Consciousness, simply put, is multi-leveled awareness of the four dimensional nature of the world that surrounds and permeates us. Consciousness always contains a degree of Self-consciousness. Consciousness and self-consciousness reach various levels of resolution, i.e., accuracy of perception and understanding, in direct relation to both the complexity and the specific organization of biosocial organisms.
A critical element of consciousness is the implicit or explicit recognition that without human survival there are no human values. We will present the case for recognizing, as the first step in this necessary revolution, that a Universal Value is intrinsic to all life forms. We define this primary value as survival-with-an-ever-greater-adaptive-and-creative-intelligence. This is distinctly different from the historically-accepted core value of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Our new, evolutionary goal involves the recognition of a particular kind of ongoing learning process.
Secondly, this Universal Ideal will have to be consciously recognized as our central organizing principle. This applies at every level of human organization from the individual to the whole species. It has far reaching consequences for the processes and rules by which we live, and for all our sciences and governing institutions, both secular and religious, that so strongly influence our lives.
A third component in this revolution is a recognition, backed by genetic evidence, that all presently living human beings evolved from a small community of humans that lived in northeast Africa about 50,000 to 70,000 years ago. In essence, this means that we are all descendants of the same community, or to use a common metaphor, of the same family.
A fourth critical element in this consciousness revolution is recognition that the ultimate Ideals of secular spiritualism and faith-based spiritualism are essentially identical. (We will explain this in more detail in subsequent chapters.) They differ primarily in their methods of pursuing their Ideals, and even these are converging.
When people speak of consciousness they may be referring to the contents of consciousness or to the process of consciousness—or both.
Fifthly, perception, attention, and memory are critical process elements of consciousness that we must address as we continue to search for ways to improve them. As an aside, one of our mentors, Karl Pribram, jokingly referred to the Feature Creatures and the Frequency Freaks as a way of making fun of colleagues who gave excessive importance to either the recognition of perceived and remembered physical patterns or the frequencies of brain waves. Nor did he like reference to “the mind” as if it were something apart from the marvelous intricacy of the holistic brain-body-environment interactions. Hopefully, he will not object to our own efforts to simplify for the sake of brevity. We will attempt to maintain a focus on the holistic nature of this proposed revolution in both personal and mass consciousness.