Imagine a whale, a dog and a bat - three animals that have in common with humans that they take part in the expression of the great variety of lifeforms on planet Earth. What do these three animals and humans have in common? Very little you might say? I can agree, but at least one dimension has the four life forms in common - all have an ingenious system of senses that create specific perceptions of reality.
We know that whales navigate the deep sea and find their way to their preferred areas for food and birth, based on sensing the constellations of stars they cannot see with the naked eye. What reality does the whale see and how does this sense of sight work?
We know that the dog has a sense of smell that surpasses that of humans. The dog's sense of smell is estimated to be a million times stronger than that of humans. Humans have 5 million cells for processing odor impressions, the dog has up to 150 to 200 million. What does the dog experience that man does not experience?
We know that the bat navigates in the dark using echolocation. High-frequency sounds are emitted as sonar screams with a frequency of 20-100 kilohertz. The sound is reflected as an echo and forms an image of the surroundings. Man cannot perceive this level of sound. What reality does the bat experience?
What about man? What reality does man perceive?
Man's sensory apparatus sets limits to what dimensions of reality man can perceive. The alternative would be an overload of our ability to interpret the impressions and to translate these into mental categories that will make sense. If we could navigate like a whale, smell like a dog and spot insects at night like a bat, our nervous system and cognitive functions would collapse.
The human sensory system is perfectly adapted to a 3 dimensional (3D) perception of the physical world man lives in. Length, breadth and height are the constructed reality we work well in. However, our 3D reality involves a delimitation of very complex, interacting and synonymous realities. However, that we can not navigate like a whale, smell like a dog and mock insects at night, does not mean that these realities do not exist for us. We just can not perceive them with our limited senses.
Human 3D reality is just one of several parallel realities.
We know that the human senses - smell, sight, hearing, taste and feeling, operate within a given framework. Outside the frame, we do not smell, do not see, do not hear, etc. At the same time, we know that the realities we are cut off from exist in parallel with us. Can our path to an expanded consciousness be about an expansion of the area for our limited senses? Religious and philosophical beliefs think so. Among other perspectives, the European philosopher Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) conveys a view of how we through meditation and contemplation can open up our senses to such an expanded consciousness.
I think a little differently about expanded consciousness.
Man should not be a whale, a dog or a bat. Man does not need access to these forms of expanded perception and consciousness. Evolutionarily, humans have passed these levels of consciousness and are now adapted to a sense that in its advanced form is specifically human - the ability to cognition, that is, logical and causal mental thought processes based on individual experiences. No animals we know manage this way of mental processing.
Is there a key to an expanded consciousness here?
The Tibetan Buddhist teacher Milarepa (1052-1135) tells in his writings about the learned self and inherent self of man. Our inherent self is a dimension of ourselves we can reach through an expansion of our consciousness. Exactly what I am interested in, but what does my inherent self entail?
The question opens up for an answer that will fill more than what this blog can accommodate. We can follow the question in several directions and gather hidden and forgotten knowledge that can be put together into a bigger picture that can show the way to a future for a greater awareness for man. You will find clues in several of our articles here in FOM Magazine and our aim is to search for an answer. Let me make a reasoning that for the time being can be accommodated by the text you are now reading.
In my previous FREE Article "When Man left the cave", I introduce the notion of philosophy that prehistoric man left a connection with nature in order to develop an individual and independent consciousness. From being one with nature, man stood on the outside of nature. This perspective is also very well described by my colleague Ulf Kurkiewicz in our PREMIUM Article “Reconnect with nature and mother Earth”.
The development of a consciousness that divided being with nature into a consciousness where man looks at nature from a distance, has both cost man dearly and given a great gain. The loss lies in the fact that man is left "to himself", separated from cohesion with nature. I must leave this specific perspective untouched in this text and carefully point towards next step of our reflections on this topic. The gain however, is the development of a logical and analytical consciousness that has given humans the science of nature, with its possibilities and limitations.
At the same time, and this is the perspective I want to pursue, the coherence of prehistoric man with nature in a shared being of the perception of phenomena and unknown causalities (contexts) is still a part of human consciousness, more or less hidden and forgotten for modern man, but still alive in our understanding of intuitive thinking and artistic forms of expression.
Can the human ability to intuitively sense causalities by "seeing what has no form, hearing what has no sound and understanding what is not intended", be a sixth sense - an expanded sense related to a phenomenological human cognition - that is our ability to think in and using metaphysical insight and symbols? Some spiritual teachers and philosophers understand it this way - and I support this way of understanding.
Is metaphysical causal perception the portal man must develop and pass through in order to gain access to an expanded consciousness? If so, the question arises - how do we proceed?
Let me see if I can find room for more reflections on this topic in our future texts - and a way to seek.