The Concept Of Consciousness In Civilization

Consciousness is the quality which emerges into the objective content as the result of the conjunction of a fact and a supposition about the fact. It means that it is the quality inherent in the contrast between Actuality and Ideality, that is, between the products of the physical pole and the mental pole in experience, then consciousness is there merely in origin, as a hidden capacity. So far as the contrast is well-defined and prominent, the occasion includes a developed consciousness. That portion of experience exposed by consciousness is only a selection. Therefore, consciousness is a mode of attention. It provides the extreme of selective emphasis.

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Consciousness is the weapon which strengthen the artificiality of an occasion of experience because it raises the importance of the final Appearance relatively to that of the initial Reality. Hence, it is the appearance which in consciousness is clear and distinct, and it is Reality which lies dimly in the background with its detail hardly to be distinguished in consciousness. What leaps into conscious attention is a mass of presupposition about Reality rather than the intuitions of Reality itself. It is here that the liability to error arises. The deliverance of clear and distinct consciousness require criticism by reference to elements in experience which neither clear nor distinct Art is required to evoke into consciousness the finite perfections which lie ready for human achievement. Consciousness itself is the product of art in its lowliest form. For it result from the arrival of ideality into its contrast with reality, with the purpose of reshaping the latter into a limited, select appearance. But consciousness having emerged from Art at once produces the new specialized art of the conscious animals- in particular human art. In a sense of art is a gloomy overgrowth of functions which lie deep in nature. It is the essence of art to be artificial. But it is its perfection to return to nature, remaining art. In short art is the education of nature. Thus, in its broadest sense, art is civilization. For civilization is nothing other than the unremitting aim at the major perfections of harmony.

The human body is an instrument for the production of art in the life of the human soul. It concentrates upon those elements in human experience selected for conscious perception intensities of subjective form derived from components dismissed into shadow. It thereby enhances the value of that appearance which is the subject- matter for art. In this way the work of art is a message from the Unseen. It unlooses depths of feeling from behind the frontier where precision of consciousness fails. The starting-point for the highly developed human art is thus to be sought amid the cravings generated by the physiological functioning of the body. The origin of art lies in the craving for re-enaction. In some mode of repetition, we need by our personal actions, or perceptions, to dramatize the past and the future, so as to re-live the emotional life of ourselves, and of our ancestors.

11 February 2020

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