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Life – Consciousness

skyOpinion polls, even those carried out among a public of professionals, demonstrate a very wide spread and variety of opinion as to what is valid, non-negotiable, and confirmed - even in the field of science. Usually, our convictions, for example, about the occult, the mind, sexuality, or consciousness prove to be false.

Within this field, we must free ourselves from fashion and gain courage for our ideas, by experimenting, by engaging in searching and discerning in collaboration, openly and fearlessly. Let us fruitfully liberate our lives, our relationships, our environment, and history in the field of ideas.

We can recall the meaning of "blessed are the poor in spirit", or of the spirit of the 'fishermen', of the humble and simple people, which has been hymned in the Holy Spirit in the teaching of Christ, in poetry by Whitman and Robert Browning,[1] and in politics by the ideological statesman and leader Abraham Lincoln. The need for us to be liberated from the tendency to become attached to intellectual or psychological seductions as regards our contact with ideas is a timely one. The need is for us to be daring in proposing points of communication and synthesis. It would be a mistake for us to refuse a dialogue out of fear of the possible laying bare or rendering useless of certain of our ideas, or for us to fear experiments which might prove useful in all areas of human life: in politics, in religion, in civilisation, in science, in art, in philosophy, in education, and in the economy.

The courage of one’s convictions and their expression
Surmounting all the obstacles, we must have the boldness to speak about things and convictions in a direct manner. An example of this directness is the way in which psychoanalysis has brought to light the events of the sexual life and its definitive role in the everyday life of the individual, but also in shaping political and economic structures of totalitarianism.[2] Fear in the face of the - then - dominant spirit of 'Victorian' and puritan inhibitions was unable to stop the direct and fearless exposition of new observations about sexuality in public dialogue. We now know how negative the side-effects are which these issues have had in life, as well as in the theatre of power of all those who have played double roles.[3]

We are called upon to function with the same courage in the field of the approach to ideas. Courage and faith are needed for us to remain uninfluenced by the fear of the laying bare of our world-theory following a sincere public dialogue, whether this is an ideological, religious, spiritual, or esoteric world theory. But courage presupposes that it has been preceded by an inner process which has led us to psychological normalisation and to a gradual course of transcendence of the primitive dynamic of narcissism.

Let us not forget that, often, we undermine the ideas of which we are proponents through their association with personal narcissistic reflexes. Thus in our attempts to discuss 'spiritual' matters, it is a frequently observed phenomenon that we become egocentric, and give expression to spiritual ambition, selfishness, and individualism.

Ideas – from a field of power to a field of freedom
In the relation between East and West there have been on both sides pathological, psychological, exotic, underground cultural and possessive dynamic seductions and authorities. The West has exerted the seduction of capital, entrepreneurism, and scientific intellectualism. The East has exerted the seduction of mysticism. This fascination has frequently won commercial success or become a field of political and economic entrepreneurship and a field of religious influence in the West.

These 'new' trends have expressed a form of communication of existing situations in conditions - it could be said - which have not been among the best. Now, however, conditions have matured. 'Differentnesses' between East and West have been mollified.[4] We can enter into a discussion once again, with a new dynamic of classicism and pragmatism, to recall certain innovations which have resulted from contact between East and West. A typical example is provided by developments in the area of religion. The Chicago World Congress of Religions in the late nineteenth century had a fruitfulness and a spontaneity of historic importance for the mutual understanding of the two civilisations. Classic observers such as the realist William James, the humanitarian thinker Schweitzer, the philosopher A.N. Whitehead, and the thinker Bertrand Russell continued on the same path with the same openness of spirit.

We are called upon, without fear and without any inclination towards controversy with anyone, to keep our reactions on a non-inflammatory - cultural, psychological, and institutional - level, avoiding the ancient tendency towards quarrelsomeness and claiming living-space.

Ideas must cease to be an object for the exercise of power. They must be recognised as a field of freedom, only if this freedom is to be sustainable, it must be responsible. The critical view of Engels on the correlation between power and autonomy is an enduring one. On this point we can see the convergence of all views, from the age of Plato to the age of the modern thinking of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first. It is within this correlation that the processes which set in train the future are to be found.

There is a dynamic spiritual perspective
We wish to convey a message of spiritual enthusiasm about the future, of spiritual security, of dynamic freedom and communication, co-operation and progress. There is spiritual dynamic and presence. It is a mistake for us to undermine hope and expectation as to faith. There are many areas and many currents of ideas which are converging and which are characterised by collectivity and a spirit of co-operation. We should not regard them as schisms. They have a phasmatic unity and capacity for synthesis which the future needs. This is the fervid spirit which Paul conveys - without fanaticism and intolerance, and far removed from the 'logic' of adaptation which alloys the purity of ideas. Our age is more mature than ever before when faced with the demand for the achievement of the apprehension of ideas in a spirit of lucidity and not with the play-acting of prestige; with an experiential lucidity and with a concern for implementation which will prevent a descent into illusion, seduction, or authority and totalitarianism.

On an ecological relation with ideas
Our relation with ideas is - and must be - one of considerable torment, but also an ecstatic and liberating one. Examples of this relation are provided by Husserl, Bergson, and Kierkegaard.
From the same angle of vision we could see the horizon of everyday routine, of living experience, and of the psychological fertility of ideas. We can see this fertility developing in the quest for and use of methods of healing which seek better human relations, better dispositions, behaviours, and mentalities which have to be inspired by a spirit of good will and co-operation on all the horizons.
Nor should we preclude the presence of Being from afar and of inner Being, of the transcendental within us or outside us. We need to see synergy even with that which is not directly perceived; to see our life within an open group horizon in the world and in the spirit.

-- Ideas must cease to be the object of the exercise of power. They must be recognised as a field of freedom, only this freedom, in order to be sustainable, must be responsible.
-- The invocation of the new, to be worthy of the name, should be universal and should not be confined to the individualising of need, narcissism, inertness, or retrogressiveness.
-- We fear the different and the new in case it takes us by surprise.
-- We must free ourselves from psychological jealousy of the subject which approaches us as differentness.
-- What is to be sought from the new is not that we should reject everything, but that we should form a comprehensive synthesis of symbiosis.

[1] Browning, Robert, poem [Greek edition].
[2] Moutsoupoulou, Ioanna, 'Sexuality as seduction'.
[3] Freud, Sigmund, Civilisation and its Discontents [Greek edition], Epikouros, 1974.
[4] Zisis, Ioannis, 'Citizen or 'Yogi'?'

Ioannis Zisis, writer

See also
- Obstacles to the circulation of ideas and innovation

Photo from wikimedia

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