As I have been exploring and writing, my major theme has been the evolution of human consciousness that I see, that is fundamental to our existence. I have termed this “deep evolution” to differentiate it from the standard and scientific notion of evolution that began largely with Darwin. My notion of “deep evolution” is much broader and much deeper (naturally) than this conventional view of evolution that is used to help to maintain the hegemony – the dominance of the materialism view of existence. The other view of the basic starting point of existence is idealism.
I have discussed these ideas from the beginning, because everything starts with this basic view of our existence. Materialism holds that physical stuff is the first substance of and in existence and that somehow consciousness comes from that stuff. The contrasting view of idealism is that consciousness or mind is the primary stuff of the universe and that physical stuff arises from that. I’ll be talking more about these ideas because they are so central and seldom discussed by many people beyond philosophers and those found before nice bottles of wine. Most people of a scientific bent scoff at the idea that there is any debate. They deny metaphysics as a valid line of inquiry because “how could we ever know?” But of course metaphysics is the basis of all knowledge and cannot be avoided. You have to start somewhere and science would like to deny that there is a step before science. There is. What came first? Stuff or consciousness?
This idea has stayed with me for years and I was listening to Stephen Colbert on the current Facebook scandal that is helping to layout before us what is happening in our world and in each of us. Evolution is happening and that evolution is deep – very deep. It is best understood as a change in consciousness that humans periodically experience in a fundamental shift. This change indicates a shift that is epochal. Humanity has likely been in this shift for at least a hundred years, but it is impossible to characterize and demarcate a change that is continuous. When does a person become an adult?
But we are in this period of what I am now calling the “Deep Wake-Up”. It is both personal, within each one of us, and it is cultural and social, ultimately involving the entire human species. Watching Colbert in these two comedy monologues stakes out much of the territory of this wake-up in a wonderful explanation of what we seem to be facing.
Very briefly, personal data from tens of millions of people, gathered via Facebook, was used by a company, Cambridge Analytica, to help shape public opinion to elect Donald Trump. An investigative news team approached Cambridge Analytica posing as a wealthy political candidate to find out what could be done to help deliver votes and success for this pretend candidate.
We have entered a new phase of the information age that now includes big data. Essentially, many companies are constantly collecting personal data on all of us by any means they can – credit card purchases, computer and phone search histories, loyalty programs, Facebook and all forms of social media and a thousand other sources. Personal assistants we have in our home are listening into our conversations and keeping that data for future reference and cross-referencing to build bigger and more sophisticated profiles on all of us. (I have no intention of having one of those listening devices in my home.) Big data is also used in many other fields to discover correlations and relationships that can make our lives healthier, safer and more productive. Big data is simply a tool, but a very powerful one that is available for misuse as much as any tool. And science, modeling and data analysis can be wrong and mistaken – horribly wrong, as well as used for nefarious purposes.
Computers and digital storage is so cheap now that all this data can be maintained and companies are constantly mining it to help sell stuff to us. And that includes selling us on ideas and political candidates. A relatively simple personality test that you take for fun (and free) on the internet can be cross referenced with your age, guesses at your income level, political interests and they can get a pretty good idea whether it is worth trying to persuade you to vote for a political candidate, and what kind of message you are most likely to respond to. This is using modern psychology based on materialism – figure out the sophisticated biological robots and use that to make them feel better, feel worse or buy stuff.
Here is what one of these guys from Cambridge Analytical has to say on this – as videoed in this segment:
“Its no good fighting an election campaign based on the facts, because actually it’s all about emotions. The two fundamental human drivers are hopes and fears, and many of those are unspoken and even unconscious. You didn’t know that was a fear until you just saw something that invoked that reaction from you.”
This is hardly news. Freud and later Jung explored the unconscious and now we take it for granted. But now, big data is providing the tools, and social media is providing the path, to push our buttons and prey on our shadows and our unconscious, if and only if ,we remain asleep – largely unconscious. This is where the deep wake-up is so important. But this deep wake-up is not a moment of enlightenment, revelation, or awakening. This deep wake-up requires a fundamental and ongoing shift in our consciousness, our awareness of our Self. This does not last a moment or a limited period of time, but is to last for the rest of one’s life in an ongoing process of expansion, growth and evolution. This requires our individuation as Jung set out in his work.
Individuation is a process that each of us can and should go through, but many resist the call of that part of us that seeks to know our Self. It is a process of becoming that which we intend to be, deep down in our soul. It is a complex and arduous task as I am discovering myself, but one that cannot be ignored without serious consequences and this Facebook scandal shows how open to manipulation people can be when they remain largely asleep to so much of their psyche – their unconscious, as these political strategists know and use.
I again see that all roads in this lead to Jung – the most important thinker in the last five hundred years, I believe. We have before us the fork in the road that each of us has before us now. Do we choose to live in a world dominated by materialism, in the philosophical sense, where humans are little more than biological robots that can be manipulated by relatively simple psychological mechanisms, based on highly sophisticated computer algorithms sifting through mountains of data? Do we remain unconscious of most of the content our psyches so that we remain strangers to our self, and better known by faceless corporations? Or do we recognize that consciousness is fundamental and begin the arduous, but infinitely rewarding task of individuation, as we make conscious so much of our selves that lies below the surface of our awareness? It is work to be sure, but to ignore this challenge is to allow our personal destinies to be determined by forces outside of us, beyond our truest intentions, our true feelings, and the deepest core of our being and our becoming.
The people Stephen Colbert are mocking in these two videos have embraced the materialist worldview to their core. For them, life is essentially a meaningless game played out in a cold universe where life is just the result of an incredibly unlikely dance of impersonal molecules. You may as well have as much fun and pleasure in this life before it ends in a cloud of dust. People are biological robots and only fools would see otherwise, according to the materialists. Jung saw otherwise and recognized that this materialist worldview was really an aberration in the history of humanity. I see this materialist worldview as a necessary and functional stage of human evolution that is now burning itself out. It is based on fundamentally flawed premises and metaphysics. It is useful in a narrow sense, but without the broader context that Jung explored, it is completely inadequate to allow humanity to thrive. It cannot last, but as the materialist view loses it’s domination. we will go through a very messy time of it. Waking up through individuation is the best and essentially the only strategy to navigate these troubled waters. Trying to play the materialist game, which requires one to remain largely unconscious (and essentially asleep) cannot succeed in any way apart from in that very narrow materialist game that is ultimately only as satisfying as the ephemeral joy of the diversions of modern culture – having a thousand “friends” on Facebook etc.
As I wrote earlier, I believe Jung was summoned to help in this process of the transition to a new epoch in human consciousness – what I am now calling the “deep wake-up” – for individuals and humanity as a whole. I think it is clear that Jung is the single most important person in this evolutionary jump we are undergoing. It is now up to each one of us to take up the cause of our own deep wake-up and help to wake up the rest of humanity, through our own individuation and consciousness – not by protests and direct political action, except insofar as they help to nudge people to examine their own lives, leading to their individuation. We are all individuals, in this together.
It is vital not to become discouraged by these events – well okay – a little. But the materialists are doomed to fail – they cannot remain dominant in our culture because very simply they are wrong about the nature of reality and the nature of human consciousness. I have absolutely no doubt that Jung and millions of people are correct and those big data miners and manipulators are wrong because they are missing the most important data point. Reality starts with consciousness and stuff is derived from that – not the other way around, upon which their entire worldview is based. Deep evolution is proceeding. The deep wake-up is proceeding, within us and without. And if I am wrong, it doesn’t matter anyway. In the materialist worldview, existence ultimately has no deep meaning. Personally, I find that inconceivable. Either way, the materialists cannot sustain their worldview.
Wake up – deeply.