The reductionist–even as enlightened a pluralist as Stephen J.  Gould–concludes that consciousness is an “emergent” feature existing simply because it exhibits evolutionary utility.  Enough said, say the sociobiologists, the Neo-Darwinian, the evolutionary psychologist, the adaptionist, the gradualist, the Dawkins/Dennett fundamentalist and the great majority of tenured evolutionary biologists.

Still, this leaves untidy little threads waving around like tapestries partially woven by unexamined hands, as if those female Greek goddess weavers just keep warfing and woofing along, long after the other gods have withdrawn from the great god stage.

We are aware that we are aware.  There are those parts of us that are not aware.  And, there is just aware.

Buddhist texts suggest that just being aware is good enough.  The other layer of aware is an unnecessary addition.  If being just aware is good enough for consciousness, then it’s good enough for us, suggest the texts.  Only, we can’t get to aware without first being aware of aware.  Seems particularly paradoxical considering that a foundation evolutionary principle is that species or individuals unfold over time by embracing/remembering previous experience and carrying those influential experiences forward.  We don’t grow by ridding ourselves of what we don’t seek to be influenced by.  We grow by embracing what has created difficulties, listening to the voices that have demanded attention and proceeding, using those voices as guides.

Biologically, we might say that speciation genetically and ontogenetically recalls life before the branching that made that particular species unique.

We nest the past and proceed.  We don’t eject the troublesome from the nest.

Granted, the spiritual disciplines also describe a process characterized by offering the abandoned attention.  The process itself is offered up as the goal.  Awareness, when achieved, leads through the burnt-out urban landscapes of the wartimes of our souls.  This journey seems essential to the goal.  Integration demands dissociation.

God is not possible without no-god.

Awareness, as it deepens, is characterized by a dance between dissociation and association, split and embrace, awareness of a nonawareness followed by awareness.

The reductionist sees only random chance where consciousness exists.  To consciousness, the reductionist exemplifies a necessary step on the path toward integration.  One sees random threads.  The other experiences tapestry or art.

Reductionist philosophy does not exhibit the principles of evolution characterized by dissociation and association, split and embrace, genetically and ontogenetically recalling life before the branching that made particular species unique.

The principles of consciousness exhibit the principles of biological evolution.


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