Science and the Rise of Contemporary Mysticism
During the last few centuries leading up to the rise of the modern era in the 20th century, scientific inquiry began to look into the nature of consciousness. This development became evident initially in the field of psychology. Then, the metaphysical and “new age” movements of the 19th and later 20th centuries started tapping into the rising public interest in the so-called “new physics” of theoretical physics, quantum mechanics, astrophysics and cosmology. Not long after, a science of consciousness emerged from within the metaphysical and “new age” circles in the west, alongside the influx of influential consciousness, mind-control and meditation teachings from the east.
By the mid-20th century, western psycho-spiritual thinking and eastern mystical influences had gelled into a modern revival of mysticism with a more contemporary flavor. This contemporary mysticism with its science of consciousness took root and continues to thrive and grow well into the postmodern 21st century, where it is finding increasing validation by new scientific disciplines of brain study and mind research such as neuroscience and artificial intelligence, and by recent major advances notably in the speculative areas of quantum science, astrophysics and cosmology.
Today, we who live in the 21st century are witnessing how science grapples with profound questions dealing with intelligence, the brain, the mind, and human consciousness, itself, as well as age-old questions regarding the origins of the universe and life and the purpose of existence, itself. Newer fields of scientific inquiry, such as theoretical physics, cosmology, quantum physics, robotics and artificial intelligence, genetic and biological engineering, neuroscience, among others, are taking us on fantastic voyages of mind-blowing discovery and tremendous knowledge.
It has been said that everything in our physical universe, including our physical bodies, has been formed from the primordial stardust which gave rise to the stars, planets, galaxies, nebulae, and so on. By the same token, souls (individual awareness) were formed from the pure, invisible and unmanifest Spirit-Source which gives rise to all sentient beings—soul dust or consciousness.
[Acknowledgment to Nicholas Humphrey for the YouTube video above on consciousness.]
[Acknowledgment to TEDtalksDirector for the YouTube video above on consciousness.]
Can We Know Consciousness?
You cannot define consciousness,
but you can most definitely experience it.
The following video documentary titled “Inner Worlds, Outer Worlds” comes in four parts with an introductory trailer. It is an excellent presentation of how we exist in an inner world of consciousness and the projected outer world of our experiences. I highly recommend this documentary.
[Acknowledgment to AwakenTheWorldFilm for the YouTube videos above.]
Philosopher Daniel Dennett says that:
The “magic” of consciousness, like stage magic, defies explanation only so long as we take it at face value. Once we appreciate all the non-mysterious ways in which the brain can create benign “user-illusions,” we can begin to imagine how the brain creates consciousness.
Consciousness, as pure subjectivity (the CONTEXT in our model for the Spiritual Journey), presents a serious problem where human learning and understanding are concerned because there is no way of submitting consciousness to scientific scrutiny and analytical study in a laboratory.
Notwithstanding, consciousness can become aware of “object” things or forms when it engages in the subject-object relationship of knowing. Just for the purpose of engaging in intellectual exercise and conceptualization, perhaps there is a need to distinguish academically between the state of pure consciousness — unmanifest subjectivity — from the kind of consciousness we are familiar with humanly as everyday human awareness — an aspect of individuated consciousness that has become manifest as an objectified form (in Christian theology, the Logos) or the Greek Christos [Χριστος] referred to in Pauline teachings as the “first-born” of creation).
[Acknowledgment to Molurus73 for the YouTube video above.]
[Acknowledgment to iqsquared for the YouTube video above.]
[Acknowledgment to Avsz Efst2 for the YouTube video above.]
So, how do we experience consciousness?