There is scientific evidence that, about 10,000 BCE, God endowed humanity with an internal “god-consciousness” in which human will and authority were represented by the symbolic appearance and voice of “god,” expressed by the right brain (left brain in left-handed people). Innovative actions of mankind were initiated through possessive commands and instructions from this unique god-consciousness. It facilitated the domestication of plants and animals, the development of technology, and the formation of sedentary communities. Under these circumstances mankind enjoyed “at-one-ment” with “god.” In fact, mankind was firmly and irrevocably ligated (“ligioned”) to “god.”1
The general loss of primitive “god-consciousness,” beginning about the fourth millennium BCE, was profoundly distressing. As a result, those who retained this god-consciousness formed power structures designed to limit the consequences of what seemed to be God’s abandonment of mankind. They hoped that these structures would restore “at-one-ment” with “god” and thus re-ligate (“re-ligion”) mankind with “god.”
Nevertheless, during the second millennium BCE an increasing proportion of mankind gradually became consciously aware of itself and necessarily of “others” — for there is no “self” without the relational “other.” Unlike “god-consciousness,” this new relational self-consciousness recognized itself and all “others” as creatures distinct from the gods. Self-awareness thus constituted a profound challenge to god-conscious power structures. Consequently, these power structures acted to force “others” into creaturely submission and enslavement. When self-conscious “others” continued to emerge, those who claimed god-consciousness concluded that the created order itself was “fallen.”
Those who retained “god-consciousness” further concluded that their consciousness represented a “higher self” than the “self” of “others.” To preserve and/or attain this “higher self,” they imagined that some “keys to unlock the cage,” some concealed knowledge (gnosis), must be sought as the catalyst to liberate “knowers” from the fallen Creation that blocked re-union (re-ligation = “re-ligioning”) with god-consciousness. This “true” knowledge (gnosis) would enable the “knowers” to transcend a fallen Creation, to terminate relational “otherness,” and to return to their original, cosmic “Oneness.” Also, this would mean the restoration of religious and political power for the “knowers” (Gnostics), dedicated to the exclusion and final death of all “others.” Further, it would absolve the “knowers” from any personal responsibility for anything or anyone confined to the fallen Creation.
Tragically, this primitive view has continued to recur through the ages and is now one of the fundamental characteristics of the New Age movement in our postmodern era. This view insists on achieving “at-one-ment” by nihilistically denying the common, universal attainment of truly relational self-consciousness. Ultimately, it not only denies mutual equality for creaturely humanity, but it also rejects ethical responsibility with respect to Creation.
- See Julian Jaynes Society, “Summary of Evidence,” at www.julianjaynes.org/evidence_summary.php. See also Julian Jaynes, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1990); “Origins,” Outlook (September 2001); “The Dawn of Self-Consciousness,” Outlook (October 2001); “‘Life Is Bound Up,’” Outlook (April/June 2002). (go back)