Relative and Absolute
STEPHEN: I have long been puzzled about the relationship of mind to body, wondering whether, in the final analysis, the two aren't completely independent, as I have occasionally had reason to believe.
PAUL: There is no such thing as a mind that is completely independent of a body, despite what certain mystical types may tell you. Mind and body hang together in an interdependent relationship.
STEPHEN: Then mind grew out of or developed from the body, instead of coming to exist with it from an independent source?
PAUL: There was no independent source! Reincarnation is a myth, not a reality. Mind evolved out of matter, and it continues to do so.
STEPHEN: But what is mind?
PAUL: The essence of spirit.
STEPHEN: The essence of spirit?
PAUL: This is the converse of the appearance of the flesh. Mind is the essence of the spirit; body the appearance of the flesh.
STEPHEN: Then mind and body are antithetical in constitution?
PAUL: Of course! Mind is a composite of the workings of the spirit, whereas the body is a composite of flesh shaped into recognizable features. The flesh is the substance of the body, but the spirit is the quality of the mind. The flesh is apparent, but the spirit essential. You can never see the latter. Yet it works both through and independently of the flesh, in the same person and, considered chronologically, at different stages of evolution. 'By the works of the flesh is the spirit known', though that can only hold true for a given period of evolutionary time ... before man or society becomes sufficiently advanced to be able to cultivate spirit independently of the flesh. While, however, the spirit works through the flesh, it corresponds to atomic mind. As soon as it becomes radically independent of the flesh, the mind becomes post-atomic.
STEPHEN: I have never learnt to distinguish between them. To me, all minds are alike.
PAUL: Quite wrong! The Orient has long sought to cultivate a post-atomic attitude of mind, whereas the Occident has concentrated on an atomic subservience of mind to body, and thus stressed doing rather than being. Individually, within the confines of a given culture, it is of course possible for some people to approximate to a post-atomic attitude of mind when the majority are atomic or, conversely, to approximate to an atomic attitude of mind in the face of post-atomic convention. My own mind is now more post-atomic than atomic in constitution.
STEPHEN: And thus functions independently of the body?
PAUL: Tends to place more importance on the direct cultivation of spirit independently of the body than on indirectly manifesting spirit through bodily works. You may call this a post-Christian attitude, though it isn't so much Oriental as transcendental.
STEPHEN: The difference being?
PAUL: That one bears in mind the necessity of technological assistance in the development of spirit independently of the body. One has got to a point where one can envisage spiritual progress only being made through a kind of symbiosis of East and West on a higher, or transcendent, plane. The flesh must be overcome if the spirit is to attain to salvation in the heavenly Beyond. But, ultimately, it can only be overcome on technological terms, such as would eventually imply the artificial sustaining and supporting of human brains in collectivized contexts, while spirit was being cultivated through intensive meditation. This period of time would be the post-Human Millennium, and it would signify, at its furthermost point of development, the maximization of the spiritual life with a correlative minimization of the flesh in a context pending transcendence and, thus, the attainment of pure spirit, as Absolute Mind, to the heavenly Beyond.
STEPHEN: Absolute Mind presumably being the essence of pure spirit?
PAUL: Yes. Spirit is, as it were, the 'apparent' or superficial definition, as though transcendence was being considered from the outside and a Spiritual Globe was accordingly regarded as a 'thing'. A Spiritual Globe would be composed of pure spirit, but the actual workings of that spirit, its interior condition, would correspond to Absolute Mind. To be 'inside' a Spiritual Globe would be to know Absolute Mind as the very essence of one's Being.
STEPHEN: Which, however, human beings can never or only very imperfectly know, since they are victims of relative mind, or of mind tied in varying degrees, depending on the individual, to the body, and dependent on that body for survival.
PAUL: Correct! No relative mind could possibly attain to Absolute Mind. There is no survival of the spirit at death, for the simple reason that it can't be cultivated to a point pending transcendence in a context, such as the human, where the flesh has not been minimized, i.e. reduced to the new brain, but, rather, maintained in its natural state with regard to the body as a whole. Death would be the last time when transcendence occurred, for it presupposes a maximum spiritual development on earth before it can happen, and no such development is possible on the human plane, least of all at a time when the body is wearing out, as it tends to do with age, and, at the point of death, ceases to function even subnormally. Death isn't so much the cessation of adequate physiological workings of the body to sustain life as ... the killing of the spirit by the cessation of those bodily workings. When the heart stops beating, death occurs to a person because the spirit can't survive without physiological assistance. The spirit of a human being, being relative, is dependent on the brain for survival, and the brain is in turn dependent on the proper functioning of the heart to receive fresh oxygen from the blood being pumped through the body. As soon as this functioning ceases, the supply of oxygen to the brain is cut off, and so the spirit dies. There is never any alternative.
STEPHEN: Because spirit is generated in and by the brain and depends on the workings of the brain for its survival?
PAUL: Yes, the spirit is the immaterial quality co-existing with the material brain. It is akin to the wavicle aspect of matter, matter being an amalgam, as it were, of particles and wavicles in oscillatory motion, forming what modern physicists term a complementarity. There is an atomic integrity about this interpretation of matter, which I incline to regard as bourgeois/proletarian. The future, I feel certain, will witness the birth and development of a post-atomic interpretation of matter along lines stressing the wavicle aspect at the expense of its particle aspect. Likewise, the mind/body dichotomy, as currently applying to the brain, will be superseded by an interpretation exclusively favouring the mind or, as we have been saying, the spirit. This post-atomic interpretation will stress the independence of mind from the brain, but it won't on that account fall into the traditional trap of deriving it from some primal source external to the body. On the contrary, this exclusive concept of mind will stem from the de-materialization of the brain and have attainment of Absolute Mind as its goal.
STEPHEN: But what exactly is mind?
PAUL: Simply the functioning of the spirit, the raison d'être of spirit, as pertaining to psychic interiorization.
STEPHEN: Is thought therefore mind?
PAUL: The physiological functioning of the brain gives rise to thought, so thought does not derive from the mind which, on the contrary, knows thought, is conscious of thought, and arranges it into coherent, meaningful, systematic patterns. Being conscious of thought appertains to the essence of spirit. But mind is never more itself than when it is conscious of itself as spirit, just as the body is never more itself than when it is conceived as flesh during or preparatory to sex.
STEPHEN: Now you are talking of meditation. Consciousness of the higher self.
PAUL: Yes! But such consciousness, which is mind at its most refined level, is only one aspect of the total mind experience. Being conscious of thought and ordering this thought into coherent patterns is another. Applying one's consciousness to the study of what other men have written is yet another vital aspect of mind behaviour, one connected with evolutionary progress and the mind's cultivation.
STEPHEN: Is what I see around me connected with this consciousness?
PAUL: No! Mind is not the world you see through your eyes because mind appertains to essence, the visual experience, by contrast, of the external world appertaining to appearance. This appearance actually dilutes mind, just as the use of the other senses - of hearing, touch, taste, and smell - dilutes mind by imposing apparent phenomena upon it. Mind, or consciousness, is still there when one closes one's eyes and stops one's ears and forbids oneself to touch, taste, or smell anything. In fact, mind is more there then than it would be when one was using one's senses, because one is not diluting it with apparent distractions. It is only by blocking out one's senses that one can become more conscious.
STEPHEN: Though if one keeps one's eyes closed for any length of time, one may fall asleep and thus lose consciousness.
PAUL: Only if one is intending to sleep, not if one is set on meditating! With sleep, one does of course lose one's conscious mind as consciousness slides down into the subconscious realm of dreams. But the subconscious is sensual, whereas the superconscious, towards which meditators aspire, is spiritual. Consciousness is really an amalgam of subconscious and superconscious influences. It doesn't exist in complete isolation from the lower and higher reaches of the psyche as an independent entity, contrary to what psychologists once imagined. It isn't the tip of an iceberg, to coin a well-worn cliché. It depends for its waking-life constitution on the degree to which the superconscious preponderates over the subconscious or vice versa, that is to say, on the ratio of psychic ingredients - these ingredients also balancing each other over a certain period in evolutionary time for the great majority of people, who then function according to atomic, or dualistic, criteria. Post-atomic criteria presuppose, on the other hand, a consciousness in which the superconscious is the predominating psychic influence, whereas in the pre-atomic ages of pagan civilization, the subconscious predominated in the overall constitution of consciousness.
STEPHEN: Would one therefore be justified in contending that consciousness is the psychic equivalent of the corpus callosum which, as the organ responsible for linking the old brain to the new one, functions as a bridge between the two main physiological components of the human cortex?
PAUL: Yes, in a manner of speaking! For what the corpus callosum is to the physiological constitution of the brain, egocentric consciousness is to its psychic constitution - a kind of fusion-point of psychic influences from both the subconscious and the superconscious.
STEPHEN: Then consciousness isn't so much homogenous as divisible into two main parts - one part stemming from the subconscious and another part stemming from the superconscious?
PAUL: Absolutely! There are, in effect, two minds at work in a psyche subject to an atomic integrity, so that consciousness is an amalgam of instinctual will, or id, and spirit, the former deriving from the subconscious, and therefore responsible for ordering and comprehending emotions; the latter, by contrast, deriving from the superconscious, and therefore responsible for ordering and comprehending thoughts. The atomic mind is dualistic, with the lower, or instinctual, consciousness functioning as a proton equivalent, and the higher, or spiritual, consciousness functioning as a bound-electron equivalent, which, in any atomic integrity, revolves around, and is therefore subservient to, the proton equivalent. Thoughts, in a typical atomic mind, are subservient to feelings. And consequently the atomic mind tends to be enslaved to the flesh in more senses than one!
STEPHEN: But, presumably, one day the higher consciousness will be freed from the lower one and thus exist in a post-atomic context?
PAUL: Yes, though not in an absolute sense before the Superbeing-phase of the post-Human Millennium, when, so I believe, the old brain will be surgically removed from individual Supermen and new brains become hypercollectivized into contexts suggesting a life form antithetical, in psychic constitution, to trees. The resulting Superbeings will be completely beyond subconscious influence and subject to post-visionary consciousness of a nature approximating to Absolute Mind. The collective mind of each individual Superbeing, or arrangement of artificially supported and sustained new-brains, would experience hypermeditation pending transcendence, and consciousness would therefore correspond to a free-electron equivalent, the proton equivalent having been escaped from with the removal of the old brain - a task reserved, in all probability, for the millennial servants of the post-human life forms. Human consciousness, however, can only remain divisible between subconscious and superconscious influence. There is no question of a truly post-atomic mind being attained to while the old brain is still intact and thus able, through the medium of subconscious sensuality, to dilute consciousness in the interests of an atomic integrity. Human consciousness is, in Koestler's memorable phrase, a 'divided house', and so, to varying extents, it must remain until all psychic dualism is transcended, come the Superbeing Millennium. Even the preceding Supermen would, as brains artificially supported and sustained in collectivized contexts, be subject to some subconscious influence, and would undoubtedly spend time asleep each day. But they would be conditioned away from the subconscious and further into the superconscious through periodic recourse to such synthetic stimulants as LSD, which would make for upward self-transcendence on a visionary or, rather, hypervisionary level. Prior to them, the men of the transcendental civilization would be conditioned away from the subconscious and further into the superconscious through periodic recourse to transcendental meditation, a spiritual discipline which is designed to free consciousness from preoccupation with thoughts and feelings, and enable the higher part of the conscious mind, the part we identify with the superconscious, to come to the fore, though in a contemplative rather than a cogitative role. The stage will be set for a post-atomic attitude of mind, such as is already prevalent in the West among devotees of meditation, albeit on a minority basis and as pertaining mainly to the transitional civilization of contemporary America. Western transcendentalism is derived from Buddhism and other oriental sources, and thus corresponds to a bourgeois/proletarian, rather than to a full-blown proletarian, level of transcendentalism. The Transcendentalism that I advocate, and envisage as applying to a future post-atomic civilization, transcends all traditional world religions, including Buddhism, and is intended to signify a convergence to Heaven on the basis of an ultimate world religion - a religion embracing, besides the practice of meditation, a knowledge of subsequent stages of evolutionary development.
STEPHEN: Such as would be signified by the Supermen and Superbeings of the ensuing post-Human Millennium?
PAUL: Plus, of course, the subsequent attainment of spirit to the heavenly Beyond in the guise of Spiritual Globes, and the gradual convergence and expansion of such globes of pure spirit towards an Omega Absolute - the sum-total of all convergence and expansion. A relative understanding of Absolute Mind would not be inappropriate in any serious attempt to extend religious education among the masses, over the coming decades. The highest truths will, of course, remain the preserve of the most intelligent. But something of the ultimate truth should become intelligible to the average man in the course of time. A knowledge of the importance of technology in minimizing the flesh should preclude a repetition of the kind of spiritual fanaticism which history has witnessed, down the centuries, in connection with the more naturalistic Orient. One won't attain to ultimate salvation through meditation alone, no matter how earnest one's endeavour! Mind can only be cultivated in proportion to the extent that one's commitment to the flesh is minimized, and to achieve a radical minimization of the latter and corresponding maximization of the former ... it will prove necessary, eventually, to have the natural body superseded by artificial supports and sustains for the brain. Thus the spiritual life will be expanded without the threat of bodily disease and/or starvation - there being no body to succumb to such a tragic fate.
STEPHEN: On the subject of disease, I wonder whether the prevalence of schizophrenia, particularly as signifying a disparity between thoughts and feelings, is not connected, in the present century, with the evolution of the psyche from an atomic to a post-atomic status, with the result that thoughts are drawing further away from feelings as the higher part of the conscious mind gradually acquires ascendancy over the lower part, and connections or interactions between the two sides of the 'divided house', to return to Koestler, become both more tenuous and less frequent. Perhaps, in that case, schizophrenia is more a reflection of evolutionary progress, as bearing on the changing constitution of the psyche, than an isolated, incidental disease? Perhaps we are all a little schizophrenic these days, because consciousness is evolving away from feelings and deeper into pure mind, in consequence of which we find it harder to relate the latter to the former, or to mediate between them with the aid of thought.
PAUL: You may well be 'on to something' there, as Jung would say, and what you have just said doubtless applies in some measure to yourself, since I was alluding to bodily disease, such as leprosy and cancer, and you jumped straight onto the psychic plane. However, we needn't doubt that consciousness is divided, and in the future the lacuna between the spirit and the id, or between that part of the mind influenced by superconscious spirituality and that part of it influenced by subconscious instinctuality, will become even greater, as the higher mind adopts an increasingly post-atomic orientation in defiance of subservience to proton determinism. Not before the radical post-atomism of the ensuing transcendental Millennium, however, will evolving life on earth be in a position to attain to salvation from the flesh in the Being of Absolute Mind. We needn't expect to survive death, as our ancestors did, but for that reason we have all the more incentive to prolong life and program ourselves for coming to terms with Absolute Mind. It will take a long time, and we have yet to get properly under way!