Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Collective Consciousness Versus Independent Thought

Brian Joseph Johns
Having been a fan and reader of Carl Gustav Jung for some time, I've often pondered the question of the nature of our consciousness. In fact, I started reading Jung when I was around fifteen years old and attending school at Georges Vanier (I later attended Overlea Secondary School which eventually became Marc Garneau Collegiate), just before my photography class with Miss Mackie and after my morning Machine and Architectural Drafting class.

That is the proximity of time that I'd been turned on to the theory of Synchronicity, in which Carl Gustav Jung describes the universe's hidden language of meaningful coincidences. Later other philosophers would attempt to label this as part of something called the Observation Selection Effect, though Synchronicity has yet to be disproved. So as to whether there is a hidden universal language through which the universe expresses or shares secret information with a subject or if this is merely the result of the brain creating relational context between unrelated events still remains a mystery and more so obscured beneath the veil of subjectivity. To most who understood what he was talking about, it is as much a question of subjective belief cum pseudo-objective truth as one might commit to a religion or ideology. For myself at that time it was a gem whose shine my eyes had missed in terms of its life value, though I'd later come to regularly experience it and eventually understand it.

Fast forward through the years from 1982 to 2004 and you'd find me homeless in the Salvation Army Riverdale, reading one of several C.G. Jung books and possibly listening to one of the many Gnostic lectures delivered by one of his Alumni followers. This is where I'd come to encounter the concept of collective consciousness as far as C.G. Jung would describe it. I believe that at the time I was reading Man And His Symbols and Memories, Dreams, Reflections when I'd encountered a chapter where one or more of his prior theories intersected with the theory of Synchronicity and the resulting explanation he'd surmised was collective consciousness. Not to be confused with his own Collective Unconscious theory, or the Freudian Archetype of Collective Consciousness, both of which explain the parts of the individual mind as a series of interconnected archetypes, most of which are common amongst all peoples of society though not through conscious sharing of such ideas but rather as a hidden schema. It meant ideas that surreptitiously were formed in the minds of all people through they were not part of any curriculum of education. They somehow manifested as a result of experiences obtained from early childhood and beyond.

The Collective Consciousness that C.G. Jung had referred to in Memories, Dreams, Reflections was perhaps the first observation of the possibility that the human beings of a society were somehow connected to one another through invisible telephone lines, and much like modern WIFI internet. That in order for Synchronicity to occur and for meaningful coincidences to propagate between unrelated people and events, that there had to be an invisible medium through which information traveled from one psyche to another. Even unconsciously so, in order for the meaningful coincidences that underlie the very fabric of Synchronicity to manifest. In the book he'd struggled with the concept both fascinated by it's possibilities and perturbed by the possibility that there might not be independent thought much as the reader may have biased as an expression of their own ego. I. Me. My mind is my own and my personality is my own. Isn't it?

The one great thing about homelessness is that while you are not working, you have plenty of time to read and that's precisely what I did with most of my spare time when I wasn't working. After having read Memories, Dreams, Reflections which asked many profound questions and presented many interesting explanations and observations, it did not provide many answers. Perhaps one of his greatest works in that regard. So upon having read the book I set out to prove that we each are independent thinkers and that our minds are not the resultant components of a biomagnetically connected WIFI network between people's nervous systems.

The first argument the collective consciousness believers would offer is that the prime motivation for seeking to disprove collective consciousness is the result of the ego trying to establish its own importance lest it suddenly become extinct. The Pronouns I and Myself and Me do not represent any manifestation of ego. They are merely labels for an independent organism whose health would be compromised by the omission of any of the most basic requirements on Mazlo's Hierarchy of Needs. That in itself implies that ego is not responsible for all efforts towards one's own independent survival, nor is any such survival attempt selfish anymore than it is to distinguish between the we of society and the I. As Nintendo would certainly agree, Wii are made of up two I's and this contradicts and even earlier short poem I'd written a year before I became homeless that goes: There is no I in us or we. Go figure.

It turns out that the Collective Consciousness troop like to conduct social games of musical chairs with people's personas. That is if you're not consistent with your own history and past after one of the rounds of this game which usually take place at night, they literally believe and treat you like you're someone else. That is they believe that your body is being driven around by someone else's persona and they even have debt collectors who gather up the credit for anything that you'd accomplished during the time you were presumed to be someone else, and make sure that persona gets the credit for anything that you accomplished during their occupation of your body. That's what they believe and that's what they try to trick you into believing what's happening, which I never did but when you're outnumbered its difficult to put a stop to such theft of efforts and identity by yourself. Not to mention if you speak of it, you'll be painted as a lunatic and discredited. I get the impression that from Memories, Dreams, Reflections that C.G. Jung went through something similar during his last days and likely as a result of a similar ideology.

The thought then came to me that perhaps there is a collective consciousness but that it isn't every mind clumped together but rather, its as I described it above. A group of people whose nervous systems are interconnected via biomagnetism or perhaps Quantum Entanglement, in such a way that allows the passage of information in one or both directions. With renewed vigor I began trying to figure out how this was possible and what these people were doing to create such a link where none had existed before.

It turns out that such an idea is related to hermetic philosophy which regards extreme emotions as being the same thing. So feeling extreme love for someone creates a link between you and them, and perhaps this explains something like Mother's radar, in which Mothers have a seemingly psychic connection with their young Children which continues into the teenage years. Likewise, extreme emotions like hate experienced by others have the same effect. They somehow seem to create a connection between the hater and the hated, and this is the foundation of how a collective consciousness is built though typically these collective networks are symbolized by colours.

to be continued...

Brian Joseph Johns