By meditation I mean developing a sense of our place on this earth. An attunement to the Real of reality in it’s basic texture and event of Self-appearing. Meditation trains our state of being so that our mind, body and horizon of being-in-the-world can be reconciled.
What lies between reason as self-conscious spirit and reason as present actuality, what separates the former from the latter and prevents it from finding satisfaction in it, is the fetter of some abstraction or other which has not been liberated into [the form of] the concept. To recognize the rose in the cross of the present and thereby to delight in the present – this rational insight is the reconciliation with actuality which philosophy grants to those who have received the inner call to comprehend, to preserve their subjective freedom in the realm of the substantial. (Hegel 1991:23)
Reflected in the nearby waters, the Svartisen glacier loomed over me like a sleepwalking colossus with glistening skin, the siren song of a monstrous inorganic body that seemed to dam itself up from the world. The Kant word interface seemed to do justice to this barrier between our bodies, the Organic’s love affair with the Inorganic, Eros and Thanathos.
Climbing up the blue ravines put me in the state of self, immersed me in the interiority of something that short-circuited my intellectual defences. Each turn of the ice led deeper into the labyrinth of blue, rushing sub-glacial streams disclosed a rythmic pulse to the stillness of the crevasse. Heaven diffracted into chasms in the glacier that transformed all light into blue shadows and into the full-blooded spectrum of inorganic nature. My ambulation disclosed a hall of mirrors, a metamorphic zone where Djinn’s returned my gaze. Cezanne’s dictum “there are no straight lines in Nature” made me laugh as icefalls gave an aura of a melting world.
A surgeon friend of mine once spoke of the redundancy of Frank Netter’s anatomy drawings at med school. Today’s students were more encouraged to draw events of passage through systems, the parallel processes are salient not so much objective systems alone, activities, not structure(the latter is merely an artifact of measurement). Since the Enlightenment there has been a de-animation of the world by the epistemological view of scientific activity, to impose systems and dominate materiality under the auspices of Rationality which is now “a king of shreds and patches”. Systems theory is perforated by the flux of revolting matter, the horse rears it’s telluric head from the equatorial oceans. Matter becomes excessively animated, like a revolution we never asked for that calls for a synthesis at a higher turn of the spiral. The counter-revolutionaries of the Anthropocene have to wander this hall of mirrors where humans morph into melting ice, all that is solid melts into carbon dioxide(or thin air as Marx claimed), as we are since 2016 breathing 400 parts per million carbon dioxide, the most elevated state ever measured!
This unruly nature, this unleashed Fenris wolf, can we see it as a return of the repressed? It’s as if when we see a mountain, we see gravel, when see trees we see firewood. We never see beyond anthropocentric utility and our narrow ideas, Maslow would define this state as one of Deficit needs where fear and the instincts for self-preservation predominates. To reach the evolutionary creativity of Being needs we have to operate from a state of abundance and not fear. Abundance is inseparable from desire, as Capitalism and Desire disclosed the psychic cost of free markets and it’s invisible hand, so for ecological sensitivity to be actual it must be ready-to-hand(zuhanden-Heidegger’s sense of the total organism being intimately involved - usually with a tool in hand - without theorization from a distance). The society of the spectacle must rationally accept it’s old world-house being overgrown amidst an animated labyrinthine Forest of signs and processes that are the unforeseen consequences of human activity on this earth. Darwin wrote 92 times of “moral sensitivity” as the force most surely and powerfully advancing human evolution, while only two times of “survival of the fittest”, we will have to work with these recoiling forces by developing sensitivity to them rather than dissociating. Wouldn’t the human in the Anthropocene look like the primordial gods from all mythologies, born from the Void of Chaos, whose bodies were used as materials to create the cosmos, Gaia(Mother Earth), Uranus(Father Sky) who gave birth to the Titans and Aphrodite. The sheer magnitude and extreme speed with which we have quickened the transformation of the Litosphere and the Critical Zone and made it into ourselves is monstrous. The causality of this crucible of transformation lies only with us and it demands that we cognize AND sense the material revolt of actants like carbon dioxide, ocean acidity, new antiobiotics-resistant bacteria as our own (Saturn’s) children. To quote Hegel again “To see the absolute not merely as substance, but also as subject.” Nature and culture has become redundant and to comprehend the rationality of this seemingly negative situation enables us to delight in it, we are the over-animated Anthropocene, "Hic Rhodus, hic salta”.
“… this is the tremendous power of the negative; it is the energy of thought, of the pure "I". Death... is of all things the most dreadful, and to hold fast what is dead requires the greatest strength... But the life of Spirit is not the life that shrinks from death and keeps itself untouched by devastation, but rather the life that endures it and maintains itself in it. It wins its truth only when, in utter dismemberment, it finds itself... Spirit is this power only by looking the negative in the face, and tarrying with it. This tarrying with the negative is the magical power that converts it into being. This power is identical with what we earlier called the Subject.” (Hegel 1998:19)
This Alchemical(Hegel’s study and Aufhebung of the Hermetic tradition is well known) metabolic logic echoes in Heraclitus who defined the relatedness of immortals and mortals, one and many, gathering and unravelling with “Living their death, dying their life.” (Fragment 62.) Death burns as your ally, the combustion of life, the very emptiness that surrounds and permeates Kosmos, the unborn ocean of consciousness eliminates mental patterns and the idea of two terms and a non-dual state ensues, mind and body becomes Centauric, mind-body.
In the non-dual practice and philosophy of Vedanta, the first pure Spirit without qualities, Nirguna Brahman, emanates Spirit with qualities, Saguna Brahman. The first qualites include Spirit conceived as a personal deity given the name Ishvara, Atman and the triunity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. During involution or manifestation Spirit wears mass-energy like a garb and this conception is not un-like the Freudian notion of conversion-hysteria or converting an incompatible idea and it’s sum of excitation into something somatic, a symptom or what Lacan called the Sin-thome one must enjoy!
There is as Ken Wilber has noted, three faces of Spirit. Every event of emergence, moment to moment, micro-genetically manifests a pile of perspectives poured out at random on to lower or higher vantage plateaus on the mountain of consciousness. Altitude correlates with our evolution as human beings from infants to grown ups, from the Holocene to the Anthropocene. Our capacity to expand concern, sensitivity, action and solidarity for our presuppositions for being-in-the-world today is the muscle of the Eros of humanity.
Emanations of ice seems to gush from heaven and I have to step back to see it’s zenith so as to make out my route. Only traces of terra firma are visible in this clearing. At heights above organic life, I’m blinded by shimmering ice that subtracts from everything else and shelters in it’s honeycomb ice the oxygen, the breath of the only witness.