Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Incarnation is always a barrier to original participation (aka original immersion)

I have found Owen Barfield's idea of Original Participation - or Original Immersion, as I have sometimes renamed it - to be a vital tool in understanding the developmental-evolution of human consciousness throughout human pre-history and recorded history.

In broad terms, this posits that humans began as disembodied spirits, living immersed-in the divine consciousness - and as such with very little in the way of agency (or 'free will'). In other words, our original situation was a state of passive and unconscious being-part-of reality - 'animistic', regarding the world as composed of alive and conscious Beings - and ourselves as one among these beings.

When human spirits first historically become embodied or incarnated and also when each human is incarnated and as a young child; we at first retain many features of theis Original state of consciousness. This persepctive on reality is sometimes termed animism, or anthropomorphism - and is a form of consciousness shared by hunter-gatherers and all sufficiently young children.

But throughout the history of culture, and throughout the development of a normal child, there is a move away from Original/ Immersive participatioin - with an increased consciousness of the self, a sense of the self as increasingly detcahed from the environment and from other people - and a corresponding increase in agency or free-will. 

This next phase of Detached Agency is what Barfield (and Rudolf Steiner) terms the Consciousness Soul - it is developmentally characteristic of adolescence, and historically corresponds with teh modern condition of aleination.