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Chapter Ten: The Systems Stage

Section 9: Cosmic Consciousness Interlude



Transculturalism is knowledge in a broad enough sense to be termed a "consciousness." However, transculturalism, and the entire paper to this point, have been limited by Fromm's helpful yet arbitrary determination that humanity is the measure of all things. At the risk of appearing far out, one must transcend this anthropocentrism to discover the furthermost logical implications of the genetic structuralist framework



In our discussion on identity, it was indicated that one aspect of maturation is the expansion of one's "spheres of caring" to include ever more others. Our caring is not limited to other humans: many of us have pets we care about -- we might feel more grief at the death of the family dog than at the slaughter of a thousand people in a far-off land; people have thrown themselves before bulldozers to save trees. Ethologists communicated with trained chimpanzees in American Sign Language (developed for deaf people); complex communications with dolphins have been achieved. People communicate with nature, in fact information theory shows that it is possible, and often useful, to reduce the physicists' approaches to a sort of dialogue with nature" (The Savage Mind, Claude Levi-Strauss, p. 19)



It is not inconceivable that a person might be able to assume the perspectives of, and have expanded one's sphere of caring to include, all humans, mammals, living things, non-living forms of matter and energy --including little specks of cosmic dust. Such a person would legitimately be said to have achieved "cosmic consciousness." This consciousness would seem related to the nirvana and the sense of oneness described by Eastern religious philosophies. Conceptually, there is a difference. The Easterners conceive of their attainment as a diminishing or killing individual ego; whereas the process considered herein amounts to an of one's ego. Operationally, the processes may be the same -- the "expansion" refers to increasing inclusiveness, "diminution" refers to the reduction of the sense of superiority in the facing of rising humility of the expansion.







Book Contents

Transcultural Friendship: Our Political Future


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