November 16, 2013

Consciousness Rising. ~ John T. Rehorn

Seven billion people inhabit the earth today.

In 1900, not so very long ago, there were about 1.6 billion.

Improved medical care and agriculture are largely responsible, but some suggest that there are so many intelligent beings on this planet because something very interesting is about to happen here—everyone is arriving for the show. We are naturally and cosmically on an exponential population growth curve.

Ever since its beginning, energetic regions of the universe have been growing more and more complex.

Consciousness and intelligence are manifestations of this complexity. So here on earth, consciousness is growing richer and richer. As the late psychedelic philosopher Terrence Mckenna has said, if you want to heighten your consciousness, you don’t have to do anything. Consciousness is the ground that is shifting and elevating under your feet. What a thought. Just as the growth of the universe is compared to an expanding soap bubble, we are sitting on an ever-growing bubble of consciousness. It makes the case for an ever-increasing number of sophisticated vehicles to contain it.

What is the evidence? That’s a good question.

One thing I’ve noticed is that there is a growing number, though proportionally very tiny relative to the general population, of newly and increasingly receptive and perceptive people in the world. And they are willing and able, through the worldwide web, to share their perceptions.

But have I just noticed all these other people because I’m late to the party? Or are we all gathering for the celebration at the appointed time?

Richard Dawkins, a noted atheist and philosopher, said that evolution, though called a theory, is nevertheless observable; he cited the fact that a species of bird developed a new beak structure when it migrated to a new island and its seed diet changed. This evolution of beak structure occurred in a mere two decades—out of necessity. Two decades! That’s a short enough period to observe in a human lifetime.

So here’s an assumption: consciousness is in an evolutionary process just as body structure is.

It will accelerate in process as necessary, just as body structure does. We are reaching a threshold population that threatens the ability of the earth’s ecosystem to sustain it, and therefore this very expansion of consciousness into form is threatening to cause its own evolutionary dead end. This is the rule of evolution: that 95 percent of mutations are lethal, while the other five percent causes greater survivability in the environment.

What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.

We are clearly faced with a choice, unlike those species before us who weren’t blessed with intelligence, nor, therefore, choice.

When I turn over a big stone on a sunny autumn day, I see all kinds of creatures, taking advantage of its thermal mass—ants and squirmy things, crickets and centipedes. I have no evidence, but my own connection to consciousness tells me that these creatures, just as we humans, are on an evolutionary path whose milestones are first life, then consciousness, then self-awareness, and finally intelligence. Are they confined to their own species, in a monumentally sluggish cycle of evolution over the course of millions of years?

Or, as consciousness grows richer in them, does that consciousness migrate after their deaths, perhaps in communities of consciousness like complex amino acid molecules, to more complex life forms—bees and spiders, eventually mice and armadillos?

Imagine a stream of consciousness, moving through ever more complex forms that can accommodate the correspondingly complex and rich forms of consciousnesses they serve.

Consciousness flows through and enlivens these forms of crystal, flesh and planetary spheres.

Star systems become aware of their relationship to their galaxies, which in turn begin to realize that something is shifting under their nebulous, gaseous, stellar feet.

No wonder that there are now seven billion humans. It’s only natural. The only problem (perceived problem that is) is that it seems there’s nowhere to go from here. Humans are at the top of the pyramid. Either that, or there are a group of them poised for quantum evolution.

In the middle of the vast timeline of the evolution of consciousness sit you and me. Impossibly huge increments of time separate us from universal self-awareness, but only if we think of this concept as a destination.

The process is happening, and it’s happening right here, right now.

In 20 revolutions of the earth around the sun, a bird can change its beak structure to accommodate its survival. You may or may not agree at this point, but I’m suggesting that consciousness is capable of doing the same.

We have to ask what the future might hold, the very near future, if we are to continue on this pace of consciousness change that we are on today.

Socially, we have seen a rapid evolution from lynchings of blacks in America to the election of a black man to the presidency, from smoking in public places to health and wholeness consciousness.

Personally, I have become aware of the intelligence of many animals that I previously assumed were mere creatures of instinct. From prairie dogs to octopuses, I see social structure, self-awareness and even love among them. Is it my heightened awareness, or in the two decades that have passed since I was completely ignorant of their  awareness, have they reached a threshold of intelligence that is now observable? Both, I say.

And what if this process is accelerating?

Consciousness appears to be rising, like the yeast-leavened bread dough that my mother used to make. In the process of making bread, she would let the dough rise, punch it down, and then let it rise again before baking. I used to take great pleasure, when she would allow it, in punching that dough down, obliterating all the progress it had made in rising in so short a time.

I am of a different mind today.


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Assistant Editor: Terri Tremblett/Editor: Bryonie Wise

{Photo: John Starkie; Author photo: Katherine Andersen}




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