|How do consciousness and intention relate? In what way does human consciousness differ from the universal? What are the interactions among matter and energy and consciousness? Why should we care? Understanding can dramatically affect our personal lives. And provide solutions to many of society's problems.
[This article deals with one of seven Hermetic Principles.(1) They comprise part of a comprehensive body of knowledge allegedly given to humans by an advanced being (AB) more than 5,000 years ago. He has been known by various names, including Thoth or Seth in Egypt, Manu in India, Hermes in Greece, and Lucifer or Satan in the Judeo-Christian tradition. These principles appear to account for more of the universe's complexity than the four laws of modern physics.]
The Principle of Mentalism, the first Hermetic Principle, deals with consciousness. It states both the source and essence of everything are at the level of ideas, concepts, or patterns. (Remember Fritjof Capra's Tao of Physics.) This facet of reality that I labeled the "noumena" in my book Solarian Legacy includes both the information and the awareness of it. It is both the knowing and the known. The biblical Genesis phrase, "In the beginning was the Word (Logos)," captures this principle. Modern physicists use labels such as "quantum fluctuations, plenum and zero-point" to describe this void from which the manifest universe arises.(2) Theologian Paul Tillich called it the "ground of being."
Thinking about our universe in terms of this principle leads to the assumption that it and all its beings result from a basic repository of ideas (universal consciousness) that has the capability of self-realization through many forms (local incarnations of consciousness). If that is true, it and we are both creator and created. I believe we can validate this hypothesis through personal testing.
Matter and Energy from this perspective do not originate consciousness; it manifests them. "Mentalism" implies that humans and all other conscious beings in some way contribute to their own creation and ongoing re-generation. If this principle is valid, then all entities of the universe were first conscious ideas, before they became physical realities. In this three-faceted universe, consciousness has primacy over matter and energy (subtle or electromagnetic) even though the three are overlapping and interdependent.
Note that this concept of a natural, universal consciousness in which humans are an integral aspect precludes ongoing involvement in the universe's development by an external force. Therefore, Supernaturalism, the belief in a god or other conscious beings independent of the natural system, is incompatible with this Hermetic Principle. It also precludes the idea that consciousness arose after an accidental accretion of pieces of inert matter to each other. The unproven, but widely-held hypothesis that consciousness is an epiphenomenon (or product) of the physical brain is inconsistent with this principle.
Leading edge biologists now recognize that their discipline has changed from one that studies mechanisms that carry out life to one of "informational science."(3) This requires them to address the question of the source of the original information in DNA patterns and the Periodic Table of Elements. That raises the issue of how universal consciousness shapes and incarnates (locally concentrates)in physical form, from atoms to plants to people to galaxies.
We don't know for certain how conscious intent (universal or local) translates its ideas into the forms of ordinary matter and energy, but it appears to involve an intermediate field or force that we know as subtle energies. Given research in "morphic fields" by Rupert Sheldrake and others(4) I believe that conscious intent focuses subtle energies into amorphous patterns. They in turn concentrate electromagnetic charges into the particles and waves of our physical reality. If that interpretation is correct, the same process that worked in the origination of the universe still works in our daily lives.
Conscious Intent functions in all entities, regardless of where they exist in the spectrum of life, if the primary level of everything is consciousness. Entities only differ in their scope of awareness, the extent to which any being or particle is aware of the whole. It follows that the more fully aware the being, the greater flexibility and power it has for conscious co-creation. Human participation, limited only by what I call our "conscious awareness quotient" or CQ, in co-creation requires the focusing of one's intent on a particular idea or concept in the same process as in original creation.
First, there is an awareness of possibilities, and then selection of a choice from among them. Next, the chosen pattern/idea is infused with attention/intent that coheres subtle energy (chi, prana, orgone, ether, etc.) into a morphic field. That happens automatically when the being "puts its mind to it." The particular technique used (visualization, meditation, prayer, etc.) is not important. The crucial points are clarity of idea, individual or group focus, and commitment of one's own volition to the effort. After that, the initiator has no further role. The desired outcome will materialize if it is not incompatible with the prevailing intentions in the "marketplace of morphic fields." Findings from psi research, prayer studies, and psychokinetic experiments(5) imply a process like this outlined for the Principle of Mentalism.
Tools for Actualization of this principle are part of everyone's repertory of inner senses and powers. We create images in our "mind's eye." We receive images telepathically. We "see" distant situations. We affect objects at a distance. We communicate with other conscious beings. We send and receive images and feelings between species. We focus subtle energies on ourselves and others. We read the subtle fields of others.
These functions already operate. Not yet being aware of them doesn't mean we don't have them. It's a matter of becoming conscious practitioners of mind over matter and emotions, instead of passive subjects. One does not need a priest, a guru, or a spirit guide. Some practical techniques for focusing intent learned from others may be of service, but that's all the help we need.
Individual Implications of this principle suggest that humans fall somewhere between the belief that "humans can create their own reality" and the view that all is determined by physical and spiritual forces outside us. Hermeticism sees humans as local incarnations of universal consciousness and aspects of a larger organism. Therefore, certain limitations to our powers are inherent in our beingness and in the system. Our challenge is to identify the real limits to our powers of creation. Human experience with self-healing, inner communications, orchestration of meaningful synchronicities, and physical manifestation point to much greater individual powers than most imagine.
Fully understanding our dormant or under-utilized powers requires more research, but their expression by individuals on their own initiative is the first step. Some scientists tell us these powers don't exist and spiritualists say they come from other beings and other dimensions. In truth, they are part of our natural birthright, simply waiting to be consciously used.
Implications for Social Change. Research at Princeton University's PEAR Laboratory indicates that group focusing of conscious intentions exponentially increases their power. That means significant human progress occurs when people choose to ignore differences and agree on some common values, priorities and directions. For those of us interested in positive social change, that means commitment to the mutual building of a vision of the world we wish to create.
- The Kybalion: A Study of the Hermetic Philosophy of Ancient Egypt and Greece by Three Initiates. The Yogi Publication Society: Chicago, 1912.
- "Space Propulsion: Can Empty Space Itself Provide a Solution?" H. E. Puthoff. Ad Astra. Jan/Feb. 1997.
- Leroy Hood, Professor of Biomedical Sciences. "Humanity 3000 News". Foundation for the Future. Winter 1999.
- Sheldrake, Rupert. Seven Experiments That Could Change the World. Riverhead Books: New York, 1995.
- Radin, Dean. The Conscious Universe: The Scientific Truth of Psychic Phenomena. Harper: San Francisco, 1997.
Paul Von Ward is a cosmologist emphasizing the fields of prehistory, frontier science, and consciousness studies. Visit his web site www.vonward.com for samples from his work on the Emerging New Human Story. His recent book SOLARIAN LEGACY: Metascience and a New Renaissance, is available in bookstores or for a discount on line at www.Medicinebear.com and www..Amazon.com.
Paul Von Ward Web Site: http://www.vonward.com