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Collective Consciousness

Collective, Transperosonal or Environmental Consciousness

The Collective, Transpersonal or Consciousness refers to consciousness interacting or merging with or including the collective physical, psychic, and environment and beings. It then constitutes a network, group mind, or devic consciousness. Physically, it is not individuated the way that individual human consciousness is. On the subtle levels however, there may be individuated collective consciousness; that is, a single "god" can manifest in many individual forms. It may be that these are what Steiner's spiritual hierarchies are.

In the Intersubjective sphere, the Collective, Transpersonal or Consciousness interacts or merges with or including the physical/psychic/spiritual or whatever level is applicable environment surrounding the individual, with and through which it interacts with the cosmic forces, the "field of influence" or in Theosophical and New Age thought the "aura" or psychic (etheric, "astral", and so on) energy field around an individual. From a subjective reference point, every "holon" is the center of its own environment, and that environment is both a larger holon and also the aggregate of all the holons with which it is in contact at the time the "environment" is defined. (Being aware of course that holons, like all things, are constantly changing).

Collective and Cosmic Consciousness embodied on the physical level, whether human or nonhuman (e.g. devic), may take the form of any of these evolutionary "holons". I disagree with Wilber in that I do not feel it is necessary to strictly progress along these levels. In Theosophy also (especially the Adyar and Alice Bailey traditions), when the indidivual being has progressed beyond the human stage, he or she evolves eventually into a planetary, solar or cosmic logos, which in Theosophy is identified with the Supreme Absolute. In my view however the Theosophists are confusing the quantitative and qualitative dimensions, so that whilst consciousness may indeed expand to cosmic dimensions, that doesn't mean that one has to necessarily follow a struict physical holarchical path.

Also included here are collective thoughtforms and what Jung would call the "collective unconscious", again, these are Collective in scope, but in this case they are daimonic (or in Jungian terminology archetypal) rather than objective physical.

In Wilber's 4 quadrant Integral philosophy, which is influenced by postmodernism and developmental psychology, the Collective and Cosmic Dimension of Consciousness and Existence on the gross physical plane corresponds in part to the bottom right quadrant of the diagram (Social). The ones on the right are based on Erich Jantsch's work, the ones on the left on developmental psychology. While evolution is much more complex than a single linear scale (or a tetrapolar scale), this represents a useful if simplistic representation of evolutionary gradations of being, and so are included here. In practice though, every gradation and level can interact with every other gradation and level.

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Original content by M.Alan Kazlev.
uploaded 13 January 2009, relocated and last modified 9 November 2009