Friday, 16 March 2018

Good vibrations? High frequencies? The language of consciousness

It is common in spiritual writing over the past decades to discuss the raising of consciousness, the evolution of Man towards divinity, in terms of a higher Vibrational state, or high Frequency communications. This is done by many authors and thinkers - including some that I greatly respect (such as William Arkle).

It goes along with several other physics derived terms used in spiritual discussion - Energy is one popular one (especially in Alternative Healing) and of course Light - which is used often in the Bible...

There is a question of the extent to which these are intended to be literal or metaphorical. However, the work of Owen Barfield on the development of language tells us that this literal versus metaphorical distinction may be an artefact of modernity - and not an aspect of reality.

Reality may be, and probably usually-is, both literal and metaphorical; in the sense that literal factuality does not capture the 'symbolism' or meaning of facts, while the symbolism tends to discount or ignore the question of factuality.

So, I recall reading in the Russian Orthodox literature about light emanating from Saints being both literal and symbolic. My understanding is that such glowing could, in principle, be photographed or filmed - and was, in that sense, 'objective'. On the other hand, demons may, it was said, appear in the guise of brightly-glowing angels... so light is not 'evidence' of Goodness.

The question about Frequency/ Vibration is whether there is supposed to be a literal, factual aspect to the description; is high frequency consciousness something that might, in principle, be measurable by a device? Some New Age thinkers clearly suppose so.

But the perspective of Barfield and Rudolf Steiner was that objective phenomena are always and inevitably known via consciousness; and when consciousness is different, what is objective is different. This would include physical records such as photographs, videos, readouts... in reality they are interpretable, know-able, only by human consciousness, and when human consciousness changes, so does our knowledge of such records.

(Perception is thus bound-up-with knowledge.)

In other words, there is no-such-thing as objectivity separable from human consciousness.

This suggests that there may in reality be something describable as a frequency or vibrational state of consciousness, and this attribute may be perceptible or even measurable in some states of consciousness but not others.

On the other hand, I question whether this physics-based way of describing and discussing life and consciousness has in fact been effective - whether this way of speaking and writing is a good idea? My objection is that it is abstract, in the sense of being the opposite of personal.

There is a major divide among those interested in religion ad spirituality between those who seek to escape persons and regard reality as abstract; and the opposite. In general, the movement through human history is to regard higher, more true religion as being abstract. Probably because we all start out, as young children, seeing the world as animated and conscious (everything significant as alive and purposive, motivated - everything as quasi-persons) - then growing-up and becoming intelligent and wise is seen as an incremental process of abstraction.

We mostly regard the abstract as real, useful, generalisable; the personal as childish, unintelligent, crazy... and indeed children, mentally handicapped and psychotic people are often and characteristically 'animistic' in their thinking. (Paranoia, in the technical sense of self-referential delusions, is the natural state of the naive human.)

To discuss spirituality in terms of Vibrations, Frequency, Energy and Light are all ways of abstraction. Abstraction has been the trend for hundreds, even thousands, of years... And how is this abstraction working out, thus far?...

Well, abstraction is alienation, disconnection; it is to understand God as a series of attributes or properties, God's goals as akin to setting-up a machine, a computer, a force-field... a complex system. It is to see persons in terms of how they serve abstractions; virtues in terms of how we interact with a system; sins and vices as disruptions to our efficient functioning.

In sum, such language feeds an understanding of the universe as unalive and unfolding with inevitability and impartially... when, surely, as Christians we ought to be understanding reality in terms of persons, not the universe; in terms of personal aims, wants, needs, hopes... and of course love?

The recourse to physics concepts as a key metaphor or and the bottom-line factual-symbolic primary description of life, is a thing fraught with hazard; at least for the modern mind.

It is, at any rate, something I am working on noticing and expunging from my own thinking. The intent being to replace it with a conscious animism, an aware knowledge of reality as ultimately - factually-symbolically - consisting in living conscious Beings.

Such an animism is regarded as objective, meaning (as objective always does, in reality) shared perceptually between those of the same quality of consciousness. Those of a different quality of consciousness (such as the mass of modern people, and indeed the naive and child-like, would not and could not perceive this reality of reality-as-Beings.

That is to be expected....

(Note: Reality consists of Beings; including parts or components of Beings... Not everything in reality is a conscious Being in its own right; just as our right thumb, a lymphocyte in the blood, or a calcium ion in our nervous system are not individual Beings, in their own right. Yet everything not itself A Being, is part-of A Being.)

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely!
    I am quite sure that when ordinary people cringe at and mock the new-age movement and its language they do so out of a healthy instinct of not wanting to turn the personal (spirit) into an abstraction. (though they would probably never formulate it in such a way)

    But when science decides to study consciousness, and when more and more ordinary people become influenced by such scientific concepts as "neurons" and "neural patterns" there is no choice - one cannot continue hiding behind mockery. Either one seeks to understand consciousness in terms of impersonal abstractions, or one seeks to understand the WORLD in terms of personal spirit - and I think many good intentioned people hide behind the literal/metaphoric ambiguity of new-age language(such that you reference) instead of face this ultimatum. For example, if someone assumed that consciousness literally "vibrated" curiosity would follow to try and measure its frequency. But do they ever attempt to measure it with instruments and physical apparatus? Perhaps some do, but they are laughed at by the very people who use such language! Why? For taking it literally! But then to declare the description as purely "metaphoric" just begs the question - why use such physical imagery for something which is not at all physical? Answer; because they want to have their cake and eat it. They don't have the courage to face the dilemma and choose one way or the other; they laugh at those who take it literally, but they can't face the reality precisely because it is so personal! So they continue filling the airwaves with empty sentences about consciousness (usually their own) vibrating at a higher frequency.