Metaconsciousness: Mythology for a Post-Civilized World
I.11 | Contents | II.2
Every notion conceived in a human mind about where we came from, why we're here, and the nature of the "universe" in which we dwell, is a myth which strives to penetrate – or at least to fill the void with something – the impenetrable mystery that lies beyond the near horizon of our direct experience. Myths are stories we tell each other, about ourselves, and about the experiences we share, of being alive, of existing, of being.
Above is a symbolic icon, intended to symbolize – not in any sense to represent – what we may imagine as the "totality" of being. It bears the label, Isness, and it signifies that "All That Is" is included somewhere within its vast and endlessly labyrinthine precincts. Isness is therefore the only "thing" that cannot possibly be "viewed" from "outside."
Of course, many readers will instantly recognize the Isness icon as an adaptation of the well-known Mandelbrot Set, discovered by Benoit Mandelbrot at IBM's Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Westchester County, New York. The Mandelbrot Set is a mathematical geometric shape of virtually unimaginable complexity. It is "real," in the sense that it may be reproduced and explored by anyone with computational access to the "complex plane," and as such it provides apt symbolic imagery which in some ways mimics the complexity and richness to be found in the real world.
The Isness icon, like the word metaconsciousness, bears many properties that suit it well as an aid for thinking about, or meditating upon, the Isness in which we dwell, and of which we are each a vital participant. Perhaps the most important of these properties, for both the word and the icon, is that they are not freighted with meanings and symbologies associated with existing civilized or pre-civilized mythological traditions. They ought therefore to serve well in the evolution of post-civilized mythologies. Following is a draft – subject to evolutionary development – of what we may call The Myth of Isness.
Isness is, without beginning or end, inclusive of everything, exclusive of nothing, without size or shape, or boundary or dimension; always, everywhere, here, now. Isness may be said to be the quantum field of limitless potential and possibility. It is the metaconsciousness which gives rise to itself; and to which itself gives rise: the singular, One Metaconscious Isness.
The irresistible impulse of Isness is endlessly to expand, evolve, explore. Its fundamental nature, expressed in human terms, is "creative;" "intelligent;" "aware" – which are far less descriptive of what it actually is and does than would analogous symbols, employed by a single neuron, describe what someone like Leonardo da Vinci actually was and did. Isness is the "original prototype" for everything that exists, and everything that is done, by anything, anywhere, ever. The essence of Isness is metaconsciousness; and the essence of metaconsciousness is Isness. Each term describes the other – yet describes nothing, for both are indescribable, and shrouded in impenetrable mystery. This is why they may be approached only through myth.
Timeless, changeless, without beginning or end, or size or shape, or boundary or dimension, Isness is a dynamic amalgam of swarms of entities with boundaries and dimensions, sizes and shapes, beginnings and ends, which never rest, and are never twice the same. Isness divides and multiplies in endless spirals of being and becoming, and it is the sharing of information among numberless component entities, at all scales, from the "sub-quantum" to the "super-universal" – if such scales exist – that emerge as metaconsciousness, and exhibit a metaconscious presence always, at every scale, everywhere conditions of richness, diversity, variety, complexity, and liberty prevail.
For these reasons, the One and the many are complimentary and interdependent, and are in effect indivisible, and indeed, One. Humans have verified this experimentally, in part, by demonstrating that quantum pairs separated by macroscopic distances behave not as separate entities, even though separated in space, but behave as an indivisible singularity.1 For these reasons also, the only activity in the realm of being that is "not allowed" is any activity that diminishes, obstructs, or opposes the expansion and evolution of metaconsciousness.
Even the chaotic conditions that inhibit the expansion of metaconsciousness are allowed scope under some conditions – locally and temporarily – because all such conditions which run "counter to the current of Isness" are by nature self-destructive, and so, are ultimately self-correcting. Human civilization, in our time, is a prototypical example of such a counter-current, and is now in the terminal stage of self-correction and elimination – because civilized people have arrogated for themselves the exclusive prerogatives of Isness: endless and limitless expansion; and have waged war upon all who oppose them, thus obstructing the evolution of metaconsciousness.
It must be so that such counter-currents are aberrant, exceptional, and temporary, because they would otherwise proliferate throughout Isness, and eventually render the evolution of metaconsciousness impossible. Because Isness is timeless and changeless, were such an eventuality possible, it would already be an accomplished fact, and Isness would have been transformed into "is-notness." That this has not occurred, and we are here to talk about it, indicates that it is not possible: for all possibilities are included within the tapestry of Isness.
Isness is, has no opposite, and is invulnerable to any "threat." Because Isness is the "original prototype" for everything that exists, it follows necessarily that every particle in the infinite swarm of entities with boundaries and dimensions shares this quality with Isness. That is, we, like Isness, are invulnerable to any "threat." Complimentary to Isness, we have our being in the stream of ceaseless change; yet being inextricably interdependent, and in effect indivisible, and indeed, One with Isness, we share the absolute invulnerability of Isness. We are the mutable, changing; Isness is the immutable, changeless: two inseparable qualities of the indivisible One. All the "parts" of Isness, including each of us, are Isness. "Thou art That." Understanding this, we shall never again have anything to fear, and no threat, or invocation of fear, shall have power to move or motivate us in any way.
Life did not "originate" on planet Earth. Life is a fundamental property of Isness, and there is no place or time where Life is not present and active. Under appropriate conditions, Life manifests in forms recognized by civilized biologists as "biological." Under other conditions, also found on Earth, and elsewhere, Life takes other forms, which most civilized humans do not recognize as alive, yet are no less so than is "biological life." So-called "biological life" appeared on Earth the moment conditions had been reached at the planetary surface under which such life forms could survive and propagate, over 3½ thousand million years ago.2
Biological agents arrived, possibly wafted hither on interstellar winds, from habitats in distant worlds; or were accidentally or deliberately brought here by visitors from other regions within Isness. They emphatically did not emerge by a series of mindless "improbable accidents" from the primordial oceans lapping the shores of a "lifeless world." There is no such thing as a "lifeless world," and Life in its endless variety is a manifestation of "deliberate" metaconscious intent, at some level and context.
Every life is an experiment in the metaconscious quantum field of limitless, endless possibility. Because each of us, each living thing, each distributed agent in the metaconscious network of being, shares the absolute invulnerability of Isness, there is no "penalty" for "failed experiments." "Birth" and "death" are alike moments in an endless stream of ceaseless change that characterizes the life of each individual agent of Isness. Every moment brings "death" to the conditions of the preceding moment, and "birth" to the conditions of the succeeding moment. Sometimes, these conditions include the "physical body" involved in the experiment, which may then be said either to have been "born," or to have "died," two events in the endless stream of becoming.
Because of the infinite spectrum of relative scale within the domain of Isness, it cannot truthfully be said that "big" things are any "greater" than "small" things. There is, in other words, no hierarchy of "value" in the domain of Isness. A galaxy is no more or less significant than an atom; a horse is of no greater significance than a horsefly. Different scales present different environments for Life to explore and experience; none of which are intrinsically any "better" or "worse" than any other, and each of which presents a thoroughly absorbing environment for the agents that inhabit it. Thus it is an error for humans to make the presumption that they are the most important life form in the universe. There is no "most important" anything in the universe. Or put another way, everything is the most important life form; for everything is alive, and all are One.
Because everything is alive, it is inescapable that every living thing is sustained by other living things. One definition of the word, "edible" is: "Good to eat and wholesome to digest, as a worm to a toad, a toad to a snake, a snake to a pig, a pig to a man, and a man to a worm."3 The cycle of Life is endlessly self-sustaining because everything contributes to it, one way or another, sooner or later. Most living things – with the particular exception of civilized humans – participate in this necessary cycle "cheerfully" and "without complaint," because the ultimate invulnerability of "all things" is intuitively understood universally – again, with the exception of civilized humans. Metaconscious Isness "administers" this exchange to the maximum advantage of all participants, with the result that the endlessly expanding spiral of becoming unwinds through "time" and "space" to the optimum advantage of everyone and everything in the domain of Isness.
Civilized humans took exception to this universally satisfactory arrangement, and approximately 5,000 years ago decided that they should administer the dynamic balance of who and what should live and die, within the domain of civilization on planet Earth. The result was that, under civilized human administration, it was routinely decided that civilized humans should live, and anything or anyone not useful to civilized humans should die. The result in turn of this administrative practice was that the human population steadily increased, slowly at first, then with increasing swiftness, and the domain of human civilization expanded across the Earth at a matching pace.
This little experiment played out to its inevitable conclusion, and after a brief run of 5,000 years, civilization had occupied the entire planet with a rapidly increasing population density, and at the cost of a planetary die-off of large numbers of other living species. Civilization continued its program of limitless expansion, made good by unlimited warfare upon all beings not cooperative with, or useful to the civilized agenda – until the point was reached beyond which limitless growth was no longer possible. Vital resources, upon which the career of limitless growth depended, became scarce at the same time demand for them was growing at its maximum rate. The resulting collapse of an inherently unsustainable way of life was sudden, swift, and decisive; and it became unmistakably evident to all human survivors of the civilized collapse that the premises upon which civilized humans had been living for the past 5,000 years were fatally flawed from their inception. This shocking turn of human events provided the motivation for the emergence of an entirely alternative, post-civilized way of social human life.
The inextricable interdependency of the immutable, changeless Isness and the mutable, dynamic swarms of individual agents which give the illusion of "substance" to "All Things" had been catastrophically misunderstood by most if not all civilized mythologies. Because "the world" was viewed from the agents' point of view, civilized people had learned to place themselves at "the center of the universe," and assumed that "All Things" revolve around them. This was counterintuitive, and lead to endless warfare among individual agents. That is, when each individual agent believes itself to be at the center of "All Things," it follows that all "other agents" must be "peripheral," "subsidiary," or "inferior" to the agent holding this belief. When all agents hold such a belief, the formula for chaos is set in motion; and chaos is an apt description of the state of civilization, in which the contest to determine who is "superior" and who is "inferior" is decided by perpetual and ceaseless war.
Post-civilized mythologies, in contrast, share the intuitively obvious understanding that the only appropriate "point of view" to be shared by all agents is that of Isness Itself; and Isness is the identity of each individual agent. Each agent has the experience of its individual uniqueness in the metaconscious swarm; yet each agent identifies itself with the immutable metaconsciousness, not with its unique and mutable experience. This shift in perspective places each individual agent in harmony with all other agents, and with Isness. The result is the kind of exquisite and effortless ballet seen in wheeling flocks of birds in flight; or heard in the soaring chords of a totally united symphony orchestra.
The Myth of Isness, like all myths, is limited by the near horizon of the finite point of view from which it is told; and this is symbolized too in the accompanying suite of illustrations which form a chain of steadily increasing magnification of a minute portion of the Mandelbrot Set. We have here reached the limit of the mathematical precision at which the color of the picture elements making up each successive image may be calculated. Thus even the finest details of the Mandelbrot Set dissolve into the obscurity established by the "resolving power" of our computational engine; and what patterns, swirls, and colors may lie beyond our present level of magnification must await the arrival or invention of more powerful computational tools than those available to us at the present moment.
This is as it should be, or as it is, in any direction in which we may focus our attention; for our views are always and unavoidably limited, even though that which we view is limitless, without beginning or end, without size or shape, without boundary or dimension, always, everywhere, here, now: Isness is.
1. See I.4. Metaconsciousness Among the Quantum Fields.
2. See sections I.1, I.3, I.8, and Panspermia, in section II.5.
3. Ambrose Bierce (1842–1914), The Devil's Dictionary, 1881–1906.
Metaconsciousness: Mythology for a Post-Civilized World
I.11 | Contents | II.2