“In the transition stages of falling asleep and waking up again the contours of everyday reality are, at the least, less firm than in the state of fully awake consciousness. The reality of everyday life, therefore, is continuously surrounded by a penumbra of vastly different realities.” —Peter Berger, The Sacred Canopy, 42.
I question if that is actually so. I have often thought that we all live in different realities, made up of those distinct “perceptions, sensations, dreams, thoughts, memories and feelings” mentioned by Huston Smith.
When you first relocate to a brand new environment, you end up forming certain paths from home to work to shops… Already, you lay out your reality for this new place, all filtered through you distinct perceptions, sensations, dreams… Automatically, you create a reality distinct from anyone else’. With time, you no longer see all the detail around you that was all laid out when you first came, having become peripheral in your experience. I have to think the same is true for the other realities in our lives - which includes God.
On the other hand, science tells us that there are indications nothing really exists unless someone is experiencing it - taking note of it, - like “does a tree, falling in the forest, make a noise if no one is there to hear it”. It makes me think this universe exists only because it’s in the “mind” of God, being sustained by God. In that sense, we are all living in the same reality - the consciousness of God.
It seems the reality we experience is about much more than what we generally perceive.
I appreciate what you said here. In context, Smith seems to be referring not to our individual experiences (which he would be the first to affirm are unique to us), but to the state of pure consciousness, the capacity or state in which our unique experiences are played out. All of us have that capacity; each of us have our own memories, perceptions, images, and so forth.
That comes mighty close to the Hindu state of NIRVANA - suggesting there is a specific state of consciousness that is common to all, and combined with the great universal intelligence.
The state Smith describes sounds like that foggy state between sleep and wakefulness. We don’t all experience that state in the same way - Dali experienced visual phenomenon while others hear sounds. I’m thinking it has to do with the action of our brains, when the filters are off…and that’s fine, but I wouldn’t attribute it as a commonality of consciousness. I tend to rely on intelligence as the point at which we approach our commonality - granting there are various degrees of that.
There is not too much difference between Darwin’s description of man crawling out of the swamp and Adam being formed of clay, except for the “breath” of God in our lungs, - and I would add, a mind that comprehends existence. The commonality we have with the rest of mankind, is the potential to have the very “mind” of God. (Philippine 2:5 - King James version).
I think what @bearcee is saying is that consciousness is the ability, (capacity or potential) to “comprehend” God, a being above and beyond our material world. If the atom were Spirit, then the microscope would be our Consciousness, something that enables us to see what we cannot see with our naked eyes. And this ability (capacity or potential) we share with all our human brethren, the same in everyone.
@bearcee is NOT saying that our consciousness is a fraction of a universal whole like the Hindu state of Nirvana as you pointed out. Rather, it is the attribute of God we have like He also has – because He created us in His image and likeness – and which allows us to communicate with Him. He has given each and everyone a telephone line, a private number and His number, metaphorically speaking of course.
But I may be wrong though. That was just the way I understood his earnest desire for a vision.
James, I couldn’t have said it better myself. Another line of thought to be followed up is Sirje’s allusion to the ‘mind of Christ’ or of God. That is certainly worth exploring, perhaps in another essay.