Kent Myers’ Paper Proposal

Recovered Consciousness as a Basis for Global Order: An Appreciation of Louis Herman’s “Future Primal”

Many observers agree that worldwide humanity is on a path that sows disorder, potentially disrupting nature and civilization. Incentives can be found for various political and technical fixes, but this may not be enough. Louis Herman gathers many overlooked sources to argue that the defect leading to disorder can be located in human consciousness. He asserts that better consciousness existed in the past and that its recovery can create the necessary order.

San Bushmen have a consciousness that was common during pre-history. Some of its essential features are ecstatic, spiritual experiences; immersion in wilderness; and intimate, egalitarian culture. The individual is oriented to an open-ended truth quest without any fixed ideology. Traditional rituals and symbols advance and do not limit the individual’s quest. Herman argues that the truth quest within a supportive setting fulfills human purposes and heals our relationship with nature.

Herman claims that the truth quest can be sustained in other settings. His survey of modern attempts is sobering, however. The Israeli Kibbutz achieved many elements but, ironically, lacked an adequate spiritual dimension that could bridge generations. In our paper we dwell on these questions: whether any version of the truth quest is possible to sustain in the modern environment, how it might come about, and whether it can scale beyond intentional communities.

Regardless of how these questions are answered, Herman illuminates a massive issue for global sustainability, which is the reintegration of human consciousness with nature at a depth beyond mere marketplace corrections. For cybernetics, Herman’s work is a very approachable review of overlooked knowledge of how humans fit or fail to fit within material and non-material existence.

(traditions: consciousness, anthropology — fields in the form aren’t working)

Cybernetic traditions:

  • 6) Family therapy; anthropology
  • 8) Neurobiology; consciousness studies

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.