If I’m not mistaken, primatologist Sue Savage-Rumbaugh came up with her “Theory of Mind” to explore differences in great ape behavior and other species that seemed not capable of estimating that another individual retained separate consciousness.  Simon Baron-Cohen applied this principle to autism, calling it “mindblindness,” to offer an explanatory paradigm that parsed out differences between the autistic and the nonautistic mind.

Last week, I was exploring some unique language structures of two matrifocal societies, the Hopi and the Trobriand Islanders.  The languages display a unique attitude toward tenses, reminding me of Gregory Bateson’s interpretations of Freud’s description of primary process.  It seems that aspects of dream consciousness and primary process thinking are characteristic of these two languages.  This included only one time or tense (you can’t imagine another time without being there), one place (you can’t imagine another place without being there) and no negatives (you can’t image what something is not without imagining the something).

Stephen J. Gould would sometimes write of three-fold and four-fold parallelisms.  He was alluding to late nineteenth century and early twentieth century hypotheses that there are equivalencies between different scales of experience:  biology, society, ontogeny and personal experience.  Regarding Sue Savage-Rumbaugh’s “Theory of Mind,” Simon Baron-Cohen’s mindblindness, Hopi/Trobriand present tense orientation, and conventional Western dream consciousness, we possibly have an example of a pathway that evolution uses to travel across time and space.

Biology:  Great ape behavior
Society:  Hopi/Trobriand Islander language structure
Ontogeny:  The autistic
Personal Experience:  Dream

The reason that the autistic are assigned to the ontological level of this four-fold parallelism is because  those with autism often feature extreme maturational delay, by definition an ontological experience resulting in the prolongation of infant or young features or characteristics into later developmental ages.

The American philosopher Ken Wilber has explored in detail a hierarchy of individual and societal developmental stages, equivalencies that he believes inform each other.  The works of Jean Gebser and Jurgen Habermas were influential in guiding Wilber to his conclusions.  Wilber proposes that evolution naturally unfolds through seven stages on its way toward achieving a Pierre de Chardin-like Omega Point fruition.

In other places on this website, I have detailed why Omega Point teleological interpretations of evolution seem unnecessary if heterochronic (neoteny and acceleration) processes are presumed to unfold on societal scales.  Let me make an addition to that sense-based rather than religious interpretation of history.  Consider that the near future will be characterized by a return of dream time to society, the proliferation of matrifocal aboriginal primary process thinking and the integration of autistic associational present moment thinking with conventional consciousness.

I’ve been experiencing a powerful feeling that we’ve re-entered the mythological age.  In ways that an individual can have a dream that powerfully informs that person’s life, we have entered a period in our societal unfolding that will serve as both cautionary tale and heroic cycle for perhaps the time that remains to our species.  In the way that an unconscious informs an individual life, the collective unconscious is molding the zeitgeist.  I feel like we are living in a story, a mythic story, with the future chapters not impossible to intuit.

Having hierarchialized for several thousand years, informed by patrifocal social structures, we are now quickly horizontalizing, neotenizing, with society prolonging the features of youth and the aboriginal into society writ large.  Along with surges of creativity, narcissism, associative thinking and cooperation on massive scales with the advent of the web and global commerce, we are also seeing changes in neurology with the maturational-delayed emerging more and more often as the neurology of choice.  In addition to our society reflecting features of our youth, dream consciousness in the everyday is being prolonged into the adult of our species.  Primary process is appearing in waking life; aboriginal intuitions are manifesting in the way our teenagers think.

In other words, the past is becoming the present, dream is bleeding into waking, biology is emerging in society and the natal is manifesting in the adult.

The future is also the past.  The tenses are blending.

What we are becoming is also what we were and always have been


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