New year's Resolutions tips and ideas

New year's Resolutions tips and ideas

Reflection and Self-Transcendence of Consciousness

Written By: admin - Jan• 12•10
Awareness of self is reflective consciousness, in which the subject becomes its own object. Reflection leads to deliberation and criticism, it is essential to all morals and politics, thought and action. It is what gives rise to questioning and wonder, and so is equally essential to all science and philosophy, and because it is the root of the awareness of the distinction between the finite and the infinite. This self-reflection is the outcome of the bringing to self-consciousness of the organizing principle of the whole through the process of its own self-specification. Consequently, its self-awareness is the awareness of that process, is its knowledge of its own concrescent nature and the way in which must specify its universality; in other words, its the knowledge of the world of nature.
In the scale of forms that constitutes the self-differentiation of the cosmic order there are two critical transitions. The first is from the physico-chemical to the metabolic, marking the emergence of life. The second is from the sentient and perceptive to the fully self-conscious and reflective. Neither of these is abrupt or unheralded. Life is foreshadowed by crystalline and organic molecular structures; reflection is preceded by immediate perception. But the crucial awakening is that of reflective deliberation, because here for the first time the universal principle of organizations, as such, begins to become explicitly aware of itself as reason.

The universal principle is dynamically self-specifying. It manifests itself first in a physical universe, then in an organic totality, and subsequently in a known world or noosphere (de Chardin: 1959). Only then is its concrete potential fully actualized, because only then does its systematic structure become explicit. It becomes aware of itself as conscious subject, reflective upon itself, upon its own experience of itself and of the world. This is what is self-transcendence awareness, that comprehends its own finite limits and its own infinite scope and potential. The miracle of consciousness is self-transcendence. It is primarily the apprehension of relations, and no relation can be grasped within the limits of any one of the terms. It must, as it were, project itself beyond itself and alienate itself from itself. Moreover, to be conscious of an object is to cognize it in a context both spatial and temporal. But to be aware of a temporal context is at once to remember and to anticipate. For instance, all consciousness of time involves such transcendence — as does space — because the succession of events can be apprehended as a succession only if the series is grasped as a whole, which means that the apprehending subject can never be confined to any one event, past, present, or future. It must be transcendent above, or beyond, all of them.

Without getting into a long and detailed debate about the self, I, self-consciousness and so on; and, while awareness happens in our nervous systems, it is not just happening there. While happenings do involve our bodies, this is like organic wholes, and the awareness of the ‘happenings’ is the form taken by that wholeness at a high degree of integration. It is the form of feeling, which becomes consciousness when it is organized by attention and judgment, identifying, distinguishing, and relating objects. This involves the ego, which is the whole come to consciousness of itself as ‘I’. As such, it can and does distinguish itself from its objects, including its body, in which the neural happenings occur, in order to be aware of them as physiological. Indeed, I am not a separate or separable entity from my body. I am identical with it, or rather I am its identity as a functioning whole — the self-cognizant form of the principle of unity and organization immanent in it. As the self-awareness of the universal principle of wholeness in the body, the ‘I’ has become transcendent over the objects of its consciousness. As objects they are its other, yet it remains identical with them, the content of its sentient experience.

From “Holistic Science and Consciousness”, written by S. C. Malik for the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts.

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