Though I appreciate the discomfort and derision, I have steadfastly maintained that pushing through this discomfort and derision has become necessary and unavoidable – necessary and unavoidable because working on consciousness has become a necessary and unavoidable task for all Christians, regardless of denomination.
Establishing a firm grasp of what human consciousness is and what it does has been a major obstacle for Christians. For the sake of simplicity, I personally define what human consciousness is in the following way: The manner in which we perceive, understand, and think about God, the world, others, and ourselves. As for what human consciousness does (or is capable of doing): The ability to direct, aim or align perception, understanding, and thinking with God and Creation, which encompasses Reality as well as Truth, Beauty, Goodness, Virtue, and so forth.
Consciousness is crucial because it the means through which we establish our fundamental metaphysical assumptions, more specifically, our core beliefs about life, the universe, and everything. Throughout the bulk of history, human consciousness has been an inherently spiritualized consciousness, which means that the core beliefs most people have held about life, the universe, and everything have been based on the understanding and acceptance of the divine and the supernatural.
Of course, modern secular-material-atheists use this undeniable fact as a touchstone to tout the superiority of their own contemporary de-spiritualized consciousness. De-spiritualized modern secular-material-atheists view their ‘spiritualized’ ancestors in much the same way adults view children who believe in the existence of Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy. Modern secular-material-atheists may accept the quaintness and charm of such beliefs, but they ultimately reject them as mere fantasies that distort and interfere with their own cold, hard perception of ‘real’ reality.
Since the modern-material-atheist form of despiritualized consciousness repudiates the existence of the divine and the supernatural, it also denies the existence of such attributes within human beings as well as all notions of humans being created in the imago Dei. At best, contemporary despiritualized consciousness perceives and understands human beings as superior things existing within a realm of things.
Consequently, despiritualized consciousness limits its perception, understanding, and thought about human beings to matters of ethics, morality, and utility. Within this framework, the highest calling of a human being is cultivate his or her talents to be well mannered, well behaved, and useful. Since there is no afterlife, human beings must strive to be well behaved, well mannered, and useful in this world, which, essentially, boils down to human society and/or the planet.
Within this conceptualization, relationships between human beings are largely defined by material utility, which encompasses material and social gain as well pleasure seeking and pain avoidance. A good relationship is one that helps the people involved get ahead or feel good, with ‘love’ being ascribed to those people that are best able to supply the most help an individual needs to get ahead or feel good. Bad relationships are those that hinder ‘getting ahead’ or that diminish ‘feeling good’.
From the perspective of despiritualized consciousness, human beings are not really beings, but things. The purpose of interacting with other human things is foster the end goal of being the best, most useful, and happiest human thing an individual can hope to be in this world of otherwise random, purposeless, and meaningless things. Yet the importance of relationships between human things remains a central feature of despiritualized consciousness, which still intuitively understands that the material health and survival of all human things depends almost exclusively on the relationships human things are able to establish between each other for the purposes of utility and hedonism.
In light of this, the attack on human relationships over the past two years is particularly intriguing. In early 2020, human things were reclassified as potential biological hazards to other human things. This reclassification flipped the entire secular-material-atheist human thing value system on its head. Suddenly, the health and survival of all human things depended almost exclusively on limiting or destroying the relationships human things are able to establish with each other. The most useful thing a well-mannered and well-behaved human thing to do for other human things and the world was to regard other human things as potential hazards. Getting ahead and feeling good suddenly meant limited contact and self-isolation, even from those one professed to ‘love’ – nay, more so for those one professed to ‘love’.
The past two years have provided us a masterclass on the fatal perceptions that govern despiritualized consciousness, most notably, in how it views humans and human relationships. If humanity continues obstinately adhere to this limited consciousness, it surely lead to death – spiritual and physical.
The much need and long overdue shift in human consciousness is vital not only to the development of human beings on the spiritual plane, but also to the very survival of human beings on the material plane.
In a post from mid-December, Dr. Charlton argued for the establishment of a cosmic perspective as an antidote to the dead end perspective of ethics:
Our fundamental way of thinking ought to be a matter of imagining and picturing our-selves in a cosmic perspective - where we came from, where we are going; what are the real and eternal things and how do we personally relate to them.
Cosmic perspective is a good way to conceptualize the much needed and long overdue shift in human consciousness. For too long, Christians have limited their fundamental way of thinking, especially in matters concerning how we relate to others and see ourselves. The way Christians imagine and picture themselves, others, and human relationships is practically inseparable from the way in which despiritualized secular-material-atheists imagine and picture themselves, others, and human relationships.
For proof of this, we need look no further than the way in which many Christians and nearly all Christians churches responded to the birdemic crisis in 2020 – and continue to do so even today! What do these responses say about how Christians and Christian churches understand human beings? How about real or eternal things? What do these responses reveal about how Christians and Christian churches relate to human beings? To real and eternal things?
Christians simply must – and I do mean must – shift their perceptions, understanding, and thought, and they can begin by expanding the way in which they perceive, understand, and think about themselves and others.
This is something I have been actively pursuing for well over two years now. Instead of perceiving, understanding, and thinking about myself and others as merely human beings or, worse, human things, I have started to think about and understand others and myself as eternal beings first and temporary humans second. This does not entail any disparagement of the human form – because I believe we maintain our human forms when we are resurrected into everlasting life – but it does entail a forthright rejection of our temporary human forms in this mortal world as the be all and end all of our existence.
This ‘shift’ in thinking means I try to view people as beings who possess an inherent divine spark through which they are capable of achieving divinity in life everlasting. This ‘cosmic perspective’ often bleeds into how I relate to others and how I perceive others relating to me, which has led to a deepening appreciation of the relationships I have, have had, and hope to have. These relationships include living people, but also the dead, including my interactions with various remnants and works the dead have left behind in this mortal world.
Shifting the focus onto ‘being’ has also added depth to the concept of spiritual learning. No relationship, encounter, or experience is random or meaningless. I resist the modern urge to view people as means to social, material, or hedonistic ends, and focus instead on them as beings with whom I can interact to deepen spiritual learning. I spend a great deal of time meditating about human beings I would like to meet – not specific people, but rather kinds of people. I have become aware of many relationships of mine that seem to have reached a being-to-being level communication. This is rarely, if ever, stated explicitly, but the implicit understanding within the relationship is impossible to deny.
At the same time, shifting the focus onto ‘being’ has also added depth to the great tragedy of modern despiritualized consciousness. Every day I have experiences and encounters with human beings who deny the reality of others and themselves as beings – beings who simply refuse to budge from their obstinate stance. I also have experiences and relationships with beings who understand themselves as beings, but have actively chosen the side of evil rather than good. These experiences and relationships are few in number for me personally, but they are by far the most instructive as well as the most demanding.
Interestingly enough, my work on perceiving and understanding humans as ‘beings’ rather than mere humans or human things has gradually spilled over into other parts of Creation. Into a world filled with alive and thinking beings, and a world of unseen but equally present alive and thinking beings.
I know some Christians will continue to dismiss what I have noted above as pseudo-spiritual psychology, new age quackery, or artless heresy, but before they do, I humbly ask them to consider something Dr. Charlton noted in the same blog post I referred to earlier:
The cosmic perspective is also the level at which Jesus Christ's teaching is primarily directed. He was not primarily an ethical teacher, nor was his work an ethical work . . . Until we can - this time consciously and by choice - recover that 'cosmic' attitude; it seems that Christ's message and offer will continue to fall on deaf ears; or merely be translated into the feeble and cowardly 'pseudo-faith' we see dominant among the leadership of all the major 'Christian' churches.