Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Two Views of Consciousness

by Alan S. Cajes
Journal of Consciousness Studies
Seyyed Hossein Nasr’s ideas resonated in my mind while listening to our professor, Dr. Dejillas, at the Asian Social Institute last Saturday, October 5. Nasr views traditional cosmologies as forwarding the idea that Pure Consciousness or Pure Being manifests down to the fundamental constituent of the cosmos –matter—while maintaining Its transcendence. In this view, consciousness is actively involved in the coming into being of the universe. The opposite or the modern reductionist view, explains Nasr, interprets Pure Consciousness or Pure Being as ascending “from the primordial cosmic soup”. In this view, consciousness is passive in the “evolution of the cosmos”.

These two views of consciousness have profound impact on how we make sense of our lives. I explained this in an earlier article entitled Valuing and the Environment, which has been included in the list of online resources by a Jesuit school of theology in the United States, as well as used as a reference by at least three dissertations presented at U.S. universities.