Details of 5 Stages of Consciousness
Contemporary Models of Five Stages of Human Development
Analyses of human development in stages of consciousness can be found in the writings of prominent contemporary thinkers. Let us first review some of these contemporary models, which we can then relate to Paul's model.
It is appropriate to point out that at each stage of humanity's development, a new and different "nature" emerges. This will be obvious even to the casual observer. A human being whose basic focus is meeting physiological needs will seem quite different from a human being concerned with gaining love or self-esteem. Certainly, the human being obsessed with security will express human nature in a fundamentally different way from one seeking self-realization. Human nature is not static. It reflects the level of consciousness we attain. Nature intends that we all reach our full potential of consciousness. The wide range of human thinking, however, demonstrates that some of us have evolved more than others.
Note: Experience teaches that Nature intends us to grow through each of the five stages. Therefore no one stage is superior to the other, any more than college graduates are superior to third graders because they know more. (They should know more.) Life experiences and choices are the major determinants in expanding our consciousness, not natural abilities, privilege, or education. This is extremely important. If we believe human nature cannot be trusted, our social institutions will reflect this belief. If we believe that human nature is good, we will build social institutions that see good as a meaningful goal.
The growth of consciousness can be seen as a form of intellectual metamorphosis. Just as a caterpillar is transformed through metamorphoses into a butterfly, so is our consciousness transformed, from one stage to the next, by the right experiences at the right time. And just as a caterpillar cannot be considered less noble than a butterfly, lower stages of consciousness cannot be considered inferior to higher ones. Actually the higher one is, in consciousness, the less likely he is to judge in terms of superior/inferior.
In Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, he recognizes that an individual stage cannot be used to judge a persons worth. "The peak of the earlier stage must be passed before the next and 'higher' need emerges to dominate the organism [individual]. This [five step] sequence characterizes not only growth from childhood to maturity, but the growth of cultures from subsistence to free expression. For this reason an individual stage cannot be used as an automatic value judgment on personal worth, but is rather indicative of a benign social environment [note] Sudden emotional or physical deprivation will cause 'lower' needs to reawaken." (28B)
This is an important point to keep in mind as we briefly review some analyses of human development. My argument is that civilized man is locked into Stages II and III because we have not yet learned how to reason nonjudgmentally. Nonjudgmental logic is the key that frees us to reason nonjudgmentally / lovingly.
Note: Later we will learn that human nature is not depraved, but rather deprived, of a rational way to reason lovingly.
Abraham Maslow characterizes the stages of human development in terms of the progressive satisfaction of a "hierarchy of needs": first, physiological "survival" needs such as food, drink, and exercise; second, "safety" needs such as security, order, and protection; third, the social need of "belonging," such as acceptance and love; fourth, personal enhancement or "esteem needs" such as self-respect, status, and prestige; and finally, the pinnacle of needs relating to "self-actualization", self-realization, higher personal growth, and holistic fulfillment. (29)
In his Hero With a Thousand Faces, the distinguished mythologist Joseph Campbell traces humankind's developmental journey. We might summarize this journey in terms of five historical stages of progressive civilization: first, primitive hunting people; second, tribes sharing together in the wilderness; third, the emergence of conscience and the idea of moral law; fourth, the awareness of social interdependence; and finally, the realization that there is a divine existence which indwells all of humanity.
Jesuit priest, and accomplished paleontologist, Teilhard de Chardin, in his The Phenomena of Man, similarly suggests five historical stages of development. First is the pre-human hominid, which he terms "mentoid." This is followed, by a second self-conscious and reflective homo sapiens, whose emergence marked the beginning of civilization. (30) The third stage is characterized by the development of highly individualized persons, whose development in large numbers may be linked with the period of the Renaissance. According to de Chardin, we are currently in the fourth stage, the age of transformation, (31) characterized not only by our awareness of our evolutionary development, (32) but also a desire to integrate self with others and nature. (33) Beyond us lies a fifth stage, the "convergence" or "mega-synthesis" of hyper-personal consciousness, oriented toward God, the Omega Point. (34) Teilhard uses the term "hominisation" to designate the process by which the proto-human evolves into the more human, toward what may be called "ultra-hominisation," the future stage in which humanity transcends its current state. (35)
Still another model is offered by Lawrence Kohlberg in his analysis of moral development. The first, or "preconventional" stage, exists before social awareness; obedience to morality is instilled by punishment, and "good" is whatever brings about the desired result. The morality of the second stage is determined by the "conventions" of a society; the individual's interpersonal relations are guided by the rules or conventions of the particular society. The morality of the third stage has its legalistic basis in a social contract. The morality of the fourth stage transcends both particular societal conventions, and even the theory of a social contract, and instead, is grounded in "universal ethical principles." (36) A fifth and spiritual stage of moral development is only hinted at in Kohlberg's early writing.
Ken Wilber adopts a similar pattern of spiritual development in his book, A Sociable God. In order to maintain the parallel with the writers mentioned above, we will condense his eight categories into five stages. Wilber calls the first stage the "archaic," by which he means that consciousness is concerned with survival and self-preservation. There is a certain "magical" or superstitious aspect to consciousness at this level, suggesting a lack of shared reality. The second stage is that of "mythic/membership" where the individual's identity is defined by, and thus is not separate from, the group. It is only in the third stage that rational, self-reflective, and individualistic consciousness truly develops. In Wilber's fourth stage, a new "inter-individualistic" consciousness emerges, with a capacity for intimacy as well as personal autonomy, and an awareness of a universal community. The final stages are characterized by the development of (a) psychic capacity for cosmic consciousness, (b) intuitive capacity for illumination, and (c) ultimately transcendence of the subject-object duality. (37)
The Hindu saint, Sri Aurobindo, also offers a similar pattern for spiritual development. One of his analyses is couched in terms of the origin of standards of conduct. (38) The first and lowest moral standards arise from personal needs and desires associated with physical and vital necessities. Secondly, emotional and mental cravings and imaginations provide the source of morality. Only in the third stage does moral consciousness develop to respond to law and the good of the collective consciousness of the group, which at this stage takes precedence over individual needs and desires. The fourth origin of morality is an ideal ethic: here thought overcomes instinct, and one is called upon to recognize that the needs of the individual are invalid if they conflict with the moral law. There is still a fifth source of morality, when finally the Divine Law becomes the standard and supreme law, and moves the human spirit toward its own concealed perfection. (39)
What is remarkable about these various analyses is their similarity. We human beings begin almost as a "seed" of what we shall later become, and we shall develop beyond where we currently find ourselves. Along the way, we increase our awareness of both our individuality and our interrelatedness, as we are called toward a higher goal. Accordingly, we are not yet what we are! We have yet to evolve or develop into the full potential the human spirit is capable of becoming.
Other similar models are outlined below:
|Recognize All Life as Suffering||Recognize the Cause of Suffering is Desire||Recognize Narvana Can Be Achieved||Recognize the Way to Achieve Narvana||Narvana|
The Five Nafs of Sufism - Islam's "Mystical Core
|The Commanding Nafs||The Accusatory Nafs||The Inspired Nafs||The Tranquil Nafs||The Perfected Nafs|
Abraham Maslow's Psychological Model
|Physiological Needs||Safety Needs||Belonging Needs||Esteem Needs||Self-Actualization|
Freud' Psychological Model
|Oral Stage||Anal Stage||Phallic Stage||Latency Period||Genital Stage|
|Conditioned Reflexes||Habits||Personal Traits||Selves||Total Personality|
We can imagine from the functional equivalency of the above models that we keep rediscovering the concept of stages in the development of consciousness, but fail to benefit from these models. If we did, we would understand that our present perception of our political, religious, social, and economic reality is more the product of lower stages of consciousness-than the truth of reality.
Psychologist Eric Fromm suggests we may not have yet reached our highest potentials of consciousness. "It is naively assumed that the fact that the majority of people share certain ideas or feelings proves the validity of those ideas and feelings. Nothing is further from the truth. Consensual validation as such, has no bearing whatsoever on reason or mental health. Just as there is a 'folie a' deux', there is a 'folie a' millions'! The fact that millions of people share the same vices, do not make those vices virtues, the fact that they share so many errors, do not make the errors truths, the fact that millions share the same forms of mental pathologic [consciousness], does not make these people sane." (40)
Jesus' Five Stage Model of Consciousness And How His Theory of Nature Provides the Key To Stage IV
Jesus' parable of the sower (Mark 4:13-20) conveys how his teachings are received according to the stage of consciousness of the receiver. What the sower is sowing is the Word, meaning the logos/mind of God. As soon as those on the edge of the path (those in Stage I) hear about the word/logos, they let Satan [the personification of evil] come and carry it away. Similarly, those who receive the seed on patches of rock [those in Stage II] hear the Word [Jesus' logos/logic teachings] and at first, welcome it with joy. But because they have no root in them, they do not last;.. When the first test or persecution on account of the word comes, they fall away at once. "For they have no moral conscience to persist. Then there are others, [those in Stage III], who receive the seed in thorns, [meaning in a judgmental environment]. They have heard the word, but the worries of this world, the lure of riches, and all other passions come in to choke the word, and so it produces nothing. And then, there are those who have received the seed in rich soil [those in Stage IV]. They hear the word and accept it and yield a harvest, 30 and 60 and a 100 fold." [Mark 4:13-20]
The key concept, upon which Jesus anchored his knowledge teachings, is that each of us is meant to grow through five forms/states of consciousness and each form is initiated by a consciousness-raising idea. Paul refers to growing our consciousness in CO 2:2: "it is to bind you together in love and to stir your minds, so that your understanding may come to full development, until you really know God's secret [Stage IV of consciousness] in which all the jewels of wisdom and knowledge are hidden."
Note: a consciousness-raising idea is an idea that changes how we are conscious of an experience rather than simply expanding our understanding of that experience. We may, for example, know that we should "do unto others as we would have them do unto us." But, until we understand our oneness with others, we will continue to be conscious of others as separate from us, making the performance of "The Golden Rule" more difficult than it should be. On the other hand, if we knew others were one with us, following "The Golden Rule" would be simple, natural, and even automatic. Another example of a consciousness-raising idea is learning the "I" of self-consciousness, for it is beyond the comprehension of instinctual consciousness, just as the consciousness of an adult is beyond that of an infant. For example, an infant is not conscious of his/her self. The point is that there is no reason to believe that we are, even as adults, fully conscious. The "greater things" Jesus promised may be experienced only in a higher stage of consciousness than our present "adult" consciousness.
As mentioned above, contemporary psychological and spiritual models of five stages in the development of consciousness are abundant. Because these contemporary models may be, in principle, parallel to Jesus' knowledge teachings about five stages of consciousness, let us keep them in mind as we explore the five stages of consciousness in Gnostic thought.
It is important to remember that at each stage of our development, a new and different self or "ego" emerges. The nature of the ego of a person, whose basic focus is meeting their physiological needs, will seem quite different from the ego of a person concerned with gaining love or self-esteem. The person obsessed with security will have an ego that is fundamentally different from a person seeking self- realization. So, the ego a person manifests depends upon his/her psychological stage of development.
Again, the fact is that many recognize that we human beings begin almost as a seed of what we shall later become and that we shall develop beyond where we currently find ourselves. Along the way we increase our awareness of our individuality and our inter-relatedness with others as we are called towards a higher goal. Accordingly, we are not yet what we are. We have yet to evolve or develop into the full potential the human spirit is capable of becoming. As the poet says,
"Withdraw into yourself and look. If you do not find yourself beautiful yet, act as does the creator of a statue he cuts away here, he smoothes there, he makes this line lighter, the other purer until a lovely face has grown upon his work. So do you also: cut away all that is excessive, straighten all that is crooked and never cease chiseling your statue until you see the perfect goodness established in the stainless shrine." (41)
References To The Five Stages Of Consciousness
In the gospel of Philip, "the moral significance of any act depends on the situation, intentions, and level of consciousness of the participants." (42)
It would be odd if western sacred literature did not hint at the five stages disclosed by the contemporary thinkers above. A clear example of these stages may be found in Paul's letters to the Romans, 8:28-30.
"For those God fore-knew [Stage I], he also predestined to be conformed into the likeness of his Son [Stage II], that He might be the first born, among many brothers, and those He predestined, he also called [Stage III]; those he called, he also justified [Stage IV]; those he justified, he also glorified [Stage V]."
According to Biblical scholarship, such as Peake's commentary 8: 29-30, this verse means that God "has" a plan for the perfection of man. In Peake's words, "Christ's task is to bring man into son-ship-and service of God, to be a senior member of a new human family in which all are brothers and sisters [the justified of Stage II]. The formation of these men and women begins with God's call to them [Stage III]. As they respond, they come into their right relation to God [Stage IV], and that means that something of the divine glory becomes theirs [Stage V]." (43)
In their biblical commentary on Romans 8:20-30, Gore and his fellow editors, offer a developmental model similar to Peake's. Gore states that, "The history of the individual Christian is here conceived as a line (so to speak) stretching from eternity through time through eternity. In this line, five crucial points stand out. One, God's prevision or fixing His regard on the yet unborn soul* [non-rational beings in Stage I who are] "predestined" [to become rational beings in Stage II] Three, His call, presumably conveyed by bringing the predestined within hearing of the Gospel [Stage III]; Four, His acquittal, or absolution of the soul, bestowed in consideration of its acceptance of the Gospel [Stage IV]; Five, His glorification of the messianic kingdom [Stage V]." (44)
Paul focuses in on the three most relevant stages of consciousness in Heb. 4:6-10, Stages II, III, and Four, when he insists "that 'today' is the decisive time 'days' signify three distinct stages in the process of spiritual [here meaning psychological growth] The 'first day' signify the hylic stage of immersion in materiality [Stage II]; the 'second day' represents the psychic stage of conversion [Stage III]; the 'third day', the pneumatic 'day' signifies enlightenment or resurrection [Stage IV]." (45)
Paul writes in his letter to the Romans in 8:19 that "the whole creation is eagerly awaiting the revelation of the sons of God. The sons of God [Stage IV] are those who are moved by the spirit (or Spirit,) whether the Holy Spirit or man's own inner spiritual human spirit, 'man's higher moral and religious self." (46)
We can discern these same five stages of consciousness in the Gnostic Gospel of Eugnostos the Blessed. The "unbegotten" refers to the fore-known (prehistoric non-rational beings of Stage I). The "self-begotten" refers to the first self-conscience rational beings who were rational but conscious-less (Stage II). The "genetor" refers to rational beings with a conscience who are called to go beyond reason and love unconditionally (Stage III). The Photogentor refers to Jesus as the first or prototype of someone who has internalized the high reasoning/logos of God (Stage IV). He then teaches this higher form of reasoning to others. This is the key to the enlightened mind of the Pangentor, those who have reached Stage IV of consciousness. When all reach Stage IV, the alpha-omega consciousness of the Archigentor (Stage V) is achieved. (46A)
Note: Rm 8-23 "the whole creation groans (yearns) in birth pangs (Stages I - III) for a better time (Stage IV). See 2Co 5:1-2) "Creation will one day be delivered" Is 65:16 "set straight" Jer "God within" "do what I do not want" something is missing, set right, and day of adoption.
Gnostic Christians' goal is to "become spiritually* 'mature [meaning psychologically perfect]', to go beyond elementary instructions towards higher levels of understanding. And this higher awareness they call Gnosis, which means 'knowledge' or 'insight'". "Valentinus urged Christians to go beyond the elementary steps of faith, baptism, and moral reform to spiritual illumination [psychological understanding]. His followers claimed moreover, to have received from his access to the secret teachings of Paul, the 'deeper mysteries' that Paul reserved from his public teachings " (47)
Jesus taught that we are all children of God and, therefore, have within us the potential to be perfect and loving, like God. As the Bible says in Gen 1:27 rsv, we are created in the "image of God." This means we are psychologically, not physically, like God.
As mentioned above, Jesus himself supports the notion of our potential to be perfect and godlike in Jn 10:34-35 jbv. Here he says that it is not blasphemous, as the high priests claim, for anyone to think that he or she can be like God-"is it not written [argues Jesus that psalms 82:6 rsv says] 'you are gods all of you' and the scripture cannot be rejected."
If we are meant to become like God, as Jesus himself teaches, is consciousness, as we now experience it, merely a stepping-stone to a perfected stage of consciousness? The answer is that the nonjudgmental rules of logic which Jesus' Gnostic teachings provide are the key to the fourth and perfected psychological stage in a model of five developmental stages of consciousness. Let us now explore how Gnostic Christians interpret 8:29-30 and how that interpretation infers the possibility of our perfection.
In simple terms, Gnostic Christians identify the Five Stages of Consciousness according to the following principles.
The Gnostic Interpretation of Rm 8:29-30
Stage I of Consciousness
According to the Gnostic analysis of Romans 8:29-30, "the foreknown" refers to humanity's prehistoric and non-rational past. This is Stage I.
The consciousness-raising idea that initiates Stage I is life itself. In scripture, Stage I begins when God creates preconscious man and ends when Adam becomes the first self-conscious rational being. In effect, the foreknown are the pre-rational, instinctual beings, destined to develop into the likeness of God, as exemplified by the nonjudgmental character of Jesus.
Governed by instinct, those in Stage I live without being fully conscious of life. They have no concept of guilt, deception, evil, justice, philosophy, history, or the future. Here God is thunder, lightning, and fertility.
Perhaps the "Nephilim" in Gen. 6:4 were preconscious beings who lived primitive and immoral lives in what the Bible describes as "Sheol/Hell". According to Gnostics, the "nabi" were remnants of pre-rational beings who existed at the time in which the oldest books of the bible were written. In those books, Yahweh calls for the nabi's extinction. "The nature of existence in Sheol was heathen, and non-moral, and could in no sense form a basis on which to form an ethical and spiritual doctrine thus, the first stage was eminently distinctive in character, but this only with a view to a higher reconstruction. For whilst Yawhehism was destroying the false life in Sheol [the preconscious cultures of Stage I beings], it was steadily developing in the individual the consciousness of a new life." (48)
We can connect this change in consciousness with what some historians call the "Dorian Invasions."
In his book, The Republic, the philosopher, Plato, speaks of a time 'before reason' when innocence reigned. In his book, The Origins of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, Professor Julien Jaynes argues convincingly that most cultures before 1500 BC were dominantly right brain * orientated, and therefore, not self-conscious as we are. Feminine goddesses, rather than masculine gods, exemplify ancient right brain culture. Perhaps we still share memories of those times in our collective consciousness.
Some of us long for a return to the past. We imagine it as an innocent and gentle time. But we forget that in the selfless consciousness of right-brained or preconscious man, we were unaware of what we experienced. We had no sense of self to relate our experiences to. An example of what can be termed selfless, right-brained, or preconscious consciousness can occur when driving our car without being aware of it because our mind was focused elsewhere. Other examples are, when we cannot remember what we did because we were intoxicated or on drugs, and when we quiet the ego or mind self during meditation.
Biblical terms for those in Stage I are "ancient world" in 1Peter 2:4, "irrational animals", 1Peter 2:12; "before the foundations of the world", Eph. 1:4; "men in their dreaming", 2Peter 22. Gnostic Christians use terms like "unbegotten", meaning those not yet born to reason, and "pro-pator", meaning the forefathers of rational man.
Stage II of Consciousness
Stage II refers to the first stage of rational beings, those of us who are in the "image" of Jesus, meaning rational like Jesus, but do not have a conscience. Mean-spiritedness, narrow-mindedness, intolerance, and prejudicial behavior identify this stage. The term "lawless" in 2Pt 2:8 rsv and 1Tm 1:9 refers to the conscience-less behavior of those in Stage II. Paul also uses the terms "base mind" (Rm 1:28 rsv) and "senseless mind" (1:21). At this stage, human nature cannot be trusted.
In Stage II, for example, many of us make decisions in companies and industries whose products work against the good of all, yet we think of ourselves as good, God-fearing people. And many of the rest of us, given the chance to earn high incomes, would do the same. This is conscience-less reasoning. In his first letter, the apostle John expresses the relationship between loving God and loving one's fellow man.
"If a man say I love God, and hateth [and cheats] his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?" (First John 4:20-21, KJV)
Biblically, Stage II begins when Adam chooses to eat the forbidden fruit, and ends when Moses gives the law. The key to Stage II is our awakening to self-consciousness through its agent, the "I", or ego, of the reasoning mind.
In Gnostic thought, the second stage applies to the "first born", who are in the "likeness of his son", meaning the first rational beings who are psychologically/spiritually like Jesus. By "the likeness" and "first born," Paul means self-conscious and rational like Jesus. By "in the image" of Jesus, Paul means that in Stage II, even though we have learned to reason, the development of our reason has not yet reached the perfection of Jesus'. Our reason is like, or in the image of, Jesus', but not as fully developed in its capacity to love unconditionally as is his.
"Gnostics read the story of Adam and Eve as relating to the discovery of the authentic spiritual self (Eve) [meaning the true psychological self that is still] hidden within the soul (Adam) [meaning in Stage I of consciousness] " (49)
The consciousness-raising idea that initiates Stage II is the idea of self- consciousness, in other words, the discovery that the "I" is separate from all else. It is this idea of self, which in turn, empowers us to reason, for it is the self to which all rational thoughts relate.
Remember, by reasoning, I mean the process of relating two or more ideas or premises in a way that they produce a conclusion not stated in the premise. If an animal, for example, moos (premise one) and gives milk (premise two), we can conclude that it is a cow. Reasoning then has to do with the process of relating ideas, not the subject matter being related or the reasonableness of our conclusion.
Similarly we can come to a wide range of conclusions, depending on what stage of consciousness we are in. Ideas, in and of themselves, do not reach conclusions. People reach conclusions according to how they relate ideas.
For Gnostics, Stage II begins with Adam's decision to eat the apple from the tree of knowledge of good and evil and ends when Moses gives the law.
Adam's decision to eat the apple symbolizes the birth of self-consciousness, and, in turn, our ability to reason. For in his first act of choosing, Adam makes the distinction between himself (the subject or "I" who chooses) and his choices ("It.") In making that distinction Adam, meaning mankind, became self-conscious.
The author of the Adam and Eve story reinforces that this story symbolizes the birth of self-consciousness by adding that it was after Adam ate the apple that he realized he was "naked." This indicates that, before his choice, Adam was not yet self-conscious, he was still in the instinctual stage of consciousness. (Stage I). The connection between being naked and being ashamed of our bodies is the product of Augustine's interpretation of Rm 5:12, not the author of Genesis.
John Milton's poem, Paradise Lost, exemplifies Adam's choosing self- consciousness and reason [Stage II] over the selflessness of instinct in the Garden of Eden [Stage I], for it suggests Adam's awakening to self-consciousness.
"Some tears they drop, but wipe them soon. The world was all before them, theirs to choose." (50)
Note: Technically speaking, Adam had three options when he became aware of the distinction between himself and his choices. One, he could see himself as distinct from all else, which is the underlying cause of civilized man's consciousness of separation. Two, he could see himself as part of the subject of his choices, which is the underlying cause of "aboriginal man's'" consciousness of being a part of nature. And three, he could perceive himself as both separate from and yet one with nature. This perception is the goal of Gnosticism.
Choice, however, is not without responsibility and even terror. Self-consciousness is not only a blessing, but also a curse. Jung has suggested that when "the unconscious, instinctive mind of primitive man" evolved into the conscious reflecting mind, the resulting "orphaned and isolated" mental states were all too often the negative ones of doubt and fear. "Abandoned by nature" as we evolved into self-consciousness, we could have experienced the dawn of conscious awareness as a curse, as the Biblical story of The Fall depicts. For our reasoning, or self- conscious, mind would now find itself separated from all else, and therefore, alone.
In Stage II, then, rationality makes its first appearance. This stage is characterized in terms of a sense of "security and order" (Maslow), "shared tribal values" (Joseph Campbell), "self conscious and reflective homo-sapien" (Chardin). As individuals we would relate to others in Stage II in our society by "rules, regulations, or conventions of a particular society" (Kohlberg). Also, "the individual's identity is defined by-and thus not separate from-the group" (Wilber). Each analysis recognizes that a growing self-consciousness that identifies with the clan or tribe, or religious, political, or racial group is dawning in Stage II.
It is a positive step to become aware of ourselves as distinct from others, to "individuate," to use the psychologist Carl Jung's term-to become our own person. Distinction from others involves becoming aware of others as different from ourselves. The sense of separation means the loss of that innocence or ignorance symbolized by Adam and Eve before they tasted the forbidden fruit in the garden. But this is a positive step in a developing rational consciousness.
"Man, who lives in the Garden of Eden, in complete harmony with nature, but without awareness of himself, begins his history by the first acts of freedom, disobedience to a command. Concomitantly, he becomes aware of himself, of his separateness, of his helplessness; he is expelled from paradise and two angels with fiery swords prevent his return." (51)
In Stage II
Self-identity in Stage II, then, is a product of our experience, which is provided by the environment and our social group. Hence, the ego self which develops at Stage II is, by and large, a social fabrication. At this stage, we imagine ourselves as confronted with a choice between basic instincts and impulsive drives, on the one hand, and the rational and moral demands of our group, on the other. Until very late in this stage of development our identity is structured in terms of this dualism.
Note: This dualism surfaces in clearly defined distinctions between ourselves and others, our race and others, our religion and others, our country and others, and on and on.
This is Kohlberg's "conventional level": moral values are determined by performing the correct roles within the conventional order. In Stage II, we learn to do what maintains the general authority and social order of our group. Our mentality in this Stage is typically a "law and order" one. Stability is provided by the social group within which we align ourselves. Hence, our developing ego would identify with these groups and they would become the determining source of our values and character. Being a "conservative", for example, often implies maintaining the values of "our" particular church, political party or special interest group. In effect, the ego self in Stage II develops through its experience in a group-such as a family, church, political community, gang, or cult.
The categories of either belonging, or not belonging, are central to our thinking and reasoning in Stage II. In Maslow's "hierarchy of needs" this stage is identified by such social needs as "security, order, and protection" i.e., law and order and conformity. Some of us in Stage II, for example, judge that homosexuality is immoral, because it does not conform to the interests of our group. A conformity like this does not take into account that Jesus says we should not judge.
Social problems arise when we derive our identity in opposition to other groups, sometimes in a way that may be very childish and even destructive. The negative side of Stage II is the 'us versus them' mentality endemic to the clan; "if you're not one of us, then you're against us." Dogmatic 'us versus them' and vengeful thinking can exemplify our mean-spirited mentality in Stage II.
Like small children, in Stage II we are absolutely convinced that we are right. It follows that we will be positively certain that those who disagree with us are wrong. Anyone who disagrees becomes "they", or even the enemy. What is important to realize is that the source of this mechanism lies in the 'us versus them', either/or, dogmatic consciousness of Stage II, which judges others in terms of their difference from our own group.
of Stage II of Consciousness that Persist Today
In Stage II, our social institutions are based on logic justified by Plato's theory of nature. This does not work any better than trying to build a home with dental tools. For, just as building a home requires the proper tools, so does building equitable social philosophies require both Aristotelian and nonjudgmental logic, not a monopoly of one or the other. The perfect example of Aristotelian logic distorting even the best of intentions is religious wars. For even though religions are the shepherds of love and peace, they can become oppressive when practiced in the context of Aristotle's judgmental laws of logic. It is our habit, of trying to love in a field of Aristotelian logic, that pits the one true God of Islam, against the one true God of Judaism, against the one true God of Christianity, and on and on.
Another good illustration of how Aristotelian logic interferes with the accomplishment of worthy goals surfaces in our political arenas. Democracy, monarchy, theocracy, and communism, for example, are all supposed to represent the will of the people. However, all too often, hierarchical reasoning concerning power and money turns most states into "oligarchies", governments controlled by privilege, based on wealth. In practical terms, "oligarchies" are governments that are controlled by special interest groups.
In Stage II and into Stage III, we tend to think of the past as the 'good old days', when greed and lust for power came in second to honor and chivalry. History, however, documents that even though attire and technology have changed, political institutions today are carbon copies of those in ancient Greece and Rome.
In Plato's book, The Republic, for example, he writes what is all too often the case today. His account of oligarchical states is worth noting because its familiarity proves how little political life has changed over the last two thousand years. According to Plato, wealth in an oligarchy is controlled by a select few, "riches and rich men are honored virtue and virtuousness are dishonored." (52)
"Money is [generally] the ruler of success, and a leader is elected because he is rich not because he is a better pilot." (52) "To keep their power leaders of oligarchies side with the rich and the poor get poorer. The poor, however, cannot rebel because their means of subsistence is controlled by special interests they cannot influence, period. Sometimes forced to sell all that he has, the poor dwell in the city of which he is no longer a part, being neither tradesman, nor artisan, nor horseman, nor hoplite, but only poor helpless creatures [and] where there are paupers, there are thieves and other criminals. [And I would add street gangs]" (53)
Stage II people in an oligarchical state "are money makers who resemble one another in their toiling and raving ways, [they think] only how lesser sums of money can be turned into larger ones. The oligarchical man keeps up a fair outside but he has only an enforced virtue and will cheat when he can." (54) "He will not spend money in search of glory [virtue]; so afraid is he of awakening his expensive appetites and inviting them to help in the struggle; in true oligarchical fashion he fights [injustice] only with a small part of his resources, and the result commonly is that he loses the prize and saves his money. (434) [the oligarchical man] then, will be at war with himself: he will be two men, and not one." (55).
Oligarchies fall in Stage II and III because the goal of oligarchical men is "to become as rich as possible, a desire which is insatiable [a desire which in the end leads to their downfall because acting as if] their power rests on their wealth [they] refuse to curtail by law the extravagance of the spendthrift because they gain [through interest] by their ruin: they take interest from them and thus increase their own wealth and importance There can be no doubt that the love of wealth and the spirit of moderation cannot exist together in citizens of the same state to any considerable extent, one or the other will be disregarded." (56) Those who favor moderation will be reduced to poverty as those who have wealth increase their power through interest. "Men of business stooping as they walk, and pretending not even to see those whom they have already ruined, insert their sting [interest] into someone who is not on guard against them and recovery [through interest] the parent sum many times over and so [over time] they make drone and pauper abound in the state." (57)
In Paul's time, politics and economics were little changed from Plato's, even though classical Greece had fallen and Rome had risen.
The Roman Empire had become an oligarchical state in Jesus' lifetime. The human dramas played out then would seem familiar to todays. Unfortunately, those dramas, and Jesus' involvement in them, are so distorted, by myths and supernatural accounts of history, that the everyday political life of Jesus and his Gnostic followers are all but lost.
The political environment in which Jesus lived was anything but supernatural. What was considered important in Jesus' time is still considered important today. "Materialism, military industrial complexes, bankers, unions, business, politics, and princely powers" and corrupt "world leaders" (Ref Eph. 6:12) were major concerns. "Bankers proliferated and prospered, they paid interest on deposits, cashed checks, met bills for their clients, lent and borrowed money, made or managed investments, and fattened on such relentless usury [interest] that cut throat and money lender became one word." (58).
It is apparent that Jesus did not share in the hierarchical standards of the Stage II values of his time. Jesus, like Paul, considered interest-bearing capital a ruinous institution that sooner or later funneled all wealth into the hands of a few at the cost of the dignity of the rest. Is not money loaned for interest by and far the largest form of welfare? Money does not work, yet when loaned for interest, it gets paid for doing nothing. For Gnostic Christians, loaning money for interest was not condoned. It was considered a parasitic practice. (See Usury in Glossary)
"No one [Jesus says in Mt. 6:21-34] can be the slave of two masters: either he will hate the first and love the second, or treat the first with respect and the second with scorn. You cannot be the slave both of God and money for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also so do not worry about tomorrow: tomorrow will take care of itself." Yet to this day, most Christians worry more about building retirement funds for tomorrow than sharing with others today.
In Stage II, Aristotelian logic distorts the best of intentions of all economic systems. Who would deny that history overflows with examples of class struggles in which, over time, the victors become as corrupt as the losers.
Capitalism, for example, is based on the idea that humans are competitive by nature, and therefore, they will attain the highest of their goals through competitive economic systems. That's no problem, if we think of our highest goals in terms of better ways to enhance the well-being of humanity. In Stages II and III, however, we think in terms of individual profit. Similarly, the basis of communism is teamwork and sharing. Again, there's no problem with this idea, except that most of us are in Stages II and III, which makes us more concerned with ourselves than the team.
The basic flaw in capitalism, communism, socialism, or whatever well-intentioned economic philosophy, is not in the philosophies themselves, but rather in the consciousness of those who apply the philosophies. Karl Marx (1818-1883), for example, was a well-intentioned political philosopher who gave birth to modern communism. But, when Joseph Stalin, in a lower stage of consciousness than Marx, applied Marx' philosophy, Marx' ideals were lost and communism became synonymous with terror. The same holds true in religion. The universal love that Jeremiah, Jesus, and Mohammad taught is historically undermined by zealots, inquisitors, radical fundamentalists, and terrorists.
The shortcomings of religion, politics, and economics in Stage II can be seen as a product of Aristotelian laws of logic being inappropriately applied. As was said before, ideas do not relate themselves. People relate ideas/reason. And when we relate ideas solely on the basis of Aristotle's laws of logic, as we do in Stage II, we build social institutions, that sooner or later, separate us, destroy us, bankrupt us, and worst of all, lead us to think we are virtuous, when we are not.
Speaking of "the system" in a derogatory way can be equated to the affinity for judgmentalness that the Aristotelian system of logic builds into our social institutions. We can liken that judgmentalness in contemporary philosophical systems to the "beast" in Plato's book, The Republic, as well as to the beast in the book of Revelations, for both are personifications of judgmental reasoning which, without our awareness, controls our lives. The evil aspects of materialism, consumerism, colonialism, fascism, Protestantism, Hinduism, and all other 'isms' are not the real problem. The real problem is the built-in inclination to judgment that lurks in our institutions like an ill-tempered beast, waiting to devour us when we let down our guard of love.
Philosophy must redefine itself when it realizes that its basic tool, reason based on Aristotelian logic, cannot be considered a qualified instrument with which to do philosophy. Without this knowledge, society is at the mercy of chance, because we would not know that how we now think and speak may be counterproductive to the very things we love. We need to move into a new era of philosophy based on both Aristotelian and nonjudgmental logic. Then, we will have all the tools necessary to recreate civilization in such a way that we will feel safe and at home.
It is important to remember that, in Stage II and III, we cannot live humanely within philosophical institutions built with Aristotelian logic. For when we use only Aristotle's system of logic, our philosophies of religion and politics are mined with judgmental reasoning. Our repetitive history of wars, racism, sexism, and hypocrisy demonstrates that even the wisest and most noble of philosophies will turn into judgmental institutions as long as we use the traditional tools of logic. For even though our social institutions are built to facilitate human need, they are built with the tools of judgmental logic, which build into them an affinity for judgment. This can undermine the stated purpose of even the most well-intended institutions. Trying to build humane social institutions with Aristotelian logic is like trying to cool down in a pot of boiling water. It cannot be done. To cool down, we need to put out the fire beneath the pot. To put out that fire, we need both Aristotelian and nonjudgmental logic.
Paul refers to those in Stage II of consciousness as "lawless" men (Second Peter: 2:9), worldly people (Jude 10), peddlers of God's word (Second Corinthian 2:15), the anti-Christ-meaning those opposed to Jesus' knowledge teachings (First John 2:18), blind and short-sighted (Second Peter 1:9), disguised [hypocritical] servants of righteousness (Second Corinthian 11:5), and in Gnostic terms as hylics-meaning "emerged in materialism" (59), self-begotten-meaning awakened to self- consciousness, and sarkic-meaning materialistically driven.
Stage III of Consciousness
Stage III refers to the "called", meaning rational beings with an awakened conscience. Human nature, at this stage, is reaching for perfection.
Biblically, Stage III begins when Moses gives the law, which establishes the ethical basis of right and wrong. This awakens our conscience, the inner voice that calls us to do the law. In Stage II, we are rational, but conscience-less. In Stage III we are rational and have a developed conscience. In this stage, however, we still have the tendency to rationalize what we know is wrong. For that reason, James, in 1:8, refers to those in Stage III as "double-minded." Nevertheless, openness, acceptance, and inclusive behavior generally exemplify Stage III.
The key to Stage III is the introduction of laws, and in turn, our conscience, which is awakened by our moral responsibility to the law.
Stage III ends Biblically when Jesus reveals his Gnostic teachings.
Paul refers to those in Stage III in the development of consciousness as "the called", meaning those who are called by their conscience to be nonjudgmental and loving. In Stage III these values are imminent spiritually, but intellectually, they are often rationalized away.
In Paul's biblical model of five forms of consciousness, Stage III begins when Moses gives the law to Israel and ends when Jesus revealed his theory of nature to the world. Paul refers to those in Stage III as "the called", for it is in this stage that the law awakens in us our moral conscience, which ever after asks us to do good.
Lawgivers like Moses, Confucius, and the Greek philosopher Salon, were, for Paul, more than teachers of wisdom. Their formation of a written code of ethics marked a turning point in the development of consciousness for those codes established ethical criteria for right and wrong. It was in response to such laws that we can find the origin of consciousness and its call to act in life- affirming ways.
In Stage II we are lawless and therefore not morally responsible for we have no laws to be responsible to. In Stage III we have knowledge of moral laws and are therefore responsible to them. By moral, Gnostics mean 'life-affirming,' or, as Dr. Albert Schwietzer said "the fundamental principle of morality [is] that good consists in maintaining, promoting, and enhancing life, and that destroying, injuring, and limiting life are evil." (60)
It is in our third stage in the development of consciousness that we become aware of our inner God-self, whose nature is love. We have discovered our God-self in Stage III for our conscience is the voice of our God-self.
The consciousness-raising idea that initiates Stage III, then, is written laws, for they reform the consciousness of Stage II by adding a conscience. In effect, the law transforms our rational, but conscience-less form of consciousness, into the moral form of consciousness of Stage III.
In Stage III we are no longer driven by dogmatic and judgmental reasoning. Our conscience tempers our judgments. We still judge, but in a context of compassion, empathy, and openness to others. It is in Stage III where we begin to value diversity and even equal but opposite virtues. As Neal Bohr, father of quantum mechanics, has confirmed, "the opposite of a most profound truth may well be another most profound truth."
In Stage III we longer reason in black or white terms as in Stage II. Our conscience moves us to favor gray areas where unconditional love and compassion reside. Jung would agree because he believes "conscience [in Stage III] is the internal perception of the rejection of a rational choice." In Stages IV and V our reasoning and conscience are harmonious. That inner harmony is the inner peace that most of us pursue, but too often look for in all the wrong places. Plato says it best. "We all seek the good, but know not the nature of it".
Most of us, stuck in Stage III form of consciousness, are not yet aware of Jesus' theory of nature, which is the consciousness-raising idea that admits us to Stage IV. We remain, therefore, caught up in the dilemma of not being able to reconcile what we know to be the Good with what our reason tells us is the practical and logical thing to do.
Paul refers to those of us who are stuck in Stage III of consciousness as "double- minded men [who are] unstable in all his ways". (Jn 1:8 kjv)
The Greek philosopher, Zeno, tells a tale of Achilles' race with a turtle, to demonstrate the odd truth that two minds, the rational and intuitive, often oppose one another, even though they occupy the same head. This illustrates double-mindedness-two minds in one head-because we intuitively know that the athlete Achilles can outrun a turtle, yet we can, through mathematics, logically prove that Achilles can never catch up with the turtle.
What Zeno is trying to explain is the dilemma that the ego-self is often in conflict with the intuitive self. And if we can understand the cause of this conflict, we can identify the root of evil, for evil lurks in our ability to rationalize away what we intuitively know is right.
The key to reconciling the two minds is the key to Stage IV. This reconciliation brings the ego into harmony with the intuitive self, and in turn, the god-self because in Stage III the intuitive self is synonymous with the god-self.
Stage III may be likened to the "young adult" stage of humanity. Wilber characterizes this stage as when "individual consciousness truly develops." Sri Aurobindo says "moral consciousness develops [and] takes precedence over individual needs and desires" in this stage. It is in Stage III, then, that the conscience makes itself heard, and its moral nature known, through our self-conscious ego/mind.
Ideological systems in Stage III would have us believe that our "salvation" lies in believing some doctrine, whether political, religious, or economic. But in the great and universal myths of judgment, from Egyptian to Christian, we are judged not for our beliefs, but for our actions.
In Jesus' story of the Judgment (62), the sheep are divided from the goats on the basis of one very simple criterion: did they treat others as they would have treated him? Did they give food to the hungry, did they take the stranger in, did they clothe the naked, and visit the sick and imprisoned? "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." (63) The sheep did, the goats did not. Those who will "inherit the kingdom," will be those who draw no distinction between man and God, between the ordinary person and Jesus. For to set the profane apart from the sacred, to distinguish the "mere" human being from the Lord, is to engage in judgment based on the categories of either/or. In contrast, those of us who will be worthy of inheriting the kingdom must see in our fellow man both the human and the divine. Nonjudgmental logic is the way to this both/and reasoning. As Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita: "I am the Self, seated in the hearts of all creatures." (64) "The true yogi observes Me in all beings, and also sees every being in Me. Indeed, the self-realized man sees Me everywhere." (65)
of Stage III
Characteristically, in Stage III we care for most everyone, but spend our time and money primarily on our families and ourselves. In Stage III we might demonstrate against abortion, but fail to demonstrate our concern for millions of starving children. We all too often voice our care, but give only enough to appease our conscience. The result is, to paraphrase Plato, we save our wallets but lose the prize. Admittedly, it is not easy to clearly distinguish our reasoning in Stage III from that in Stage II. We must ask: what is it that we understand at Stage III that we do not at Stage II? For one thing, we would experience a growing awareness that there is a whole to which both sides of an either/or conflict belong. We would realize that when we act without consideration for the general good of others, we are in Stage I. When we act on our group's behalf against the welfare of the whole, we exemplify Stage II consciousness. In Stage III we begin to realize that we are part of the whole, but still find it hard to commit totally to the well-being of those outside our group.
In Stage II God is often personified as a vindictive father; in Stage III he is generally personified as a loving father. This is why in Stages II or III of consciousness we tend to look for some divine fatherly image-or superhero-to make everything right for us.
Jesus used the parable of The Good Samaritan (66) to illustrate the difference between the consciousness of Stage II and the lower levels of Stage III, on the one hand, and the later levels of Stage III and of Stage IV on the other. In his story, a priest and Levite walked by a man who had been robbed, wounded, and stripped naked and left to die on a road. The Levite, who represents a conscious less person in Stage II, did not stop to render aid. The wounded man was not a Levite, and therefore not his problem. The Priest, who represents a person with a consciousness in Stage III, felt bad about the wounded man, but feared more for himself and moved on. But the Samaritan, who represents a person who sees himself in others (Stage IV), stopped and offered assistance. Jesus was illustrating how we must become neighbors to one another without regard to our differences. Love Thy Neighbor means that no one may be excluded from one's care and concern. Brotherly love (agape) is to be extended to all people, even our enemies. In Stage III we understand this, in Stage IV we live it.
of Stage III
A Need For a New Nonjudgmental Logic
"A caution to everybody; consider the Auk: becoming extinct because he forgot how to fly, and only could walk. Consider man, who may well become extinct because he forgot how to walk and learned how to fly before he thinked." (67)
Why would those of us who have reached Stage III, continue to think in immoral ways? It is because we are logically limited to judgmental reasoning. The secret of how to transcend judgmental reasoning lies precisely in reasoning in terms of both/and, or what can be called nonjudgmental categories of reasoning. Jesus' theory of nature lays the foundation for this type of reasoning. But again, I am getting ahead of myself. Let me continue setting the stage upon which Jesus' theory will be presented.
Nearly two thousand years have passed since Jesus inaugurated the entrance into this fourth stage, and initiated it by being its exemplar. Of course, many of us are still in Stage II, and a smaller number of us still linger in Stage I. But it would seem that an increasing number of us are ready to enter into the next higher stage of development, the stage of the perfected adult who has reached his or her full potential for being fully human-Stage IV of consciousness.
Experience has taught us that trying to change our thinking by rejecting the mind, or simply saying no to immoral rationalization, is at most, a stopgap solution, but never a permanent one. Immoral judgments will never be fully overcome until we overcome our ancient affair with judgmental either/or reasoning.
Gnostics believe that civilized man is ready to enter Stage IV. In Stage III we mean well, and have a moral conscience, but have been held back because our judgmental process of reason leads us to conflict and opposition. The key to entering into Stage IV lies in our recognition that we must ally our ego-self with the God-self through Jesus' knowledge teachings.
Paul recognizes the conflict between his reasoning mind/ego and his heartfelt feelings, or spiritual values. This dilemma demonstrates the age-old paradox of two opposing minds in one head. In RM 7: 18-23, Paul states, "I can will what is right, but I cannot do it, for I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do." Paul continues, "I delight in the law of God, in my innermost [God] self but I see in my members [meaning the ego/reasoning mind] another law [judgmental law] at war with the [nonjudgmental] law of my [God-self] mind". Here, Paul is setting the stage upon which Jesus' theory of nature will play out its role as the reconciliator between the ego-self and the God-self.
I stress the word reconcile, because unlike other doctrines that prescribe methods to quiet or escape the ego, Jesus' theory of nature is meant to elevate the ego to the same level as the God-self. In actuality, Jesus' theory of nature helps the ego catch up with the God-self, making mind/ego values harmonious with the values of the God-self. This is what Paul is referring to in Romans 12:2 when he says, "be not conformed to this world [meaning our consciousness of the world]; but be transformed by the renewing of your mind [the ego-self] " This cannot be overemphasized. Its meaning underlies the relevance of the intellectual understanding of Jesus' ministry, and is paramount to Gnostic thought.
Recently discovered Gnostic gospels teach that ordinary consciousness/ego can be harmonized with the God-self. For example:
"Only when one's psyche, or ordinary consciousness [of Stages II and III becomes integrated with one's spiritual nature [which happens in Stage IV] one can achieve internal harmony and wholeness." (68)
Gnostics claim that the renewal of the mind/ego that Paul refers to is the fulfillment of the prophesy of God's promise of a new covenant. Understanding that "biblical idiom differs from modern idiom in considering the heart as the seat of intelligence heart is used in the bible where in English we should use mind or will to say in the heart means simply to think (Romans 10:6), to reckon in the heart is to plan (Genesis 6:5, Proverbs 6:18-19). When Yahweh gives Solomon breath of heart (First Kings 5:9) this signifies not magnanimity, but intelligence " (68A)
Recognizing that 'heart' signifies the objective mind rather than our feelings, I will quote Jeremiah 31:31-33 to show how Yahweh promises Jeremiah that he will elevate the "heart," meaning mind, so it will objectively "know the Lord," the God-self within.
"Behold the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the House of Israel and the House of Judah, not like [Israel's covenant with the law] I will put my law within them and I will write it upon their hearts; [within their reasoning minds] "
Mt 22:14 (rsv) states that "Many are called [in Stage III] but few are chosen [meaning few reach Stage IV]". This passage suggests the resistance that those of us in Stage III have towards giving up old beliefs for new ideas. For example, most find it difficult to give up the ideas of a hereafter, better karma, superheroes, or a 'quick fix' through supernatural intervention, for the idea that Jesus' Gnostic teachings could change the world by changing the consciousness of all individuals-one at a time!
The story of a drowned man entering heaven makes the point that we need look no further than everyday miracles for God's intervention. A man is in danger of drowning but turns away rescuers in a boat, and later in a helicopter. After drowning, the angry man approaches St. Peter at heaven's gate and demands to know why God let him drown. "I prayed and waited, but God never came," to which Peter answered, "Yes He did, but you didn't recognize Him. God was the man in the row boat and the pilot of the helicopter you turned away."
The point is that God is manifest in natural events (such as rescuers in row boats), not just in dazzling displays of divine intervention, the latter of which we seldom see, the former of which we have the opportunity to experience everyday. When we have evolved to Stage IV, we will see the divine in others and the world.
Biblical idioms for those of us in Stage III are found in Paul's terms, such as double-minded men (James 1:18); those under the law (Colossians 3:5 and 3:19); hearers (Hebrews 4:2); babes in Christ (First Corinthians 3:2); old covenant (James 3:4); third heaven [meaning Stage III] (James 12:2); unsteady souls (Second Peter 2:14); and The Called (Romans 8:29-30).
Gnostics used the term "psychic," meaning worldly but capable of "conversion" (69), and sarkic, meaning of the flesh, for those of us in Stage III. In the beginning of Stage III we remain judgmental and materialistic, but to a lesser degree than we were in Stage II. We can safely say that those of us in Stage III are the well intended who want to make the world a better place. Unlike IV's, however, whose care is unconditional, we still spend most of our time and resources on personal agendas. Actually, most of us in Stage III help only to the extent that we appease our conscience, which in the end, "saves us our wallet but costs us our prize."
We stand today at the crossroads between Stages III and IV of consciousness. Our real hope is that enough of us have already made it through Stage III and are ready to make the transition to Stage IV. Jesus' theory of nature is the key to that transition.
Jesus was the first to reach Stage IV through his own knowledge teachings. Those teachings influenced thousands of people in the first three hundred years after Jesus. By 400 AD, however, his knowledge teachings were considered heretical, and sentenced to a silence that has not been broken until today.
Toward a new Civilization
If nonjudgmental logic were taught to children on a global scale, it could lay a foundation for an entirely new form of civilization. The first step in the transition to a new stage, for the self individually, and for civilization collectively, is to recognize that the underlying source of our problems is hierarchical, either/or, and judgmental reasoning. I have argued that this reasoning is the consequence of Plato's theory of Forms and Aristotle's three logical laws of Identity, Excluded Middle, and Contradiction, which evolved from Plato's theory.
After we recognize the source of our problem, the second step is to devise a solution. My solution is the theory that some classes have more than one nature, which in turn, justifies a nonjudgmental system of logical laws. With these laws, it would be logical and rational to assume that opposing opinions, values, and conflicting actions, when they are life-affirming, could be right. With the formulation of these new laws, it should be possible to transcend the judgmental reasoning inherent in Aristotelian logic's either/or categories, which have become the paradigm of logical and rational thought.
We can call on the gods to save us, we can pray for enlightenment, or we can use the power of reasoning, in conjunction with our spiritual understandings, to achieve that change in consciousness which would usher in a higher form of civilization.
Nonjudgment will help us to see through the intoxication of individuality, pride, honor, and success, to envision the whole in which we each are a part. We need to weave a more durable and unifying cultural pattern of philosophy and religion, science and technology, music and poetry, wisdom and truth. When we can listen and learn from our fellow human brothers and sisters, we will have taken the first step toward loving unconditionally. For in this openness we can accept the ideas and values of others on their own merits, especially the most imaginative and original perspectives of truth, from which we will be able to weave new cultural nets, with which to catch visions, of that which we cannot now even dream.
Jesus was serious when, in the Sermon on the Mount, he said: "Be ye therefore perfect." (70) We have the potential for perfectibility. "The earliest Christians and fathers of the Church would not have accepted Augustine's dogma of original sin." (71) It is not through Adam that all sinned, as the great saint of Hippo believed. Sin is an error in our consciousness due to our reasoning process. We can change that way of thinking: we can reason in nonjudging ways. When we cease to judge our fellow human beings, when we stop holding them up to our imagined standard, we can instead embrace them in friendship and brotherhood and love. This is the reasoning which morality is seeking; this is the reasoning which will make a kingdom of heaven possible.
Most of the problems which arise in our world are the result of our perspective. We must give up the perspective of human nature as greedy and selfish. Certainly, some human beings are like that, but these are the "little children" in the lower stages of rational growth, not mankind's more representative examples. Our perspective must allow us to see in one another and ourselves the image of the Divine. Paul's letter to the Ephesians tells us that we are God's work of art and are pre-ordained to live the good life. (72) Never has civilization been more ready or more able to achieve that good life. We have the means for universal education, the technology to meet our needs, and the philosophy of nonjudgment and the logic of love to make this possible. This philosophy is not new. It was taught by the great masters of religion and philosophy, such as the Buddha, the Christ, Krishna, Mohammed, Lao Tse, Confucius, Plato, Pythagoras, and the prophets of Israel.
Can our society survive its current crises? Most of us believe that radical changes are needed to make society civilized and moral. There are those in religious circles who are talking about Armageddon. Can our political and economic systems survive the onslaught of crime and corruption? We look back with nostalgia to the good old days. But they, too, were an illusion, for, greed was every bit as much in evidence; poverty still claimed its victims; and every institution was subject to moral decay. Albert Schweitzer called for a "renewal of civilization" and a world view which would set us on "the right path." "The modern man is still without any correct feeling for the full significance of the fact that he is living with an unsatisfactory philosophy, or without any at all." (73)
Humanity is ready for a satisfactory philosophy and for the promise of a good life. We are tired of the hate which produces ethnic cleansing, and the wars, like that in Cambodia, which left millions homeless and sixty thousand maimed. We are equally tired of relinquishing our streets to drug gangs, Washington to special interest groups, and the Golden Rule to terrorists. We want a change.
Judgmental reasoning in our churches, educational systems, economic systems, and societal policies are evidenced by the large number of us who still remain at the lower stages of moral and rational development. For example, 87% of Americans are willing to do to the terrorists what they did to us.
Now is the time for the inauguration of a new way of life. The possibility of a new world-view is at hand. Jeremiah, the Buddha, Mohammad, Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. taught us that love was the only answer. Why not build a new world order based on love and brotherhood, and nonjudgmental reasoning and acceptance of differences? The choice is ours whether or not to form a new civilization on life-affirming principles. We can choose to journey toward higher stages of moral and rational development, toward Stage IV, where we can all join together in a kingdom of heaven on earth.
Stage IV of Consciousness
Stage IV refers to "the justified," meaning those of us who are righteous or right-minded. Seeing ourselves in others, unconditional sharing, and always acting in accord with our conscience exemplify the right-thinking of those in Stage IV. Human nature, at this stage, is perfect, godlike, and loving.
Stage IV in Paul's five-stage model of consciousness began when Jesus revealed that the root of evil was the prevailing theory of nature, and that His theory of nature was the remedy for that evil. Jesus taught that the era of the justified would end when nonjudgmental reasoning or righteousness was the norm globally, for then the "glory," or Stage V, meaning doing on earth as it is in heaven, would become a reality.
The key concepts that initiate Stage IV's state of consciousness are knowledge of how the prevailing theory of nature justifies judgmental reasoning and how Jesus' theory of nature justifies nonjudgmental reasoning.
Knowledge has consequences. The consequence of the knowledge Jesus' Gnostic teachings reveal is a new way of thinking. Jesus said, "marvel not that ye must be born again," (John 3:7 kjv). By "born again," Jesus means reborn intellectually into the renewed form of Stage IV consciousness. In other words, He was referring to the rebirth of consciousness/mind, not physical rebirth.
In Charles Dickens' novel, The Christmas Story, Scrooge's discovery of his capacity to love, and the joy it brought, exemplifies baptism, or awakening to our God-nature. Gnostics define baptism as that moment in which we comprehend Jesus' knowledge teachings and our consciousness is renewed/reformed. Water sprinkled on the forehead at Gnostic Christian baptisms symbolizes purifying the consciousness by washing away the judgmental reasoning that clouds our minds in the lower stages. The bright halo that crowns Christian saints symbolizes the presence of enlightened minds. Jesus was the first to be baptized into higher consciousness through his knowledge teachings. In effect, Jesus was the first fruits, or in Gnostic terms, protogenitor, meaning new type of human being, that nature intends all of us to become.
Learning From the Past
"Every revolution was first the private thought in one man's mind and when that same thought occurs to another man, it is the key to that era. Every reform was once a private opinion, and when it shall be private again it will solve the problem of the age." --Emerson
Let us remember those who went before us on that search and who passed on to us their best and most noble ideals. We must think of progress as separating the pearls of truth and wisdom from the useless shells which conceal their beauty. Albert Einstein once said: "I remind myself that my inner and outer life depend on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the measure as I have received and am still receiving." (74)
Progress in Stage IV means learning the logos, or Reason of God, and using it. This godlike logic is the structure of truth which ties the cosmos together. We can reflect that truth more clearly in our rationality through nonjudgmental logic/reasoning, the fruits of which are clarity of vision, love, and brotherhood among all human beings. In Stage IV we recognize that the values of others are as sacred to us as to them. When all acknowledge that people are essentially different and at different stages of moral and rational development, we shall be able to set charity in our hearts and nonjudgment in our minds. For if we are to love, we must follow the injunction, "Judge not." In Stage IV we know the truth, that a Kingdom of Heaven on Earth is possible when all follow the command to judge not. Here, those who know the truth, wait as they teach others to catch up.
The key to understanding Stage IV is found in John 1:1-20, if we understand that logos means the "word", or will, or creative mind of God, not Jesus personally. John considered Jesus the first of a new type of human being who had learned how to reason like God. In fact, John is saying that Jesus began at Stage I of consciousness, as we all do, then grew into Stage IV. He started out the son of man, and then became the Son of God manifesting his growth. John also points out that anyone can become Godlike, just as Jesus did, through Jesus' theory of nature.
"Jesus was the logos incarnate, the logos [word] functioning as man." (75) Most think this means that Jesus was God functioning on earth. However, John's intention was that the logos/reason of God was within Jesus, meaning Jesus reasoned like God. John, like other Gnostic Christians, understood that Jesus had learned the way to bring his innate Godlike potentials of reasoning into everyday life. And that anyone who understood Jesus' teachings could, like him, do the same thing, or, as Trimmel says, "make contact with divine reason." (75)
Let me support this by quoting the respected scholar Marcus Borge's translation of the opening passage of the Gospel of John. Note: Borge will substitute the Greek word, logos, where the English translation reads 'word.'
"In the beginning was the logos [the creative mind of God] and the logos was with God, and the logos was God. He [the logos] was in the beginning with God, all things came into being through him and without him not one thing came into being that had come into being. In him was life, and the life was the light of all people He [again the logos] was in the world, and the world came into being through him: Yet the world did not know him." (76)
"It is important in these opening verses of the Gospel not to think of word, or logos, as referring to Jesus, if we mean Jesus of Nazareth. Reading them as Jesus is subconsciously encouraged by later Christian doctrine on the Trinity and by the use of masculine pronouns in the Greek original and English translations. But masculine pronouns are used because logos is a masculine noun in Greek, not because the reference of 'he' indicates Jesus. John is not saying 'in the beginning was Jesus' as if John thought Jesus of Nazareth was present at creation, rather that which became incarnate in Jesus-namely, the logos was present at creation-it was the logos (not Jesus) that was with God and that was God." (76) (Also see note M in the Jerusalem bible.)
The point Borges makes is that John is telling us that the logos/reasoning of God created all things and was the true light or intelligence-but, in Stages II and III, we do not understand it.
In verses 12-14, John teaches that the logos gave all who accepted it the power to become children of God. This is what John means by "the word was made flesh." In other words, the logos/reasoning mind of God was made compatible with the flesh, meaning our reasoning mind, the ego self. In verses 16 and 17, John gives credit to Jesus' "fullness" [meaning perfect understanding of the logos] for our opportunity to access the logos within us. For "though the law was given to Moses, grace and truth [comprehension of the logos of God within us] have come through [Jesus' Christ message] No one [before Jesus] has ever seen [the logos of] God; it is the only son [Jesus] who is nearest to the Father's heart [mind/logos] who has been made Him [the logos] known [to us]."
According to Gnostics, the Trinity coincides with John's teaching that it was Jesus who made the logos/logic of God known. In early Gnostic Christian understanding, "Father" symbolizes God in Stages II and III. The "son" Jesus made the truth that God was within us, known to us. With that knowledge, we, like Jesus, become a "holy Spirit,"-a perfect and fully realized being, (Stage IV). The traditional Trinitarian concept of God was "revealed only in the 4th and 5th centuries AD and hence is not explicitly and formally a biblical belief." (80).
In effect, Jesus' knowledge teachings bridged the gap between a transcendent and external God and an eminent and internal God. In Stage II, for example, we personify God, Yahweh, as a vengeful father. In Stage III, we personify Him as a loving father. Jesus teaches "the truth" that the logos, or mind of God, is within us, and is us. Understanding and practicing those teachings, then, is what awakens our consciousness to its full potential of perception, making us psychologically, the perfect beings or holy spirits of Stage IV.
(Strength of an Eagle - Isaiah 40)
The Jesuit priest, John L. McKinnsey, states that "in between the flesh [meaning the reasoning mind] and the holy [meaning the mind of God] there is an impassable gulf-impassable that is, by man-but bridged by Jesus, the Son, who renders it possible for men to be adopted sons. (81) The point that McKinnsey makes is that Jesus bridges the gap between the reason of man and the reason of God, and anyone, who comprehends Jesus' teachings, can do the same.
Gnostics conclude from these opening paragraphs of the Gospel of John that Jesus discovered an objective method to pattern his mind after the logos/reasoning mind of God. Through his Gnostic teachings, Jesus empowered us to do the same. In effect, the popular world-view of Jesus' time-that mankind was meant to be like God-was, according to John, turned into a practical reality by Jesus' Gnostic teachings. The point is, these teachings free us from the prison of self-deception that judgmental reasoning creates. In our new-found freedom we leave behind the Stage II and III illusions of separation, contradiction, and ignorance (sin), to enter a field of oneness and infinite wisdom.
The Return to the Garden
As we trace the development of rational and moral consciousness, we have discovered that each stage contains the seeds which give birth to the next stage. Let us relate these stages to the familiar myth of the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve, before they fell to temptation, symbolize the irrational and instinctive consciousness of Stage I innocence. Their choosing to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil symbolizes the rational and egotistical self-consciousness of Stage II.
Choice awakens an awareness of both responsibility and morality, which, along with self-identity, are the prerequisites of judgmental reasoning. In the awareness that judgment is unnatural, conscience emerges, particularly in response to the law in Stage III. And it is conscience that leads eventually to our realization of the inadequacy of reasoning in terms of either/or categories. This knowledge impels our minds toward the understanding that it is the way we think and reason which keeps us from inhabiting the Garden. With fear and trembling, we set out on the journey to discover the solution to the riddle of evil. In our desire to transcend the rational and moral limitations imposed by either/or logic, we are initiated into a new logic, nonjudgmental logic, the logic of Stage IV.
The Tree of Life now stands before us in the Garden of Eden, holding out the promise of unity with one another, which was lost through the first choice to eat of the fruit of the Tree of good and evil. Like the prodigal son, returning to his Father after he realized his errant ways, so we too awaken to our true nature, after traversing through the lower stages of life.
Characteristics of Stage IV
Stage IV comes, neither as a miraculous gift of grace, nor with a bolt of lightning from the gods. It is the hard-won prize of our heroic journey of return, discovering within ourselves both our essential nature of Love and a system of nonjudgmental reasoning which makes "doing on earth as it is in heaven" a practical reality.
In Stage IV, we will have learned nonjudgmental logic, and therefore, embody within us its qualities. Those qualities include nonjudgment and love, non-discrimination and unconditional acceptance, tolerance, humility, generosity, forgiveness, self-realization, and agape and the brotherhood of man. In the words of St. Paul, we are to "put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience, . . . forgiving each other. (82) These are not superhuman qualities added to us, but our birthright, when we come into the fullness of our nature by reasoning lovingly. As Maslow says, "I think of the self-actualizing man not as an ordinary man with something added but rather as an ordinary man with nothing taken away." (83)
What would our lives be like if we had not eaten from the Tree of duality, which brings opposition and conflict into our world? What would we be if we had never experienced a sense of separation and alienation from the Divine, Nature, our fellow human beings, and our own inner self? Indeed, what would it be like to eat from the Tree of Life? Writers who describe the developmental path of human progress give us a glimpse into the answer. Maslow talks about self-esteem, self-respect, and self-realization. We might add that the "self" in each instance is that inner nature whose expression is love. Joseph Campbell says that we are destined to move into an awareness of social interdependence and, ultimately, the realization that there is a divine indwelling presence in each of us. These ideas are echoed by Teilhard de Chardin, for whom the desire to integrate ourselves with others and with Nature marks the transition into a new stage which culminates in a spiritual consciousness. Both Kohlberg and Sri Aurobindo point to a stage where universal principles replace mere law; but Aurobindo adds that a further stage is reached when the Divine Law, the law of love, moves humanity toward its perfected end. In Stage IV we realize that nonjudgmental logic is the natural law of love, and therefore, Divine Law.
We learn through Jesus' theory of nature how to access our potentials to process ideas/reason in Godlike ways. Utilizing that process can be considered enlightenment for it awakens our mind to its capacity for both judgmental and nonjudgmental reasoning, which, in turn, harmonizes our ego-self with our God-self.
In the renewed mind/consciousness of Stage IV we understand that we are both an individual/ego and our God-self. The ego is still the ego in Stage IV, but here it is harmonious in thought with the God-self; and therefore one with it. And because our God-self is one with all, we/ego are also one with all. (Eph 4:26 - "All are one with Christ, no distinction between free man and slave" Stendle 27)
In John 14:20 Jesus himself recognizes our oneness with God, and him, by saying "on that day [when you are in a consciousness of oneness] you will understand that I am in my Father and you in me and I in you."
In our new experience of-or awakening to-a consciousness of oneness, we experience what was formerly considered 'other' in profoundly new ways. In our new consciousness our senses are flooded with oneness. The sense of separation and other is replaced by joy, peace, and brotherly love that we cannot, in lower stages of consciousness, imagine. This is what is meant by making contact with divine reason. This is what Jesus and other Gnostic Christians wanted to make available to us. Their passion was for freedom and life, both theirs and ours. In their minds, they are one with us and, therefore, could be truly free only when everyone of us is also free.
In Stage IV of consciousness we do not become repentant and pious, we celebrate being fully alive. The term, Holy Spirit, applies to being fully alive at Stage IV, because holy means complete or perfected. Spirit, from the Greek word, pneumatic, or soul, refers to the "psychological self." Together, holy and spirit, means that we are psychologically perfect because we have regained our capacity to reason like the gods. We have reached our destiny as human beings, which are to "make contact with divine reason, and like God, discern ultimate truths." (84). This is higher consciousness.
Again, Jesus says in JN 8:31-32 "if you make my word/logos [reason] your home you will learn the [ultimate] truth, and the truth will set you free."
The Greek term, cosmos, can be translated in many ways. Cosmos can mean the universe, the world, or our consciousness of the world. When we believe that we need to give up the world (in the sense of giving up living comfortable and fun-filled lives), we have misinterpreted scripture. When Jesus said, "the truth will set you free," he meant just that. He was not talking about giving up all the nice things of the world. He meant giving up our lower stages of consciousness (cosmos) in order that we can have more abundant lives. Instead of cutting ourselves off from the good life, we can live the good life by advancing to Stage IV. In Gal 5:16-24, for example, Paul lists "self-indulgence fornication, gross indecency feuds, wrangling, jealousy, bad temper and quarrels" as things we give up when we reach higher consciousness. He promises us "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control" when we reach Stage IV.
In First Corinthians 13:9-12, Paul explains how the transition from our present consciousness of the world to the higher consciousness of Stage IV changes our perceptions of the world. "Once perfection comes (i.e. when we have reached Stage IV) all imperfect things will disappear. When I (meaning the ego) was a child, [Stages II and III] I used to talk like a child, and think like a child, and argue like a child, but now I am a man [in Stage IV] all childish ways are put behind me. Now, [in the consciousness of Stages II and III] we are seeing a dim reflection in a mirror, [a distorted view of life]; but then [when reaching Stage IV] we shall be seeing face to face the knowledge that I have now [in the psychic--Stage III] is imperfect; but then [in the pneumatic--Stage IV] I shall know as fully as I am known by God " (85) In Rm 7:23 Basilides explains that "being of pneumatic nature [those in Stage IV] 'do by nature' the law." (86)
Biblical terms that refer to those in Stage IV are "the justified" (Romans 8:30), "Sons of God" (8:14-19), "Body of Christ" (First Corinthians 12:22), "mature" (2-6), "sealed" (Second Corinthians 1:22), "Men of sincerity" (2:17), "Ambassadors of Christ" (5:20), "heirs of God through Christ" (Galatians 4:7), "Partakers of the holy Spirit" (Hebrew 6:4), "Perfect" (James 1:4), "Complete" (1:4), "Lacking nothing" (1:4), "Doers of the Word" (1:22), "Share the Divine Nature" (1:4), "Renewed in the spirits of your minds" (Ephesians 4:23), "Equality with God" (Philippians 2:6), and "angels". (Jude 2:11).
Gnostic terms for those in Stage IV are pneumatikoi, which means psychologically complete individuals, pangenitor, meaning the first universal man, and Bythos, meaning the will, logos, of our life force in Stage IV.
I would add that many of the modern day references to higher consciousness, enlightenment, and satori exemplify characteristics of Stage IV, learned through Jesus' Gnostic teachings.
We can only imagine a world in which Hindus would truly see Krishna in the heart of everyone; Buddhists and Muslims would respect everyone as they would revere the Buddha and the Prophet respectively; and Christians would treat others as they would treat Jesus. Not once or twice, but three times, Jesus asked his disciple, Peter, "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?" Three times Peter answered that he did. And three times Jesus repeated the same words, which were among his last recorded, in the Gospel of John, "Feed my sheep." What a world it would be if we all fed the sheep of the world! What a world it would be if we all came to the realization that the divine dwells not only in some distant heavenly realm, but also here and now, in our neighbor and in ourselves. "The kingdom of God is within you," (87) Jesus said. And so it is for those reborn with a renewed mind.
Baptism of the Spirit
In the story of Jesus' baptism, it is said that the heavens opened, a dove appeared, and a voice said: "This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased." It is unusual to find any story in the New Testament in all four of the gospels, the three synoptic gospels and the gospel of John. But this story was apparently so important that it was told by the writers of all four gospels. (88) What was the immediate consequence of the experience? "Jesus was led up of the Spirit into the wilderness where he was tempted by the devil." (89)
It is instructive to consider just what those temptations were. The first taunted Jesus with the gratification of a pig (Stage I): the temptation was to use his power to turn stones into bread to assuage his hunger. The second catered to the wolf of honor and success (Stage II). He was tempted to throw himself from the pinnacle of the temple in order to win the crowd's adulation for his miraculous powers. The third temptation promised Jesus the power of the kingdoms of the world, if he would but worship and give himself to satanic power (Stage III). In every case, Jesus resisted the temptations to bewitch his power of good, and so in the wilderness he completed the rebirth begun in the waters of Jordan some forty days earlier. Thereafter, he emerged and began his ministry of teaching, healing, and sharing his doctrines of nonjudgment and love (Stage IV).
What Jesus did is what is required of the reborn in Stage IV. For what he did, we can do. As he himself admitted: "I do nothing of myself." (90) "The Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works." (91) For Jesus and those of us who have come to his realization, there is no separation between the Father and the son. The Father and son, the divine and human, are one: "I and my Father are one." (92) If we realize this truth, then what we call "the power of God" is our power, too. "Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do." (93) As A Course in Miracles teaches, there is no separation between us, as sons, and the Divine, as Father. (94) But in our minds, we erect barriers to that power of truth and love, and so we keep that power from manifesting in our lives. What A Course in Miracles leaves out, is that those barriers are the consequence of either/or reasoning.
The barriers which keep the natural power of love from working its miraculous wonders are a misguided and misdirected ego and its world of desires, fears, wants, needs, expectations, and those actions which spring from those motives. It is the either/or thinking which creates the consciousness of a separate, needy, and fearful self, which stands in opposition to others. It is this mind, which feels itself isolated and alienated from others, which creates the illusory reality, which the Hindus called maya. It generates the worlds of sorrow, which the Buddhists call samsara. It is the misguided and mistaken consciousness of this ego, which must "die" in order that the ever-present inner nature of love may express itself unimpeded. Crucifixion and resurrection symbolize this truth in many religious traditions, including Christianity. This "death" is the ultimate requirement of those who are reborn in Stage IV.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a kernel of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. (John 12:24-25)
The paradox is that by dying, we live. "Dying" means, at the very least, a change in consciousness, a change of mind, a new way of thinking and reasoning. By dying to the consciousness of the old self and its needs, we awaken to the consciousness of another self, the fulfillment of whose desires brings abundant life. When we are reborn, we do not live a lackluster life devoid of feeling and desires. On the contrary, we live life abundant in creativity and joy.
Stage IV begins when Jesus reveals his Gnostic teachings and ends when everyone reasons accordingly. This Stage in consciousness can be considered a staging ground in which those of us who have reached this stage wait for those in lower stages to catch up. Stage IVs wait willingly because they know that all are one, so no one is free until everyone is free.
In review, the key to Stage IV of consciousness is to understand the prevailing theory of nature and the new theory of nature that Jesus reveals in his Gnostic teachings. Understanding both theories allies our reasoning mind with our heart. We, therefore, do the law from within both head and heart. Paul refers to those in Stage IV as "men made perfect" (Heb 12:23) and those who have the "mind of Christ". (1 Co 2:16)
Practical Applications of Jesus' Gnostic Teachings In Stage IV
There is a saying that everything is a philosophy and if you think that is a joke, that is your philosophy. What this means is that most everything we think or do is "of or according to a philosophy or a philosopher." (ref. Dictionary.) Capitalism, communism, monarchy, deism, atheism, spiritualism, Christianity, Islam, pacifism, everybody should mind their own business, and the sky is falling are all philosophies.
Jesus' knowledge teachings are also a philosophy, one that can improve our lives in two fundamentally important ways.
First, Jesus' Gnostic teachings call into question the validity of all philosophies that involve multiple nature classes, which include all religious, political, social, economic, and psychological systems. For example, Jesus' teachings demonstrate that reason, as we now know it, is a belief system, in the same sense as religions are. Like religion, reason is based on assumed standards. Religion is an assumption because it is based on the authority of scriptures that not everyone agrees with. Likewise, reason is questionable because it is based solely on Aristotle's laws of logic, and their validity has been called into question by modern science.
Second, Jesus' knowledge teachings provide the logical foundations to reinvent philosophy in ways that serve us better. Again, Jesus' theory of nature questions the validity of all philosophies that involve classes with multiple natures. Since humanity is a multiple-nature class, most traditional philosophical and religious systems are questionable. They are structured according to logic based solely on Plato's theory, which does not fit multiple nature classes. We need to move into a new era of civilization that is based on both Aristotle's judgmental and Jesus' nonjudgmental logic. Then we will have all the tools necessary to recreate civilization in such a way that we will feel comfortable and fulfilled.
In First Corinthians 1:19-31, Paul points out that philosophy based on Plato's theory of nature, meaning all conventional philosophy, is misdirected, and therefore, must be re-evaluated. This means that the very way we now think and speak may be the very thing that keeps up from doing what benefits us the most.
"The language of the cross, [meaning Jesus' knowledge teachings, symbolized by the equilateral cross] may be illogical to those who are not on their way to salvation [those in Stages 2 and 3], but those of us [in Stage IV] who are on the way see it, [what the stauros symbolizes] as God's power to save. As scripture says, 'I shall destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing all the learning of the learned.' Where are the philosophies now, [that in their beginnings held such promise] ? Do you not see how God [through Jesus' knowledge teachings] has shown up the foolishness of human wisdom. [philosophy]."
"Only faith [understanding Jesus' knowledge teachings] can guarantee the blessings that we hope for, or prove the existence of realities that at present [in Stage II and III] remain unseen." (Heb 11:1)
"The human race [those of us in Stages II and III], has nothing to boast about to God, but you [those in Stages 4], God has made members of Christ Jesus and by God's doing, he [meaning the logos or nonjudgmental logic of God], has become our wisdom " (1Co 3:18-23)
Note: Even though it may be true that all of us have been misdirected by our own judgmental reasoning, we must not condemn ourselves for it. Nor should we fear the changes that must come. Instead, we need to understand that judgmental reasoning represents a lower stage in the natural growth of our capacity for consciousness. Understanding this will empower us to seek new higher goals of consciousness.
In summary, Jesus' theory of nature empowers us to grow beyond conventional wisdom and into the God-like wisdom of nonjudgmental reasoning. We cannot overcome our problems in the same consciousness that created them. Jesus' theory of nature is the key to a new form of consciousness that can truly overcome the problems our present consciousness creates. In the new consciousness, truly new philosophies can be developed that will redefine the values and goals of civilization, not merely rearrange existing ones to satisfy changing centers of power. (Forgiveness)
Ecclesiastes taught that there was nothing new under the sun. Alfred North Whitehead said, "All western philosophy consists of a series of footnotes to Plato." (95) Both will remain right as long as we limit ourselves to the wisdom of conventional philosophy. But if we choose to grow our consciousness into the god-like consciousness of Jesus' teachings, we can anticipate a wealth of new philosophy that could bring truly new ideas into the sunlight of a brighter day.
" for Jesus, the purpose of God is not found in the creation of planets or galaxies of stars, not in building great cities or empires, nor in the organization of vast institutions, but rather in the steady growth of human character, in the development of those inner spiritual qualities which are expressed in fair dealings, unselfish love, devotion to truth, kindness, mercy, and good will." (96)
Civilization in Stage IV
(See 1Jn 2:3 "God shows no partiality" Rm 2:11)
Let us now imagine how we can reinvent philosophy and, in turn, civilization from the perspective of Stage IV consciousness.
1. The most important realization in Stage IV is that we can teach our children how to reason in loving ways. Traditionally, we have taught only Aristotelian logic. Jesus' teachings provide the means to introduce our children to nonjudgmental standards of logic. Learning nonjudgmental standards will expand their ability to think beyond what we were taught was reasonable. For they will be able to reason both judgmentally and nonjudgmentally, which is synonymous with reasoning lovingly.
If we plant the most virile seed in sour soil it withers. Like seeds in sour soil, our children wither in an atmosphere of judgment. We can give them an atmosphere of nonjudgment that will ensure their most basic right-to be fully conscious and, therefore, fully human. Our most sacred obligation is to give them that right.
Adding a fourth "r", reasoning nonjudgmentally, to the existing three "r's" of education, will ensure our children their right to learn how to reason in nonjudgmental ways. It will also teach them that such reasoning is as important as reading, writing and arithmetic. Moreover, it is the rational thing to do. (BB 80-A)
It has often been suggested that we use only a small portion of our brain. We might ask, "Is our phenomenal ability to absorb enormous quantities of facts when we are children, indicative of an innate ability to reason nonjudgmentally that gets turned off early on?" Only after about age seven, does our capacity for exponential learning fade. Does this suggest that our youthful capacity to absorb huge amounts of information is lost because the use of nonjudgmental reasoning by our children is discouraged? Again, Maslow states that "the self-actualized man is not someone with something special added, but someone with nothing taken away." It is very possible that self-actualization is uncommon because culture teaches only judgmental logic, which in turn, takes away our right to reason nonjudgmentally.
Jesus' theory of nature may also explain why it seems like the older we get, the more rigid our thinking can become. I suspect that as we become older it becomes harder and harder to make sense out of accumulating information based on false standards that we believe are true. For example, trying to maintain a positive attitude in a world based on false standards is like trying to construct a house of more and more cards on a storm-tossed boat. The more information we accumulate, the more frustrated we get. Soon, black or white thinking becomes easier than trying to harmonize what we experience with what we feel in our hearts.
2. In Stage IV, our psychological nature is not taken as a given, but rather something that changes depending on how we choose to think. The reason for this is that consciousness is the form or context in which we think, and consciousness-raising ideas restructure the character or form of consciousness. Therefore, we can assume that consciousness is not the same for us throughout our life, but rather it changes according to the consciousness-raising ideas that we learn. With the above in mind, then, we can imagine that our ability for higher consciousness is limited only by our openness to new ideas. "The difference before and after enlightenment is in you-not reality. The limitation is in you-your consciousness-and when that limitation is transcended, you perceive existence differently, and therefore relate to it in a new way." (97) The author of proverbs 23:7 (KJV) agrees with this by stating "for as he thinkest in his heart [mind], so is he."
Gnostic Christians believe that if we awaken our highest potentials of consciousness, we will have acquired the ability to create the nature of our reality. To keep this in perspective, we can imagine that we have begun already to affect reality. For example, when pain leaves us after we take what we think is medicine, but is in fact a placebo, we can understand that our thoughts, rather than the medicine, affected our cure. The same holds true for modern technology that depends on mathematics that include negative numbers. Does a number of something that is less than nothing really substantiate our technology? Or have we affected the outcome of technology by creating the negative numbers technology requires? The point is that our thoughts may already be affecting the nature of reality. Jesus' Gnostic teachings give us the power to recreate reality because his teachings open to us a practical way to understand how we can affect our reality. As the Rishis say, "reality is unchanging. [Only our] perception of reality changes." (98)
Some may ask, "but how could our thoughts be considered the creative force behind reality if two individuals decided to affect reality in contradictory ways?" Gnostics would answer that this question applies only to our lower stages of consciousness. In Stages IV and V, we will have the potentials of both individual minds and oneness of mind. The ability to affect personal reality is within the individual mind, while the potential to affect that part of reality that we have in common is within our oneness of mind.
3. Stage IV encourages a new philosophy of medicine, in which most illnesses are considered psychosomatic. If we learn how to think in new ways about ourselves, we may well be able to cure ourselves, or, better yet, not create illness in the first place. Western medicine has its place, but we should not exclude the powerful medicine of a healthy attitude that Stage IV reasoning supports.
4. In Stage IV, religion will take on new roles because Jesus' Gnostic teachings overcome the basic premise upon which most religions rest. Let me explain. The underlying reason for the existence of religion is to provide us with a way to deal with evil. In Christianity, evil is attributed to original sin. In Islam, Eastern Christianity and Judaism, evil is attributed to an unexplained "impulse to evil". In new age thought, it is error consciousness. And in eastern religion, it is bad karma. Jesus' knowledge teachings however, reveal that our predisposition to evil exists because we use Plato's theory of nature as a basis for our systems of logic. In turn, it is that theory which creates our impulse to evil, bad karma, and erroneous thinking.
Jesus' theory, alongside Plato's, however, overcomes our impulse to evil by overcoming the inappropriate use of judgmental reasoning. This new reasoning fulfills the traditional role of religion, which is predicated on the idea that we need to be saved from our evil nature. By using both Jesus' and Plato's theories of nature, we can grow our consciousness beyond our historical predisposition to evil and add a godlike nonjudgmental dimension. This, in turn, makes dealing with evil unnecessary, because evil does not exist in Stage IV consciousness.
We can conclude that Jesus was not the messiah of Jewish prophesies of a savior to restore Israel, because Jesus was really the messiah for all mankind. His Gnostic/Messianic teachings can make every one of us a king or queen in the kingdom of heaven on earth that he promised-the glory of Stage V. Paul verifies this by saying "Jesus condemned sin in the flesh [reasoning mind], in order that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled " (Rm 8:3-4 rsv)
5. Jesus' Gnostic teachings solve the problem of evil in a world created by a loving God by revealing that we are by nature perfect creations. Evil enters the world because we have chosen to judge according to a single standard (henos anthropos); which in turn leads us to rationalize evil through judgmental reasoning. Jesus' Gnostic teachings teach that we are not naturally depraved, but rather that it is our own cultural affair with judging by a single standard that has deprived us of our natural inheritance of perfection-not any intention of a loving God.
6. Forgiveness is the prerequisite of unconditional love. In Stage IV of consciousness, forgiveness is natural. In lower stages of consciousness, forgiveness is a charitable act, which requires that we compromise our feelings.
In Stage IV, forgiveness is as natural as understanding that we cannot blame a caterpillar for not being a butterfly. Just as a caterpillar cannot be expected to fly, nor can we be angry at ourselves or others for doing things in lower stages of consciousness that would not be done in higher ones. Forgiveness in Stage IV, then, does not require us to compromise our feelings, but rather to understand that those who would do us harm do so only because the know no better. In effect, in Stage IV we distinguish between how one acts and the person. This empowers us to direct our feelings against the former and forgive the latter.
7. Stage IV of consciousness is a practical path to overcoming substance abuse. Alcohol and drugs is the escape hatch through which we avoid the agony of low self-esteem and internalized anger that underlies drug addiction.
Some can relieve the pain of low self-esteem through the belief in a higher power. But for those who can't believe, a second path exists. On this path, we recognize that low self-esteem and anger is the consequence of the frustration of trying to live a reality which is unnatural to our nature. Jesus' theory of nature is the key to understanding the frustration of trying to live a reality which is unnatural to our nature. His theory that humanity is a class that has more than one nature alerts us to the fact that what may be right for some, may be totally wrong for others.
Jesus' theory of nature demonstrates that there should be as many realities as there are different natures. Clichés like "get real," "abnormal," and even the term "reality" itself infers we accept that one reality fits everyone. This belief sets a trap of no escape for those who do not fit "reality," and leads some to try to escape it through drugs.
We can liken the plight of a hummingbird caught up in a bird world that thinks all birds have one nature, say that of a Capistrano swallow-to that of a person with an artistic and creative nature caught up in a world in which organization and conformity were considered the norm. For just as the hummingbird would think it should be like the swallow and get to the mission of Capistrano on time, the hummingbird would fail-and worse, never understand why. So would a free-spirited person caught up in a conservative world seldom feel successful and not know why. Not unless he realized his feelings were natural to him, even though not to what others consider "reality."
My point is that, not until we realize that low self-esteem and anger are the product of living in a reality (Stage II and III of consciousness) that does not recognize that humanity has more than one nature, we have no "logical" option to understand that what can be right for some can be totally wrong for others.
8. From the perspective of Stage IV of consciousness, the well-being of children would be the prime mover of politics. Historically, military spending, self-serving politicians and business leaders come before our children and over-crowded schools. In the higher consciousness that Jesus' Gnostic teachings provide, loving homes, equal opportunity, recognition of parents and communities, and other supportive measures would be seen as imperative to the well-being of children. The end result would be a world filled with loving people living at the highest of their potentials-insuring that following generations could do the same.
9. In Stage IV of consciousness, we would replace our representative form of government with a computer-managed town hall democracy. In this type of democracy, citizens could meet in local town halls, community centers, or cyberspace, to discuss the issues; then vote from the privacy of their own homes through computers. Aristotle said "man is a political animal." Modern technology makes it possible for each of us to participate directly in political discussions. In a computerized democracy, we would personally exercise our right to vote, not give politicians the right to vote for us.
Jesus' teachings about stages of consciousness empower us to better select public servants. When we understand reasoning relative to stages of consciousness, we would not stand idly by while demagogues took over the world. We would recognize such tyrants as "sick adults" stuck in the lowest stages of consciousness and would treat them accordingly-not support them.
10. Stage IV consciousness solves the problem of evil in a world created by a loving God. It explains that we are by nature perfect creations. Evil entered the perfect world because we chose to reason according to judgmental rules of logic based on the theory that every class has a single nature. Said another way, Jesus' Gnostic teachings reveal that we are not naturally depraved, but rather deprived, of our natural inheritance of perfection, because of our affair with judgmental reasoning, not because of any intention of our creator.
11. In Stage IV of consciousness, the well-being of children would be the prime mover of politics. Historically, military spending, self-serving politicians and business leaders came before our children and their over-crowded schools. In the higher consciousness that Jesus' Gnostic teachings provide, loving homes, equal opportunity, recognition of parents and communities, and other supportive measures would be seen as imperative to the well-being of children, and, therefore, would be a top political priority. The end result would be homes, communities, and a world in which all children would flourish.
12. In Stage IV, we would replace our representative form of government with a computer-managed town hall democracy. In this type of democracy, citizens could meet in local town halls, community centers, or cyberspace, to discuss the issues, and then vote from the privacy of their own homes through computers. Aristotle said, "Man is a political animal." Modern technology makes it possible for each of us to participate directly in political discussions. In a computerized democracy, politicians would organize, but not vote for us. As informed citizens, we would vote for ourselves.
13. Nationalism, in Stage IV, would not support selfish interests of individuals or corporations within a state. Rather, it would preserve the unique differences between states, and those differences would be celebrated and honored. Nationalism would no longer be an excuse for those of us in lower stages of consciousness to exploit others. Instead, each nation would consider itself the caretaker of the resources that nature bestowed on it. Nations would take pride in their ability to contribute what they possess. They would also consider themselves a showcase of their unique culture, rather than trying to impose their culture on others.
14. In Stage IV consciousness, life-affirming actions would become the natural actions. People would be motivated from within to actively participate in life-affirming enterprises because they would know that it was in their, as well as everyone's, best interest to do so. Work would become pleasure. (Mathew 6:31 - Do Not Worry About Tomorrow)
In industry, benefits of investing in only quality products would be huge. Everyone would have the best, safest, and most durable products because, in the end, quality is more life-affirming than "the bottom line". For example, in the automobile industry, it would be less expensive to build safe cars than to pay the liabilities incurred by driving unsafe vehicles, not to mention the costs of pain, suffering, and long-term disabilities.
If we invested only in life-affirming enterprises, we would no longer be threatened by human need. Only a small portion of the natural resources we now consume would be required to meet authentic human needs. Who really needs tanks and terrifying bombs, high-rise bank buildings, insurance companies, financial engineering, and all the roads, cars and workers needed to support them? Those workers could, instead, ease the burden of those engaged in enterprises beneficial to genuine human needs.
15. Nature, in Stage IV, would be considered a legal entity in the same sense as corporations are considered legal entities. As a legal entity, no one could exploit nature without due process, just as no one can exploit corporations. The role of private ownership of natural resources would change, from that of exploiter, to that of caretaker.
16. Overpopulation, in Stage IV, would not be a problem. It is well documented that population is inversely proportional to economic security. Families with the lowest, or no income, have more children than families who are financially secure. So, if everyone were financially secure, everyone would have fewer children, which would bring an end to overpopulation.
"It is estimated that if all world assets were equally divided, everyone would have $4 million dollars." (Leddy Hammock). And this does not even take into account that the air we breath and the water we drink are priceless.
17. In Stage IV of consciousness, love would take its rightful place as the motive force behind life. In the past, we were taught that that force was the survival of the fittest. We need to replace this outdated theory, as science has, with the kinship theory. In the kinship theory, the survival of the family gene is the motive force of life. In a practical sense, then, we can say that love is the motive force of life because love ensures the survival of humanity's family gene.
18. In Stage IV, it is clear that Aristotelian logic alone is not the context in which the reconciliation of conventional science and religion is possible. The either/or categories of Aristotelian logic are unable to make sense out of quantum phenomena or religion, but both make sense in nonjudgmental logic. Light can be both a wave and a particle, and we can be both human and God within nonjudgmental logic. The fact is that it is impossible to reconcile conventional science with religion because both exist in a different dimension of reality. Conventional science exists in the either/or dimension, and religion and quantum phenomena exist in the both/and dimension. From this perspective, the question changes from "how might we reconcile science and religion" to "why would we want to?" Each represents a different dimension of reality. And just as we accept the qualities of both apples and oranges as different examples of fruit, so can we accept the qualities of both science and religion as examples of different realities.
19. Stage IV in consciousness can be likened to that time in which the meanings behind parables become reality. When we interpret the bible in the consciousness of Stage IV, we can understand that biblical parables convey Jesus' knowledge teachings. In effect, parables are the intuitive foundations for a mature rational understanding of Stage IV. In John 16:25, Jesus himself says "I have been telling you all this in metaphors (parables) the hour is coming [Stage IV] when I will no longer speak to you in metaphors; but tell you about the Father [logic] in plain words."
We can, for example, intuitively understand the story of Adam and Eve as an accurate explanation of the birth of man, and subsequent evil. Or, we can rationally understand the story as a symbol of how the act of choosing the forbidden fruit gave birth to self-consciousness, and in turn, judgmental reasoning, which brought evil into the world. We can also think that the prophecies of Isaiah and Jeremiah, about God putting his logos within our hearts and minds, refer to the enlightenment that Jesus' knowledge teachings make possible in Stage IV.
Paul's belief that Jesus' ministry fulfilled prophecies, parables, and myths, about the logos entering into the hearts and minds of man, surfaces in Ephesians 1:18, when he says, "May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give you a spirit of wisdom and perception of what is revealed to bring you to full knowledge of him May he enlighten the eyes of your mind so that you can see what hope his call holds for you, what rich glories he has promised the saints [meaning those in Stage IV] will inherit."
Prophecies, myths, and parables, then, do have deeper meanings. Jesus' Gnostic teachings reveal the meanings that his parables convey intuitively. In Stages II and III, the feelings we get from those myths motivate us to act according to the intuitive meanings of the myths. In Stage IV, we develop an intellectual understanding of the meaning behind the myths. That understanding has consequences, because it empowers us to live our life in accordance with that understanding.
Stage IV consciousness understands that self-interest is better served when everyone has access to every advantage possible. In the both/and categories of Stage IV, we become one with others. In this I/thou relationship, we understand that as we serve others, we ourselves are compensated. Ralph Waldo Emerson knew this truth when he said, "it is one of the beautiful compensations of life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself." (99) .going to 1994A to 95.
Ralph Waldo Trine (1866-1936) wrote,
"True happiness must come, if it come at all, indirectly, or by service, the love and happiness we give to others life is not, we may say, for mere passing pleasure, but for the highest unfoldment that one can obtain to, the noblest character that one can grow and for the greatest service that one can render to all mankind. In this, we will find the greatest pleasure, for in this the only real pleasure lies. " (100)
America's first and foremost expert on near death experiences, Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, revealed the four cardinal values those having near death experiences conveyed to her. They are: one, serving and helping others; two, loving unconditionally; three, being all that one can be by developing all one's talents and capacities, abilities and special gifts; four, encouraging that same development in others; and, in so far as one is able, facilitate that development. (101)
As Paul put it in his letters to the Galatians 6:7, "whatsoever a man soweth, that also shall he reap." It would seem reasonable that morality would ultimately bring happiness. Conversely, it would seem reasonable that genuine happiness would be possible only for those who give of themselves to others. This does not mean being a doormat. Rather, it means enjoying our support of the growth and pleasures of others. Parenthood, working for the family, working at a meaningful job, planting a field of corn, or helping someone reach their goal exemplifies what I mean by giving of oneself.
The great scholar and humanitarian, Albert Schweitzer, was absolutely clear that happiness was inseparable from life-affirming acts.
"The purpose of human life is to serve and show Compassion and the will to help others." (102)
And Albert Einstein agreed:
"I don't know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve." (103)
The eighth insight of James Redfield's book, The Celestine Prophecy, concerns the energy of love. "Energizing others is the best thing we can do for ourselves. By appreciating others, and focusing our positive attention on them, we send them the energy of love and uplift them. The more that love flows to them, the more it flows to us. Thus by loving, we are loved; by giving love, we receive love. If we think of any experience in which we genuinely loved another, we will realize how we ourselves were empowered with love. The more we love, the more cosmic energy of love flows in us. The best thing that we can do for ourselves, therefore, is to love and appreciate others. The more energy of love we give to others, the more aware they become, and the more that awareness can help us gain insights and answers. "(104)
Like Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, Schweitzer, Einstein, and Redfield, Jesus taught that by serving others we serve ourselves. According to Jesus, for example, those who enter the Kingdom of God (Stage V) would be those who served others by giving "food drink" to others and by welcoming "strangers" and "clothing" the poor. For when you do this to the "least" of the brethren, Jesus said, "you did it to me." (Mt 25:35-46) "So always treat others as you would have them treat you, [said Jesus 7:12 for] that is the meaning of the law and of the prophets."
In Stage IV we know that the differences between self and others, God and man, sacred and profane, mundane and extraordinary are the result of thinking in categories of either/or. Being "reborn" in Stage IV means struggling constantly to harmonize these dichotomies in a way in which both are affirmed and neither is denied. Nonjudgmental logic affirms this harmony. Abraham Maslow found that self-actualizing persons possessed "a rare capacity to resolve value dichotomies." (105) In his book, Motivation and Personality, he writes:
"The age-old opposition between heart and head was seen to disappear where they become synergic rather than antagonistic. The dichotomy between selfishness and unselfishness disappears our subjects are simultaneously very spiritual and very pagan and sensual. Duty cannot be contrasted with pleasure nor work with play when duty is pleasure Similar findings have been reached for kindness- ruthlessness, concreteness-abstractness, acceptance-rebel-lion, self-society, adjustment-maladjustment , serious-humorous, dionysian-apollonian, introverted-extroverted, intense-casual, mystic-realistic, active-passive, masculine-feminine, lust-love, and eros-agape [all] coalesce into an orgasmic unity and into a non-Aristotelian inter- interpenetration and a thousand philosophical Dilemmas are discovered to have more than two horns, Or paradoxically, no horns at all. " (105)
Wherever thinking leads us into opposition and conflict, we need to rethink opposition in terms of categories of both/and. Hampton-Turner writes: "The capacity to hold finite and transcendence in balance distinguishes the growth of productive personality from the regression of the nonproductive. "(106)
In The Sane Society, Eric Fromm wrote,
"The necessity to find ever-new solutions for the contra-dictions in his existence, to find ever-higher forms of unity with nature, his fellow man and himself, is the source of all psychic forces which motivates man, all of his passions, affects and anxieties." (107)
In Stage IV the individual will be in harmony with his fellow man, nature and God. This is a person who is guided in his reasoning by an acceptance of human diversity and ability to reason in terms of nonjudgmental logic in which both alternatives of an either/or judgment can be affirmed. Such a person will be naturally loving, life-affirming, and balanced. This is a natural consequence of moral and rational development in Stage IV. It is either/or reasoning in lower stages of consciousness that robs us of our natural compassion and love. But that compassion reappears in Stages IV and V. When individuals in Stage IV form communities, a new civilization will be possible and heaven will become a practical reality right here on earth, just as Jesus promised it would.
Jesus' theory of nature can be seen as a consciousness-raising concept that admits us to Stage IV, because it establishes a foundation upon which we might build nonjudgmental systems of logic, language, and free will. By definition, parables are meaningless unless they have meaning. In Stages II and III, we have an intuitive understanding of parables. In Stage IV, we have a rational understanding, with a practical application to everyday life. This, in turn, brings into our field of consciousness an objective way to experience aspects of reality that Stages I through III consciousnesses cannot comprehend.
Stage V The Glory
Paul refers to Stage V as the "glory." In the glory, nonjudgmental reasoning will be universal because public and parochial schools will teach Jesus' theory of nature. Theologians of all persuasions will recognize that if our children learn to reason lovingly, they will live the love, peace and joy that religion preaches. Educators will teach Jesus' theory of nature because it is a natural principle that supports brotherly love. We have always known that love is the answer. Jesus' Gnostic teachings make love the rational thing to do.
In Stage V, all will have learned to reason lovingly. We will no longer think it reasonable to look out for ourselves as others suffer. We will see ourselves as one with all others, and therefore treat others as ourselves. This is the key that fulfills Jesus' promise that "thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." This ushers in the Kingdom of God-the glory of Stage V.
In Paul's five stage model of consciousness, Stage V, the glory, begins when every adult reaches his or her highest stage of consciousness. Stage V will never end. Just as the ending of later interpretations of the Lord's Prayer suggests, it will go on "forever".
The consciousness-raising idea that initiates Stage V is the knowledge, gained through the understanding of Jesus' theory of nature, that all are one. When all realize that all are one, the whole world will work towards the good of all, because everyone will see themselves in all others, and therefore, it will no longer be necessary to have institutions of any kind that are meant to protect us and our property from others. All will be one and supportive of the others. This will be the new civilization in the third millennium.
"When the Christian philosopher, Justine, wrote he boosted that they [Gnostic Christians] were people who had completely changed their attitudes we, who used to take pleasure in immorality, now embrace chastity [meaning refraining from practices of Roman culture] alone; we who valued above everything else the acquisition of wealth and possessions, now bring what we have into common ownership, and share with those in need; we, who hated and destroyed one another, refusing to live with those of a different race, now live intimately with them". (108)
In Stage V, the glorified (perfected) live the "good life" as Paul in Ephesians 2:10 said God intends us to do. No one can say exactly what living in the glory, or Kingdom of God, will be, any more than anyone in Stage III can describe living in Stage IV. But we can imagine and experience it through the intuitive knowledge that poetry and metaphors inspire. The beautiful images of the glory as 'green pastures 'still waters' 'paths of righteousness,' in Psalms 23:2, a time when all will "beat their swords into plowshares, and spears into pruning hooks; (and) nations shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore, IS 2:4B," and "the Promised Land," intuitively inspire visions of what the glory will be. In John 1:50, John writes that Jesus said, "We shall do greater things than he." Other New Testament authors define the glory as, "doing on earth as it is in heaven," "enjoying the freedom and glory as children of God" (Romans, 8:21), "The Kingdom of God" (14-17), "crown of glory," (First Peter 5:4), "partakers of the glory" (5:31), "holy temple" (Ephesians 2:21), "glory and dominion" (Hebrews 4:11), "throne of grace" (4:16), "assembly of first born" (12:23), and "kingdom that cannot be shaken" (12:28).
Our world is in crisis because our egos in Stages II and III have been misguided by poor reasoning and misdirected toward self-serving activities instead of service to others. Like the Prodigal Son who has left his Father's house, we are wandering aimlessly in the world, wasting our fortunes. But we are also evolving and growing. If we missed the mark in the past, we can be redeemed through a renewed mind and renewed reasoning.
Where we have built our personal and social lives on the quicksand of either/or thinking, in Stages II and III, we need to reconstruct them on the bedrock of love and oneness. Just as we cannot build a house without the proper tools, so too we cannot build abundant lives without the proper reasoning. The tools of Aristotelian logic have not served us well. The tools of nonjudgmental logic will help us build a world, which is home to everyone.
When we reason in ways which justify unkind and unloving actions, we are like a mathematician whose calculator has a broken function key. No matter how carefully we perform on a broken calculator, we are likely to get the wrong answer. Similarly, no matter how logical or reasonable our thinking is, if that thinking is based on a broken logic, we will be led astray in our conclusions. When reasoning about human affairs, we need to lay aside Aristotle's either/or logic and substitute the both/and reasoning of nonjudgmental logic.
Why have we believed that it is reasonable to act in ways which are immoral? Thomas Paine wrote "a man's moral condition is utterly hopeless as long as he believes he is virtuous when he is not." (109) Why has no one pointed out that to act in immoral ways is irrational? The answer is that, without nonjudgmental logic, it seemed rational to do immoral acts. What seemed practical, from the point of reason, conflicted with what we knew in our hearts was right. Now, with nonjudgmental logic, we know that it is neither rational nor logical to do what is immoral. In fact, quite the contrary is true. It is irrational and illogical.
Love is the answer to our moral crisis, society's problems, world conflict and wars between nations. Love has always been known to be the answer! But without nonjudgmental logic and its three laws, love was never the rational answer. In Stage IV it is. To be loving makes rational sense. Now love is the logical answer, too.
A kingdom of heaven on earth is impossible without a kingdom of heaven in our hearts and minds. Love resides naturally in our hearts; but we need to give our minds the laws of reasoning, which will enable everyone's heart and head to join in the harmony of love in Stage V.
Five Stages of Consciousness In Paul's Writings
Having explored the characteristics of five stages of consciousness, let us now look at biblical examples of Paul's model.
In his letters to the Ephesians (2:1-6), Paul writes, "and you were dead [living barren lives in Stage I] We [Jews] were among them [the dead of Stage I] too in the past but God loved us with so much love He was generous with his mercy [and] made Israel in His image [rational-Stage II]. He brought us to life [gave us a conscience-Stage III] and raised us up [made us righteous-Stage IV] with Christ and gave us a place with Him in heaven"[meaning the glory of Stage V]." (2:6E)
In Ephesians 2:11-17, Paul adapts the idea of the free gift of reconciliation in the context of five stages of consciousness.
"2-11. Do not forget, then that there was a time when you [Gentiles] were excluded from membership from Israel, aliens have no part in the covenant with their promise; you were immersed in this world without hope and without God.[Stage I] But now you have been brought close by the blood of Christ, [meaning the essence of the Christ message] for he is the peace between us and has made the two of us into one and has broken down the barrier which used to keep them [Jew and Gentile] apart [He broke down the barriers between us through the nonjudgmental reasoning he created through his theory of] one single new man [henos anthropos]" .Paul then concludes "so you [Gentiles] are no longer aliens or foreign visitors: You are citizens like all the saints and part of God's household. [Stage IV] all grow into one holy temple in the Lord. [Stage V]." Ephesians 2: 19-21.
Some final examples of Paul's use of five stages of consciousness as a format of his letters surfaces in Romans 3:20-33.
"No one can be justified [raised to Stage IV] in sight of God by keeping the law: All the law does is tell us [in Stage II and III] what is sinful So what becomes of our boasts [about Moses' laws, someone asks?] There is no room for it, [Paul answers] for it merely regulates behavior. What sort of law excludes them The sort of law that tells us what to do [but does not explain why we should do it]? On the contrary, it [Jesus' knowledge teachings] is the law of faith [meaning inward understanding] As we [Paul and Gnostic followers] see it, a man is justified [reaches Stage IV] by faith [meaning his own understanding] and not by doing something the law tells him to do Do we mean that faith [again, meaning our understanding] makes the law pointless? Not at all: We [Gnostics] are giving the law its true value. [We commend the law for achieving its goal, protecting people from one another until God puts his law within their own minds just as Jeremiah says he will."
It is apparent that Paul is having trouble convincing his Jewish listeners that he is not ridiculing Moses' law, when he says that these laws are not necessary. On the contrary, he means that Moses' laws have done their job and it is now time to reap the rewards-the new covenant God promised Israel-the glory of Stage V. Paul tries to explain by showing how the biblical stories about the foreknown (Stage I), Abraham (Stage II), and Moses (Stage III) document his claim that mankind has been evolving through stages of consciousness, and Jesus' teachings apply to those in Stage IV. Here we no longer need external laws because we have internalized the laws and have therefore become of the same mind as the principle behind the laws of religious institutions. [I hope religious people will recognize this truth today. Earth cannot afford another two thousand years of judgmental reasoning.]
Paul again argues this in Romans 2:13-15, when he says, "it is not listening to the law but keeping it that will make people holy in the sight of God. For instance, pagans who never heard of the law, but are led by reason to do what the law commands, may not actually 'possess' the law, but they can be said to 'be' the law. They can point to the substance of the law engraved on their hearts."
What Paul had written in the above passage is illustrated by him in the Old Testament story of the one-sided covenant between Abraham and Yahweh, in which Abraham's child-like submission was traded for Yahweh's promise to take care of each and every Jew. This story illustrates parental-like benevolence rather than mutual benefit.
Romans 4:1-3. "If Abraham was justified as a reward for doing something he would really have something to boast about, though not in God's sight, because Scripture says; 'Abraham put his faith [from the old Testament word meaning here mere trust] and this [childlike trust] faith [rather than actions] was considered [by God] as justifying him.'"
Paul is pointing out that the covenant between Abraham and Yahweh can be seen as one-sided in favor of Abraham since Abraham's contribution to the bargain was little more than blind trust. This one-sided bargain indicates that Yahweh was dealing with Abraham as if he were a child, an approach, which Paul argued, illustrated that the era in which Abraham lived was set apart from following eras by its childlike (Stage II) thinking.
In Romans 7:1-84, Paul addresses the problem of the purpose of the law, if the law did not eliminate suffering, after it was given to Moses (the beginning of Stage III). The Jews, Paul's audience, complained that they did not seem to fare any better with the law (Stage III) than they did without it (Stage II). Paul explains that before the law (Stage II), God loved Israel as a father loves his child (Romans 4:1-31). But, under the law, God guides Israel from a distance, which allows Israel to learn self-reliance. In practice, living under the law is a step up from the childhood dependence of Stages I and II, into the more responsible level of consciousness expected of mature people (Stage III). This is a timely answer because living under the law is a threshold to having the law within. (Stage IV).
Paul might have quoted Jeremiah 31:33 to support his claim that Jesus fulfilled the law by putting it within us, not by rejecting it.
"See, the days are coming-it is Yahweh who speaks-when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel (and the house of Judah,) but not a covenant like the one I made with their ancestors on the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. They broke that covenant of mine, so I had to show them who was the master [by making their lives hard]. It is Yahweh who speaks. No this is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel when those days arrive, [Stage IV]-it is Yahweh who speaks-Deep within them I will plant my law [logos,] writing it on their hearts [mind/ego self] then I will be their God and they shall be my people. There will be no further need for neighbor to try to teach neighbor, brother to say brother 'Learn to know Yahweh!'. No, they will all know me [from within], the least no less than the greatest-it is Yahweh who speaks-since I will forgive their inequity and never call their sin [selfish reasoning] to mind."
In Romans 7:1-5, Paul now approaches a subject which has been on his mind for some time: "The emancipation of [the Jew and later] the Gentiles from the law [which is equivalent to saying, breaking the covenant of the law] (Note:7, 1A)." Even though Paul is teaching that the law has fulfilled its duty, many listeners still think he is criticizing the law or even asking them to reject it, which would be blasphemous. To Jews, giving up the law would be like giving up their way of life.
Paul supports his argument by saying that although it was uncomfortable to imagine setting aside Moses' covenant (Stage III); it was permissible on the same grounds as a widow is free to remarry.
"A married woman for instance, has a legal obligation to her husband while he is alive, but all these obligations come to an end if her husband dies that is why you, my brothers, who through the body [or consciousness] of Christ are now dead to external laws because Jesus' teachings put the law within you You can now give yourselves to another husband [covenant] We are now [meaning in Stage IV] rid of the external law [because we] serve [God] in a new spiritual way [meaning from within our own sense of reason.] Page 82
Paul then explains the purpose of the law: Romans 7:7"Does it not follow that the law itself is sin? Of course not, [Paul answers]. What I mean is that I should not have known what sin was except for the law. I should not, for instance, have known what it means to covet, if the Lord had not said, "You shall not covet." But it was His commandment that sin took advantage of to produce all sorts of covetness in me, for where there is no law, [Stage II] sin is dead. [Because we have no sense of wrong until there are laws against it...] The law that forbids them [immoral acts] cannot prevent them: Indeed they seem to thrive on prohibition. We may say that without the law sin could not exist." 46
The above biblical passages exemplify how Paul used five stages in the development of consciousness as a context for his teachings.
In review, Paul's model of five stages of consciousness begins in the prehistoric past when creation breathes life into man. In his first stage, man, the foreknown, is driven by his instincts. Stage II, which Paul defines as those in the image of God, begins with self or self-consciousness. Self-consciousness adds a rational dimension to consciousness because the idea of self provides a center to which all rational thoughts relate. According to Paul, Stage II began when Adam-here meaning rational man-first discovered his capacity to make choices and subsequently, his capacity to reason. For Paul, Stage II ended when Moses gave the law to Israel. (Stage II's form of consciousness is defined by Paul as lawless and worldly. Gnostics use terms such as the "hylic stage", meaning, "immersed in materialism".) (110)
"The called" (Stage III) begins when Moses gives the law to Israel and ends when Jesus reveals the cause of evil. The consciousness-raising idea that admits us to Stage III is the concept of written laws. Paul refers to those in Stage III as The called, for it is in this stage of consciousness that the law awakens in us, our moral consciousness, which forever calls us to do good.
Paul also uses the term double-minded men (JM 1:6-7 KJV) to exemplify Stage III individuals "who waveith like a wave [and are] unstable in all his ways." In Stage III, we are called to do good by our conscience, but too often, rationalize away our good intentions. Gnostics use the term "psychic" for this stage and consider it a "stage of conversion" (110)
Stage IV of consciousness, the righteous, begins when Jesus reveals that judgmental reasoning is the consequence of the prevailing theory of nature. He provides a remedy, an additional theory of nature that creates the foundation for nonjudgmental processes of reasoning. Nonjudgmental reasoning reforms consciousness because it empowers the understanding of reality in an entirely new way. In effect, the knowledge of a misused theory of nature and a new theory of nature is the consciousness-raising idea that admits us to Stage IV's form of consciousness and its hallmark-enlightenment.
Hearing and comprehending Jesus' theory of nature initiates a revolution of consciousness that can be thought of as the second coming of Jesus. For even though we are not hearing about Jesus' theory of nature from him in person, we might imagine that if we understand his thoughts, and feel his love through his teachings, it is reasonable to think that he is within us, and therefore, is with us again.
Stage V in Paul's five stage model of consciousness, the glory, will begin when every adult reaches his or her highest state of consciousness. Actually, civilized man has been stuck in the lower three stages since Moses, about 800BC. The knowledge that Jesus revealed about the prevailing theory of nature, and his new theory, frees us to move forward into the nonjudgmental realm of Stage V consciousness.
In Stage V, we see ourselves as one with others and the world. We are like elements in the formula of life-without the notion of a difference between life and ourselves. For in Stage V, the notion of separation, propagated by judgmental either/or reasoning, completely gives way to the feeling of oneness, supported by unconditional both/and reasoning. In both/and reasoning, we are both elements in life, and life itself-we are one.
The momentous understanding in Gnostic Christianity's model of consciousness is that it allows for changes in the nature of consciousness/ego. Most religious doctrines assume that the ego is hopelessly trapped in a nature of sin or bad karma. But, Gnosticism teaches that sin and bad karma are a consequence of the ego-self in the first three stages of consciousness, caught up in judgmental reasoning that is justified by the prevailing theory of nature. In our highest levels of consciousness, Stages IV and V, or call it enlightenment, that same ego has grown beyond sin and bad karma through Jesus' knowledge teachings and the new form of nonjudgmental reasoning that it justifies. Gnostics teach that enlightenment is not a "dazzling display of psychic phenomena or paranormal powers, nor is it a vision that transports one to a high celestial realm. It is not sitting immobile in trance while experiencing an inner world of fascinating colors and sounds or alternatively, a complete blankness of mind. Enlightenment can include that, but it also infinitely transcends all that." (111).
Enlight enment is a state of being, in which the mind, body, and spirit are in harmony, with the nonjudgmental energy of God's love. We awaken to that harmony with Jesus' theory of nature. As an anonymous Gnostic once said, "as I awoke, I remembered, I was the son/daughter of the king."
The Buddha also taught that enlightenment is normal, not a psychic phenomenon or supernatural experience. When he was asked, for example, "Are you an angel?", his reply was "No." "What are you then?" The Buddha simply replied, "I am awake."
Copyright © February 2, 2001, William C. Kiefert