In his essay on the problem of partial consciousness, Gabriel Raam explores the problems of being a species equipped with partial consciousness, as opposed to (almost) no consciousness, such as animals.
He identifies partial consciousness as a potential for either growth into full consciousness, or degeneration to a state that makes cruelty, aggression, jealousy, bullying, etc. possible, as observed frequently among human children, but not across animal populations.
In other words, he sees the cruelty humans inflict upon each other as symptoms of a degeneration, which is the result of unfulfilled potential the animals did not have to begin with.
In this essay, the author will try to explore the mechanisms, from both psychological and consciousness perspectives, that govern this degeneration and why the degeneration of a partial consciousness actually relates to symptoms as mentioned above.
What is partial consciousness
The first concept that needs further exploration is that of the main protagonist of the problem: partial consciousness.
Gabriel Raam writes about this: „Partial consciousness is an analogy, it is like an airplane having an engine of a car.“
This analogy means that the equipment – in our case, partial consciousness – is not fit to handle the workload that is put upon it: a car engine is not able to make an airplane fly, at most, it would be enough to allow the airplane to drive like a car, so it would never take off.
The possible resulting symptoms of this, Raam describes as the following (among others): „meaninglessness, corruption, loneliness, human relations (power struggles, alienation, lack of listening, conflicts, lack of human warmth and empathy, etc.)“
How come driving an airplane like it was a car, as is our analogy, could lead to symptoms such as these? Exhausting the analogy a bit, as an airplane is not a living being and as such not is not as prone to degeneration as a living being, we could still say that an airplane which never gets to fly, will inevitably start to deteriorate: airplanes are made to fly, cars are made to be driven.
An airplane which is not flown might start to lose its turbine functions, or cause other malfunctions that are not being inspected anymore because it is not flying, whereas a car that is being driven will need to be inspected regularly, it’s oil will need to be changed, etc.
This oil-change analogy is referring – in an analogy to living beings – to a process called self-actualization. So a car that is being driving is realizing the potential that it carries within, which requires – by necessity – that all its essential parts not only work together, but stay actualized: „in good shape“.
Contrary to that, an airplane which does not fly (because it has a car’s engine in form of the partial consciousness analogy) will not actualize it’s potential, and it’s essential functions will not be maintained and kept working by necessity.
Therefore, degeneration is the result of not fulfilling ones potential, as the opposite of degeneration, development, happens out of the necessity to realize one’s potential.
This means that partial consciousness refers on one hand to an inborn potential regarding consciousness, which will decay over time if not fulfilled and cause symptoms, and also a part which is there, which is already realized (therefore resulting in being partial).
This second part will also contribute to the degeneration in a way Gabriel Raam mentions almost incidentally once: „The [partial] consciousness can […] speed our misuse of our partial consciousness on its way down“
So not only do we degenerate because of not fulfilling our conscious potential, but also because on the path of degeneration, the partial consciousness that we do have will be misused.
To summarize, there are two factors contributing to the degeneration:
a) The degeneration set forth by not fulfilling (self-actualizing) the potential to full consciousness
b) The misuse of the partial consciousness during the process of degeneration
Raam then goes on to explain why we are stuck in a loop regarding this issue, namely our fantasy that our partial consciousness is actually a fully developed one, which prevents us from doing what is necessary: taking action to develop the consciousness from partial to full.
From degeneration to symptomatic behavior
We explored the factors that contribute to degeneration in the human system, but we have not explored yet how this degeneration leads to the specific symptoms that we observe so frequently in human experience and behavior.
First of all, the symptoms could be explained in relation to the factors – unfulfilled potential or misusage – that are contributing to their arising:
- Meaninglessness definitely arises from unfulfilled potential, as meaning can only be experienced in states where one’s potential is fulfilled. Usually, meaning is experienced most in states of Flow, which most frequently occur in situations in which people find themselves in borderline situations: on the very treshold that divides between the ability to accomplish and do, and the inability. This borderline situation requires a person to use all of his skillset and abilities – and therefore all of his potential – in order to survive the situation, because he is on the verge of failure all the time. This leads to the experience of Flow and meaning. It could also be called: life on the edge.
- Corruption refers to the loss of integrity, which in turn refers to a state of „being whole an undivided“. The very fact of denying the partiality of our consciousness, as a form of cognitive dissonance, leads to a divided attitude: on one side there is potential that cries to be fulfilled, on the other, there is the partial consciousness that try to present itself as being full and fulfilled. We cannot respect ourselves and have integrity if we treat ourselves as if we are fully developed, while experiencing internally almost constantly the results of not being fully developed.
- Loneliness is a state that is consisting of a perceived separation between oneself and others. It is not existential loneliness that is meant here – which is the realization of one’s utter loneliness as an individual and actually causes a feeling of great connection to others – but rather the feeling of emotional loneliness as if it were a form of cruel abandonment. This type of loneliness paradoxically arises from the denial of the existential loneliness, as the author has explained in a previous essay (add link to essay).
What makes this denial possible, again through cognitive dissonance, is the misuse of partial consciousness. Cognitive dissonance and denial of parts of reality are only possible through the misuse of the partial consciousness.
- All symptoms related to human relations are also the result of the misuse of partial consciousness in form of denial, leading to egocentric world-view, immature dealings with emotions, unrealistic expectations of oneself and others, etc. – mostly governed through the psychological mechanism of cognitive dissonance.
The misuse of partial consciousness
We can see now that although some symptoms are related mainly to unfulfilled potential, the very fact of allowing potential to remain unfulfilled is resulting form the misuse of the partial consciousness in form of denial of its partiality.
Therefore, the main factor that requires understanding is the misusage of the partial consciousness. We saw already how partial consciousness is used to deny reality in a way that has been called cognitive dissonance in psychology, but we haven’t explored why that is a misuse and why this is even possible.
Misuse refers to not using something as was intended or required. Consciousness is a function that needs to be used in order to connect to truth, in other words, consciousness should bring light into a matter to make it visible, so the misuse of consciousness refers to the opposite case, in which consciousness is used to keep or bring darkness, in other words: denial of reality.
When we use our (partial) consciousness to convince ourselves of something that is not true – in the sense that it actually does not match our experience of reality, mainly because it would make us feel better (by experiencing less dissonance), we are talking about misuse of consciousness.
It becomes very clear now what purpose the misuse of consciousness has: to make us feel better. Animals do not have the option to modify their experience of reality in order to suit their wishes, fantasies and emotional demands, as they do not have the seed of consciousness planted in them, which could be used in two ways:
- In order to connect to the hidden reality of things by penetrating via consciousness form the outside shell of form and appearance towards the hidden (often termed „esoteric“) core.
- In order to disconnect from the reality of things by superimposing wishful thinking onto the form of things.
So, while the animal neither is connected to the deeper, underlying, hidden reality of something, it is also incapable of misinterpreting, of misrepresenting this reality to itself in order to reduce dissonance or feel better.
As opposed to that, the human who did not work to upgrade his consciousness – which consists in hard work that involves mainly the management of exactly the dominant ego and emotions that are forcing him to misuse his consciousness for their own sake – is at the mercy of the forces that are taking control of his partial consciousness for him, and misusing this consciousness by first of all telling him „all is well, nothing to develop here“ and then making him see reality in an upside-down way.
This is the essential phenomenon that is the root of the evil governing humanity, and it shows how important it is for a person to realize the necessity to accept his incompleteness and develop his partial consciousness.
One other interesting subject is that as is the rule with all repressed, unpleasant truths, this one also is usually projected to the outside world: what everybody is doing inside of themselves and don’t wish to face, they project outside, e.g. towards the government. People accuse the government, or political leaders, or CEOs of companies, etc., of telling them all is ok and misrepresenting reality – which they obviously do, but they overlook the fact that they themselves, that everybody is doing it. So by shifting the blame towards these outside objects – and in some cases, rebelling against them externally – they try to relieve themselves of their own duty: to reconcile oneself with the truth of one’s own embryologic state, a state that requires our full commitment so that we can develop to what we were meant to be: an airplane with an airplane engine.