The Descent of Ignorance
The world is entirely in one’s mind as fabrications of concepts. How closely that mental world hews to actuality is the practical measure of pignorance.
Imagination is the faculty for forming counterfactuality. There are 2 realms of imagination: problem-solving and paracosmic. Problems are solved by imagining a goal and then working symbolic representations to a status in which they represent satisfactory resolution.
Problem-solving associated with matter is craftwork. By contrast, purely abstract problem-solving, such as mathematics or philosophy, is symwork. A hybrid form – sociowork – is problem-solving of social relations.
As a symwork, worldview is by its nature paracosmic. Like musical notes on sheet music, actuality comprises a multitude of observations. To see patterns in the notes, and thereby make music, is metaphoric to constructing a worldview: a merging of minutia into a gestalt. Such a ‘discovered’ system may feel profound, even spiritual, but is ultimately a gross simplification. This is why theoretical constructs in any science often have incongruent exceptions – to our level of ken, Nature is not formulaic. Creative diversity being a guiding principle of coherence obscures underlying patterns of self-similarity.
All life forms, from viruses on up, practice craftwork and sociowork – solving problems to survive or simply enjoy life. Symwork is something else indeed.
Other organisms besides humans create and use tools, build homes, communicate in languages, play games, and practice culture. If there is any uniqueness to humanity, it is in symwork. As far as we know, only people construct the paracosms of worldviews, ideologies, and religions. Human imagination alone can be utterly divorced from actuality.
Hominids crafted wood tools for many millions of years. ~3.4 million years ago (MYA) they took to shaping stone: flint knapping. 1.7 MYA humans managed to overcome their fear to control fire.
Representational artwork dates to the Old Stone Age; becoming more elaborated, and expressed in different materials, into the New Stone Age. Hominin craftwork expressing abstractions only began to proliferate during the Mesolithic, beginning 20,000 years ago. Religions – the culmination of symwork – appeared even later. As a state of mind not obviously deranged, paracosms as cherished belief systems are unique to humans, and recently evolved.
Under cover of fear, nattermind generates pignorance via symwork. Once instilled, these false belief systems may prove impregnable. This is the triumph of ignorance which defines ‘civilization’.
Pignorance is a web of deceit that must be gotten through to achieve realization: the state of consciousness in which one lives as is, having shed symwork except as a recreation. In unity consciousness one witnesses the mind as a separate entity. This dissociation markedly contrasts with the state of pignorance, in which one is deceived into thinking the mind-body is the self, having the swallowed the lies of nattermind whole.
Mind is the creator of everything. When you are able to employ your will always for constructive purposes, you become the controller of your destiny. ~ Paramahansa Yogananda
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The evolutionary obstacles to enlightenment emanate from 2 distinct vectors: mental chatter which blocks the requisite transcendental state of consciousness (nattermind) and being bound to concrete experience (as contrasted to the potentiality of dissociation from actuality which affords abstract thinking).
Nattermind generates counterfactual thinking which may lead to self-delusion. For animals and other organisms which are not apex predators like humans, the paracosms of nattermind would be an evolutionary formula for extinction, as the need for diligent awareness of the actual environment is often paramount.
Organisms less burdened by nattermind ostensibly have an easier path to enlightenment. The reason this may not be so is that the dissociation inherent in enlightenment can be countermanded by rigorous identification with the mind-body as a survival strategy (concrete mindedness).
The same need for keen awareness of actuality which reduces nattermind concomitantly debilitates distinction between sentience and the mind. In other words, some living entities are constrained to concrete experiences, thereby lacking the facile ability to construe abstractly, and so unable to readily dissociate the mind from witnessing awareness (sentience).
The necessity for concrete mindedness is to sustain will to live. Enlightenment loosens the bonds of the mortal coil.
Multicellularity depends upon cells as steadfast to their function. Freed from their mental shackles, cells and organs might too easily give up the ghost rather than soldier on, thereby proving fatal to their host. Hence, as a prerequisite for the evolution of multicellularity, the subunits of multicellular organisms don’t philosophize. In contrast, single-celled life faces an entirely different situation.
With a continuous flood of sensory input which must be consciously consumed, plants live rich mental lives. Yet fungi and plants cogently comprehend the power of nattermind, as most flagrantly illustrated by some of them making psychedelics as a way to ward off predation by animals, who rightfully loath the disorientation of hallucination. Floral and fungal secondary metabolites indicate both potent imagination and close connectivity to coherence by dint of mystically knowing which molecular formulas would disorient their predators.
Other organisms are doubtlessly capable of enlightenment. It’s just that their obstacle may not be nattermind, but a tightness between sentience and assiduous mentation which binds awareness to the duality of Nature.
Failure to achieve high-level (abstractive) construal is evidenced by how easily many animals subject to predation are skittish: fear readily oozing from a mind which binds these creatures to their bodies and obstructs transcendence. (This same phenomenon also obviously manifests in the Collective upon occasion.)
Intriguingly, a very few conspecifics of such animals may be observed as having a preternatural sense of calm: the presence of mind to observe and unflappably react accordingly. This suggests enlightenment.