Addressing a key issue related to human nature, this book argues that the first-person experience of pure consciousness may soon be under threat from posthuman biotechnology. In exploiting the mind’s capacity for instrumental behavior, posthumanists seek to extend human experience by physically projecting the mind outward through the continuity of thought and the material world, as through telepresence and other forms of prosthetic enhancements. Posthumanism envisions a biology/machine symbiosis that will promote this extension, arguably at the expense of the natural tendency of the mind to move toward pure consciousness. As each chapter of this book contends, by forcibly overextending and thus jeopardizing the neurophysiology of consciousness, the posthuman condition could in the long term undermine human nature, defined as the effortless capacity for transcending the mind’s conceptual content. Presented here for the first time, the essential argument of this book is more than a warning; it gives a direction: far better to practice patience and develop pure consciousness and evolve into a higher human being than to fall prey to the Faustian temptations of biotechnological power. As argued throughout the book, each person must choose for him or herself between the technological extension of physical experience through mind, body and world on the one hand, and the natural powers of human consciousness on the other as a means to realize their ultimate vision.
Consciousness and the Posthuman
William S. Haney II
William S. Haney II
In his book Archaeologies of the Future: The Desire Called Utopia and Other Science Fictions (2007), Fredric Jameson analyzes the multiple components of utopia and the possibility of achieving utopia in the near future. As this book argues, however, human civilization will never achieve utopia unless humans reach a state of pure consciousness in which they will use their full mental potential and avoid making blunders in life that would undermine the possibility of a utopia. This book develops a non-teleological, comparative poetics between Western and Sanskrit literary traditions by analyzing their opposing theories of language, consciousness and meaning. This comparison seeks to demonstrate the complementary nature of their two perspectives: the objective, conceptual emphasis of contemporary Western theory; and the subjective experiential emphasis of Sanskrit poetics. The potential contribution to the West of Indian culture in general, and Sanskrit poetics in particular, centers on the phenomenon of direct experience. Without the direct experience of pure consciousness, humans will not achieve a state of utopia because they will remain entangled in materialism without access to idealism or spiritualism available only through the direct experience of the unity of pure consciousness or the void of conceptions.
Culture, Consciousness and Identity
William S. Haney II
Integral Drama critically explores modern drama in the context of Indian aesthetics described in the Natyashastra and the vast, new interdisciplinary field of consciousness studies. It also focuses on how Indian theatre aesthetics has influenced modern drama theories and practice, and the extent to which this has promoted the development of higher consciousness in actors and audience. According to Indian aesthetics, rasa or aesthetic rapture is refers to bliss innate in the Self that manifests even in the absence of external sources of happiness. Overall, this book explores the relation between modern theatre and higher states of mind and demonstrates that one of the key purposes of theatre is to help the spectator experience the pure consciousness event described in consciousness studies by theorists such as Anna Bonshek, Ken Wilber, Robert K. C. Forman, Jonathan Shear, Daniel Meyer-Dinkgräfe, Ralph Yarrow and others. Integral Drama will appeal not only to drama theorists but also to teachers and students of acting, as well as an educated general audience interested in understanding the aesthetic experience of theatre. Integral Drama, moreover, can be used as a textbook for acting and drama theory classes and would also appeal to university and public libraries. The book serves as a bridge between the ideas and experiences long understood through Indian philosophy and the many questions raised by modern theatre studies.