Map of Apocalyptic Consciousness
My map of apocalyptic consciousness utilizes a series of simple mandalas. It is not meant to be ‘the way it is’ but one way to look at it. All things begin and end in Mystery, and this map is no different.
At the center of, and underlying everything, is a Great Mystery. When one reaches the end of opinions, beliefs, knowledge and conditioned answers, and stands finally and fully in ‘don’t know,’ there is a Mystery to life that the conceptual mind cannot comprehend. The conceptual mind loves to give it names, but name-giving doesn’t result in intimacy with it. It just gives word-and-thought-using life forms a name to call the unnameable and unexplainable, that which by its very nature must be too vast for the conceptual mind to hold.
In the Judeo-Christian-Islamic lineage, many people have been conditioned to think of the Ultimate as a God of Light/Good at war with Darkness/Evil. This war of opposites is the basis for the apocalyptic ideology of holy war, but the Zohar speaks of a dazzling darkness before God : “A spark of impenetrable darkness flashed within the concealed of the concealed from the head of infinity.… With this beginning the unknown concealed one created the palace. This palace is called God.”
In the Qur’an, Allah puts it this way, “I’m a hidden treasure; I wanted to be known. I created the cosmos so that I might be known.”
How did the Unmanifest blossom into Manifestation in all its diversity? It’s a Mystery; nonetheless, here it is and here we are. Humans have a particular ability / liability to be able to select one particular angle on the multi-facetedness of reality, settle down there and become blind to the rest.
The Church Father Clement wrote, “The Son is the Consciousness of God. the Father only sees the world as reflected in the Son.” Through the birth of Consciousness (the yellow bit in fig. 2). Mystery gets to play the game of knowing itself through Creation, which includes all the high drama of us vs. them in its numerable forms.Consciousness permeates like light, as the sun doesn’t pick and choose who and what to shine on.
Consciousness, like breath, defies the privatization that has become a prime directive in American ideology. Consciousness, like breath, ultimately subverts the Western compulsion towards individuality without collective responsibility.
Mystery pervades everything that makes up the universe, animate and inanimate, visible and invisible. Consciousness may seem very different depending on form, I don’ know, but some form of consciousness pervades everything, at least that’s the way this surrealist daughter was raised. At this point in the map, we’ll narrow it down to human consciousness, because that’s where the apocalypse happens.
Psychology has helped create an idea that all our internal problems are personal, but it may be that, like local weather in a larger context of atmospheric currents, our internal, personal problems may be part of the collective situation expressing in a unique way. Perhaps it isn’t completely accurate to appropriate those currents as “me” and identify them as “my” thoughts and emotions alone. Perhaps we have been conditioned to over-privatize. Consumerism would fail if it weren’t for a citizenry that felt unfulfilled and willing to gamble that a new personal acquisition, whether it be a thing, a person, or an experience, might make a permanent difference. (for a great view into the evolution of consumerism, I highly recommend the BBC series The Century of the Self.)