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Psychological Illusions

 

Section VI

3.  Consciousness, Light and Knowing Together

    Western psychology has treated consciousness as non-substantive, as nothing apart from the activities of the mind and the functions of knowing. This was noted by Natsoulas (1978) who predicted that “psychology will not again define consciousness as a substance or entity again:

"... (the behaviorist upheaval ... was) due to fear, on the part of psychologists who aspired to be true scientists, that the study of consciousness was nothing less, after all, than the (disguised) pseudoscience of the soul that was to have been forestalled: Consequently the psychology without a soul ... is now attacked on behalf of a psychology without a consciousness, on the ground that the latter standpoint alone can give assurance against entangling alliances between psychology and metaphysics." (1978, p.906)

A view of a substantive consciousness links the study of consciousness to metaphysics and the human soul. Of the many issues in the literature on consciousness, the question of the substance of consciousness is one of the most mysterious and fundamental.  The scientists of new formation, described by Beelzebub, assume that there is no soul life and have strong prejudices, ignorance and fears of entangling materialist views with metaphysics or objective science.

    Within mystical and esoteric teachings the substance of consciousness is often equated with light. This equation is not simply a metaphor but coveys deep truths about the nature of consciousness.  Consciousness illuminates the inner world, the varied activities of the minds or centers.   Just as external light illuminates the outer world for human perception, so also there is an inner light which allows for illumination and awareness within the inner world.  The counterpart of light is darkness, which corresponds with notions of the unconscious or subconscious where there is a lack of the light of awareness.  Humans asleep live in relative darkness and do not realize the inner light, and how this light might be increased.
    Ouspensky (1957) provides a number of statements relating consciousness to light and to the illumination of the inner world:

"(Psychic) functions can be compared to machines working in varying degrees of light. ... Consciousness is light and machines are functions. (p. 55) ... Consciousness is light, light is the result of a certain energy; if there is no energy there is no light. (p.68) ... Attention acts like a light, and imagination is like a chemical process that can only go on in the dark and stops with light." ( p. 371)
"This sensation of light ... is experienced at the moment of the expansion of consciousness ... ."  (Ouspensky, 1922, p.233)

From a psychological point of view, consciousness is light which illuminates the psychological functions.  The aim within the Work is to increase consciousness bringing greater light into the darkness of ourselves.  This light allows insight, internal sight, realizations, illumination and enlightenment.  Increases in consciousness have chemical and alchemical effects within the inner life of human beings.

    Maurice Nicoll (1975), psychologist and student of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky, provides profound commentaries on the equation of consciousness with light, and on the manner in which the work acts within the inner world:

"... in this system ... what we seek above all things is Light-and Light means consciousness. We seek to live more consciously and to become more conscious. We live in darkness owing to lack of light-the light of consciousness-and we seek in this work light on ourselves.  Everything this system says about work on oneself-about self-remembering, about struggling with negative emotions, about internal considering, about self justification, and so on, has as its supreme aim to make a man more conscious-to let light dawn in him. And it is a very strange thing, this light. It is first to become more conscious of oneself and then more conscious of others. This is a strange experience. I mean by this that the direction in which the work leads you through increasing consciousness, increasing light, is not at all the direction you might imagine as a person asleep, a person who knows only ordinary consciousness-that is, the first two states of consciousness in which humanity lives. To become more conscious of yourself is a strange experience. To become conscious of others is just as strange and even more strange. The life you yourself lead with passions and jealousies, meannesses, dislikes and hatreds, becomes utterly ridiculous, You wonder, in fact, what on earth you have been doing all your life. Have you been insane? you ask yourself. Yes, exactly. In the deep sleep we live in, in the light of the Kingdom of Heaven, we are all utterly insane and do not know what we are doing. The work begins to teach you what to do. To awaken-that is the object of this work." (pp.35-6)

    The influences of esoteric teachings and the fourth way are to bring light into the inner world.  Through self-observing and self-remembering, and dis-identifying from automatized personality structures which typically engage awareness, the individual can enhance the presence of light for experiences of expanded states of self-consciousness and objective consciousness.
    Consciousness, light and knowing together are intimately linked.   Nicoll (1976) comments:

"... Consciousness means, literally, ‘knowing together.’A development of consciousness would therefore mean knowing ‘more together,’and so it would bring about a new relationship to everything previously known. For to know more always means to see things differently .... An increase of consciousness is likened to an increase of light. But we shall see eventually that an increase of consciousness does not mean only that we see with greater clarity what was formerly obscure. The quality is changed. For the moment, the man who experiences it himself is changed. It is not merely the quantity of consciousness that is altered, but its very nature."  (pp. 22-3)

    A human can experience in a new light and know more together in states of awakening.  As the individual sees in a new light, the usual difficulties, concerns and associative processes can disappear as if unreal and the stuff of dreams.

    In moments of illumination, there is an increase in light as one simultaneously knows together far more than is usually experienced with a narrow focus of attention conditioned by personal concerns and identifications.  Nicoll writes:

"We must imagine that to be conscious in a higher Hydrogen or by means of a higher Hydrogen is similar to having a greatly increased light shed on everything. Whereas the ray of a candle illuminates feebly the surroundings, the light of an arc-lamp lights up what were mere shadows before and makes us see everything in an entirely different relation; ... seeing new relations sometimes occurs to us in times of trouble and distress when suddenly everything becomes transformed and we see things in an entirely different light. ... This is a moment of illumination, of increased light, and so increased consciousness, in the sense that we are ‘knowing together’far more than we do in our contracted state. Everything falls into its right proportion, as it were, in the light of this increased consciousness, so we can say that at that moment we were conscious in a higher Hydrogen. Actually, at such a moment we are conscious at a higher point in the universe regarded as a scale of qualities represented by Hydrogens. Quite simply, we rise above ourselves for a moment and see things in a new light." (1975, p.204)

As personality and false personality complexes are dissipated, energies are released, allowing for expanded states of knowing together, of insight and illumination.  The light of consciousness can be accumulated and increased, or wasted and depleted. Activities within the various minds can occur within consciousness, or in the absence of consciousness and the absence of light.  Mystical teachings and the fourth way help to bring light into the hearts and minds of human beings.  This light is a very strange thing and of different qualities.

    These are basic dynamics underlying the dissolution of false personality, the development of self-consciousness and the approach to real “I.” Increases in consciousness are associated with light and with the accumulation of higher hydrogens, which have chemical and alchemical effects within the inner life of a human being.  Self-remembering and self-observation enhance the presence of light within the inner world.  This is similar to the Gnostic Christian practice of light-gaining and living in the light.  The gospel of Matthew states:    The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.  (6, 22)  If a human’s eye, or “I,” be single, then s/he shall be filled with light!
    The topics of consciousness, light and metaphysics are of profound importance to explorations of the nature of human beings.  The modern scientific theories about consciousness, that most mysterious things in the world, amount to what Beelzebub describes as so much rubbish and twaddle.  The equation of consciousness, light and knowing together provides important insights into the nature of the inner world and the process of awakening.  Humans can experience greater light within the inner world and be conscious within higher, rather than lower hydrogen levels.  The process of awakening involves the increase of light and the accumulation of higher hydrogens within the mind, heart and the higher being bodies--as the individual approaches real “I.”
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