The Third Place: On Human Consciousness (Pt. II of II)

There are many different philosophical ideas regarding the topic of human consciousness insofar as the concept itself remains an enigma. Countless philosophical proposals have been posited over the past few millennia to ascertain how human consciousness can affect the Self’s experiences and interactions with the Totality and the State. Neuroscientists and computer scientists have tried to provide their own scientific proposals. Neuroscience argues that human consciousness is informed by the sensory experiences of human perception. Computer science, meanwhile, believes that the question of human consciousness could someday be superseded by the question of “artificial consciousness” in the form of Artificial Intelligence.

No grand unified theory of human consciousness has ever been posited by anyone in philosophy nor has any scientific field gotten closer to understanding it. Despite the lack of a grand unified theory, what can be said here about human consciousness is that it can be reshaped by the social conditions and upbringing of the Self in their relationship with the Totality. Just as the Totality is shaped by a multiplicity of different groups of people sharing the same National Essence and National Identity, the Self can also be shaped by factors beyond the Totality’s sphere of influence. The Totality and the Self maintain their social relations in spite of their inherent differences by striving to uphold a Freedom of Conscience whose effects are readily discernible through the Freedom-Security Dialectic.

The factors in which the Self differentiates themselves from the Totality are many, but they revolve around a recurring set of mechanisms. One of the important characteristics of human consciousness, apart from sensory experiences and self-awareness of one’s surroundings, is the ability to express ideas, concepts, and beliefs through written, verbal, or audiovisual language. The ability itself is related to the same Freedom of Conscience discussed previously in Part I. All of the ideas described in Part I can be best summarized as a “National Consciousness” existing as individual segments of human consciousness as a whole. In the State of Total Mobilization, the National Consciousnesses of all nations on Earth interact with each other through historical events, international organizations, diplomatic treaties and negotiations, military conflicts and other global phenomena. The National Consciousness is integral to understanding the metaphysical premises of any given Nationalism and how any Pure Socialism can be integrated into the political-economic life of the affected State, Totality, and Self.

The expression of ideas, concepts and beliefs, when conveyed through language, become tangible bits and pieces of information that can be readily disseminated by mass communications applications. Social Media, State Media, Commercial Media, and Student Media are applications which have been discussed in other Entries and why the two empirical case studies from the Introduction Entry are both closely related to this same topic. Information technology has taken things a step further by introducing the “digital realm” as another avenue for disseminating information. In The Work-Standard (2nd Ed.) as well as The Third Place (1st Ed.), the “digital realm” is described in terms of an International Internet shared by National Intranets bound to their respective nations. A National Intranet could be perceived as an extension of the National Consciousness within the digital realm, an experience which cannot be encountered on the World Wide Web (WWW). The same is true for the Digital Arbeit and Digital Geld of the LERE Process.

The significance of digital realm in relation to human consciousness is that it is now possible for the National Consciousness of an entire nation to be influenced by anyone or any other nation. The effects may be beneficial as well as harmful to the mental and psychological well-being of the Totality and the Self. The World Wide Web (WWW), by its very nature, makes no distinctions whatsoever concerning the multiplicities of different National Consciousnesses. Its initial inception once gave rise to the notion that there is no National Sovereignty within the digital realm and that the flow of information will always be deregulated and uncontrolled.

Today, in the early 21st century, the hegemony of the WWW as the repository of human consciousness for all of humanity continues to be challenged by most nations. China and Russia believe that National Sovereignty should be reasserted in the digital realm. The EU/NATO member-states cannot adequately maintain its regulations within its own segment of the digital realm. And in these United States as well as the broader Western world, it has led to a growing inability to form a consensus on even the most basic sets of facts and what distinguishes them from the personal opinions of the Self. Meanwhile, the Socialist Nation of The Work-Standard (2nd Ed.) argues that a National Intranet serves as extensions of the national economy and the national educational system, insisting on a well-defined delineation between this National Intranet and the International Internet. This same Socialist Nation is also convinced that the International Internet should be reorganized in a different world order where a different conception, Heliopolis, would serve as a suitable replacement of the World Wide Web.     

Between the creation of Digital Arbeit and Digital Geld as part of the LERE Process and the sophistication of mass communications applications, one must stop and wonder if the digital realm is a technological extension of National Consciousness. If one is convinced that the digital realm can serve as an extension of a national economy, a national educational system, and a national media apparatus, why not include a National Consciousness?

Based on the characteristics of the Work-Standard, this Author is inclined to believe that the National Consciousness can be extended to the digital realm and coexist alongside human consciousness in general. But in doing so, I am forced to ascertain the significance of the digital realm and the Counterculture’s attempts at experiencing altered states of consciousness for the State of Total Mobilization. Fortunately, everything can be consolidated into a coherent discussion derived from the same historical figure who conceptualized the State of Total Mobilization itself in the 1930 essay “Total Mobilization” and the 1932 sequel, Der Arbeiter.

Psychonauts of the Noösphere

“The question as to whether these effects are merely triggered or whether they ‘ensue’ leads beyond the problems of the psychologists and the chemists. If we recognize the plant as an autonomous power which enters in order to put roots and flowers in us, then we distance ourselves by several degrees from the skewed perspective which imagines that Spirit (Geist) is the monopoly of human beings and doesn’t exist outside of them. A new world-picture has to follow the planetary leveling; that is the task which the next century will take up. The nihilistic and materialistic theories are called upon to prepare the way for it; thus, their persuasive power, so incomprehensible to their opponents. Of course, even in a storm which uproots forests and tears the roofs off of houses, we don’t see the pull of windless distance–the same is true of time.”

-Ernst Jünger, “The Plant as Autonomous Power,” ca. 1970

The bibliography of Ernst Jünger can be split into four stages, each one personified by a Gestalt (Figure). Those Gestalten (Figures) were the Frontsoldat, the Arbeiter, the Forest Rebel, and the Anarch. The first and second Gestalten are shaped by the Totality in their attempts to redefine the relationship between humanity and Technology. The Forest Rebel, a Gestalt that emerged from Jünger’s long-standing opposition to the Hitlerists, dissents against the State and does not perceive itself as part of Totality. Instead, it finds its own conception of freedom in the “Forest,” away from the Command and Obedience of the Council State or the Supply and Demand of the Parliament. The Anarch differs by its ability to adapt to the conditions of the State of Total Mobilization, able to readjust their actions accordingly in order to impart important knowledge to future generations.  Thus, the Forest Rebel and the Anarch, unlike the Frontsoldat and Arbeiter, are nonconformists who find themselves at odds with the prevailing norms and trends of the Totality.

But when he was not making contributions to the field of entomology (the study of insects) or having correspondences with Martin Heidegger and Carl Schmitt, Jünger in the decades after 1945 was trying to consolidate his experiences and ideas from the early 20th century and those of the late 20th century. He knew that the State of Total Mobilization continued to evolve and develop in times of both war and peace, regardless of who turned out to be the real victor of the 20th century. The State of Total Mobilization itself is unaffected by the Deindustrialization, Financialization and Globalization that occurred in the Western world during the 1970s. In fact, the possibility that he was willing to entertain is the idea that the State of Total Mobilization will need to someday make its mark on what Soviet biogeochemist Vladimir Vernadsky and French Jesuit philosopher Father Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ, referred to as the Noösphere.

In the original conception devised by Vernadsky and de Chardin, the Noösphere is described as the next logical step in Earth’s evolutionary development. The evolutionary development of Earth has seen the appearances of a Geosphere, an Atmosphere, and a Biosphere. The State of Total Mobilization, when Jünger encountered and described it in his early 20th century works, it was already leaving its marks on the Geosphere, Atmosphere, and Biosphere. The depletion of natural resources, the loss of biodiversity, the destruction of wild habitats, and the effects of Climate Change are the inevitable marks of the State of Total Mobilization.

The Noösphere, as a concept, was also developed around the same time as the conceptualization of the State of Total Mobilization. Humanity is the only entity on Earth that is capable of exhibiting higher intelligence and consciousness to affect the formation of the Noösphere. Humanity is also the only entity that anything to gain from the State of Total Mobilization and the only one developing Technology that disrupts its own relationship with nature. Since the concept itself is a complex one with two branching perspectives from Vernadsky and de Chardin, I was amazed to learn that Jünger developed an interest in exploring human consciousness in relation to the Noösphere towards the end of the reign of Bretton Woods.

In his own studies of human consciousness, Jünger coined the term “Psychonautics” to describe the attempts made by “Psychonauts” to explore human consciousness through altered states of consciousness. The idea posited is that Psychonauts, by experiencing altered states of consciousness, are trying to connect with the Noösphere, obtain information from it, and articulate the information in more coherent bits of data that can be translated into something tangible. This topic was explored by Jünger in two essays entitled “Approaches: Drugs and Ecstatic Intoxication” (which deals with early 20th century experiments by scientists to explore how narcotics use alters human consciousness) and “The Plant as Autonomous Power.” The latter is an interesting extension of the topic because he was describing how plant life affects the human psyche, and there are two meanings to be inferred. There is an extension of ideas established in the former, which is how most narcotics are derived from plants. But there is also an extension of ideas from The Glass Bees because of the fact that bees are necessary in nourishing the livelihoods of plants.

The general premise in The Glass Bees is the implications of Technology trying to replace organic life. In the novel, the main character is a former cavalryman whose methods have been supplanted by the rise of mechanized and armored vehicles. Instead of men riding on horses, as was the case during World War I and the early half of World War II, the latter half of World War II–the Cold War–instead saw the rise of Main Battle Tanks (MBTs). What used to take skill and dedication to master horseback riding or even the Light-Medium-Heavy Classification System in the first half of the World War II has been replaced by the MBT. Later, the main character learns that beekeeping, as a Profession, no longer relies on actual bees but instead mechanical bees which are designed to fulfill the same roles as their organic counterparts.  

The idea to be inferred from The Glass Bees and The Plant as Autonomous Power is that no matter how far humanity develops the Noösphere, humanity will still need to coexist with the Biosphere. The Totality and Self must realize that so long as the State of Total Mobilization continues to exist, it will always with the choice of either “perfecting humanity” or “perfecting Technology.”  Jünger strongly believed that Technology can never be truly perfected because they are fallible designs created by fallible humans.

Human capabilities par excellence can make do with imperfect Technology, but even the most perfected Technology will never be suitable substitute for human ability. If that theme happens to sound familiar to anyone, it is because it is an idea that has its initial beginnings in his World War I memoirs, Storm of Steel, and later in Der Arbeiter. It is an important theme to keep in mind, especially in a world where humanity is becoming increasingly dependent on Technology. The overemphasis on Technology, beginning in the field of Military Science, has witnessed a “Triumphant March of Technology” across other fields. We take Technology so much for granted that we lose sight of the possibility where it may become necessary to sometimes make do without Technology or have to substitute it for raw human willpower. This sentiment is reflected in the Work-Standard’s conceptions of “Digital Arbeit and Digital Geld,” the “Mechanization Rate,” and the “National Intranet and International Internet.” It is in fact possible for the Life-Energy Reserve to make do without Digital Arbeit and Digital Geld.  

Therefore, let us return back to the original image of Psychonauts exploring the Noösphere through altered states of consciousness. If the State of Total Mobilization has in fact made its mark on the Geosphere, Atmosphere, and Biosphere, then one should be convinced of the potential implications of Climate Change. Conversely, if the same can be said about the State of Total Mobilization making its mark on the Noösphere, in what form might it assume?

The Digital Realm is the Noösphere

This Author is inclined to believe that the State of Total Mobilization in the 21st century will leave its mark on the Noösphere vis-à-vis the digital realm. The Noösphere, by its very nature, is a worldwide phenomenon that is beyond the legal jurisdiction of any one State, Totality, or Self. It promises the possibility of fostering closer interactions between different National Consciousnesses and contributing to the flow of information across international borders. Instead of having to deal with the potential legal and medical ramifications of trying to experience an altered state of consciousness, one could simply access the National Intranet or International Internet to gather as much information from as many sources as humanly possible, eventually arriving at well-informed, well-researched conclusions. That was the ideal behind the World Wide Web (WWW) as it was conceived by Tim Berners-Lee towards the end of the 20th century.

Unfortunately, the WWW has proven itself to be anything but. During its early decades, the WWW was once proposed to be an escape from the State of Total Mobilization and from the legal jurisprudences of nations. It has led to the proliferation of trivial information that neither informs nor instructs as well as others which are divisive, repulsive, and repetitive. Just look at all the memes whose sole purpose is to stroke the egos of their creators by bestowing them with instant gratification from Western Commercial Media. The same can be said for the explosion of conspiracy theories, misinformation and outright lies and falsehoods, not to mention the uncontrolled spread of pornography or the monopolization of information technologies by Social Media platforms. At the end of the day, there is still no feasible policies from the West on how best to control the flow of information without infringing on the Freedom of Conscience of the Self, not to mention promoting an acceptable set of norms and etiquette tantamount to governing the digital realm as an extension of the Real World that exists offline.

If there is anything to be taken from this brief, but specifically thorough discussion about human consciousness, it should be that human consciousness itself is not a single, monolithic entity in the Noösphere. Rather, it is shaped by a multipolarity of different National Consciousnesses that contribute to human consciousness as part of a prevailing world order. Thanks to information technologies, which grew up alongside nuclear technologies, the State of Total Mobilization is now able to transmit itself into the Noösphere vis-à-vis the digital realm. The question that must be ascertained in the foreseeable future, as a matter related to the LERE (Life-Energization Reciprocal Electrification) Process, the SSE, and Council Democracy is whether National Consciousness can also be implanted into the National Intranet. This Author is convinced that it can be installed into the National Intranet through technological, social, cultural, traditional, lingual, and organizational means, all of which should be initiated by the Totality and the Self.     

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