Consciousness Making Emotional and Spiritual Meaning in Life Journey
Defining consciousness: a post-modern quantum system of development
Consciousness encompasses the entirety of our human lifecycle. Thomas Nagle defined the conscious mental state as the ability to experience what it means to be “like.. that organism”Freeman, 2003, p. 301
The ability any organism has to experience conscious mental states also supports the idea of Arthur Koestler’s (1967) concept of the holon. In a holarchical system, each entity is capable of consciousness while remaining a part of an increasingly complex systems. While postmodern approaches to consciousness provide holistic perspectives of a concept that is inclusive of all living organisms, they spur academic debate because they are inclusive of broad schools of knowledge that seek differing perspectives for those big questions that most oftentimes have very simple, yet profoundly influential answers: or the complex questions we all undertake to make sense of our personal ontology.
Post-Modernism: spiritual, philosophical, scientific constructs of the psychology of consciousness
The notion of consciousness is inclusive of all levels of scientific, spiritual, and philosophical, understanding. The subject matter also adapts well to the practical and theoretical lens offered in the discipline of psychology, because it includes subjective and objective constructs of reality, exists within all living organisms, and occurs naturally within the context of human development, if not the developmental sequence all sentient beings undertake. While Western history is rich with examples of great minds that sought answers about the origins of consciousness, it is easy to forget that current theoretical models are built on a collective knowledge base that spans the entirety of human history.
Although post-modern theories towards consciousness are inclusive of cultural and epistemological nuances that are often ignored by individual schools in the natural and human sciences, as an epistemology, post-modernism does not rid itself of the flaws inherent within the original theoretical constructs presented. Consciousness as an apparition still contains subjective and object constructs of reality that as a paradox must be worked out in order to perpetuate further development towards an integrated states of Self-Realized development. Perhaps, this is why Freeman (2003) stated “science and consciousness make strange bedfellows” that form an “impossible science” (p. 1). A science of consciousness is a difficult undertaking because as a subject matter it entails experiences that unfold in a fluidic, yet hierarchical manner that includes pre-personal, personal, and transpersonal experiences (Wilber, 2000). These levels of experience further underlie age-old ontological questions that drive scientific, theological, and philosophical inquiries into the origins of our personal and collective existence. In short, consciousness simply represents everything when viewed at the quantum level.
Integrating the disciplines for greater human meaning
The integration of religious, scientific, and philosophical perspectives within the foundation of post-modernism allows this particular paradigm to disavow the dogmatic methodologies prescribed by earlier epistemological searches into the nature of truth. While postmodern approaches to epistemology seek understanding that is inclusive rather than reductive and/or dualistic, even the theories that fall under the post-modern paradigm are built on the rich history that preceded the emergence of this new scientific, religious, and philosophical paradigm of thought. While consciousness is an elusive phenomenon to study, the use of many perspectives towards one studied phenomenon is a strength built within the theoretical tenets of post-modernism.
Understand the past, to welcome the present as a means to create the future
In the following articles, I will present an integral model of consciousness that will be shown as a continuation of our earliest attempts to understand the history of our origins as a species. By analyzing the symbolic content of Genesis, I will show how integral models are built on the long lineage of spiritual and healing traditions that sought methods to combat the psychological malaise that can develop in a psyche devoid of God’s love: A current state of affairs that no individual can simply turn their back on during this age of global loneliness, division, and conflict.
Freeman, A. (2003). Consciousness: A guide to the debates. Santa Barbara, CA, USA: ABC CLIO.
Koestler, A. (1967). The ghost in the machine. New York, New York, USA: Macmillan.
Wilber, K. (2000). Integral Psychology: Consciousness, Spirit, Psychology, Therapy. Boston, MA. Shambhala Press.