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List of Figures and Tables Foreword xv Robert A. F. Thurman Preface xix Helmut Wautischer Introduction xxi Stanley Krippner I 1 2 3 4


Expanding the Ontological Matrix

1 5

The Emptying of Ontology: The Tibetan Tantric View E Richard Sorenson The Soul and Communication between Souls Edith L. B. Turner 79

Consciousness and Reality in Nahua Thought in the Era of the Conquest James Mafe


Pre-Columbian Artistic Expressions of Indigenous Concepts of Soul in CrossCultural Perspective 127 Armand J. Labbe Why One Is Not Another: The Brain-Mind Problem in Byzantine Culture Antoine Courban Soul and Paideia: On the Philosophical Value of a Dialectical Relation Michael Polemis 163 193

5 6



II 7 8

Localizing Subjective Action

205 209

Language and the Evolution of the Human Mind Hubert Markl

Consciousness Cannot Be Explained in Terms of Specic Neuronal Types and Circumscribed Neuronal Networks 231 Mircea Steriade Consciousness as a Relation between Material Bodies Pavel B. Ivanov 241

9 10

The Priority of Local Observation and Local Interpretation in Evaluating the Spirit Hypothesis 273 David J. Hufford Effects of Relativistic Motions in the Brain and Their Physiological Relevance 313 Mariela Szirko A Palindrome: Conscious Living Creatures as Instruments of Nature; Nature as an Instrument of Conscious Living Creatures 359 Mario Crocco Experience of Existence 395 399



III 13 14 15

The Evolution of Consciousness in Sri Aurobindos Cosmopsychology Matthijs Cornelissen An Existentialist Understanding of Consciousness Julia Watkin 429

Toward an Ontology of Consciousness with Nicolai Hartmann and Hans Jonas 449 Karim Akerma Thinking Like a Stone: Learning from the Zen Rock Garden Graham Parkes 475

16 17

The Concept of Person in African Thought: A Dialogue between African and Western Philosophies 507 Heinz Kimmerle Of Indian God-Men and Miracle-Makers: The Case of Sathya Sai Baba Erlendur Haraldsson 525





Sentient Intelligence: Consciousness and Knowing in the Philosophy of Xavier Zubiri 549 Thomas B. Fowler Ontology of Consciousness: Reections on Human Nature Thomas Szasz 575


Epilogue 587 Christian de Quincey Contributors Index 605 593

Figures and Tables

Figure 1.1 Figure 1.2a Figure 1.2b Figure 1.3 Figure 1.4 Figure 1.5 Figure 1.6 Figure 1.7 Figure 1.8 Table 1.1 Figure 1.9a Figure 1.9b Figure 1.10a Figure 1.10b Figure 1.11 Figure 1.12 Figure 1.13 Figure 1.14

Young Tibetan novices Novice memorizes his particular studies while subconsciously harmonizing A senior monk harmonizes the evocative power of a Tantric ritual Debating aggregation at Gaden Monastery Reasoned challenges are athletically considered on rational merits, not rank Young novice awed by the sounds of a Tantric ritual Heruka Tantric practice includes iconographic diagrams Choreographic representation of the inescapability of death Elder monk concentrates on the nonverbal aspects of consciousness Eighty obstructive states of consciousness Ancient statue of Mahakala Ancient statue of Avalokiteswara reveals calm joyousness Heruka unites with Vajrayogini Guhyasamaja registers fervor during consort practice A rope hammock attracts excited conjoint exploration by novices Conjoint sleeping by young novices Novices raptly harmonize into a Tantric ritual Participation in Tantric ritual by young Tibetan novices inspires others

6 7 7 8 9 22 26 27 28 31 36 36 38 39 47 50 52 53


Figures and Tables

Figure 1.15a Figure 1.15b Figure 1.15c Figure 1.15d Figure 1.15e Figure 1.15f Figure 3.1 Figure 3.2 Figure 4.1 Figure 4.2 Figure 4.3 Figure 4.4 Figures 4.5ab Figures 4.6ab Figure 4.7 Figures 4.8ab Figure 4.9 Figure 4.10 Figure 4.11 Figure 4.12 Figure 4.13 Figure 4.14 Figure 4.15 Figure 4.16 Figures 4.17ab Figure 4.18 Figure 4.19 Figure 4.20 Figure 4.21 Figure 4.22

Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Abbot of Schechan Tantric Monastery Losang Thinley Khensur, Abbot of Gyumed Tantric University Losang Tenzin Khensur, Gyumed Tantric University Losang Nawang Khensur, Abbot of Gyumed Tantric University Geshe Lharmpa Tashi Gyaltsen Chosang Phunrab, Sanskrit and Tibetan scholar Tlatilco funerary mask symbolizing duality Mixtec funerary mask symbolizing duality Shaman with conical hat: trance theme Shaman with white cape: trance theme Spirit bird: shaman-in-ight theme Ithyphallic horned gure holding rattles: empoweredshaman theme Horned gure: empowered-shaman theme Horned gure with drum: empowered-shaman theme Severed head with horn: soul-capture theme Seated horned gure: empowered-shaman theme Horned shaman strapped to bed Textile: empowered shaman with animal familiars Mummy mask: shaman with lightning tingunas Mummy mask: shaman with cat-headed tingunas Mummy mask: shaman with tingunas Mummy mask: empowered-shaman gure Mummy mask: shaman with human-headed tingunas Mummy mask: shaman with serrated tingunas Shaman in trance and empowerment themes Drawing of the Gateway God at Tiwanaku Stirrup-spout vessel: winged-shaman-in-combat theme Pedestaled bowl: shaman in transformation and soul ight Drawing of a winged shaman rendered in Olmec style Drawing of transformed Olmec shaman

54 54 55 55 55 55 99 100 134 135 136 136 137 137 138 138 138 139 140 140 141 141 141 141 142 143 144 146 147 149

Figures and Tables


Figure 4.23 Figure 4.24 Figures 4.25ab Figure 4.26 Figure 4.27 Figure 4.28 Figure 4.29 Figure 4.30 Figures 4.31ab Figures 4.32ab Figure 8.1a Figure 8.1b Figure 9.1 Figure 9.2 Figure 9.3 Figure 9.4 Figure 14.1 Figure 15.1 Figure 15.2 Figure 17.1 Figure 17.2 Figure 19.1 FIgure 19.2

Drawing of Olmec shaman in jaguar transformation Drawing of Olmec shaman in jaguar transformation Metate in the form of a jaguar Bowl referencing the three divisions of the shamanic universe Sculpture of fanged personage in menacing posture Sculpture of shamanic gure with alter ego Sculpture of fanged anthropomorphic personage Sculpture of fanged gure with felinelike alter ego Figural jar: shaman in avian transformation Double-spouted jar: polymorphic shaman in soul ight Responses of intrinsically bursting neuron Area 7 neuron in cat Hierarchy of activity Consciousness as the boundary of subject The scope of activity as an analog of meaning Dimensions of activity Kierkegaard at Gilleleie, 1835 The four ontological strata according to Hartmann Matter and consciousness belonging to one reality Community spirit in African life places the community above persons Consciousness of the Abaluya people includes a balance between person and community Three traditions of intellection that inuenced Zubiris Noology Sentient intelligence in Zubiris philosophy

149 149 150 151 152 152 153 153 154 159 236 237 259 260 261 263 434 451 462 512 519 556 561

Robert A. F. Thurman

There is nothing more immediate to human beings than the experience of their own Descartes even thought his subjective existence, res cogitans, was consciousness. Rene the one thing in the universe he could be absolutely certain about. Indian philosophers over several millennia thought they had found pure consciousness in an allpervasive, ultimate nature of the universe, and normal individual consciousness is most often found to be delusive. More recently, scientic research has focused on what was thought to be a necessary conclusion, namely, that consciousness is but an epiphenomenon of the brain, a deceptively subjective experience aggregated by material processes of an organic mechanism. Various religious philosophies speak of a nonmaterial soul, mind, or consciousness as the essence of a living being. Knowledge of the evolution of Western vocabularies gives insight from the rational beginnings of Western culture itself: for example the term animal emerged from the idea of possessing anima (Latin for soul). Modern scientists pride themselves on their impressive demonstrations of the actions of materials, but they tend to leave aside the internally experiential nature of consciousness in favor of mapping the neural activity their instruments are able to detect and measure. They witness that awareness, just like atoms, dissolves under analysis, and hold with certainty the absence of soul as the essence (or nonessence) of a being. Consciousness may be all these things and more. As this collection of essays by Helmut Wautischer reveals, current scholarship has, up to now, fallen short by devoting too much of its efforts toward reducing awareness to materialistic components and mechanisms. The range of materials assembled herein goes much further and presents an extraordinarily rich and fascinating symposium on consciousness prepared by a diverse group of scholars, researchers, as well as social and natural scientists. They come from neuroscientic, biological, and anthropological backgrounds, and even Marxist materialism. A wide variety of humanistic perspectives are revealed: secularist, spiritual, and scientic. Yogic Hinduism and Tantric Buddhism can be found. There are arguments for evolutionary explanations of consciousness and arguments for entertaining spiritual perspectives. Studies of ancient and modern societies and ideologies from different


Robert A. F. Thurman

ethnographical and religious perspectives are included. By its breadth the volume rewards the diligent reader with exposure to an unusual agility and exibility of mind and, in synthesis of the materials provided, new vistas to consider. Whether approached scientically or philosophically, the study of consciousness to date has presented serious paradoxes: the materialistic approach is ultimately confronted with particles that surpass their own identiable properties, while a normative approach, when rigorously pursued, eventually outstrips laws governing individuation. The role of consciousness isas it always has beencrucial to comprehension of percipient action. There is a growing recognition that a fuller understanding of consciousness is needed if human life on earth is to remain viable. So far science is falling short of this need. At present it is unable even to demonstrate the existence of consciousness as an entity. Similarly philosophers nd it difcult to identify consciousness with a clear ontological status. Some scholars see it as an archaic concept (like magic, soul, or spirit). Thus it remains poorly understood, awaiting explanation via new modalities for experience and thought. How indeed shall we study something clearly obvious to all beings but which cannot be proved by the analytical methods currently at our disposal? Yet it cannot be rationally dismissed as an illegitimate object of study since its existence is so clearly evident to all who are conscious. Many proponents of consciousness studies try to oversimplifyfor example holding too rigidly to materialistic dictums or to mind-body dualism. Others simply deny the existence of nonmaterial entities. And there are those who insist that physical processes cannot have nonphysical components. And so on. There has been a general failure to recognize the foundations of Western terminology; for example, very few researchers on consciousness understand the basic meanings of such Greek concepts as physis, psyche, and so on. Likewise, oversimplied interpretations of nonwestern ethical and social thought do not attain true intellectual status, thus depriving us of the fuller knowledge base we now need regarding the nature of consciousnessa result of ethnocentric tendencies by scholars who believe their own culturally and historically evolved ideas of objectivity and rationality are universal. Changes proceed slowly in such fundamental things. Note that it has taken Western civilization several centuries of hard intellectual struggle to use the term world religions (i.e., religion as a plural concept). Similarly many secular scientists nd it difcult to use science in the plural, despite ample anthropological knowledge of cultural variations in cognition. This volume of essays presents a fascinating dialogue between philosophers, scientists, anthropologists, intellectual historians, and thinkers grounded in several spiritual traditions. The breadth of the collective dialogue challenges the reductionism of scientic materialism and pushes thinking toward incorporating seemingly nonphysical aspects in analyses of complex adaptive systems. By contextualizing core concepts from various disciplines and regions, this collection of essays is a unique resource for



those desiring to think past intellectual barriers posed by contemporary philosophy and sciencebarriers that have begun to threaten the future of our human species. The ancient Indian sage, Shantideva, remarked, When your bare feet are injured by stepping on sharp things, you have two choices: pave the entire earth with leather, or make yourself a pair of sandals. Consulting such wisdom traditions will help us develop a more sophisticated science and practice of mind by lessening our tendency to make the outer world conform to any particular culturally parochial mode of thinking and desire, and learning to direct the skills of localized percipient action. With great appreciation for this volumes participation in a critical enterprise, I recommend it and congratulate the editor and contributors. Robert A. F. Thurman Jey Tsong Khapa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies, Department of Religion, Columbia University, New York Editor-in-Chief, Treasury of the Buddhist Sciences


The dening traits of human experienceconsciousness, sentient action, and discoursehave traditionally developed along the trajectory pathways for knowledge provided by culture, religion, philosophy, and science. Such natural progression of knowledge presumably gives a kind of objectivity that anchors and validates itself. It is a well-grounded claim, but valid only up to a point, as a more careful assessment of percipient action will soon reveal that a desire for objectiable causation can be substantiated only in dened spaces. One only needs to take a close look at any cultures evolved cognitive patterns to see that its chains of causation are demonstrated by reference to its established cognitive entities. So whatever further truths get established thus have an element of parochialness. Such selection is not necessarily bad, since all viable systems will have valid experiential basis for their assertions. Likewise, percipient action proceeds tangentially to established belief. History shows us it can be a useful means to get out of disadvantageous cultural ruts. Nonetheless, at the level of physical causation, any interference with undened causation might trigger localizable action, but cannot account for action assessment of the undened other. Such action will manifest in micro- and macroscopic levels of reality, and in people of all sorts, including humans, plants, rocks, and even planets. Stipulating broad concepts of consciousness that extend their presumed properties to everything that exists is surely not helpful to touch directly on the down-to-earth particularities of a given percipient action. A productive approach is to consider eld variables that may inuence spontaneous action, and perhaps sentience itself. This requires attention to all percipient actions, including those spontaneous ones that at times generate paradigm shifts. At the level of humans, reective action manifests in a variety of experience that spans from self-centered personhood to degrees of relationship with whatever one can sense as other. For the human enterprise, such experience is the story of mankind. In its most barren manifestation, the Darwinian model can serve as suitable metaphor, but in a domain of sentient evolution there is no solace in conquest, since at the core of subtle awareness is ones realization of interconnectedness. This anthology presents in one volume a signicant selection of such experience: archaeological epistemology



derived from a collective record of human experience, together with a daring scientic map that unites theoretical rigor with the described practical skills. The ontological claim presented in this anthology will challenge the reader beyond his or her comfort zones, since when perceived in its liberating capacity, percipient action delivers objective knowledge to the generative potentiality of personal manifestation. Scientic methodologies, by denition, must allow for objectifying manipulation of the given research subject. It is no surprise that current theories of consciousness effectively assess what consciousness is not. Intentional alteration of a subjects behavior or its corresponding neurophysiological activity does not reveal the originating source of conscious agency. Consciousness research will require a similar methodological shift that is noted in anthropological research when participatory ethnographers merge with the cultures of their studies by going native. Similarly, consciousness research will benet from validating rst-person experience as an authentic and legitimately valid account of mentality. Undoubtedly there is a boom in consciousness studies with the steadily increasing number of researchers who do consciousness. It has become a trendy subject with most perplexing actors. There is also no doubt that any lofty metaphysics that originates in belief or faith has no place in science. Once we have come to a full realization of what it means that each and every one of us could be, in principle, no different from any pile of dirt, only then have we matured to accept the courage, full responsibility for, and beauty of reclaiming the ontology of existence. Building from the ashes of reason a foundation of wisdom that shines its irresistible presence through the ever-present vibration of being is a noble pursuit in the exploration of human consciousness. This anthology has been in the making for nearly ten years. I wish to express my thanks and gratitude to all authors for their perseverance with this task. Three of the , and Mircea Steriade, have passed away durcontributors, Julia Watkin, Armand Labbe ing the preparation of the book. I am grateful for their foresight and motivation to press toward the nal editing of their respective chapters. It was only months later that I understood some of their comments during the editorial dialogues. Thank you. Generous support was given by the Institute of Noetic Sciences who helped with a seed grant. Numerous readers and copyeditors have helped with ne-tuning the language of different writing styles into a coherent volume. Thanks to Anita Roseneld, Maitreya Hawthorne, Lisa A. Smith, Elizabeth Judd, Stephanie Levin, and Evelyn McKenna for their valuable help. My gratitude to Thomas E. Stone, Senior Editor at MIT Press, for his perseverance to endorse the project, to all the support staff at MIT Press, and to Suzanne Haddon for her artistic design of the book cover. Some copyright clearance was needed for portions of chapters 8, 13, 16, and 17, and full credits are given in the Notes sections. Here is a toast to friends and colleagues who care to touch with truthful communication, in an unending desire for continuous delight in the creation of mindful spontaneous presence.

Stanley Krippner

William James (1958), the rst U.S. psychologist of eminence, held that normal waking consciousness is only one special type of consciousness, and that parted from it by the lmiest of screens different forms exist that forbid a premature closing of our accounts with reality (p. 298). After a half century of ignoring the issues raised by James regarding the topic of consciousness, psychologists began to pay attention to such fundamental questions as the denition of consciousness, the components of conscious experience, and the mechanisms of consciousness. One investigator, Thomas Natsoulas (1992), found six different dictionary denitions of consciousness (namely, the interpersonal meaning, the personal meaning, the awareness meaning, the reective meaning, the unitive meaning, and the general state meaning). Another investigator, Imants Baruss, read the pertinent literature and identied six meanings of the term (i.e., the characteristic of an organism that entails processing information and acting on it, the explicit knowledge of ones situation, subjective awareness, intentionality, ones sense of personal existence, and ones participation in a shared plan). In other words, there is no consensus on the denition of the word consciousness, but those who use the term speak of a pattern or mosaic of a living organisms perceptual, cognitive, and emotional processessome of which occur while the organism is fully aware and some of which take place while one is unaware of the environment (e.g., when one is asleep or in a coma) or in so-called altered states of consciousness (e.g., dreaming and meditation). These altered (or alternative) states have their own peculiar subsystems, including the presence or absence of such functions as memory, attention, awareness (of the internal and/or the external environment), sense of identity, input processing, unconscious processing, affect, sense of space and time, evaluation, decision making, motor output, moral judgment, and intuition. Since the resurgence of interest in the topic, and mostly due to improved empirical ndings in brain research, psychoneuroimmunology, and the neurosciences, the subject matter of consciousness has sparked numerous theories about its nature and mechanisms. In many spiritual traditions, consciousness is tied to the ancient notion of the soul, some indigenous societies believing that each person had more than one.


Stanley Krippner

Neuroscience discarded the soul decades ago, hoping that they could design a theory of everything, perhaps with the cooperation of quantum physicists. Such a theory would generate models that explore the physical connections between neurons, holding that consciousness is rooted in these connections. Consciousness, therefore, becomes an emergent property of the brain, similar to the wetness of water and the transparency of glass. The philosopher David Chalmers is not so sure. For him the hard problem in consciousness studies is subjective experience, and this subjective nature of human consciousness prevents it from being explained in terms of simpler components. The hard problem addresses why brain processing is accompanied by an experienced inner life. Instead of something that can be broken down into individual atoms, consciousness seems to be an irreducible, fundamental aspect of the universe, similar to space, time, and mass. Divisive, emotionally charged, and of signicant consequence for future generations, the debate resembles concepts reminiscent of the older philosophical debates on dualism versus monism. Some of the latest renditions of either paradigm call in question the judicial foundations of modern societies, challenging the concepts of self, personhood, volition, or agencyeven to a point of dismissing human agency, intention, and free will. This model of consciousness stands in stark contrast to indigenous models. The Mexican Huichols, for example, lived in a cosmos lled with powerful spirits and intelligent energies, one that bears little resemblance to the one taken for granted by Westerners. Hindu and Buddhist texts are replete with discussions of consciousness and how to regulate it. One type of Buddhist meditation proposes ve levels of consciousness that can be attained, and each of these levels contains three subjectively distinct levels, reecting a construction of consciousness more subtle and complex than anything found in Western conceptualizations. Each of these perspectives can be thought of as a story about consciousness. These stories vie for serious consideration, attempting to gain the attention of the powerful institutions that bestow research grants, foundation awards, academic appointments, book contracts, and media appearances. As Michel Foucault famously proposed, knowledge is not power, as many people assume; rather, powerful institutions determine what can pass for knowledge. A number of writers (e.g., Ken Wilber) have attempted to make a synthesis of various perspectives about consciousness, acknowledging the seemingly contradictory qualities of existence, like singularity and wholeness. These attempts at synthesis recognize the value and necessity of reaching beyond the boundaries of existing disciplines (such as psychology, neurology, anthropology, and philosophy) to formulate an ontology of consciousness that reconciles the static and active dimensions of existence, the visible and the invisible manifestations of thought and feeling, and the common and the rare phenomenologies of experience.



Many theories have a capacity to generate testable hypotheses and create explanatory models that appear exhaustive in their descriptive and normative functionality. However, such practice occurs at the expense of excluding equally viable but unincorporated events in nature. From this perspective, the current volume is a major contribution to an integrative discourse. Scholars from thirteen cultures have contributed from a spectrum of twelve research disciplines, ranging from neurophysiology to parapsychology, from medicine to philosophy, and from mathematics to anthropology, with each author making a valiant attempt to grasp the meaning of consciousness. The book is organized in three parts. Part I explores consciousness from anthropological data in support of philosophical interpretations related to Tibetology, the Dene Tha Indians of Northwestern Alberta, the Nahua of Central America, pre-Columbian artifacts from South America, the Byzantine Empire, and ancient Greece. In chapter 1, E Richard Sorenson discusses Tibetan Tantric Buddhism, more a philosophical science than a transcendental religion, in which consciousness occupies the place of supremacy. Over the centuries, curricula were developed in which students of Tantra could focus their attention en masse on symbolic representations of crucial states of awareness. Eventually, students would nd it easier to enter levels of consciousness subtler than those dominated by the ordinary sense of their own bodies, by verbal modes of understanding, and nally by the conditions imposed by their own evolutionary and historical background. Edith L. B. Turners chapterchapter 2questions the limitations of current assumptions made by most scholars working in the anthropology of religion. Such limitations can be overcome by recognizing human situations that include the existence of soul and spirit, situations in which direct experiences are validated through their shared nature within a community. In chapter 3, James Mafe describes Meso-American Nahua ontology, which consists of a unique set of metaphysical claims. Nahua ontology is monistic, holding that only one reality, teotl, exists. Teotl is the self-generating and self-transmuting sacred force or energy that createdas well as that which continually recreates, generates, and permeatesthe universe. Consciousness and matter are simply two aspects of teotl gives interpretive and hence ultimately identical with it. In chapter 4, Armand J. Labbe context and meaning to a heretofore little deciphered body of pre-Columbian art, by viewing this art against a large body of ethnographic data relevant to indigenous concepts of soul and neotropical shamanism. This artwork can be resynthesized into a cohesive, interpretive model that identies and differentiates four core themes, namely, shamanic empowerment, shape-shifting, shamanic soul ight, and soul loss and capture. What emerges is an organized view of indigenous concepts of soul and their embeddedness in indigenous accounts of consciousness. Antoine Courbans chapterchapter 5highlights some key changes in the anthropological dualistic paradigm of late antiquity, and their effect on medical practice in


Stanley Krippner

the Byzantine culture. Courban outlines the transition from dualism to monistic thought, highlights the emergence of some signicant nondualistic thinkers, and elaborates on the developments of critical issues throughout the history of the Eastern Roman Empire. Its emerging combination of Latin legalism, Hellenic intellectualism, and Semitic realism still shapes contemporary concepts used in consciousness studies. In chapter 6, Michael Polemis demonstrates how the traditionally philosophical ideal that unied soul and education ( paideia) lost its appeal and scientic value, and assesses the ethical consequences of the demise of the soul in philosophy. He concludes by describing the options by which philosophers could rehabilitate the concept of soul. Part II of the anthology ventures into modern scientic attempts to translate early cultural concepts of consciousness into current theories of nature. Starting with a biological model to account for the occurrence of symbolic language (and with that, the advent of abstract sentience), and with neurophysiological contributions into the workings of neural nets, the project continues with a purely mathematical mapping of relational activities of material bodies. Such interactivity is then explored in the context of humanistic medicine, and all previous perspectives are now synthesized and included in a scientic model for a unied theory that is outlined in the two concluding chapters of this section. In chapter 7, Hubert Markl focuses on the ontology of mind, proposing that its diversity may have evolved by the process of genetic variation and natural selection as investigated in evolutionary theory. The linkage between such a well-prepared brain with a truly linguistic representational system must have produced more than communicative putty to hold together societal networks. In fact, step by step it probably enriched the private world of consciousness, that subjective interactive theater of world models in which an individual could preenact and reenact games in order to adapt better to the complex social reality where it actually had to perform in a public, shared conscious world. In chapter 8, Mircea Steriade asks if specic neuronal types generate consciousness. The mechanisms behind the emergence of subjectivity are hidden, and recordings of identied neuronal types cannot be systematically made in humans. Steriade asserts the impossibility of simultaneous access to various neuronal types belonging to all structures that organize conscious processes in a concerted way, casting doubt on overenthusiastic scenarios that are not realistic. They are of little use to experimental designs and may have undesirable implications for the epistemology of consciousness. The chapter by Pavel B. Ivanovchapter 9outlines an integrative study of consciousness, considering that the material and the ideal are two aspects of the same reality. He suggests that consciousness arises as a form of reection superior to inanimate existence and life, and that the conscious subject is the most universal form of mediating relations between material bodies. Social and cultural factors shape the conscious behavior of individuals through their nonorganic bodies, and the specicity of



organic and neural processes in humans is thus determined by their cultural environment. In chapter 10, David J. Hufford observes that the belief that disembodied spirits interact with humankind perseveres through all cultures and through history into the modern world. The occasions for their interaction vary from culture to culture, although there are recognizable patterns of belief that are practically universal. Spirit belief encompasses a broad range, from theological ideas about God and the fate of human souls to beliefs concerning angels, jinn, and demons. Even in the Buddhist traditions that are frequently said to be atheistic and do not conceptualize the existence of souls, the concepts of karma and reincarnation imply what is referred to in English as soul or spirit. These beliefs are supported by a variety of human experiences, ranging from mystical visions to the visits from deceased loved ones often reported by the bereaved. The modern worldview has suppressed the open discussion of spirit experiences, creating the false impression that healthy and sophisticated persons do not have such experiences. The result is a cultural construction in which some of the most powerful and common experiential reasons for spiritual belief are assumed to be absent in the modern, disenchanted world. In chapter 11, Mariela Szirko notes that cerebral biophysics is not an exception to established laws of physics applicable to all other occurrences of condensed matter: brains, too, include microphysical components in their tissue that move at close to light-speed. The critical question, one often ignored, is if and how such motions bring about physiological effects and how this relates to psychological realms. Szirko describes the work of neuroscientists in Argentina, dating back to the eighteenth century, and how it has focused on electroneurobiology. This approach, which appears to have been especially suitable for revealing any such effects, is based on assuming the uncoupling pathologies that disconnect persons from their circumstances, sharing with sleep and the variations of inattention the common mechanism of changes in a physiological time dilation. This is a relativistic effect of motion from the tissues microphysical components, and is physiologically operated through coupling with the electroneurobiological states of that tissue. Szirko argues that these ndings are of value to neurobiologists, psychophysiologists, humanists working on brain-mind issues, as well as to scientists investigating biological dynamical systems, biophysics, mathematical biology, computer biology, and molecular biology. In chapter 12, Mario Crocco begins his chapter by observing that conventional wisdom holds that science cannot discover or describe any intrinsic, noninstrumental value. Research in a broader perspective, however, indicates that this may not be the case. Crocco casts a wide net to counter conventional wisdom, including astrophysical-biospheric evolution. This process has been functionalized and can be used as a means to afford responsibility to mind-possessing living creatures. In sciences grand picture of reality, therefore, natural sciences aspiration of naturalizing the minds depiction does not clash with the humanities recognition of intrinsic value in persons.


Stanley Krippner

Part III focuses on peoples experience of their existence, using examples from different traditions and disciplines (Indian psychology, existentialism, philosophical realism, Japanese Buddhism, African communalism, Hindu vibhuti phenomena, sentient intellection, and modern psychiatry). In chapter 13, Matthijs Cornelissen reminds his readers that Sri Aurobindo saw evolution primarily as an ongoing evolution of consciousness, holding that the human mind represents much too imperfect a type of consciousness to be the nal resting point of nature. Aurobindos Vedantic perspective holds that consciousness is pervasive throughout reality and that it manifests as a range of ever-higher gradations of being. Within the Vedic tradition, ordinary human mentality is considered to be ego-bound and dependent on the physical senses. Above it there is the unitary Higher Mind of self-revealed wisdom, the Illumined Mind where truths are seen rather than thought, the plane of the Intuitive Mind where truth is inevitable and perfect, and nally the cosmic Overmind, comprehensive, allencompassing. But in all these planes, however far beyond our ordinary mentality, there is still a trace of division, the possibility of discord and disharmony. One has to rise above all of them to nd a truly Gnostic consciousness, intrinsically harmonious, perfect, one with the divine consciousness that upholds the universe. Cornelissen goes on to compare Aurobindos evolutionary conceptualization to concepts more commonly encountered in contemporary consciousness studies, discussing various ontological and epistemological questions arising out of this comparison. In chapter 14, Julia Watkin examines the question of consciousness from the point of view of existential philosophy. Whereas many approach the topic through a clinical consideration of consciousness as an object, existentialism makes personal existence (or human subjectivity) its point of departure. Consciousness and the self are not seen as already present, waiting to be investigated. Instead, personal existence is shown to have a formative role in the development of consciousness and the self. The writings of Sren Kierkegaard are explored, since he was an important pioneer who stressed the importance of viewing the self from a subjective angle. Kierkegaard assumed the existence of an eternal power outside the universe, ruling its workings and destiny. Thus, for him, there was a distinction between the spheres of temporality and eternity. On the basis of this dual perspective, he built his own description of the individual as a spiritual being. It follows that people can become aware of possibility, choice, and action in relation to ideals and values. Kierkegaards concept of human objectivity can be contrasted with his understanding of objective truth. He made a careful distinction between what can be known and what must be believed. In chapter 15, Karim Akerma pays special attention to the philosophies of Nicolai Hartmann and Hans Jonas, and their focus on organismic existence. For them consciousness is not spatial; it differs from the spatiotemporal objects and processes that surround sentient beings in their physical, chemical, and biological reality. In spite



of its lacking spatiality, consciousness is bound to a spatial organismic existence on which it exerts inuence and by which it is affected. This view from the organism, with its stress on metabolism and motilityand ultimately, organismic transcendence neither explains consciousness nor reduces it to the organismic level. Akerma warns his readers that they must be careful not to biologize consciousness. In chapter 16, Graham Parkes described the Japanese dry landscape (karesansui) garden, which consists primarily of rocks arranged in a context of gravel or moss, as an art form. Traditional Japanese thought regarded rocks not as inanimate lumps of matter, but rather as dense congurations of the cosmic energies (qi) that animate the entire world. According to kai and Do gen, landscapes when properly perceived turn out such philosophers as Ku to be the body of the cosmic Buddha proclaiming the Buddhist teachings through voice and inscription. These ideas have impacted Parkess ontology of human consciousness, one that understands it not as independent of inanimate matter, but rather as a eld of energies on a continuum with the energies of rocks and stone. In chapter 17, Heinz Kimmerle describes common themes in African philosophy, in which the concept of person is not primarily related to mind-brain issues, but rather to everyday language, especially to proverbs and oral traditions. In this chapter two philosophical systems from East Africa and West Africa are presented, which although extremely different, do not differ from the common philosophical themes in African thought. Joseph M. Nyasani, describing one of these systems, refers to the idea of communalism as it was coined in the statements of some major political leaders during the struggle for independence from colonial rule. The higher value of the community above the individual person in this context was worked out philosophically by Maurice Tshiamalenga Ntumba. The confrontation of the African Philosophy of We with the Western Philosophy of I, as worked out by Ntumba and Nyasani, was criticized by Kwame Gyekye, who insisted that African thought is characterized by a striving for a balance of community and person. He is also critical of the practice of listening to the spirits of ones ancestors. Instead, Ntumba proposed a moderate communitarianism as the best solution to the question as to whether the community or the individual person should be taken as the higher value. The following chapter by Erlendur Haraldssonchapter 18observes that charismatic religious personalities often gain a following in India, particularly if they obtain a reputation of possessing divine powers. Sathya Sai Baba is such a charismatic religious leader whose movement places strong emphasis on devotion to God and to Sai Baba himself, whom most devotees venerate as an avatar (a reincarnation of some aspect of God). His followers emphasize service to others, observing traditional religious values, and sponsoring educational opportunities for young people. Sai Babas reputation of performing wondrous feats, which date back to his youth when he claimed to be the incarnation of Sri Sai Baba of Shirdi, has been important for the immense growth of his movement. There are also


Stanley Krippner

numerous reports of phenomena occurring in faraway places, such as anomalous appearances of vibhuti ash and unexplained fragrances in shrine rooms of devotees, as well as Sai Babas appearance in distant places to devotees while they are awake or even while dreaming. Such phenomena are of great interest to the psychology and sociology of religion and provide signicant data for any theory about human consciousness. Thomas B. Fowlers chapterchapter 19discusses the philosophy of Xavier Zubiri, who saw the search for reality as a never-ending quest. Zubiri systematically reexamines the basis for human knowledge, shifting the role of consciousness from the center of activity to that of actuality, the sense of direct contact with reality that people experience in their perception of the world. Zubiri sees consciousness as one aspect of human intelligence, which puts them into contact with reality, at least in part. Reality is fundamentally open, and not fully amenable to any human conceptualization. In chapter 20, Thomas Szasz reckons that the term consciousness is problematic but can be equated with an organisms awareness of and attention to its surroundings. From this vantage point, Szasz focuses on language and responsibility, making people moral agents rather than organisms shaped by deterministic forces. For him, human nature, of which moral agency is a critical aspect, resides partly in nature and partly in the social environment. Christian de Quinceys provocative epilogue maintains that reason is not monolithic and that the scientic study of consciousness needs to employ a wide range of procedures, reports, and epistemologies. This collection of essays expands the current study of consciousness into perspectives that span both space and time. They remind the reader that consciousness is often described in ways that consist of both experience and reections on that experience. This reection amplies an existing sense of being both agent and experiencer, permitting an individual to construct a picture of that individuals own situation as well as the corresponding experiences of others realities. These perspectives are at variance with more popular models such as those arguing that human beings are functionally organized information-processing systems and that there is no need to infer any nonphysical aspects of the process. For these writers, there is no world of subjective experience; all that actually exists is a brain, engaged in processing information. And some of the most distinguished adherents to this notion claim that there is no basic difference between the conscious activity of human beings and what goes on in a computer. It is no wonder that Anthony Freeman sees consciousness studies as the impossible science because of its complexity and subjectivity. However, this compendium of provocative essays demonstrates that the study of consciousness is truly interdisciplinary. It also reminds us that, like other social constructs, consciousness is simply an attempt by members of a social group to describe, explain, or otherwise account for the world in which they live. This collection of essays will stimulate readers to ponder both the hard and easy questions of consciousness and, in so doing, to enrich their own self-awareness, their own life intentions, and their own enjoyment of the



wonders brought to them by the ineffable phenomenon of consciousness and its various components.
References James, William (1958). The Varieties of Religious Experience. New York: Mentor Books. Natsoulas, Thomas (1992). The Concept of Consciousness, 3. The Awareness Meaning, Journal for the Theory of Social Research Vol. 22, pp. 199223.

I Expanding the Ontological Matrix

Part I brings together a variety of active percipient modalities that have evolved by cognitive systems along their own historical and cultural pathways. The perspectives are suggestive of monistic theories in which the operative features of conscious action, awareness, and agency shape sentience, emotive intelligence, and sensory knowledge alike. Since knowledge about consciousness requires appropriate means to communicate such knowledge, anthropological records provide valuable insight into culturally accepted modalities for such communication. The chapters are best viewed from a perspective of behavioral analysis and without imposing methodological frames. In fact, the artwork in chapter 1 can deliver an emotive and sensory account of its cognitive content. After quickly glancing at all of the pictures to create a disposition for judgment, look again. Notice how the sequence of the pictures tells a story by itself. Then, stay with each image until you see the phenomenon described in its caption. The surrounding text in the chapter will provide further cognitive clues. Chapters 2 through 4 also allow for emotive comprehension of their content, provided that the metaphorical use of core terminology does not trigger cognitive opposition but, instead, invokes appreciation of emotive wording to address ontological components of reality that today are typically placed in the cognitive domain of technology and science. Chapters 5 and 6 offer insightful accounts of how societal variables can affect such interpretation of terminology. It goes without saying that, above and beyond these heuristic functions for the anthology, each of the chapters stands on its own and presents a gem of scholarship and interpretation for its respective eldwork.

1 The Emptying of Ontology: The Tibetan Tantric View

E Richard Sorenson

More philosophy and science than religion, Tibetan Tantric Buddhism has no deity to which beings are held accountable.1 Consciousness is held to be supreme. Intelligence trumps doctrinal authority. Intellectual coercion is abhorred. Reasoned challenges to established views trigger interest rather than denunciation. Instead of being expected to answer to a god, human beings are considered to be rather like one. And so, after Buddha passed away, Buddhist philosophy evolved in an atmosphere sufciently tolerant of change and difference to sustain interest in (and respect for) all well-stated thoughts. Divergent intellectual currents had latitude to form without duress within established schools and gain recognition as schools themselves merely by speaking well. And so, for a thousand years after Buddhas death, words describing observations of existence kept expanding into new areas of understanding with ever more tightly honed methods of rational inquiry. The new insights posed new questions, which led to further insights and so onnot unlike the way Western science grew. Eventually increasingly rigorous analysis of verbalized phenomena disclosed realms of consciousness subtler than subject-object thinking and therefore beyond logical purview (since logic requires established categories to analyze). Logic was then simply moved enough to the side to make room for an experiential type of validation beyond the realm of words. Early explorers of these unarticulable realms soon noticed they were touching onto much the same things. A stable common realness emerged that was recognizable by all those who peered beyond the level of verbality. Since the actuality they saw was by its nature verbally indescribable, techniques of allusion and evocation were devised that might position others to touch onto these realms beyond the speakable, and therefore beyond ontology. Though such entree requires rapport and candid openness between students and teachers, curricula were eventually devised that focus attention en masse on symbolic representations of these awareness states. This prepares students to more easily recognize the actual states when confronted with them. Such recognition is ephemeral at rst. Practice, however, brings increasing clarity as domination of mentality by subject-object thinking and ego-oriented emotions becomes weaker. The prologue below provides a glimpse of the kind of life supported by such a philosophy. The epilogue shows more of that way of life and the impact of modernity on it. Sandwiched between these two views is the story of how the written philosophy came into being after the Buddhas death.

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Figure 1.1 Young Tibetan novices clustered on an outdoor platform (Drepung Monastery, 1979).

I had no inkling of the philosophy when I rst encountered Tibetan monasteries in the 1960s. Exotic sounds and sights, not philosophy, were what made me peer inside. Then the seeming paradox of novices peacefully introspective while outwardly alert and exploratory snared my curiosity. With a professional focus on child development, I had seen similar traits emerge from the socio-tactility of preconquest infant nurture. But what was it that made them gravitate to subtle physical contact with their confreres while tangentially poking individual attention on some divergent interest which would without ado subtly inltrate the groups general sensibility (gure 1.1)? After many years of historical inquiry just such a trait could also be seen establishing the path on which the written Tibetan philosophy arose and then advanced.2 It also enabled monasteries to evolve with different ambiences, even while all dedicatedly relied on the same transcribed words of Buddha (sutra) and the same basic ethics (vinaya). In one monastery, novices propelled themselves into each new day with dazzling displays of kinetic zeal to greet whatever novelty might pass their way

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Figure 1.2a A novice memorizes his particular studies while subconsciously harmonizing his recitation sounds with those of all the others to produce ever-changing collective sonorities, cadences, (Gyudmed Figure 1.2b A senior monk takes advantage of this trait to augment the evocative power of a Tantric ritual (Gyudmed Monastery, 1983). nuances, and rhythms Monastery, 1983).

that day or be concocted on the spot. Even during formal study sessions, a hum of exploratory frolicking was always there. They focused on learning by conjoining individual grasps of whatever the world around had to offer them. A few kilometers up the hill another monastery was so starkly different it seemed another world. What stood out there was an atmosphere of evocative quiet gentleness, heart-catching harmonies and rhythms oating in the air as each novices individual memory recitation coalesced harmonically and rhythmically with all the others (even though they were reciting different texts). Never mind that the content was not the same. And never mind that each novices attention was riveted on the content he was memorizing, concentrationwise oblivious from the others (gure 1.2a). As his vocalization touched on those emerging from the various dispersed verandas, nooks, crannies, and open spaces, it would jockey about a bit, bounce off sounds already there, and then merge into, and somewhat alter, the larger harmonic whole. A conjoint everchanging symphony then spread out across the monastic precincts. When these same novices attended the most sophisticated rituals of their monastery, they similarly instinctively harmonized with its subtle and instructive tonal and rhythmic nuances (gure 1.2b). Perhaps it should not be surprising that this monasterys rituals have

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Figure 1.3 This debating aggregation at Gaden Monastery has attracted students of different ages desiring to collectively focus their individual esprit and sensibility on the subject as it evolves (Gaden-Shartse Monastery, 1977).

long been honored for the insights to which their challenging and subtly sophisticated sonorities lead. Thirty miles to west the monastic setting was again quite different (gure 1.3). Roisterousness was the rst impression. A clamorous din of insistent voices set to stylized leaps and prances overwhelmed the atmosphere as young monks sought truth en masse by a spirited din of animated reasoning accompanied by a stylized athletics. Though . They considered all such such differences startled me, senior monks were quite blase expressions as valid introductions to the deeper unarticulable essences. Such leeway gave opportunities for contrastive local thinking and new philosophical insights to take shape from an already-established cultural tendency that fostered both individua lan of individuality and solidarity emerged tion and collective effort. A contrapuntal e that absorbed rather than dispelled differences. Reasoning was honored as the supreme

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Figure 1.4 An outstanding student from Gaden Monastic University engages the Abbot of famous Tashilumpo (a sister monastery) in a dialectic exercise that emerged spontaneously from a point of philosophical interest raised by the student. They behave as equals in a formal discourse in which reasoned challenges to any presented view are considered solely on their rational merits, where logic (not rank) is the arbiter (Tashihumpo Monastery, 1977).

authority, and verbal incompatibilities were resolved by philosophical debate (gure 1.4). Though this basic trait may have been already set before the coming of the Buddha, it is most clearly discernible during the period in which written Buddhist philosophy emerged after the Buddhas death. Indeed it was so exible that it made boundaries between the emerging Buddhist schools hard to x. Philosophical identities only became clear at centers. Between them lay fuzzy regions in various degrees of ux. In


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this historical presentation, I will move from one clear center of denable identity to the next, leaving the tangled intellectual transformations in between for a more sociological type of analysis. The advantage of this approach becomes apparent quickly. When these centers are plotted along that fertile intellectual spectrum that lies between idealism and realism, a dramatic ontological odyssey comes into view, one in which language honed to ever-greater levels of precision ultimately exposes the limitations of verbal concept and formal logic and thereby empties ontology. The saga can be presented in various ways; I will do so here according to the three major schools most clearly identiable by their basic intellectual foundations: Theravada (as scholastic inquiry), Mahayana (as rationally justied experiential inquiry), and Tantrayana (as an esoteric means to plumb nonverbal levels of consciousness). I begin with Theravada, the intellectual fount to which all the others can ultimately be traced.

Shortly after the Buddhas death (c. 480 B.C.), some 500 of his senior followers (arhat) gathered at Rajgriha (Rajgir), India, to see what might be done to sustain his teachings. One of the questions taken up was whether to abolish the lesser precepts, which Buddha told his principal disciple, Ananda, could be done. But it was not clear which they were, since Ananda had not asked before Buddha passed away. This First Buddhist Council decided to retain them all. The monks then turned to developing textual guides (Skt: Abhidharma; Pali: Abhidhamma) to Buddhist thought and practice.3 These were, at rst, mainly simple lists of things to do and keep in mind: ethical norms and daily practices. But they also included efforts to piece together a metaphysics by which the basic elements of reality (Skt: dharma; Pali: dhamma) could be identied and understood.

Sthaviravada (Implicit Realism) (c. fourth century B.C.)

The question of precepts did not go away. Indeed it was the major issue at the Second Buddhist Council a hundred years later in Vaishali, India (c. 380 B.C.). By that time some monks had taken it on themselves to neglect what they considered minor precepts. Elder monks accused them of violating basic monastic ethics.4 After deliberation, the Council elders ruled that all the monastic precepts must be honored and erring monks should be censured. Differences were then tabled between views presented in the emerging Abhidharma treatises and the transcribed words of Buddha (Sutra). A majority took the view that the actual words of Buddha were the real authority, not the tightly reasoned views expressed in the Abhidharma. A minority remained loyal to their Abhidharma and called themselves the School of Elders (Sthaviravada), continuing their efforts to ascertain and rationalize the basic build-

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ing blocks of reality. They argued that it was clear that these analytic practices were benecial in that they diminished a personal sense of selfhoodand therefore the emotional conicts that obstructed approaches to enlightenment. Nonetheless, they retained the same implicit assumption that a verbally understandable external reality existed.

Mahasanghika (Dualistic Realism) (c. fourth century B.C.)

The majority started writing their own Abhidharma to reect their views and called themselves the Great Community (Mahasanghika).5 Their collectively written Mahavastu (Great Subjects) questioned the materialistic realism of the Sthaviravada by reminding that Buddha had spoken of two different kinds of reality: pure things and pure thoughta dualistic kind of realism. It was the rst articulated challenge to Sthaviravada realism. Several subschools soon emerged. Supramundane Realism (Lokottaravada) (c. fourth century B.C.) Initially a part of the Mahasanghika school (and the principal root of the an emerging Sarvastivada school), the Lokottaravada attained a distinction of their own by arguing that the mortal Buddha must have been an apparition formed from Buddha consciousness in order to bring truth to mortals. Their basic text (the early version of the collectively written The Great Play of the Buddha (Lalita-vistara)) speaks of the true Buddha as transcendent (lokottara), from which the name of their school was derived. In their view only Buddha consciousness has genuine reality; the worldly objects perceived by mortals do not. Reality to them was supramundane, though still conceived as external. Nominalism (Purvasaila) (c. fourth century B.C.) The Purvasaila, another Mahasanghika offshoot, focused on the lack of any clear evidence that the so-called ultimate building blocks of the universe (dharma) were any more real than ordinary worldly objects. Unlike the Lokottaravada, they maintained that nothing can be incontrovertibly said to exist other than names. Hence nominalism. Personhood (Vatsiputriya, Pudgalavada, Sammatiya) (c. third century B.C.) Less analytically disposed monks were attracted by the commonsense approach of their respected teacher, Vatsiputra, and his doctrine of the soul (Skt: vatslputra-kalpitaatma-pariksa; Tib: gnas-mahi-bus-bdag-brag-pa). Though they were initially called Vatsiputriya, they were later referred to as Pudgalavadin for their belief in an indestructible personhood ( pudgala). It was self-evident, they said, that sentient beings are more than just an aggregation of basic constituent qualities (skandha). Actual personhood must be there too. The idea, however, could not be clearly demonstrated, and, with its suggestion that there was some kind of individual perfected


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permanence, contradicted the core Buddhist views of morality and karma. Though the idea had grassroots appeal and persisted in dispersed locales for centuries, it had little direct impact on the further development of Buddhist philosophy. Analytic Realism (Vibhajyavada) (third century B.C.) Meanwhile, the most ardent Sthaviravada monks came to be called Vibhajyavadin (dissective analysts) for their sustained analytic approach to reality. To promulgate their views, they sponsored what they called the Third Buddhist Council (c. 247 B.C., in Pataliputra, India). Monks with conicting views were not invited. The council president, Moggaliputta Tissa, presented a systematic refutation of non-Sthaviravadin views in the famous Points of Controversy (Kathavatthu). Not surprisingly, this convocation was not widely accepted as a genuine Buddhist Council. (A more representative gathering three centuries later in Kaniska is more generally accepted as the Third Buddhist Council.) Despite its seeming conservatism, the Vibhajyavadin effort to codify reality stood on systematic reasoning and sustained a rm and lasting following. Its analytic realism was magnicently presented in the fth century A.D. by the famous Theravada scholar, Buddhaghosa, in his The Route to Bliss (Visuddhi-magga).

Sarvastivada (Existential Realism) (c. third to rst century B.C.)

The strongest of the new schools emerged from monks who took issue with the view that the dharmas were real only at the time they occurredthat is, only in the present. Where was the rationale, they asked, for crediting objects with realness when they became unreal the very moment they became real? In their view either everything exists (sarvamasti) or nothing does. Their nascent existential doctrine was systematically set forth by Katyayaniputra (second century B.C.) in his Setting Forth Knowledge (Abhidharma-jnana-prasthana-sastra), which still held that only the external objects perceived by the senses were real. Vasumitra went a step further. In his Basis of Explanation (Prakarana-pada), he noted that two of the three kinds of dharma substantial form (rupa), consciousness (citta), and state of consciousness (caitasika) were types of consciousness and not objects of the senses at all. He maintained that sense of time is caused by the activity of the dharma(s), which provided a needed rationale for the effect of past actions on the future (as required by karma) and for memory. Devasarman added to Visumitras list of objects independent of the senses in his Compendium on Consciousness (Vijnana-kaya). He showed six types of such consciousness: visual (caksu), auditory (srotra), olfactory ( ghrana), gustatory ( jihva), tactile (kaya), and general sensibility (mana). In this way a sense of existence began intruding on the original object-oriented reality. During the course of this intellectual ferment, both the Theravada and Sarvastivada continued to identify and classify the dharmas. The Theravada produced 174 and the

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Saravastivada 75. Though the Sarvastivada school was large, openly inquisitive, and intellectually divergent, it is most easily identied by its core philosophy that eternally existing dharmas are the source of all phenomena. The simplicity appealed to many. Subschools emerged within the basic Sarvastivada philosophical foundations. Indirect Realism (Sarvastivada-Vaibhasika) (third to second century B.C.) This subschool is most clearly identied with its famous and widely disseminated Great Elucidation (Abhidharma-maha-vibhasa), a collectively written systematic work presented at what is more generally recognized as the Third Buddhist Council (in Kaniska). Though it agreed with the basic Sarvastivada position that perceived objects must exist (on grounds that, if they did not, there would be nothing to be perceived and therefore no perception). This view challenged Sarvastivada realism by showing that objects could be known only through the mind. In the Vaibhasika view, reality was out there but knowledge of it was only indirect. Representationism (Sarvastivada-Sautrantika) (c. 50 B.C. to 100 A.D.) The Sarvastivada monks who stressed the authority of the Sutras while also stressing logic were dubbed Sautrantika. They noted that the idea of eternal dharmas was inconsistent with Buddhas teachings on impermanence. By logical analysis they then showed that all perceptions are shaped by three basic conditions: (1) the nature and condition of the perceiving mind, (2) the sensory organs through which objects are perceived, and (3) ancillary conditions such as distance, intensity, form, and motion. Therefore, they claimed, perception of dharmas was nothing more than mental reconstruction, beyond which nothing can really be perceived. According to this reasoning there was no way to know whether any perceptions actually correspond to any dharmas. Thus, any reality that might exist was, in their view, entirely unknowable. All that could unequivocally be said to exist, according to their analysis, were mental images representing the dharma. They then reasoned that past dharmas do not exist simply because they are gone, that future dharmas do not exist because they have not yet come, and, as for present dharmas, they asked how they could reasonably be said to have true existence when the instant they appeared they disappeared. By presenting these views in the accepted logic of the day, this school dealt a devastating blow to the solidity of realism and set a philosophical stage for the profound transformation of Buddhist thought soon to come, one that had been bubbling quietly in the background of various realism-oriented schoolsthat is, Mahayana. But not before a sally into the idea that nothing is real. Illusionism (Sautrantika-Satyasiddhi ) (third century A.D.) The Sautrantika-Satyasiddhi rejected the realism component of Sarvastivada, which put them on the cusp


E Richard Sorenson

between Theravada and Mahayana; they departed from realism with a logical analysis that denied the ontological reality of objects. In his Thesis on True Attainment (Satyasiddhi-sastra), Harivarman demonstrated that there was no clear evidence that an external world of objects can even be inferred. In the absence of such a basis, he maintained that objects and names are no more than illusions. Humans, he said, only imagine objects to be real because they are by human nature predisposed to see themselves as individuals. That predisposition, he claimed, gives them the false impression of being surrounded by separate objects. The response to that precarious position was Mahayana.

In the second century A.D., the idealism currents that had been cropping up for some time ignited an explosion of intellectual inquiry that would, by the seventh century, reconcile realism with idealism and existential experience with scholastic reasoning. During this period, increasingly well-honed techniques of rational inquiry were thrust with increasing rigor into personal experiences that were too compelling to be disregarded. As personal experience and insights became ontologically respectable, the result was a shift of intellectual attention from reality to existence. When this intellectual movement was later seen for what it had done, it was called Mahayana (Great Path) in recognition of the broad benets to humanity produced by its marriage of ineffable experience with public reasoning.

Precursors (Prajnaparamita, Tib. Phar-byin-mdo) (second and rst centuries B.C.)6

Though the radical ontological revision wrought by Mahayana had precursors in the Mahasanghika, Sarvastivada, and Sautrantika schools, its most direct antecedents were the early Prajnaparamita writings that had long been drawing quiet interest in various intellectually tolerant realism-oriented schools. These writings, composed largely by unknown authors at unknown dates, shifted attention from elements of reality to existence, thereby freeing philosophical thought from simple realism. The term prajnaparamita combines prajna (profound wisdom) with paramita (perfection of awareness). Because no central canon presents a central Prajnaparamita view, the movement is not usually called a school. School or not, its views profoundly inuenced the development of Buddhist philosophy from the second century onward. The Perfection of Awareness Sutras (Prajnaparamita-sutra) attributed to Buddha Sakyamuni were the principal philosophical precursors of Mahayana in that they turned attention away from the nature of reality and onto the nature of consciousness. Tibetans speak of it as wisdom switched to the other side (i.e., from objects to the consciousness that perceives objects).

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Initial Philosophy (Madhyamika) (second to third century A.D.)

Ontologically Madhyamika (literally The Middle Way) stands between the Sarvastivada view that all is real and an emerging Yogacara view that all is consciousness. Nagarjuna produced its ontological foundations in a series of intricately reasoned texts in which the ultimate vacuity of concepts was impeccably demonstrated by exhaustive logic.7, 8 The name of the school emerged from his inuential and widely praised The Root of the Middle Way to Wisdom (Mula-madhyamika-karika). This dramatic departure from realism spawned repeated attempts to refute. All were logically rebutted in Nagarjunas famous Deecting Objections (Vigra-havya-vartani ), in which he repeatedly demonstrated the absence of any logical basis for assuming the self-existence of subjects or objects. He advanced his sensational treatise by repeated reductio ad absurdum demonstrations, so impeccably presented, that no subject-object concepts withstood his conclusion that objective reality was ontological nonsense.9 This posed troublesome questions about the conceptual realities that had been so carefully set forth analytically in the Abhidharma literature. To ll the ontological wasteland Nagarjuna had created, his student Aryadeva showed that experiential aspects of consciousness could be cognized through concentrated introspective analysis. Then Asvaghosa, in his short but widely inuential verse work, The Accomplishments of Buddha Sakyamuni (Buddha-carita), demonstrated compassional foundations underlying consciousness during prajnaparamita meditations.10 While Nagarjuna was throwing verbal concepts to the winds, the prajnaparamita side of Madhyamika was plumbing experienced states of consciousness not reducible to words. This set a stage on which pragmatic tests for truth could start taking shape. A urry of philosophical progress took place on this stage from the second to sixth centuries A.D. as scholars grappled with such postrealism currents as nihilism, pragmatism, phenomenalism, and idealism. Compassion nibbled at the heels of all. Nihilism To many, Nagarjunas approach appeared nihilistic. He had shown by impeccable reductio ad absurdum logic that all conceptual views could be reduced to self-contradiction and absurdity.11 Not a single one survivednot even the Madhyamika core concept of emptiness (which, when considered as an object, could be reduced to absurdity just like any other object). Such basic concepts as motion and time were similarly reduced to nonsensethat is, motion cannot occur because, if there is nothing real to move, there can be no movement. Time does not exist because the past is always gone, the future is never here, and the present never exists because the very instant it arrives it vanishes. Even at the most elementary level of conceptualization, Nagarjuna showed all concepts to be meaninglessfor example, simple abstract A and B must either be different or identical. If identical, there is no relationship because there is no difference. If different, there is no relationship,


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because they have nothing in common to relate. With no way to relate, neither can be shown to exist. He employed all the established modes of argument of the day: tetralemma structured logic, prasanga consequential logic, nyaya syllogism, and dialectics to show that all linguistic statements can be reduced to nonsense. Not a single metaphysical concept was left untouched, including such basic ones as existence-nonexistence, permanence-impermanence, reality-nonreality. When he nished, concepts, as a genre, had been shorn of demonstrable existence by the most rigorous logic then available. To those for whom verbal concepts lay at the core of meaning, it was nihilism pure and simple. But Nagarjuna did not consider what he had done to be nihilism. Though he had deobjectivized the universe by logical analysis, he had not actually denied existence. He believed that objects, despite their logical nonexistence, still possessed pragmatic usefulness by being used to reveal true existence. Pragmatism To counter the logical nihilistic dilemma, Nagarjuna introduced his twofold trutha linking of the particularism of conceptual truth (samvrtisatya) to transcendental truth ( paramarthasatya). While this sidestepped nihilism, it left logicians puzzled. To them it was not logically possible to consider concepts a type of truth after the validity of all concepts had been destroyed. In his The Root of the Middle Way to Wisdom (Mula-madhyamaka-karika), Nagarjuna showed that the signicance of his twofold truth lay in its ability to provide a pragmatic nexus between conceptual and ultimate truths. Concepts, he argued, can be considered true if they are stepping-stones to truth. That is, truth inheres in them by virtue of their pragmatic ability to lead one to truth. They partake of truth just as the truth of Buddhas words lay in their ability to lead beings to universal truth. Though Nagarjuna introduced the idea of pragmatic truth, it was left to later intellectual movements to provide greater clarity. Nonetheless, Nagarjunas twofold truth was the rst clear statement linking concepts to ultimate truth through pragmatic action. Phenomenalism Consideration of phenomena proceeded through three phases of inquiry: perception, phenomena, and empirical experience. Perceptual Phenomenalism (Madhyamika-Sautrantika) (fourth to fth century) After Vasubandhu wrote his monumental Sarvastivada work, Abhidharma-kosa, he abandoned the Sarvastivada notion of an external world that he had so masterfully expounded there. With his skills in logic, he gravitated to the Sautrantika school, within whose intellectual surroundings he produced his Explanation of Maitreyas Mahayana-sutra-lamkara-vyakya. He explained there that objects have no

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independent natures of their own because they depend on chains of causes. Finally, in his classic tome, Establishment of Cognitions Only (Vijnnapti-matratasiddhi-sastra), he showed that it was illogical to claim external objects as anything more than phenomena produced by consciousness, since they depend entirely on three basic aspects of mind: (1) the nature and condition of the perceiving mind, (2) the sensory organs through which objects are perceived, and (3) impinging conditions, such as distance, brightness, form, and motion. Since a change in any of these alters perception, he argued that it is impossible to say that an object is anything more than a mental image. Dignaga (c. 480540) tightened this train of thought in his Precise Clarication of Rened Cognition (Pramana-samuccaya). In this widely admired work he rst showed that perception emerges solely through the ve senses. Having thus established raw sensation as the basis of perception, he concluded that the creation of concepts from raw sensation must reside somewhere else in mind. In our sophisticated age this may seem quite obvious. At the time, however, it was revolutionary in that it clearly divorced external reality (as sensation) from logic (as reason) and bestowed on perception the reality-constructing role. This went beyond basic Madhyamika thinking by making logic a product of idealism. Conceptual Phenomenalism (Prasangika-sautrantika ) (fth century) This subschool maintained faith in the logical consequences ( prasanga) of reasoned argument. Since Nagarjuna had irrefutably shown by reductio ad absurdum that all concepts are reducible to nonsense, they deemed it useless to adopt any particular stated view. Yet their Sautrantika background committed them to the words of Buddha. In this somewhat contradictory situation, the renowned Prasangika scholar Buddhapalita (c. 480540), in his Commentary on [Nagarjunas] Middle Way (Buddhapalita-mula-madhyamika-vrtti), pointed out that the concept of cyclical existence had been so well established by Buddha and subsequent philosophers that it could not be just a vacuous illusion. Some kind of reality must be there, even if logic could not show it. Then he offered his conclusion that logic cannot do so because it is only able to reveal an absence of truth, not its presence. The most famous scholar of this school, Candrakirti (c. 580650), strengthened this line of reasoning in his Clear Words on [Nagarjunas] Middle Way (Mula-madhyamaka-vrtti-prasanga-pada). First, he stated that the problem bedeviling Nagarjunas twofold truth was not that he had not paid sufcient attention to logic (as some were claiming) but rather that logic was not qualied to deal with any truths except the kind that related concepts to each other. Logic required objective entities just to exist. Without them logic had no way to operate. That


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is why, he claimed, Nagarjuna could use logic to demonstrate the nonexistence of concepts but could not use it to deny or reveal other types of truths. The only kind of truth concepts could possibly possess would have to lie in mental states that lead to truth. He cited six such mental states: (1) generosity (dana), (2) moral conduct (sila), (3) patient forbearance (ksanti), (4) moral enthusiasm (virya), (5) concentrated mental introspection (either dhyana or samadhi), and (6) wisdom ( prajna). Within these states of consciousness, he argued, truth inheres because they lead to the ultimate truth expounded by Buddha. To these six states, Santideva, a seventh-century Prasangika logician and Tantric practitioner, added compassion-generated action in two of Mahayanas most revered works, his Outline of Instruction (Shiksa-samuccaya-karika) and Complete Teachings on the Bodhisattva Way (Bodhicarya-vatara). They showed the crucial role played by compassion in Buddhas teachings and maintained that compassion was the root truth on which all conceptual paths to truth depend. Experiential Phenomenalism (Svatantrika-Madhyamika ) (sixth century) Bhavaviveka (c. 500570), in his Essence of Madhyamika (Madhyamika-hrdaya-vrtti-tarkajvala), argues that logically demonstrating that objects and concepts do not exist tells us nothing about whether they do exist. All that it tells us, he said, is that objects and subjects have no inherent existence of their own. Its says nothing about whether phenomena exist. In his Wisdom Lamp (Prajna-pradipa-mula-madhyamika-vrtti), he asserted that only in the context of empirical inference does logic tell us anything about existence. That is, it can tell us that something has to be there simply because we do in fact perceive, and, more importantly, it can tell us that phenomena are experienced in mind without rst having been rationally established or causally linked to other phenomena. So perceptions must have some selfexistence. And he pooh-poohed Prasangika logic by showing that its proof of the nonexistence of subjects and objects requires rst recognizing the existence of subjects and objects, which he showed to be a self-destroying logical contradiction. Finally he criticized Candrakirti for paying insufcient attention to the experiential side of Madhyamika (to which Candrakirti replied that Bhavaviveka was not paying enough attention to logic)an unfortunate exchange since their thinking pursued similar lines. It did however illustrate the difference in emphasis that separated the two subschools. The outstanding Svatantrika-Madhyamika contribution was its establishment of inference (svatantra) based on empirical experience as a valid approach to truth. The school then divided into two different kinds of logically inclined subschoolsone concerned mainly with inferential reasoning, the other with reasoning applied to experiential inquiry.

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Inferential Reasoning (Svatantrika-Sautantrika) (seventh century) The logic grandmaster of post-Madhyamika thought, Dharmakirti (c. 580660). His critique of nyala logic titled A Drop of Great Reasoning (Nyala-bindu), amplied Dignagas separation of conceptualization from sensation by citing three basic types of conceptual mentality that were beyond the level of mere sensation: (1) rumination, (2) self-awareness, and (3) the experiential insights that come from mental concentration on consciousness itself. In his Discussion of Valid Cognition (Pramana-varttika), Dharmakirti noted that the Madhyamika proof of the intrinsic existencelessness of subject and object rested on the argument that because neither could exist without the other, neither had an existence of its own. How is it, then, he asked, that we in fact have subjects and objects? Answering his own question, he claimed they exist because their inherent nonduality makes them immune to logical analysis. Logical truth and empirical truth, he said, only appear different because, when consciousness is perceiving phenomena, it is looking at characteristics, but when it is examining precise truth, it is focusing on deduction. Though this may seem to many a rather precious sort of reasoning, it nonetheless elevated the status of perceived phenomena to reality and strengthened the case for the validity of experience. Dharmakirtis reasoning was ultimately adopted by the Gelugpa Order in Tibet as a principal means for teaching subtler forms of logic to students. Mastery of such logic is required before they study Tantra. Experiential Reasoning (Svatantrika-Yogacara) While the Svatantrika-Sautantrika were working out ways to demonstrate the validity of phenomena inferentially, the Svatantrika-Yogacara school was examining consciousness itself. Santiraksita (seventh century), in his Essential Principles (Tattva-samgraha) and Verses on the Middle Way (Madhyamika-lankara-karika), showed it was just as unreasonable to think of everything as consciousness as to believe in the existence of external objects. In his view, both were bogus issues. With his interests focused on experiential realms rather than logicality, Santiraksita simply ignored Candrakirtis reasoning and spoke beyond it to aspects of mentality that transcend and transform ordinary consciousness. His student, Kamalashila, pointed out in his Three Stages of Meditation (Havana-krama) and Elucidation of [Santaraksitas] Essential Principles of Emptiness (Tattvasamgraha-panjika) that some people proceed toward transcendental knowledge by being told about it, others by critically pondering the meaning of verbal constructs, and still others by concentrating on the bliss associated with fundamental consciousness. That different people could proceed to transcendental truth in different ways strengthened the idea that concepts had some pragmatic value.


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The Idealistic Revolution (Yogacara), fourth to seventh centuries A.D.

The Yogacara philosophy can most simply be summed up as subjective idealism (Vijnanavada). Its basic ontological position was that only consciousness is real and that ideation is the source of all perceived phenomena. Though the origins of such thinking can be traced back to early comments of the Buddha at the Deer Park in Benares and then to Sarvastivada reasoning, it was not until the urry of the prajnaparamita writings in the rst and second centuries that its importance became clear. Its basic ideas were expressed in Maitreyas Explanation of the Profound Secrets (Samdhi-nirmocanasutra), which suggested that objects of perception are products of mind. The idea was further developed, in the fourth century, in Buddha Sakyamunis Lanka Sutra (Lankavatara-sutra). Though the idea was not quite clearly rationalized in these works, they did produce Yogacara as a philosophical school in its own right. The new school took its name from Asangas treatise, The Experiential Levels of Yogic Practice (Yogacara-bhumi-sastra).12 Compassional aspects were unveiled in his Explanation of the Bodhisattva Stage (Bodhisattva-bhumi). However, the role of compassion was most fully explained by Asangas younger brother, the famous logician, Vasubandhu. In his Establishment of Cognitions Only (Vijnapti-satrata-sindhi-sastra), Vasubandhu unequivocally declared external objects to be nothing more than concepts and therefore nothing more than products of mind. He followed this up with a stunning critique of basic Madhyamika philosophy in his Qualities of the Great Vehicle (Mahayanasutra-lamkara-vyakhya). In it he showed that it was not enough to prove objects empty of self-existence and simply leave it at that. It is natural, he claimed, that when emptiness is logically examined, it resolves to a lack of self-existence. But since it is undeniable that we do in fact exist, logic in that case produces an absurdity, a conundrum in which emptiness oscillates endlessly between existing and not existing. Such an absurdity, he explained, can only be resolved by considering emptiness and consciousness a single nondual entity. With that the established Madhyamika view of emptiness was turned upside down. To Madhyamika, emptiness has no existence because all objects have no self-existence. Vasubandhu then reasoned that emptiness existed in the nonduality of subject and object at a level beyond mere concepts. In this way he made emptiness a function of mentality (rather than an object) and altered the idea of what was illusory. According to Madhyamika, the perception of any object (for example, a cup) is illusory and therefore untrue. According to Vasubandhu such perceptions are true by virtue of existing within consciousness. He went on to show, in his Treatise on the Three Natures of Existence (Trisvabhava-nirdesa), how the three forms of intrinsic existence identied in the early prajnaparamita writings are all aspects of consciousness.13 Though his reasoning was subtle, it became the intellectual bombshell that thrust Yogacara into position as the new Mahayana philosophy. Though his reasoning provided ontological legitimacy to experiential inquiry, lurking in the background were the still unex-

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plained inklings that some sort of transcendental reality was more fundamental than consciousness. Tantrayana would consider it.

As noted, different orientations separate the three main divisions of Buddhist philosophy. Theravada focused primarily on scholastic inquiry; Mahayana analyzed logic and produced new tools of reason to better understand the relationship between deductive reasoning and experiential inquiry. That effort then revealed the importance of pragmatism and compassion. It also provided a philosophical basis that gave impetus to the Yogacara view that truth resides only within consciousness. That view, in turn, provided a philosophical toehold and academic respectability for Tantrayana. The intellectual (as opposed to experiential) precursors of Tantrayana can most visibly be traced to Nagarjunas crushing logical demonstration that concepts have no inherent existence. Until then formal logic applied to language was the basic tool by which truth was determined. After Nagarjuna carried logic to its self-devastating extremes, subtler forms of rationality emerged, ones that allowed for examination of consciousness in relation to the phenomena of experience. While some considered these developments a way to refute Nagarjunas unassailable logical demolition of concepts, in fact Nagarjuna had not abandoned concepts. In his twofold truth he revealed that concepts could be used as pragmatic tools to lead one to recognition of a subtler existence. In his view, words, though essenceless in and of themselves, nevertheless can be used as guides to truth and in this sense partake of truth. Tantric practitioners then devoted themselves to aspects of consciousness beyond dualistic thought. Though their discoveries were experientially too subtle to be described by words, they nonetheless soon noticed that the same ineffable experiences were shared by other Tantrists. Since these were beyond the types of thought accessible by words, allusive types of speech (sometimes spoken of as helpful winds) were contrived that pointed people toward these deeper truths. Though differences in these verbal devices emerged in different Tantric schools, to experienced Tantrists it did not matter. They simply understood them as differently shaped tools to accomplish the same endwhich was reducing domination of human consciousness by conceptual thought, in order that the subtler understandings could be accessed. These Tantrists realized very early that they were exposing the same basic levels of consciousness that come into view during the process of death. During death they pass by so swiftly and traumatically that they are only very rarely noticed. The Tantric techniques they developed, however, enabled these basic levels of consciousness to be experienced without dying, and at a pace that enables recognition. Because Tantra irts with raw emotional power, experienced Tantric tutors proceed cautiously. Their protective strategies include a rigorous intellectual understanding of the nature of


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Figure 1.5 In the most skillful Tantric monasteries, rituals trigger moments of awe even in the very young and inexperienced (Tarik Sakya Monastery, 1978).

consciousness, fostering a habitude of compassion, cultivating an empathetic relation with the student, and instilling a rm trust in the procedures. Even just by themselves, the experiences conveyed by Tantric ritual can be very evocative and at times trigger awe even among the very young (gure 1.5). Only supercially does Buddhist Tantra resemble non-Buddhist Tantra. Though both are transmitted by direct person-to-person tutelage, the objectives and results are far apart. Non-Buddhist Tantrists employ the esoteric knowledge they gain for personal powerto benet themselves and their allies. Buddhist Tantra emerges from universal compassion and seeks well-being for all beings. That appears to be the reason for its rapid spread across Asia from India to Sri Lanka and then to Nepal, Kashmir, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tibet, Bhutan, China, Japan, Korea, and Mongolia, where it largely displaced non-Buddhist types of Tantra and sorcery. In the late twentieth century, all types of Tantra were suppressed across Asia, mainly by communist govern-

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ments, sometimes savagely, as during the Chinese invasion and occupation of Tibet. Monks and novices from many Tibetan monasteries then ed across the formidable Himalayan barrier (often with only the clothes they wore) to sympathetic neighboring nations, principally India, Nepal, and Bhutan, where they tacked together primitive structures as monasteries. These were soon improved by aid from wealthy nations, sometimes elaborately. From these new sites Tantric teachings spread with increasing vigor to Europe and America. There are alternative ways of classifying Tantric procedures. However, four basic types are generally recognized.14 Each type focuses mentality and behavior somewhat differently, the aim being to enable access by different types of people to these deeper levels of consciousness. Of these four basic types, three are dual and one is nondual.

Dual Tantra
Dual Tantra operates in the realm of subject-object thought as the vehicle by which attention is progressively directed to states of mind and actions that will enable one to engage nondual Tantra. The most generally accepted classication of dual Tantra is as follows. Action Tantra (kriya-tantra; Tib: jha-gyud ) Action Tantra emphasizes salutary activities rather than contemplation. It concerns itself principally with ethical behavior and study. It is likened poetically to visualizing a clothed, erotically attractive female and exchanging smiles with her. The mental happiness that arises guides one to Moral Tantra. Moral Tantra (carya-tantra; Tib: cho-gyud ) Moral Tantra combines the activities of Action Tantra with contemplation of its benecial effect. This is likened to the feeling that comes when erotically attracted individuals exchange touches. Contemplation of this stronger level of mental happiness leads to Meditative Tantra. Meditative Tantra (yoga-tantra; Tib: naljor-gyud ) This type of dual Tantra is entirely mental. Physical actions are no longer helpful. One only concentrates on the happiness that emerges with a conceptual understanding of the relationship between action and compassion. This understanding intensies mental happiness and enables one to nondually examine deeper levels of emotive force and consciousness.

Nondual Tantra (Anuttarayoga-tantra or Anuyoga-Tantra; Tib: neljor-lamegyud )

There is only one type of nondual Tantra. Since there is no Tantra that goes more deeply into the ultimate nature of life, it is most accurately referred to in English as


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Ultimate (or Unsurpassed) Tantra, though the slightly misleading term Highest Yoga Tantra is often used. This type of Yoga is called nondual because it deals with realms of consciousness beyond the duality of subject-object thought. Its practices entirely overcome subject-object modes of consciousness. While the objectives of all nondual Tantras are the same, procedural aspects can differ. The Guhyasamaja-tantra (Tib: Sangwa-duepa) emphasizes vajra-mantra recitation and the Three Appearances visualization (Tib: nang-gi-ngonpar-jang-chub-pa). Herukatantra (Tib: Dechog) emphasizes accessing bliss. The Heruka (Tib: Dorjee-neljorma) and Vajrayogini (Tib: Dorjee-neljorma) Tantras focus attention on the clear-light of nonduality that is ultimately exposed by an extremely subtle conceptual understanding of emptiness (Tib: wosel ). Because the Guhyasamaja-tantra is the foundation from which all other nondual Tantras have emerged, the practices discussed below follow its format. All nondual Tantras deal with the same fundamental states of emotive energy and consciousness as the Guhyasamaja. The only differences are the allusive terminologies used and the emphases. There are two basic types of nondual Tantra: (1) Activity Tantra and (2) Consciousness Tantra. Both include all the essential practices of the other, since the aim of both is to fully reveal the nondual character of consciousness at its most fundamental level. Both accomplish an experiential realization of this most fundamental level of consciousness (spoken of in classical Tantra as the clear-light of emptiness) and both create an extremely subtle consciousness/action body ( gyume-lus) and an understanding of the compassionate unity of all life (zung-jug). Activity Tantras (Upaya tantra; Tib: Pha-gyud ) Activity Tantra focuses on compassionate action. Also called Father Tantra, it stresses production of an extremely subtle level of awareness combined with the fundamental emotive force of life (sarvabodhicitta). Though the potential exists within all humans, it is normally unrealizable due to the clamorousness of the conceptual and emotional aspects of normal human mentality. This type of Tantra endeavors to break through the clamor to cognize and experience increasingly subtle emotive essences and nally to reach the most basic level of compassion (sarva-bodhicitta), which is also the deep source enabling erotic passion. In classical Buddhist Tantra the basic emotive energies propelling life are spoken of as the winds-of-life.15 Breaking through to the fundamental wind (i.e., the bliss beyond eroticism) usually requires physical coitus with a properly prepared consort (Tib: lekyi-chag-gya). Those who have gained Tantric understanding are then able to access the bliss that is more fundamental than erotic passion. This can occur when the bliss state of coitus is intensely contemplated. This is normally extremely dif-

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cult, since erotic action has a powerful grip on living species. Subtle guidance by an expert Tantric practitioner is usually essential. Some of the more widely employed Activity Tantras include Guhyasamaja (Tib: Sangwa-duepa), Hayagriva (Tib: Tamdrin), Yamantaka (Tib: Jigje), and Mahachakravajrapani (Tib: Chagtor-khorchen). The root text of Guhyasamaja Tantra (the original source of all the others) provides the most elaborate details. Yamantaka, though usually classied as an Activity Tantra, deals almost equally with action and consciousness with only slightly more emphasis on action. Consciousness Tantra ( prajna-tantra, Tib: sherab-gyud ) Consciousness Tantra (also referred to as Wisdom Tantra) emphasizes access to the most fundamental level of consciousness, which in classical Tibetan Tantra is called wosel (clear light). Colloquially called Mother Tantra (Tib: Ma-gyud ), this type of Tantra focuses attention on that very subtle level of consciousness that realizes emptiness. It proceeds by mimicking the increasingly subtle levels of consciousness that are exposed during death. As subject-object mental activity resolves into the more fundamental states, subtler levels are successively exposed until its most elemental level appears (this occurs at the instant consciousness moves beyond the bodily senses). These deeper levels are extremely difcult to detect during life. In humans they are obscured by the ve physically structured senses (sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch), by the conceptual mode of thinking, and by emotions associated with the sense of self (e.g., ego, desire, attachment, pride, boorishness, ignorance, suspicion, anger, fear, hate, contempt, disgust, and so on). Consciousness Tantras stress erotic heat (Skt: candali; Tib: tumo) to reduce the emotive forces of life to their fundamental substratesin the language of classical Tantra, to bring the winds-oflife into the central channel where they no longer have any sense of subject-object duality. Heruka (Tib: dechog)and its associated female Tantras, Vajrayogini (Tib: dorje-naljorma) and Vajravarahi (Tib: dorje-phagmo)use the same root text, which is relatively explicit and highly regarded. (See the discussion of the Heruka and Vajrayogini Tantras below.) Other major Wisdom Tantras include Kalachakra (Tib: Dhuekhor) and Hevajra (Tib: Kye-dorjee). Their practice requires two stages of mental concentration.

The Generation Stage (Utpattikrama, Tib: Kyerim)

In the Generation Stage the actual experiences of the subtler levels of consciousness sought in Tantra are not realized. To prepare for such realization, awareness is concentrated on personied symbols that represent the actual experiences. This approach is therefore also called articial yoga. Its purpose is to present conditions that enable individuals to eventually accomplish a direct experience of the actual nonsymbolic


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Figure 1.6 Stages of realization reachable only through profound introspective analysis of the actual experience of the most fundamental erotic state are a crucial aspect of such Tantric practices which include tutelary iconographic diagrams like this one for the Heruka Tantric practice (Gyudmed Tantric Monastery, 1982).

levels of consciousness. These symbols are usually anthropomorphized and (inaccurately) called deities in English. At their most abstract level they are set forth in elaborately abstract artistic diagrams (gure 1.6), which enable one to more easily recognize the actual experiential states in the later stages of Tantric practice. They are guides to the visualizations that prepare students for Tantric practice.16 The size of these diagrams, and the number and attributes of their entities, differ from Tantra to Tantra. These abstractions can also be visualized positioned internally within ones own body. Some monasteries present these abstract representations in choreographic presentations (cham) (gure 1.7). Regardless of which approach is used, the basic mental states to which they refer are the same. As soon as genuine experiences of the subtler states begin occurring, the Generation Stage, by denition, automatically ceases, and the Completion Stage begins, sometimes without practitioners actually noticing. The shift, however, is momentous in

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Figure 1.7 A young monk embodies the nature of inescapable death for his monasterys annual choreographic presentation (cham) (Zongkar Choede Monastery, 2001).


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that practitioners now experience the subtler states of consciousness directly rather than conjuring symbolic representations of them.

Completion Stage (zogrim)

Zogrim literally means possess the levels. It requires that one consciously possess all the levels of mentality down to the most fundamental. The procedure is classically divided into six levels of practice,17 each of which confers an increasingly rened conceptual understanding of consciousness until actual nondual emptiness, not a concept of it, is directly experienced (gure 1.8). In classical Tantra this is the clear-light of emptiness.18 This occurs only by directly experiencing the fundamental mentality that underlies compassionthat is, the bliss essence of the fundamental creative

Figure 1.8 An elder monk concentrates attention on the nonverbal inner aspects of consciousness during the Monlam ritual conducted by the Dalai Lama (Drepung Monastery, 1979).

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energy of life beyond any sense of gender or sexuality. This is experienced when the subtlest wind-of-life merges as a single entity with the most subtle possible conceptualization of emptiness. A sense of the unity of life (zung-jug) then appears. There are six basic levels. Level 1. Emptying Consciousness of Its Prevailing Sense of Physical Body This is often spoken of in English as isolation of body. The process, however, is not so much one of isolation (in the sense of sequestering), as of overcoming the patterns of awareness imposed by the human physical and mental structure. This process has already been initiated in the Generation Stage as an imaginary exercise. When the actual states of consciousness begin to be experienced, they replace imagination. The process then automatically becomes a Completion Stage activity. In classical Tantric terminology this occurs when the winds-of-life move from the peripheral channels to the central channelthat is, from the daily-life areas of expression to the one where the underlying essences hold sway. It requires a shift of mental focus. Some examples of exercises devised to facilitate such movement are: Vajra Mantra Recitation Vajra Mantra recitation initially concentrates on the actual auditory sounds of three Sanskrit syllables, om, ah, and hum. Increasingly intense concentration on them withdraws attention from emotions that obstruct notice of the subtler states of mind. White-Wind-Drop Visualization (Tib. jangsem) A concentrated imaginary visualization of a tiny Tantric diagram (with all its symbolic entities in detail) within the whitewind-drop (essence-of-semen) is conjured at the tip opening of ones secret site (organ of basic erotic feeling). Intense concentration on the feeling then experientially reveals the subtler emotional states underlying itin archaic Tantric language it arouses latent repositories of white-wind (inner heat, Tib. tumo) in the head, navel, and genitalia by which perception of the vacuity of concept becomes possible while simultaneously experiencing great bliss.19 Three Appearances Visualization (nang-gi-ngonpar-jang-chub-pa) The Three Appearances are experiences of subtle states of consciousness that become apparent when one concentrates on three postulated colors (white, red, and black), in that order. Though the appearances are spoken of as colors, they are not to be confused with colors as seen by eye. Rather they are suggestive transcendental stand-ins that reect three progressively weaker levels of the obstructive states of consciousness produced by normal human living. Originally indicated by the Guhyasamaja Tantra, these obstructive states of consciousness were claried poetically by Nagarjuna around the second century A.D. and (a thousand years later) given greater verbal specicity in a taxonomic structure


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linked to the Three Appearances by Tsongkhapa (see table 1.1).20 The Three Appearances are: No words adequately describe White Appearance. However, it has been spoken of metaphorically as like the color of moonlight on a clear autumn night lling the emptiness of night, or, in the words of Tsongkhapa, like cloudless sky in dustless air blanketed by moonlight. White Appearance is also referred to as detachment from attachment (Tib: chak-drel ), since during the experience of White Appearance one is more aware of emptiness than of bliss. This occurs when the eighty gross levels of consciousness associated with ordinary human life fade into its preternatural sense of whiteness. When they have done so, Red Appearance starts arising. n Red Appearance Frequently described as like sunlight lling a clear autumn sky, Red Appearance is spoken of by Tsongkhapa as like cloudless sky in dustless air blanketed by sunlight. Because of its close relationship to compassion, it is sometimes referred to the essence of Action Tantra. It occurs when White Appearance fades into a rising preternatural sense of redness. It is also spoken of as ardor or bliss because of the feeling of great joy that it generates. Concentration on these feelings ultimately enables a deeper sense of emptiness to be perceived. Once this is perceived, Black Appearance begins rising. n Black Appearance (chakpa-barwa) Black Appearance is poetically described as like the absence of light in a moonless autumn night-sky or, in Tsongkhapas words, a cloudless sky blanketed by onset of night. It is called the Burning Essence (chakpa-barwa) in reference to the intense experience of conjoining of bliss and emptiness. It is also called ignorance because the highest level of bliss is still obscured by the sense of blackness. Intense concentration on the blackness reveals a motionless, visionless appearance (devoid of any sense of object). This is similitude clear-light ( pei-wosel ), the subtlest possible conceptual understanding of the basic nonconceptual nature of pure consciousness. Black Appearance must be approached carefully, since it can confer mental damage on those who have not yet attained an unfailing, instinctive habitude of fundamental compassion (sarva-yogacitta; Tib: tamche-neljor-gyi-sem).

White Appearance (Tib. chak-drel )

When these experiences of the Three Appearances start to remain in memory after the meditative exercise, it becomes easier to perceive the fundamental levels of consciousness. Four Empties Visualization Associated with the Three Appearances are four increasingly vacuous levels of conceptual thinking referred to as the Four Empties:

The Empty (Tib: tongpa) is awareness of the vacuity of the objects of thought associated with the eighty gross levels of consciousness (see note 20). It occurs when the internal sense of White Appearance is realized.

Table 1.1 The eighty obstructive states of consciousness originally indicated by the arcane allusive language of the Guhyasamaja Root Tantra as claried by Nagarjuna and Tsongkhapa (see note 20).
White Appearance emerges from cessation of the thirty-three strongly obstructive mental preoccupations
Hatred (for any kind of object other than oneself) Disdain (for any kind of object other than oneself) Dislike (for any kind of object other than oneself) Strongly missing (a loved one or thing) Missing (a loved one or thing) Slightly missing (a loved one or thing) Neutral mind (neither happy nor sad) Distractedness (unable to maintain mental focus on anything) Panic Fear Anxiety Strong fondness (for someone or something) Moderate fondness (for someone or something) Mild fondness (for someone or something) Doting on any of ones ve basic constituents of existence (body, perception, sensation, instinct, and consciousness) Uncertainty (regarding the value of virtuous action) Eagerness to eat Eagerness to drink Tactile pleasure Tactile displeasure Tactile sensibility without pleasure or displeasure Subject-oriented mental disposition Object-oriented mental disposition Action-oriented mental disposition Preoccupation with ethical action Distress regarding unethical action Aversion to shameful activity Pity Protectiveness Eagerness to be with the things or people one likes Tendency to ignore (people or things one dislikes) Eagerness to accumulate things Jealousy

Red Appearance emerges from cessation of forty subtler modes of obstructive consciousness
Desire to obtain something not possessed Desire to keep to something already possessed Strongly liking an object or being Ordinary liking for an object or being Mild liking for an object or being Delightedness (when accomplishing ends) Obsessive thinking (about liked objects) Sense of surprise Abstracted mind (mentally engaged but not paying particular attention) Sense of satisfaction Eagerness to embrace Eagerness to kiss Eagerness to suck Impulse to maintain mental status quo Zealousness in the pursuit of virtuous action Sense of self-importance (egotism) Obsession to complete an action Impulse to acquire something by force Impulse to destroy anothers power Fervor to form a habit of virtuous action Impulse for destructive action (strong) Impulse for destructive action (medium) Impulse for destructive action (weak) Arrogance Desire for playful affection Repugnance Vengefulness Obsession to elaborately explain Obsession to be candid Obsession to deceive others Obsession to keep promises Indifference to possessions Obsession to be generous Obsession to promote virtuous action by others Eagerness to defeat enemies Shamelessness (brazenness, lack of concern for feelings of others) Joy in deceiving others Impulse to persist in wrong views Superciliousness Intentional unjustness

Black Appearance emerges when seven very subtle obstructive mental habitudes cease
Disinterestness (lacking interest for objects and ideas) Neglectful memory (repressing aspects of memory) Tendency to fantasize (attentiveness to illusions) Aversion to speech Angst (inclination to be unhappy) Disinclination to act benecially Indecisiveness (eschewing decisive action)


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The Very Empty (Tib: shintu tongpa) is awareness of the emptiness of the subtle level of subject-object thinking associated with the nonverbal levels of intentionality (the emotive winds-of-life). The movement of these subtler levels of intentionality generate the sense of Red Appearance. n The Great Empty (Tib: chenpo tongpa) is awareness of the vacuity of the even subtler level of subject-object thinking that discloses the most basic emotive forces. As these levels of intentionality collapse, the sense of Black Appearance arises. n The Extremely Empty (Tib: thamched tongpa) is the cessation of the most subtle level of subject-object thinking and the very subtle emotive force that is its partner.

Each of the Four Empties represents further progress on the way toward the direct nonconceptual experience of the emptiness in the absence of dualistic thought. White Appearance leads to appreciation of the rst level, Red Appearance to the second, and Black Appearance to the third. A full realization of Black Appearance is referred to as empty, but not emptiness. The fourth, the Extremely Empty, with its almost total vacuity of conceptual thought, dawns only after concentration on Black Appearance subdues its blackness. In classic Tantric terminology this occurs when all the winds-of-life have been absorbed into the central chamber of the heart chakra. Four Joys The sense of liberation conveyed by the Four Empties generates Four Joys, each being a more ecstatic experience than the previous. These are spoken of as (1) Joy ( gawa), (2) Great Joy (chogtu-gawa), (3) Extreme Joy (khye-gawa), and (4) Exquisite Joy (lhenkye-kyi-gawa).21 The sense of emptiness associated with White Appearance suffuses one with Joy; that accompanying Red Appearance brings Great Joy; Black Appearance brings Extreme Joy; and clear-light suffuses one with Exquisite Joy. Level 2. Emptying Consciousness of Domination by Verbal Rumination (Tib: thamelpae-ngag) The second level of the Completion Stage is often translated as isolation of speech. However, rather than verbal activity being set apart and isolated, it is replaced by appreciation of its underlying emotive forces. The transformation is accomplished by internal (rather than verbal) Vajra Mantra recitation, a practice that concentrates on the internal mental vibrations associated with the subtler levels of lifes emotive forces. The shift of ones attention from auditory sounds to inner sounds is facilitated by the afnity of these internal vibrations to the actual sounds of the Sanskrit syllables om, ah, and hum. Internal mantra is also called subtle mantra.22 With repetition the verbal conceptualization that normally dominates human mentality gives way.23 This and similar meditational practices quiet the normal cruder levels of mental engagement and allow internal experiential exploration of subtler levels of consciousness.

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Level 3. Emptying Consciousness of Domination by Conceptual Thought (Tib: sem-ven) The aim of the third level of the Completion Stage is to become aware of the nondual foundations of consciousness.24 This requires experiencing rather than conceptualizing them.25 Though this is often referred to as isolation of mind, nothing is actually isolated in the sense of being set off by itself or quarantined. Rather, the tendency for human minds to conceptualize is reduced ultimately to the nondual level of consciousness that underlies conceptualization. In Tantric metaphorical terminology this is spoken of as loosening the channel constrictions that obstruct movement of the winds-of-life into the central chamber of the heart chakra. Consort Union (Tib: les-kyi-chak-gya) To do so one must rst have a direct experience of the basic creative force of life (sarva-yogacitta) that underlies eroticism. There are two basic types of consort union: visualized ( yeshe-kyi chak-gya) and actual (les-kyi chakgya). According to Nagarjuna, in his Thoroughly Illuminating Nagarjunas Instructions on the Five Levels of Ultimate Tantra (Rimpa-nga), there are ve steps in the Completion Stage of Guhyasamaja. The rst three are visualized. The last two are experiential. According to Tsongkhapa, only these last two actually bring the winds-oflife into the central channel where they then generate the Four Joys. This, he explains, cannot occur without actual consort union (les-kyi-chak-gya). This is a Completion Stage practice in its entirety. Without actual coitus with a real consort the elemental emotive force underlying eroticism (and on which eroticism takes its shape) cannot be perceived. During the act of coitus, this underlying emotive force is perceived through intense contemplation of the erotic sensation (rather than the erotic activity). This then leads to the last of the four empties (the extremely-empty), which in turn enables the experience of bliss combining with emptiness to be directly perceived. Terminologically the ve steps to this realization are: 1. Bliss Visualization The practitioner imagines uniting sexually with a consort while simultaneously focusing consciousness on an idea of bliss generated by the subtle conceptual understanding of emptiness. This is a Generation Stage practice and, as Tsongkhapa observed, it does not generate an actual experience. Rather, it prepares one eventually to achieve such experience. 2. Mandala Entities Visualized within a White-Wind-Drop While imagining sexual union with a consort, the practitioner visualizes the essence of all the entities of a Tantric mandala in a drop of semen essence. This white-wind-drop (semen-drop) is then visualized descending from the head through the region of the elemental emotional winds (spoken of in Tantra as the central channel) to the site (chakra) of erotic motivation at the genitalia, from which the quintessence (not substance) of all the salutary mandala entities is released into the site of erotic motivation of the consort. This, too, is a Generation Stage practice since the basic emotive essence of life (in the white-wind-drop) is only imagined.


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3. White-Wind-Drop Exercise The white-wind-drop (i.e., the emotive force of eroticism) is circulated by force of mental concentration on the emotional knots concentrated at the head (crown chakra), to those concentrated at the heart (heart chakra), to those associated with the genitalia (secret chakra), and back. Each circulation reduces the grosser winds of ordinary mentality progressively toward their underlying essences. This is spoken of in Tantra as moving ones mental focus into the central channel. The transformation is a Completion Stage practice. 4. White-Wind Retention Prior to its twelfth chapter, the Vajramala requires concentration on the act of holding the experiential essence of the white-wind (symbolized by the semen-drop) rather than focusing on the form of the drop. It states: When the essence of the white-wind ows from the crown chakra through heart chakra to the male genitalia, it must be held there and not allowed to move beyond. 5. White-Wind Emission Later the Vajramala speaks of a melted white-semen-drop (i.e., white-wind) emerging from the male genitalia and touching the interior of the consorts genitalia. In this type of consort union, consciousness focuses on the extremely subtle form of the white-wind itself rather than on the act of retaining it. Not just any consort will do. There are three effective kinds: ngag-kye (a young practitioner of the Generation Stage), zhing-kye (one who has realized any of the rst four levels of the Completion Stage), and lhen-kye (one who has realized Unity). A generic term for all the types of consorts is pho-nya (messenger of bliss). Effective consort union requires three conditions: (1) visualizing oneself and ones consort as conveyors of the essences of truth (lue-la-lhayi-dushe), (2) visualizing the physical openings of the male and female genital organs plugged by the yellow Sanskrit syllable, phet (ngag-la-ngakkyi-dushe), and (3) being motivated solely by the possibility of experiencing true bliss ( yi-la-choe-kyi-dushe), not ordinary sexual bliss. If any of the conditions is not fullled, the effort turns into ordinary coitus. Each failure makes the next attempt more difcult. Two widely employed general procedures for actual consort union are introduced in Vajradharas Indestructible Progression (Vajramala). Further details can be seen in Losang Choegyens Essence of the Five Levels of the Completion Stage (Rim-nganying-po). Level 4. Generating a Basic Emotive Force Conjoined with Basic Consciousness (Skt: Mayadeha; Tib: Gyumae-lus) This level is devoted to acquiring an extremely subtle body sensibility (Gyumae-lus). As conceptually presented in Tantra, consciousness only perceives objects and analyzes perceptions; it has no physical power and cannot, therefore, undertake activity. The emotive force of life, on the other hand, is physical power but with with no analytic awareness. It can neither perceive objects nor analyze

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perceptions. Intelligent action becomes possible only when consciousness and emotive force act together. From introspective examination of ones own basic states of consciousness and emotive forces, one can eventually discover an extremely subtle level of consciousness that links to an extremely subtle level of the emotive force of life. The linkage creates an extremely subtle awareness-body capable of intelligent action at the fundamental level of consciousness. The most detailed descriptions appear in the Guhyasamaja texts, Pradipa-dyotana (Tib: Dronsel ) by Candrakirti and the Shed-gyud by Rinchen Sangpo. The most complete commentaries on these descriptions are in Tsongkhapas Thoroughly Illuminating Nagarjunas Instructions on the Five Levels of Ultimate Tantra (Rimpa-nga-seldon) and Aryadevas Clear Light on the Completion Stage of the Guhysamaja Tantra (Carya-samgraha-pradipa; Tib: Chod-du), with additional explanations in his Clear Presentation of the Stages of Self Perfection (Svadhisthana-krama-prabheda; Tib: Dhag-jin-lap). This very subtle body is often spoken of in English as illusory bodybecause it is similar to a body in a dream. In Tibet it is considered magical in appearance, and is therefore sometimes translated as magic body. Sometimes it is called imaginary body. Such translations are indicative, but none is fully accurate. Since there is body, it is not an illusion. Magic does not produce it, so it is not a magic body. Though it can be imagined, it is real form, not merely imagination. In his Rimpa-nga, Nagarjuna described it as so subtle that it cannot be understood from anything written about it. There are, however, metaphors and similes. Tantrists commonly refer to it as the product of the simultaneous conjoint activation of subtlest consciousness with the subtlest wind-of-life.26 They state: Those who are able to abandon dualistic thinking at the time of death can achieve this type of body when their consciousness starts to enter the intermediate state (bardo). Though the possibility of such a body can be adumbrated by metaphor, Tantric scholars are quick to explain that it is not possible to actually grasp just what this type of body is without rst removing consciousness from subject-object thinking. Nagarjuna says (in his Rimpa-nga) that human thinking rst has to change fundamentally. Tsongkhapa is more explicit in his Rim-nga-seldron (a commentary on Nagarjunas Rimpa-nga). He reveals that those able to practice the Four Empties during sleep will then be able to recognize the true nature of dreaming as a reection of the basic emotive force of life. Aryadevas Carya-samgraha-pradipa (Tib: Chod-du) goes further and shows how cultivation of the dream state enables a subtle conceptual realization of very subtle body.27 It also explains that such a body can be realized at the moment of death without consort practice. Vajradharas Vajramala and Tsongkhapas Rimpanga-seldron explain how.28 Generating such a body stabilizes ones grasp of the deeper levels of consciousness and provides a means by which effective compassion can be exercised (gures


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Figure 1.9a This ancient statue of Mahakala (Tib: Gonpo) displays the angst mixed with joyousness that can come when practicing extreme compassion (Lamayuru Monastery, 1979).

Figure 1.9b This ancient statue of Avalokiteswara (Tib: Chenrizig) reveals the calm joyousness that comes with reection on the positive effects of compassion (Ladakh, 1979).

1.9ab). When it is rst actualized traces of gross mentality are still there, which prevent the body from being realized in its true, subtlest form. For full realization, the ultimate elemental meaning of emptiness must be directly experienced in its full nonconceptualizable nature (in Tantric terminology, realizing actual clear-light) this being the goal of level 5. Level 5. Relieving the Mentality of the Remaining Subtle Concepts Associated with the Three Appearances (Tib: nang-gi-ngonpar-jang-chub-pa ) The fth level of the Completion Stage introduces one to the most elemental level of consciousnessspoken of by Tibetan Tantrists as actual clear-light (wosel ). It is the nondual state of the fundamental level of consciousness in which direct experience does not crystalize

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into subjects and objects. Tantrists speak of it as the mind of great bliss cognizing the nonreality of subject-object conceptualization. Though one can conceptualize such a mentality (and though such concepts can lead students to nonconceptual perception), the actual experience of nonduality can only occur after all conceptual thinking ceases. When conceptually considered, this subtlest level of consciousness can be either object or subject. When a persons consciousness focuses on it, it is object. When it is ones mind beholding the inherent emptiness of concepts, it is subject. At the nonconceptual level, however, it is neither. Rather it is the nondual experiential nature of the deepest level of consciousness, thus beyond the possibility of explanation by words and syntax (gures 1.10ab). The fth level of the Completion Stage takes one to this nondual state of consciousness spoken of by Tantrists as pure clear-light. One reaches it when the subtlest conceptual appreciation of nondual consciousness (i.e., the last remaining subtle conceptualization of clear-light) is replaced by the direct (rather than conceptual) experience of it. This then is the nal condition of the Fourth Empty. Tibetan Tantrists speak of the external cause of such perception being actual coital experience with an appropriate consort, as required by this stage of Tantric practice. Its internal cause, according to them, is the transformation of mentality by meditative concentration on that unobscured true bliss that is more fundamental than erotic bliss.29 Level 6. Unity (Tib: Zung Jug) The sixth level confers a stable realization of the unity of the fundamental levels of emotive force (sarva-yogacitta) and consciousness (wosel ). One enters this level as a learner in a state called learners unity. The learning process requires two processes. Mixing Subtle Body and Cessation One rst must bring the completed extremelysubtle-awareness-action body ( gyumae-lus) into the cessation of ego-oriented emotive forces. This requires experiencing (not conceptualizing) nondual awareness in the presence of extraordinary bliss (the Fourth Joy). The combination enables practitioners to retain their completed subtle-awareness-action-bodies during active life. In Nagarjunas Rimpa-nga this is spoken of as a unity-body devoid of such negative emotions as anger, hatred, desire, and so on (collectively, nyon-drib) as well as the very subtle persisting residue (smell) of such delusions (shey-drib). Eradicating the Smell The smell is eradicated by repeating the dissolution and regeneration of the Three Appearances. When all traces of the smell are gone, there is nothing left to learn. One is then said to have realized the consummate nature of consciousness as primordial unity (milob-pai-zung-jug).


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Figure 1.10a Here Heruka (Tib: Dechog) unites (anthropomorphically) with Vajrayogini (Tib: Dorjee Neljorma) in order to merge the root essence of action and consciousness as the means to realize the unity-of-existence (Lamayuru Monastery, Ladakh 1978).

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Figure 1.10b The faces in this large statue of Guhyasamaja (Tib: Sangwa-duepa) register aspects of the fervor that can occur during consort practice. It is a new statue and somewhat reects modern ideas about erotic consciousness (Gaden-Jangtse Monastery, 2001).

Brief Summaries of Some Ultimate Tantras Guhya-samaja (Tib: Sangwa-deupa)

The Guhya-samaja (also called Tathagata-guhyaka in Sanskrit) is the Ur-Tantra from which all the other Buddhist ultimate Tantras emerged. In Tibet it is normally referred to as Sangwa-duepa (or Sangdu), but it can also be called Mikyod-dorje, Shedang-dorje, or Jampel-dorje. It was rst taught by Buddha to Vajrapani and King Indrabodhi. It passed through Nagarjuna and Lok Kya Sherab Tzek to Tsongkhapa, who passed it to his disciples, Sherab Singe (who founded Gyudmed Tantric University) and Gyuchen


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Kunga Thondrub (who founded Gyutoe Tantric University). Since then it has been passed from abbot to abbot in both monasteries. Its rst seventeen chapters (sangwadupae-tza-gyud ) explain all four major types of Buddhist Tantra in detail and are believed to be a transcription of the actual words of Buddha. The eighteenth chapter summarizes these explanations. There are two main Guhyasamaja traditions: Mikyodpa-phaglug and Yeshe-zhablug. The Mikyodpa-phaglug line, established by Nagarjuna in the fth century, is still widely practiced. It was introduced to Tibet by Marpa Lotsawa in the eleventh century but only became rmly established there in the fourteenth century through the efforts of Tsongkhapa. The Yeshe-zhablug line derived from the Gyanapada tradition of ancient India and is now practiced mainly in India. Candrakirti claries many of the difcult meanings of the Guhyasamaja in his Brilliant Lamp Commentary on the Guhyasamaja-tantra (Dronsel ). Nagarjunas Pentabida-sadhana (Dor-jae) gives further details on the Generation Stage, and his Sri-guhyasamaja-mahayoga-tantra-upadatramadana-satama-sharwa-kanama (Tib: Do-sae) explains the stages of generating Guhyasamaja and combines its methods with the practice of Sutra. It also explains the proper order of the Guhyasamaja Root Text (which was deliberately mixed to protect it). Referred to in English as The Complete Mysteries of Buddhahood, The Secret Congress, and Secret Conjoining, the Guhyasamaja was rst explained in detail by Nagarjuna in his Lamp Illuminating the Five Steps of the Completion Stage (Rimpanga). It emphasizes emptying body, speech, and mind of gross emotive forces and subject-object thinking as the essential preparation for realizing subtle body ( gyumaelus), nondual consciousness (wosel ), and Unity (zung-jug). The complete diagram (mandala) of the Guhyasamaja Tantra displays the thirty-two personied symbolic entities of its Generation Stage, each representing an important salutary state of mind. Vajradhara (Tib: Mikyodpa), its central personication, represents the fundamental essence of consciousness. Though an essential practice of Guhyasamaja is consort coitus, this practice is not openly detailed in the texts because it is considered hazardous when not carefully guided by properly qualied, experienced Tantrists.

Heruka (Tib: Khorlo-demchog)

As the personication of supreme bliss, Heruka is one of the most important symbolic representations of subtle states of consciousness in the Tantric pantheon. He is also called Cakrasamvara in Sanskrit and, in Tibetan, Trak-thung-pawo and Khorlo-dhompa (the blood-drinking victorious one who drinks the red semen-blooda symbolic articulation of perceiving that primordial bliss atop which eroticism takes shape in human beings. The Heruka Tantra is recorded in monastic archives as going from Buddha to Vajrapani, then to Saraha and onward to Nagarjuna, Tilopa, and Naropa. It was brought to Tibet in the tenth century by Lok Kya Sherab Tzek, where it was translated

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into Tibetan by Rinchen Sangpo and Padma Karvarma and eventually transmitted to Tsongkhapa and Sherab Singe, the founder of Gyudmed Tantric University. The essence of Heruka is beyond cognitive perception and dees the rules of grammar by merging a subject (bliss) with an object (emptiness) and thereby overcoming conceptual thought. The bliss is reected in the name, Khorlo-dhompa, which translates as completion through great bliss. Thus Dechog is also Cakra-samvara, the Wheel of Greatest Bliss, which the Cakrasamvara mandala presents as an iconographic guide to perception of the most elemental forms of emptiness (greatest bliss). The name Dechog also refers to mind as subject, which is the source of the consciousness by which innate ultimate bliss can be achieved. This bliss, though obscured by overlays, is said to be an inherent part of all sentient beings from the beginning. The Tantra is meant to help those who pursue its path to realize this bliss, rst by imagining within themselves the nature of Dechog during the Preparation Stage, and then by achieving the actual experience in the Completion Stage.

Vajrayogini (Tib: Dorje-neljorma)

Also called Vajravarahi in Sanskrit and Dorje-phagmo in Tibetan, Vajrayogini is a Consciousness Tantra or Wisdom Tantra (mother Tantra). It is presented without consort in a mandala with thirty-two personied symbolic entities. Both Heruka and Vajrayogini use the same basic text. As female, Vajrayogini is the personication of the bliss aspect of consciousness. As Vajravarahi, she is Herukas consort, and celebrated as the origin of unexcelled bliss. Parts of the Heruka Tantra are therefore referred to as Vajravarahi. Vajrayogini is also known as Vajradakini (poetically translated as she who roams over the void). Her Tantra employs concepts that merge activity (upaya) with consciousness ( prajna). During meditation the great Indian Tantrist, Naropa, is said to have encountered the essence of Vajrayogini as a solitary Tantra. He then passed this particular realization to Pham-thing-pa, a Nepalese scholar, who passed it to Lo-kya Sherab-tzek, a Tibetan Tantrist and translator. The solitary form is still widely practiced in Tibet.

Yamantaka (Tib: Dorjee jigje)

Yamantaka, also known as Vajrabhairava, is the erce form of Manjushri, the consciousness of ultimate reality. He is considered the most extreme form of intelligence in its most active form. Its Tantra can be undertaken with or without consort. In Tibet Yamantaka has two main aspects: Jigje-pawo-chikpa, literally solitary hero, and Jigjelha-chusum-ma (with thirteen personied entities representing various salutary states of mind).30 He is also Shinje-shae the defeater (shinje) of ego-oriented emotions (shae). Since these emotions are the cause of death, he is recognized as the conqueror of death. There are several Shinje-shae entities, including Dranak, Shemar-jigje, Dorje-jigje,


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and Shinje-donk-druk. Both Yamantaka and Shinje-shae are collective names for the various forms of Yamantaka, all of which represent the erce aspect of Manjushri (the personication of wisdom). As Jigje (the short name for Dorje-jigje-shinje-shae), Yamantaka is the conqueror of fear.31 Monastic history cites Buddha as the origin of the Yamantaka Tantra. He taught it to Vajrapani and to some Dakini(s). It then disappeared in India. According to legend, the famous siddhi, Lalitta, on noticing the term Dorje-jigje-jipar-che in the Jampel-tsenjoe text, wondered whether there might be an associated Tantra. Deep meditation suggested that such a Tantra existed in the purer mental ambience where Dakini forms reside. With the help of a dakini personication (Rolangma) in this mental ambience, Lalitta uncovered the Yamantaka Tantras. Having but a short time in this meditation, he only memorized the third and seventh chapters, which he then passed on to Amoghavajra, another famous siddhi. The Tantra was nally brought to Tibet by the translator, Ralotsawa Dorje-Drak, where it was eventually transmitted to Tsongkhapa, who passed it to Jetzun Sherab Singhe.

Vajrasattva (Tib: Dorje Sempa)

Vajrasattva personies the fundamental bliss essence of pure consciousness. As such he presents the full range of Bodhisattva qualities leading to a realization of nondual consciousness by visualizing the various states of consciousness represented by the personied entities of the Tantras mandala. When essences of these states of consciousness are recognized and internalized, they become reducible to the fundamental essence of consciousness symbolized by Vajrasattva. This Tantra presents a hundredsyllable mantra that, if recited twenty-one times every day, is said to reduce the possibility of errors during the meditative generation of Vajrasattva. According to Vajradharas text, Vajrasattva-tantra (Tib: Gyud-dorje-nying-po-gyen), recitation of the mantra combined with visualization of the essences of its entities removes obstacles to achieving the subtlest state of mind. The ritual requires mentally reproducing the experience of the moment of death. Like the other ultimate Tantras, Vajrasattva proceeds through all the stages until nondual consciousness is nally reached: (1) Kriya-tantra, (2) Carya-tantra, (3) Yogatantra, and (4) Anuttarayoga-tantra.

Kalachakra (Tib: Dhuekor)

Frequently referred to as the wheel of time in English, this Tantra presents the full array of symbolic essences that lead to states of subtle consciousness. Unlike other ultimate Tantras, instead of personied entities it stresses bodily form being emptied of substance. Empty body form (tong-zug-kyiku) is the metaphor here for the extremely subtle consciousness-action body, instead of illusory body form ( gyumae-lus). One of its most distinctive practices is withdrawal of the winds-of-life from the physical senses

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to their most fundamental state in total darkness. There it reduces them to four night signicances. Unlike the Guhyasamaja Tantra, which actually draws the winds-of-life into the central channel in the rst two levels of its Completion Stage, the Kalachakra draws them in during its Generation Stage.

Principal Tantric Orders of Tibet

Each Tantric tradition is based on a corpus of Tantras that has been sustained by means of a line of transmission through direct person-to-person instruction over the centuries.32 Principal among these are the following.

This, the oldest of the Tibetan Tantric orders, was founded in the eighth century by the Indian Tantric scholar Padmasambhava. It utilizes hidden texts (terma) that were hidden during the ninth-century persecution of Buddhists in Tibet. It also absorbed the largest number of pre-Buddhist Tibetan regional divinities. Among all the Buddhist Tantric orders of Tibet, the Nyingma has most extensively absorbed Central Asiatic shamanism into its system. Instead of the four types of Tantra of the other orders, the Nyingma present six Tantras: (1) kriya-yoga (ritualistic), (2) Upa-yoga (symbolic convergence of mundane and transcendental truth), (3) yoga (identifying oneself with the essence of the each of the mandala deities), (4) maha-yoga (visualization of the basic aggregates of human consciousness as deity forms), (5) anuyoga (secret initiation into the voidness of consort meditation), and (6) atiyoga-anuttara (deep meditation on the deep bliss underlying consort union that is the fundamental life force.) Their Dzogchen doctrine traditionally rejects scholasticism in favor of a direct path to enlightenment without formal doctrinal debate. Philosophically they adhere to the zhen-tong position that pure consciousness (ultimate existential reality) is inherent in all sentient beings, but is obscured by bodily form and verbal thought. Pure consciousness is seen as the indestructible essence of Buddha (Tatha-gata-garbha), which underlies all empirical phenomena. It is unperceivable to ordinary sentient beings due to the standard patterns of mortal sensibility and mentality. Reality to the Nyingma is entirely nonconceptual, and in that sense distinctionless.

The Kagyud trace their Tantric lineage from the Indian Tantrists Naropa and Tilopa. The Tibetan scholar Marpa brought their lineage to Tibet, where it passed through Milarepa to Gampopa (10791153), who then founded the Kagyud order. His outstanding text, Dakpoi-thar-gyen (Dakpos Approaches to Liberation), was the rst of a genre of graded teachings known as Lamrim. This order has an individualistic aspect


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that appears in the aversion by Milarepa (a widely admired folk hero of Tibet) to formal scholarship and arbitrary regulation, traits that may have had roots in the pre-Buddhist ethos. Its tolerance for individual expression has fostered diversication into several suborders. The Kagyud stress hatha-yoga as a principal means of mastering the ordinary habitudes of mind and body. This approach relies on regulation of breathing ( pranayama) and the adoption of meditative postures (asana). It also utilizes six techniques (narochoe-drug) developed by Naropa for achieving Mahamudra (the great seal of true understanding): (1) meditatively generated inner heat (tumo), (2) generation of the extremely subtle consciousness-action body ( gyumae-lus), (3) dream practice (nyid-ki-neljor), (4) experiencing pure clear-light (wosel ), (5) mentally accessing the intermediate state (bardo), and (6) merging with transcendental unity (zung-jug).

The Sakya order traces its Tantric lineage from the teachings of the famous Tantric scholar, Drog-mi (9921072), through such renowned practitioners as Khon Konchog Gyalpo, Sonam Tzemo, Drakpa Gyaltsen, Sakya Pandita, and Drogon Chogyal Phakpa. Drog-mi translated the Hevajra-tantra (presentation of the erce form of Heruka) into Tibetan and introduced what has since been called path-results (lam-dre), a method of sexual union that reveals transcendental unity. In doing so, this order rejects the view that ultimate reality (Tathagatagarbha) is beyond rational interpretation on the grounds that such a view does not take into consideration the vital role rationality can play in realizing ultimate reality. Under the guidance of Sakya Pandita Kunga Gyaltsen (11821251), the order became famous for its accomplishments in art, poetry, logic, and epistemology. And, like the Gelug, the Sakya curriculum stresses the logic writings of Dignaga and Dharmakirti.

Based on the teachings of Atisha (an Indian Tantrist who came to Tibet in the eleventh century), this order was founded by his main disciple, Dromston (Bromston) (c. 1008 1064). Focusing attention on the exquisitely compassionate Prajnaparamita, the school emphasized eradication of intellectual and ethical aws in order to be able to attain a true vision of emptiness. Its major text, Jangchub-lamgyi-dron-ma (The Clear Path to Enlightenment) demonstrates the importance of compassion and shows how all levels of human ability (e.g., all levels of intelligence kyebu-chenpo, kyebu-dring, and kyebu-chun-ngu) can be brought to enlightenment through pragmatic action. It employs silent (nonverbal) mantra recitation as a means to prepare the mind, and Tantric meditation to approach ultimate truth. Though it emphasizes philosophical studies and monastic discipline, it has also produced the popular poetic Kadam-che-tud (Com-

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pendium of the Kadam Instructions). It merged into the similar Gelugpa school in the fteenth century.

After being formally educated in teaching centers of three major Tantric schools (Kagyud, Sakya, and Kadam), the outstanding fourteenth-century Tibetan Tantric scholar, Tsongkhapa, founded the Gelug school in order to introduce and stabilize logic, mental quiescence, and enhanced perception as standard monastic practices. His program is set forth in his Lamrim-chenmo (Great Graded Path), which stresses regular exercise in logic and debate and formal examinations in the basic Buddist literature before Tantric practices are undertaken. For Tantric studies the order relies mainly on Tsongkhapas famous Rim-nga-seldron. The basic curriculum of this order thus follows Tsongkhapas Sung-bum-choe-gye (The Eighteen Texts), an eighteen-volume corpus on Sutra and Tantra, each consisting of about 300 pages, the Gyaltsab-je-sung-bum-druk (Gyaltsab Jes Six Texts) and the Khedrub-je-sung-bum-poe-chu-nyi (Khedrub Jes Twelve Texts). The principal preparatory studies of the Gelug are the Pramana (studied from Dharmakirtis point of view), Prajnaparamita texts, the Madhyamika, the Abhidharmakosa, and Vinaya. When these have been mastered, Tantric studies can begin.33 The great teaching monasteries of the Gelug Order are Gaden, Drepung, and Sera. Its most famous and important Tantric teaching centers are Gyudmed and Gyutoe.

This evolution of the written Buddhist philosophy after Buddha passed away reects the intellectuality of the Buddha and perhaps a preconquest ancestry of the peoples among whom it swiftly took root without coercion. This basic tolerance of, indeed interest in, the thought and feelings of others, whatever the mix of its ancestry, also enabled new intellectual currents to emerge openly within congeries of thought and to be developed. Thus new schools emerged from within old without duress. This unarticulated basic indulgence of human differences persisted in Buddhist monasteries over millennia and can still be seen in unmodernized Tibetan monasteries, where it shows up as an embedded consequence of Buddhas message not to take concepts very seriously. Historically it allowed continued innovation of the Buddhist philosophical development after it passed into the hands of humankind, where it persisted as an embedded desire to share observations and experience. One only need observe how novice monks engage life and learning in the few remaining traditional monasteries to see the pattern of exploratory inquiry that spawned


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the philosophical movement outlined above. The trait sits most boldly on the surface of young children, simply because children tend to be kinetic, and kinetic activity, unlike mental activity, stands out to the eye. So we see youngsters unabashedly blanketing whatever new thing comes their way with a spirited exploration while they also eagerly gauge its impact on others (gure 1.11). Even in the more mature monastic settings, where there are fewer children to rush about, intellectual exploration proceeds in a similar though less conspicuous fashion. In the prologue, I described a monastery where more than half of the monks were sixteen years of age or younger. What stood out there, day after day, were young novices rushing eagerly to share whatever special tidbit might have come their way (whether material or ideational) with whatever comrades might be around them. Thus a chocolate bar would rapidly become twenty tiny bits, in order that its taste could be experienced with as many associates as possible. The joys of personal possession simply did not have as powerful an attraction as the delights of shared sensibility. In twenty-ve years of observation of traditional Tibetan monasteries I do not recall ever seeing a novice eating something who did not want to share it with those around, including me. One day, while having lunch with a group of novices, a burst of mirth snared my attention. An adolescent novice had just selected, as if solely for himself, the largest apple off a plate. Bursts of laughter from the others, no verbal comment, just hilarity, as several then did much the same, usually with some special llip or perspective of their own. There was no obligation to be either different or the same. Nor did there appear to be any desire to have a more dramatic slant. They were just nuzzling at a trait all had seen outside. That it snared their minds in different ways was the basis of their joy. Each was acting out the sense of how it had struck him. There was no particular order to the theatrics. Nor was the intent pejorative. They would simply jump into action with their versions when they felt they had a slant to contribute. When they noticed my perplexed curiosity, they said, You can do it, too. You, too, can be like an Indian. I realized then that what I was seeing was a collective effort to work out the modalities of traits they had observed outside. Each set forth whatever slant he had on it for all to see, thereby contributing to a growing collective understanding. Particularly fascinating to me was that the joy they derived came from the cumulative appreciations they gainednot from trying to show that their slant was cleverer or better. Though the kinetic aspect stands out in younger children, as they grow older, verbal exploration moves more clearly into such inquiry. This can most dramatically be seen in monasteries where traditional debating sessions are stressed. In such sessions dialectic exercises combine kinesthetic action with verbal inquiry in such a way that personal choice governs the direction and mode of the inquiry. The younger ones are most enthusiastically drawn to the athletic choreography, while the older novices

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Figure 1.11 A rope hammock from coastal India, introduced to the monastery moments earlier, attracted this excited conjoint exploration of how it might be strung. It shows how young novices integrate individual penchants with verve, tactility, and mirth as they spontaneously conjoin their divergent approaches to novelty. This mode of learning was seen in all the thirty traditional Tibetan monasteries observed in the 1960s and 1970s. Except in a very few recondite small monasteries, its vitality was largely gone by the early twenty-rst century (Zongkar Choede Monastery, 1999).


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focus more intently on verbal dialectics. The two modes can be expressed in countless combinations, so this debating (if it can really be called that) is popular across a broad age range. In other monasteries the playing out of personality and preference can pan out differently. For example, in monasteries where subliminal harmonizing of the sounds and rhythms of individual study has evolved, the libidos of new novices get snared by sounds from older novices drifting through the atmosphere. Though they concentrate intently on their own particular studies, some recess of their mind impels them to t the sounds and rhythms of their recitations into whatever might be in the air around them. The effect, though automatic (not deliberate), is pleasurable and the new novices soon harmonize their sounds of study with the uctuating larger whole without suggestion that they should do so. Instead, some kind of internal pleasure lters wordlessly and subconsciously into their habitude and builds spontaneously into the harmonies of those already there. The harmonizing spreads from area to area across the monastic setting, spontaneously fostering increasingly complex changing moods and nuances, at the same time that novices verbally pursue their particular studies. It is similar to the subconscious manner that, in other monasteries, harmonizes exploratory activity, or sociable tactility, or inquiry into novelty. This seemingly fundamental urge to conjoin provides a subterranean vitality in all traditional monasteries that I observed. One monastery I had been visiting off and on for a quarter century recently experienced a large inux of youngsters from Tibet. More than half the monks were adolescent or younger. With so many children all about, it became a place to see how new novices in large numbers merge into the various, constantly differentiating, subliminal assemblages. Above that monastery eagles start circling overhead as lunchtime nears. These cruisers of the skies have learned that young monks will share their lunch. And so they move in overhead to snatch from midair offerings tossed up to them. It is the nature of these youngsters to gravitate by cautious steps toward closer contact with unfamiliar things that have snared their curiosity. So a group of these young monklets started going to rooftops to eat their lunch, to get a closer sense within the swirl of raptors. At rst they were cautious about how closely they dared share tidbits with the eagles. Throw them far into the air was the rst approach. And it was bits of bread they tossed up, though they were well aware that eagles much prefer meat. But they were uncertain at rst about how aggressively the eagles would react to proffered meat. When they did, the eagles moved so quickly some got unnerved. Nonetheless by increments they inched to closer rapport. The eagles never actually landed. If they missed a morsel in the air, they would plummet down, thrusting wings out, but a second before they reached the ground in a grand swoop they put their claws precisely onto the tidbit as they soared by. One

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day, a ten-year-old spied a small plastic bag lying on the ground. He tied it to one end of a length of string, a meat chunk to the other. Within seconds an eagle swooped the meat away. The bag lled with air like a parachute. If the eagle was perturbed, it gave no indication, though the drag distinctly slowed its ight, and instead of soaring it had to keep on apping wings. No matter. It just churned nonchalantly through the air while with its beak it pulled off shreds of meat to eat. When none were left, the bag oated gently down to earth. The wind, the string, the plastic bag in relation to the life force of the eagle entranced the monklets. What seemed most to snatch their hearts was the eagles undistracted dedication to what was importantthat is, the meat. These youngsters have no difculty understanding pragmatism, but were nonetheless agog to see the eagle managing with such savoir faire. They then took turns grasping the strings end and dashing down the path to ll the bag with wind, while pretending to be eating with the other handto get a kinesthetic sense of the event themselves. Since such experimental inquiry is neither forbidden nor encouraged (nor even given notice), experiments such as these lead inevitably to others, not unlike the manner Tibetan philosophy itself developed. So I was not surprised, a few days later, to see meat tied to both ends of a length of a string. When an eagle quickly scooped up one, the other dragged through the air behinduntil snatched up seconds later by another. The two then ew pragmatically in tandem devouring the chunks at leisure, after which they soared off in separate directions. This, too, riveted the monklets. Then by twos they grabbed each end of the string and ran parallel down the path, just to let the string fall cavalierly away as they dashed off in separate directions. In such ways they learned much about eagles, to whom their hearts now had some connection, and about themselves. Such exploration chains to other types. A favorite sport is dreaming up ways to catch comrades unaware, or being thus caught themselves. Either is enjoyed since it provides new understandings of their own being as well as that of others. One day, during the eagle infatuation period, a new novice, perhaps eight years old, tagged along to rooftop. After all were sitting down and starting on their lunch, an old-timer (twelve years old) surreptitiously put a chunk of meat a half meter from the lad just at the moment a great eagle was wheeling above. It plummeted straight down, stretching out its wings mere inches before the small boys eyes, its wingtip grazing his fresh-shaved head. He froze on the spot, became speechless and immobile. Instantly the others moved close around to revive him with that protective loving tactility at which they all are expert. When the childs wits revived, with much laughter they pantomimed the event to show him what had happened, and to get a better sense of it themselves. Thus he suddenly became an intimate member of the group. These same monklets have a prodigious ability to fall asleep in positions beyond normal Western imagination


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Figure 1.12 Conjoint sleeping by novices sharpens their harmonization sensibilities (Zongkar Choede Monastery, 2001).

(gure 1.12). And they can be virtually unarousableperhaps because they are accustomed to sleeping virtually anywhere, as in piles where individuals come and go and shift about. Perhaps they sleep soundly because their motors run so fast when they are awake. One evening in my room some half dozen monklets drifted in to sit on the oor to watch me talk in English with some older monks. One small tot sitting Buddhalike began swaying slightly. As his eyes slowly closed, his head would droop down and then jerk up, in the way they fall asleep when sitting up. Eventually his cheek grazed the leg of a nearby chair. Without awakening he moved his head against it. With it propped precariously there, he fell deeply into sleep. When the chair was needed by another monk, a comrade eased him to the oor still fast asleep. And the lad was not aroused when two others dozed off on him as pillow. Later, I asked a twelve-year-old to take him to his room. By that age these youngsters are very savvy about their comrades

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inner workings, and among other things, they know effective ways to quickly wake each other up. When he saw the tot was very fast asleep, he simply lifted him into the chair, walked around behind and tipped it forward. The tot fell face rst toward the oor. I was aghast. But before I could even start to move, the designated waker-up skipped around to catch the tot in midair. Though this required precise timing and attention, he did not fail to notice my dismay. As he caught the tot, he turned his head to me with that expression that says, dont worry, its a total snap. Which, I suppose, it was. The tots eyes instantly exploded into full awakeness, horror ashing for a millisecond across his face, which as instantly gave way to smiling warmth when in his comrades arms. With arms about each other, they then trundled off to bed. Because they so eagerly share with one another whatever new things they experience, individual differences in approach and attitude rarely result in squabbles. Instead of standing pat on honor or an established sense of things (as is a norm in the West), these youngsters eagerly latch onto the varied slants of others. Therefore all their separate sensibilities constantly combine into a comprehensive whole that informs them all. Individuality thus transforms into unity without sacricing itself. This enables them to grasp deeper subtleties of reality at their own speed, while aided by a richly informative ambience touching them at personal levels. It is these types of experiences that older monks ignore as if they were not happening (which is, in part, why I am making such a point of them here). This ignoring of such events is perhaps crucial in that it allows the subliminal foundations of youngsters lives to grow and become experientially sophisticated. With this particular type of freedom offering a broad interstitial area of potential exploration, youngsters keep their antennae tuned to the uctuations of life around them, ready to quickly grasp the exploratory possibilities of whatever new thing comes along. Alert to the moods and feelings of those around them, they ferret out these possibilities without pressing those not interested. In this manner they cast themselves with verve into the potpourri of lifeincluding such serious events as Tantric ritualswithout clumsily disturbing them. At rst I was amazed to see novices joking, catching friends attention, passing ideas, sharing snacks and tactility, and alerting others to momentary observations during serious rituals. Eventually I realized that this enhanced rather than diminished a ritual, simply by keeping their minds wide awake and thus connected to it. Westerners, by generally doting on formal rules and legalistic constraints, might think: How awful. But the alert antennae of these young monks help to keep their participatory ardency within the context of the ritual (just as they do in ordinary life) (gure 1.13). These practices also attract close attention to the ritual, simply because it is there and offers an avenue for their zestful spirits to become constructively involved at their level ` -vis the novices of appreciation. These not only enhance the power of the ritual vis-a


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Figure 1.13 Novices raptly harmonize their participation into a Mahakala Tantric ritual (Tarik Sakya Monastery, 1979).

but also confer on it a sense of personal validity and enjoyment in their young eyes (gure 1.14). Similarly, the education of novices was in the hands of personal teachers who shaped their teaching to t the individual proclivities of their students, just as Buddha did with his disciples. Open heartfelt linkage between teacher and student was the key and progress emerged in an ambience of this kind of joy. It conferred on formal learning an experience not unlike that in which their play spontaneously inltrates the interstitial spaces of their lives while simultaneously interlinked to the hearts of comrades. None of this was apparent very quickly. Only by going back again and again over several years did what was happening become apparent. In the 1960s and 1970s the traditional ambience seemed sturdy as a rock. In the 1980s it showed vulnerablity to the managerial explicitness of the modern world. The Chinese military conquest of Tibet was not the only thing destroying Tibets independently evolved type of civilization. The monks and novices had by the thousands ed across the massive Himalayan barrier (often with nothing but the clothes they wore) into sympathetic neighboring nations to save their way of life. And all seemed rosy for them. For a while. As remnants of an intellectual tradition famed across the world, they attracted international aid. New monasteries were built for them in exile. But alien donors, though altruisti-

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Figure 1.14 In monasteries where rituals maintain a high level of evocative sophistication, young novices can become quite intent (and expert) in their participation, a mood which carries on to nearby comrades and adults (Tarik Sakya Monastery, 1978).

cally motivated, were eager to introduce what they themselves highly valued. One such value was the Western style of education. Tibetans had not previously experienced crowded classrooms, scheduled curricula, and an externally imposed, categorical rather than liminally integrated, type of educational management. By the 1980s these had become structural parts of monasteries, which, for two thousand years, had not had such things. And so, along with the well-meant humanitarian effort, a less than heartfelt type of teaching hitchhiked inand then seized the ground. Rapport gave way to Westernstyle behavioral codes geared to scheduled lesson plans efciently dispensed en masse in conned and crowded classrooms. No matter how hard a well-meaning teacher tried to sustain a traditional empathetic ambience, the new setting did not allow it. And course schedules reduced all but small fractions of the day for informal


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inquisitiveness and liminal exploration. Like a rare orchid transplanted into arctic climes, a subliminal foundation that has persisted in the deep foundations of monastic life since the time of Buddha began withering silently away in a new house that had no room for it. The process is similar to what occurs in remote parts of the world where preconquest modes of liminal and subliminal consciousness collapse under postconquest regulation. In both it occurs when abstract concepts of social order literally enforced replace that subtler social glue of liminal and subliminal intuitive harmoniousness.

Principal Tutors and Advisors

Of critical importance was the initial inuence of the renowned Nyingmapa Tantrist, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. This opened an eye to the erudition of the three abbots of Gyudmed who nurtured me along: Losang Thinley Khensur, Losang Tenzin Khensur, and Losang Nawang Khenpo. Geshe Tashi Gyaltsen, a graduate in advanced Buddhist Studies with high distinction (Lharampa) from Gaden-Jangtse University, and Chosang Phunrab, a Sanskrit scholar from the Central Institute for Higher Tibetan Studies were principal translators. (See photos in gures 1.15af). Their explications were at times

Figure 1.15a Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Principal Nyingma Tantrist, Abbot of Schechan Tantric Monastery, occasional advisor to the Dalai Lama, Royal Advisor to the King of Bhutan (at Schechan Tantric Monastery, 1980).

Figure 1.15b Losang Thinley Khensur, Abbot of Gyudmed Tantric University (at Gyudmed, March 1980).

Figure 1.15c Losang Tenzin Khensur, Gyudmed Tantric University (at Gyudmed, March 1982).

Figure 1.15d Losang Nawang Khensur, Tantric master. Abbot of Gyudmed Tantric University (at Gyudmed, Tantric Monastery March 1980).

Figure 1.15e Geshe Lharmpa Tashi Gyaltsen, Tantric scholar, administrator emeritus Gelug sect, previous member of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile (at Gaden-Jangtse Monastic University, 2001).

Figure 1.15f Chosang Phunrab, Sanskrit and Tibetan scholar from the Central Institute for Higher Tibetan Studies (at Zongkar Choede Monastery, January 2001).


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augmented by commentary from two other Gyudmed abbots: Tashi Dorjee Khensur and Gosok Tulku Khensur. And I had the further good fortune to have at my disposal at key times the translation skills of such respected Buddhist scholars as Geshe Thubten Jinpa and Geshe Tashi Gyaltsen, both from Gaden Monastic University, as well as the sophisticated linguistic insights of Tenzin Yangthak of Zongkar Chode Monastery and Chosang Phunrab, a Sanskrit scholar from the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies. Contrastive perspectives on translation were provided not just by these scholars, but also at odd times by Geshe Thupten Phegye, Geshe Gendun Gyatso, Cheme Lama, Dorjee Gyalpo, Nawang Chosdak, Tsering Wangyal, Tseten Phuntsok, Pema Nandak, and Thupten Phuntsok. The diversity of their approaches to translation provided insights that eventually enabled a more precise grasp of Tibetan meanings.
Notes This chapter has been adapted from a book in preparation on liminal consciousness. Preliminary material was presented at the Third Biennial Conference of Toward a Science of Consciousness, Tucson, AZ, 2000, at the 74th Annual Meeting of the American Philosophical Association, Albuquerque, NM, 2000, and at the XXI World Congress of Philosophy, Istanbul, Turkey, 2003. For an example of liminal consciousness development in aboriginal societies, see my chapter Preconquest Consciousness in Helmut Wautischer, ed., Tribal Epistemologies: Essays in the Philosophy of Anthropology, 79116 (Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 1998). Copyright for the chapter presented herewith and all related photographs is with E Richard Sorenson, 2006. 1. The analysis of Buddhist philosophical development presented here is not intended to explicate the thought of Buddha but rather to reveal the historical human effort to produce a written Buddhist philosophy after Buddha passed away. The project did not start as such and came together slowly after an unexpected meeting in the 1970s in Nepal with the renown Nyingmapa Tantric scholar Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, back when I was in early stages of surveying the world for possible research on diverse patterns of child behavior. That short session with him led to many others, both in Nepal and at his home base in Bhutan. At about the same time Gyatsho Tshering, Director of the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives in Dharamsala, met me at the Smithsonian Institution shortly after I took up the task of directing the development of a new National Human Studies Film Center. He invited me to meet with him and the Dalai Lama on my upcoming visit to India. The Dalai Lama took interest in my research-lm approach to documenting endangered traditional ways of life and opened Tibetan monasteries under his jurisdiction for my studies. These monasteries included Tibets most sophisticated central Tantric teaching institution, Gyudmed Monastery (now Gyudmed Tantric University). At the time many children had been swept along in the massive ow of Tibetan refugees eeing the Chinese military conquest of Tibet. Due to that monasterys fundamentally humanitarian character, Gyudmed relaxed its normal rule of only accepting novices after puberty. The youngest when I arrived had been accepted at the age of ve, simply because he had no place to go except to an uncle who was a monk there.

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Because I lived within the residential areas of the monks and novices of Gyudmed, I had an unusual opportunity to observe aspects of child development otherwise unseeable. Gyudmeds abbot took a friendly personal interest in my work and at times would comment on the relationship of Tantra philosophy to consciousness development. His seemingly offhand comments were always sensible and helpful. But they also kept leading to new issues. These ultimately led to an annual period of residence of one to three months in Gyudmed that continued for twenty years. During this same period I was also able to live in and make comparative observations in Gaden Monastic University and Zongkar Chode Monastery, while continuing to make observations in Kagyud and Sakya monasteries in Nepal and Ladakh. When my rst Gyudmed abbot tutor passed away, two successive abbots volunteered to take up philosophical explanations where the last left off. Their efforts ultimately provided a uniquely intimate and more comprehensive view of Tibetan philosophy (as it is seen by the most erudite Tibetan lamas). Therefore my approach, rather than being shaped by non-Tibetan academic disciplines (e.g., Tibetology and comparative religious studies), focused entirely on the most educated indigenous Tibetan view. Though my involvement was inuenced by intellectual baggage from my training as a professional anthropologist, that profession fortunately stresses direct observation and interview during cross-cultural immersion. The study led to numerous formal Tantric initiations conveyed by various abbots and then by the Dalai Lama. These included such seminal Tantras as the Guhyasamaja (Tib: Sangwa-deupa), Yamantaka (Tib: Jigje), and Heruka (Tib: Dechog). There was no thought at rst of studying Tibetan philosophy. My initial interest was simply to get some understanding of the impact of the traditional Tibetan monastic ambience on children. However, it soon became evident that this required at least some understanding of the Tibetan philosophy. I soon learned that Tantric knowledge is restricted and carefully guarded. However, before he died, my rst Gyudmed abbot tutor completed the necessary orientation and initiations. He then asked the Dalai Lama whether it might be useful to allow publication of some of what I had been learning. The Dalai Lama agreed on grounds that it might help dispel the seriously misinformed ideas of Tantra circulating in the West. It was at that time I began preparation of notes describing what I was learning. During the spring and summer of 1999 I composed the initial draft in Washington, D.C., in the home of the distinguished archaeologist, Marion Stirling. In January 2000 I presented it for review and critique at Gyudmed Tantric University. It was rst checked by Geshe Tashi Gyaltsen, the representative of the Dalai Lama in the Tibetan Parliament in Exile, then more exhaustively by the then abbot of Gyudmed, Losang Nawang Khenpo. The review took two months of daily sessions of one to three hours each during which each English sentence was translated into Tibetan rst by Geshe Tashi Gyaltsen and then by Chosang Phunrab, a Tibetan Sanskrit scholar from the Central Tibetan Institute of Higher Studies. Various subtleties of meaning were then discussed, sometimes exhaustively, to make sure we had the right word. Sometimes we would spend an entire session on the meaning of a single word. Tibetan-English dictionaries were soon abandoned as overly simple or misrepresentative. As part of my long-term Study of Child Behavior and Human Development in Cultural Isolates, this project received vital support at various stages from the National Endowment for the Humanities, National Endowment for the Arts, National Institutes of Health, National Institute for Mental Health, Institute for Intercultural Studies, Rachelwood Foundation, Public Law 480 of the United States (for expenses in India), a line-item appropriation from the U.S. Congress, the


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Womens Committee of the Smithsonian Institution, the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, Gyudmed Tantric University, Gaden Monastic University, and the National Human Studies Film Center of the Smithsonian Institution. To these institutional sources, private contributions and assistance were provided at critical junctures by Mr. and Mrs. Thomas B. Morgan, Drs. Lucy and Jerry Waletzky, Dr. and Mrs. William H. Crocker, Mrs. Constance Mellon, Mrs. Marion Stirling Pugh, Dr. Evelyn Nef, Ambassador Douglas and Consul General Ernestine Heck, Mrs. Lionel Epstein, and S. C. Rockefeller. 2. This trait is most fully described in my Preconquest Consciousness (see the introduction to this notes section). 3. The Abhidharmas are principally detailed analyses and systematizations of what is presented in the Sutras. They consist mostly of listings, taxonomies, things to do, and so on. Some schools considered them equal in validity to the Sutras. Others held the Sutras to be the ultimate authority. The main period for writing Abhidharma was approximately the third century B.C. to the end of the rst century A.D.; several schools developed their own versions. 4. The practices neglected included carrying salt in a hollowed horn (a violation of the rule forbidding the storage of food), seeking permission for an action after the fact, and accepting gold and silver (a violation of the rule forbidding wealth accumulation). 5. The most famous treatise of the Mahasanghika, Great Subjects (Mahavastu), was written collectively. It speaks of reality as consisting of pure objects and pure thought, and (less explicitly) antedates a central Mahayana view. Their Lokattaravada subschool then produced a transcendental view of Buddha that also became an important part of the Mahayana system. Ideas and positions seen in the compilation of the early versions of the Lalita-vistara by the Mahasanghika and Sarvastivada schools reappear in such important Mahayana sutras as the Saddharma-pundarika, the Tathagata-guhyaka, the Samadhi-raja, and the Dasa-bhumika. Though the basic Sarvastivada position was a belief that everything exists, it was the famous Sarvastivada scholar, Vasubandhu, who (in his Vijnnapti-matra-siddhi-sastra) showed external objects to be nothing more than mental conceptions. He then became a Sautrantika monkan illustration of the tolerance within schools and of how new schools came into being from within old ones. 6. Though Buddha briey introduced the term prajnaparamita in his early teachings at Vultures Peak (Tib: Jagod Phungpo-ri ), and though the idea had occasionally surfaced in realism-oriented schools, it was not until the rst century A.D. that clear literary presentations of these views began emerging. 7. Nagarjunas literary accomplishments include not just basic philosophical treatises like the Mula-madhyamika-karika. He also wrote major logical dissertations, such as his famous Deecting Objections (Vigra-havya-vartani ), inspirational works like the Precious Garland (Ratna-vali ), poetic works such as his Seventy Stanza Treatise on Emptiness (Sunyata-saptati ), treatises on the fundamentals of Buddhism, like Illumination of the Ten Levels (Dasabhumi-vibhasa-sastra), discourses revealing the compassionate basis of Buddhism (Bodhicitta-vivarana), as well as detailed Tantric texts such as his Sri-guhysasamaja-mahayoga-tantra-upa-datrama-satama-sharwa-kanama (Tib: Do-sae) and Pentabida-sadhana (Tib: Dor-jae), of which the best known is his famous Tantric text, Rimpa-nga.

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8. A popular logic technique of the time was the tetralemma, which placed all linguistic possibilities within one of four possible conditions: (1) it exists, (2) it does not exist, (3) it both exists and does not exist, (4) it neither exists nor does not exist. Using this tightly dened arena of argument, Nagarjuna showed the fundamental fallaciousness of objective thinking. His arguments were irrefutable by the logic of the time, and severely challenged the Indic scholarly establishment. Unable to refute his arguments, the Nyaya school of Hindic logic simply refused to confront Nagarjunas logic on grounds that it was nihilism. 9. For example, in his Deecting Objections (Vigra-havya-vartani; Tib: Tsod-dhog) Nagarjuna argued that since both subject and object of perception are interdependent, they are therefore mutually conditioned. Thus neither has genuine self-existence. He did not consider this an argument that knowledge itself does not exist (as some of his critics were claiming), only that knowledge as an object has no independent existence. 10. In his widely admired poetic treatises the Catuh-sataka-karika (Four Hundred Verses on the Teachings of Buddha) and the Yogacara-catuh-sataka-sastra (The Experientialist Four Hundred). 11. Reductio ad absurdum is a form of logic that refutes by showing contradictory or absurd consequences that emerge when rigorous logical analysis is applied. There are several typesfor example, disproving an argument by showing that its conclusion is logically contradictory; indirect proof by which an argument is invalidated by reference to previously proved propositions; or demonstration of the validity of an argument by indirectly showing that the contradictory argument is absurd. In the collective sense, the term refers to anything that when pushed to logical extremes is reduced to self-contradictory nonsense. Such was the power of Nagarjunas comprehensive reductio ad absurdum of all stated positions that the Prasangika school eschewed any ontological position. 12. Although an earlier Yogacara-bhumi by Sangharaksa may have provided philosophical impetus, it was Asangas Yogacara-bhumi-sastra that directly inuenced the development of the Yogacara school. In this text he describes ve aspects of yogic realization: (1) Bodhisattva activity (Tib: sayi-ngoe-zhi-duwa), (2) the cause of Bodhisattva realization (Tib: zhi-duwa), (3) the number of Bodhisattva paths (Tib: namdrang-duwa), (4) the three kinds of meaning (Tib: tenla-wabpaduwa), and (5) the nature of mind and its kinds (Tib: nampar-shepe-go-duwa). 13. These three forms of mind are: (1) forms that mind imagines and gives names to ( parikalpitasvabhava); (2) the unimaginable, unnamable pure form of form perceived experientially by consciousness ( paratantra-svabhava); and (3) awareness of the transcendental emptiness from which all sense of form emerges ( parinispanna-svabhava). 14. The Nyingmapa order, for example, uses a sixfold system. A clever taxonomist might nd other interesting ways to set them forth. For an explanation of the Nyingmapa approach see the Nyingmapa section. 15. The winds-of-life are the emotive forces that propel life. Tantrists generally subdivide them into ve major types: (1) prana-vayu, the heart-centered energy (referred to as the life-sustainingwind in classical Tibetan Tantra), (2) apana, the genital-centered energy (or downward-clearingwind), (3) samana, the navel-centered energy (or re-wind), (4) udana, the throat-centered


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energy (or upward-owing [or verbal] wind), and (5) vyana, physical energy (or the pervasive wind of movement). The Kalachakra Tantra, however, speaks of ve additional energies, making ten winds in all: (6) naga, the northwest-owing energy, (7) kurma, the southeast-owing energy, (8) krkala, the southwest-owing, relike energy, (9) devadatta, the northeast-owing, waterlike energy, and (10) dhananjaya, the earthlike, central-owing energy. 16. The personied symbolic entities representing positive mental states appear on a wheel-like diagram (mandala). Concentration on their appearance, attributes, and accouterments enables novices to more easily recognize the actual experiences when they occur within one. These symbols are not the real meaning of a mandala, which can only be attained by intensive concentration of the consciousness states represented by its symbolic structure. There are four different basic types of mandalas. Three are material: painted on cloth, limned in pulverized colored stone, or a sculpted three-dimensional representation. One is nonmaterial and consists of visualizing the actual mental statesnot the symbols themselveswithin ones own body. 17. The stages are somewhat arbitrary. For example, Nagarjuna considered isolation of body a Generation Stagelevel practice, leaving the Completion Stage with only ve levels. 18. Clear-light (Tib: wosel ) is a metaphorical term for the pure elemental state of consciousness. Though it is the nonconceptualized pure pristine form, ideas about its nature can be conceptualized. Tantrists, for example, speak of objective clear-light ( yul-kyi-wosel ), which is emptiness conceptualized as an object. They also speak of subjective clear-light ( yulchen-kyi-wosel ), which is the mentality that is conceptualizing emptiness. There are two types of subjective clear-light: (1) similitude clear-light ( pei-wosel ), which is the understanding of emptiness in the subtlest possible conceptual way, and (2) actual clear-light (dhon-kyi-wosel ), which is the nonconceptual experience of the nonduality of pure emptiness. Perfect clear-light is also called perfect consciousness (sherab-yeshi). In addition, there is death clear-light (chiwa-wosel ), which is a similitude clear-light that appears briey just before the nal moment of death. 19. In Tantra, emptiness is perceived along with the experience of the bliss that occurs when consciousness enters the visualized white-wind-drop either at the tip of the heart chakra (as in mantra-drop practice), at the forehead chakra (as in light-drop practice), or at the genitalia (as in white-wind-drop practice). 20. The source from which these eighty terms were derived is the arcane, somewhat poetic allusive language of the Guhyasamaja Root Tantra. Around the end of the second century, Nagarjuna claried these terms consistent with his view that verbal concepts can be used as stepping-stones to understandings more profound than those possible with words. A millennium later Tsongkhapa reduced Nagarjunas poetic approach to the taxonomic specicity revealed in table 1.1. Even though each step toward verbal specicity further distances one from the original Tantric sensibilities, movement to these deeper levels can be sustained by suggestive words. Translation of Tsongkhapas effort, as set forth in table 1.1, was bedeviled by contradictions and took several weeks of deliberation by Tantric scholars from Gyudmed Tantric University, Gaden University, Zongkar Chode Monastery, the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies, and the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives. Interestingly they were not much fazed that each new attempt produced different English renditions. One said: Well, of course you can sh out different words

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depending on how your verbal mind is set. They considered all intensively produced versions to be similarly (if not equally) accurate (in the sense that they possessed the ability to turn minds toward actual Tantric insights). Table 1.1 is an example of how nonverbalizable aspects of basic Tantra can be glossed with words that move across sweeps of time and differences in languages and culture, and still expose the underlying core levels of human consciousness. 21. In Tantric terminology the rst joy occurs as the white-wind-drop moves from the crown chakra to the throat chakra; the second joy, from throat to heart chakra; the third joy, from heart to navel chakra; and the fourth joy, from navel to genital chakra. When the procedure is reversed step by step back to the crown chakra, the intensity of joy increases. This reverse practice, however, is difcult and risky if one is not properly prepared. It can too easily then become unmanageable and lead to derangement, some say even death. 22. While breathing in, one visualizes the experience of om coming into the heart, while breathing out the experience of hum is visualized going farther and farther out in all directions, and in the interval between the inward and outward breaths, ah is visualized positioned at the throat where it remains after the breath is out (considered very difcult). 23. During the Generation Stage phase of isolation of speech, Vajra Mantra repetition only shields mind from ordinary conceptual rumination by preoccupying it. The value of the shield, once it is in place, is that one can more easily notice the experiential essences that underlie and propel speech. When these essences are experienced, one is able to regard ordinary speech as ultimately vacuous in and of itself. 24. In Tantric metaphorical terminology, the process begins with the life-bringing-practice of the three-dropsthat is, the mantra-drop in the central-chamber of the heart chakra, the light-drop at the forehead channel tip, and the white-wind-drop at the genitalia. They all move the gross winds-of-life toward and into the two side-channels and nally into the central-channel (also referred to as the life-channel). 25. The root text of Guhyasamaja Tantra describes the ultimate nature of mind as rootless, baseless, placeless, signless, colorless, shapeless, beyond the sense of sense organs, and unperceivable by the normal physiological senses. Nagarjuna, in his Sixty Logical Verse Treatises (Yuktisastika), speaks of it as rootless, objectless, placeless, the result of ignorance, without beginning or end, and undiscoverable by analyzing mind part by part. 26. Tantrists also speak of the subtlest-wind-of-life as the life-holding-wind or more simply as the subtlest wind. There are two types of subtlest wind: (1) the ordinary life-holdingwind, which consists of the ve ordinary organ senses (sight, sound, tactility, taste, and smell), and (2) the extremely subtle imperishable life-holding-wind. The rst is too gross to combine with the Three Appearances. The second can do so by virtue of being the most basic level of consciousnessthat is, actual (not metaphorical) clear-light. It can therefore also combine with the most fundamental sense of form that can be perceived after the Three Appearances have been clearly experienced. In his commentary on (Nagarjunas) Rimpa-nga, Tsongkhapa (in his Rim-nga Seldron) speaks of the Gyumae-lus arising only when the Fourth Joy clearly perceives itself to be a single entity with emptinessa condition occurring only with the complete realization


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(during the Fourth Empty) of the most subtle possible conceptual understanding of pure consciousness ( pei wosel ). In addition he states that the seed and sole source of gyumae-lus is subtlest wind merged with subtlest consciousness. 27. According to Aryadevas Carya-samgraha-pradipa (Tib: Cho-du), subtlest body ( gyumae-lus) can be realized during sleep by individuals who have gained the ablity to reduce the eighty types of gross-consciousness-and-wind to the Three Appearances and Four Empties. Such liberation enables one to perceive more fundamental levels of consciousness. The Cho-du also informs us that when awareness of these levels is transferred into sleep, gyumae-lus will arise when the most basic conceptual level of consciousness briey appears in the going-to-sleep process. The Cho-du also tells us that our own body, when seen in dream, is like the gyumae-lus body in that it too is made up of extremely subtle consciousness and subtlest wind. Such metaphors enable Tantrists to transform dream-body into gyumae-lus while dreaming. In a contrastive explanation Seng Dengpa (a disciple of Marpa), in his Rim-nga-don-nga-pa, describes four levels of sleep state (gross, less gross, subtle, and subtlest) through which sleep must proceed before a dreamlike perception of the most basic conceptual level of sleep consciousness (sleep-clear-light) can mix with the most basic emotive force of life (subtlest wind) to produce an incomplete (but nonetheless viable) gyumae-lus. To do so, he states, one must rst reduce the winds-of-life to their most basic level by intensive practice of the Three Appearances and Four Empties. Some commonly understood simpler practices that facilitate realizing gyumae-lus during dream state are: avoidance of intense concentration on any single object during daytime, perceiving daytime appearances as if dreams, and strong determination to recognize the true nature of dream-body while sleeping. 28. Two widely employed general procedures for introducing consort union into sleep are discussed in Vajradharas extensive Commentary on the Root Text of Guhyasamaja (Vajra-mala). If during the awake state a strong intention is developed to recognize dream as dream (while dreaming), the ability will soon follow. It further states that those who are able to recognize clear-light in sleep will automatically know the true nature of dream-body. The Vajra-mala also presents procedures that facilitate introduction of the Four Empties into sleep and dream state, such as Internal Vajra Mantra practice (i.e., experientially, not verbally) to the Fourth Empty. This enables one to recognize the occurrence of the Empties during onset of sleep. A vivid occurrence of the Fourth Empty of sleep will occur if breathing momentarily stops when the emotive forces of the life-wind are reduced to a stable appreciation of their basic substrates (in Tantric vocabulary, when the winds move into the central channel and persist there). Such practices are called mixing the Four Empties into sleep state. If, during sleep, breathing only weakens (instead of momentarily ceasing), then the introduction of the crucial Fourth Empty into sleep is usually not noticed. When the sleep Four Empties are recognized as such, the ordinary emotive forces of life (gross-winds-of-life) will reduce into their subtler substrates. If reduction to the Fourth Empty causes interruption of breathing, those who have mastered the Three Appearances and Four Empties will be able to perceive sleep-clear-light. They will then retain memories of its appearance after waking, which then facilitate further practice. The Kalachakra (Dhuekor) Tantra provides an alternative practice: although the white-semen-drops residing at the heart and at the sexual organ normally lead to deep and dreamless sleep, if a small part of them are visualized at the throat, or at the base of the genitalia, revelatory dreaming will occur

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instead. Additionally the Kalachakra informs us that when part of the white-wind-drops at the crown move to the genitalia, bliss is produced, and that each repetition increases the level of bliss. The Guhyasamaja, Yamantaka, and Heruka Tantras present additional practices: if one visualizes the movement of the white-wind-drops normally residing at the crown to the throat, then from throat to heart, from heart to navel, and nally from navel to genitalia, the Four Joys are produced, in that order. 29. The two mental practices are body compression ( je-zhig) and body evanescence (rilbuzinpa), into the central chamber of the heart chakra. This becomes possible after an incomplete gyumae-lus body has been generated. In the rst practice all the entities of a Tantric mandala are visualized dissolving into the practitioners bodies, where they are compressed until they vanish into the central chamber of ones heart chakra (in the poetic phraseology of the Cho-du and Rimpa-nga, like an ice cube melting into water). The second proceeds similarly (but without the mandala). Instead of dissolving into the heart chakra, the compressed body is visualized slowly evanescing like the evaporation of a breath mist left on glass into the heart chakra. At the beginning of either procedure, the practitioners mind is the subject, and emptiness is the object. As the visualized body vanishes into the central chamber of the heart chakra, subject and object merge and are no longer distinguishable entities. As they vanish, so does subject-object thinking. The previously uncompleted gyumae-lus is then completed as the last vestiges of conceptual thought and ego-oriented emotion fall away. This achieves the rst level of unity ( pang-pazung-jug) and sets the stage for the sixth (and last) level of the Completion Stage. 30. The thirteen entities of the Yamantaka mandala are (1) Yamantaka (as the central principle entity conjoined with consort (Rolangma) as a single entity), (2) Timuk-shinje-shae (destroyer of ignorance), (3) Serna-shinje-shae (destroyer of miserliness), (4) Dochag-shinje-shae (destroyer of attachment), (5) Tradog-shinje-shae (destroyer of jealousy), (6) Tsatsika (a consort), (7) Phagmo (another consort), (8) Yangchenma (another consort), (9) Gori (another consort), (10) Thowa-shinjeshae (hammer wielder), (11) Yukpa-shinje-shae (stick wielder), (12) Pema-shinje-shae (lotus essence), and (13) Raldi-shinje-shae (sword wielder). See Khedrup Jes commentary (Kagyama) on the Generation Stage of Yamantaka for more explicit details of the Yamantaka mandala entities. 31. For more elaborate details see Khedrup Jes commentary Great Generation Stage of Ngod Drub Gyatso (Kye-rim Chenmo Ngod Drub Gyatso). 32. For further information on how Tantras have been classied historically, by whom, and why, see Chakpa Rolpai Dorjees seventeenth-century Druptha, a concise form of Tsongkhapas discourse on the subject. 33. A variety of ancient texts comprised the scholarly literature cited at appropriate times by the most highly educated Gelugpa Tantric masters at Gyudmed Tantric University and Gaden Monastic University. They reect the in-house traditional Gelugpa view rather than the more comprehensive efforts of Western Tibetologists. Sometimes the titles they cite are literal translations of the original Sanskrit titles. At other times they were more creative. Taken as a whole they reveal the magnitude of their scholarship and nature of their orientation. Although not all the texts from the early period of Buddhist philosophical development were introduced to Tibet, knowledge of a considerable corpus has long been available to Tibetans through translation into


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Tibetanthat is, more than 3,000 translated commentaries and explanatory works and more than 1,000 comprehensive texts of Buddha-word organized by Bromston in the eleventh century (as the Tanjur and Kanjur). During my two decades of tutelage by three abbots of Tibets foremost Tantric teaching institutions, I made quick notes of texts as they were mentioned. These are presented below. My knowledge of them, and of their importance, came to me by word of mouth from my tutors. To make the Sanskrit foundations of Tibetan Buddhist philosophy accessible to Western readers, I worked with highly qualied Tibetan translators in concert with my tutors. Long discussions led to the Anglicized Sanskrit and Tibetan titles arranged below. Where the original Sanskrit texts were not available, we used the Tibetan translations as the basis for the transformations into English (as will be easily noticeable by any Sanskrit scholar). The Sanskrit versions underwent a Tibetanization process, which introduced alterations to make them more meaningful to Tibetans. This was necessary due to four main factors. First, the Tibetan and Sanskrit phonetic sensibilities are not always compatible. Tibetans pay attention to sounds that Indo-Europeans do not (and sometimes do not even hear and cannot pronounce). And vice versa. Their alphabets are therefore incongruent. This pronunciation problem is further complicated by dialect differences across Tibet itself, where the Tibetan spoken in one region is sometimes barely understandable in others. This becomes most pronounced in regions where physical isolation sped linguistic divergence (e.g., Tawang, Kham, and Ladakh). Even in such modernized areas as Lhasa today, dialect variations are heard in different districts, even from monastery to monastery. Second, cultural factors have fostered literary variation. In the Tibetan monasteries we found that the Tibetan scholar-monks have few qualms about explaining texts according to the circumstances of their interests or the need to make them more intelligible to their students (not unlike the manner in which preconquest peoples name things according to how they affect their particular interests and sense of well-being). There are long titles, for example, that summarize an aspect of a texts contents according to local sensibility and short ones to identify them quickly among themselves. This leads to creativity when translating Sanskrit into Tibetan, and again when translating Tibetan into English. The tinkering fosters local rapport with texts ultimately meant to convey evanescent Tantric understandings. Finally, traditionally the monk in charge of the monasterys library could arbitrarily identify, organize, sort, and shelve without being secondguessed. And when texts were reprinted, helpful revisions, annotations, and alterations were often embedded. The result of such tinkering was that the older great monasteries became repositories of irreplaceable troves of independent thinking and reworking of ideas as they evolved over time. The disadvantage appears when internationally consistent catalogs and bibliographies have to be made. Third, serious orthographic differences between English, Tibetan, and Sanskrit exist. In an effort to give a sense of order to Tibetan literature, Western scholars have produced an elaborately contrived standard that has the advantage of internal precision and a close relationship to Tibetan ecclesiastical script. Its disadvantage is that it relates poorly to actual Tibetan monastic parlance and bibliographical habit. Particularly problematic is its nonintuitiveness, which leaves that system so user-unfriendly that few Tibetans and Westerners master ita drawback that also lends itself to transcription errors, which then get preserved in such important undertakings as library catalogs and learned bibliographies. So what to do? In this presentation we have departed

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from this Western approach, not because we do not respect it as an impressive and useful intellectual effort, but to be anthropological and more accurately reect the real life of monastic education. Fourth, there is the problem of destruction. During the centuries of Tibetan independence, established monasteries meticulously preserved their priceless texts and closely guarded them. Virtually all these collections were deliberately destroyed by the Chinese military conquest of Tibet in the 1960s and 1970s. This extraordinarily narrow-minded deed removed from the worlds purview the greatest trove of original Tibetan philosophical thinking that existed, essentially leaving only the view presented by the Tanjur and Kanjur (both of which are the product of the viewpoint of a single person). These have been extensively republished and have largely replaced the older, more varied monastic collections in monasteries that have managed to reestablish themselves in exile. Lost is the literary material that represented the true richness of Tibetan philosophy and the inductive insights that produced it. Only in a few monasteries in peripheral areas of greater Tibet, beyond Chinese military reach (e.g., Ladakh, Bhutan, and Tawang) have minor nonstandardized collections been preserved. Due to the Tibetan penchant for altering titles, we have in this bibliography selected the Tibetan titling versions that seemed to have widest currency among the scholar monks. To these we applied the English alphabet phonetically as closely as possible to the Tibetan phonemic structure heard in Gyudmed and Gaden. As for the Sanskrit titles, we found variations in spelling and wording during library searches in the West. Therefore we have adopted spellings and wording that satised our Tibetan Sanskrit speakers or where a particular spelling was widely used. In these necessarily somewhat arbitrary efforts, adhered to the overall guidance of the current abbot of Gyudmed Tantric University, Losang Nawang Khenpo, a sophisticated and unusually widely read and highly educated scholar of Tibetan philosophical literature. I was also very fortunate to have several years of sustained intellectual effort by Geshe Tashi Gyaltsen, an English-speaking advanced scholar of Tibetan literature and logic from Gaden who spent several months a year for several years with me at Gyudmed and Gaden and in the Dalai Lamas Library of Tibetan Works and Archives in Dharamsala. Also of considerable help in devising Anglicized presentations of the Tibetan titles, I had the advice of Thupten Yangdak, a highly regarded translator with twenty years continuous experience presenting Tibetan philosophical teachings to Western students in Europe; the dedicated efforts of Chosang Phunrab, a Tibetan graduate in Sanskrit Studies from the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies at Sarnath, who was particularly instrumental in sorting out inconsistencies in Sanskrit titles; and a review by Losang Norbu Shastri, the principal Sanskrit authority at that Institute. Initially I thought the task of compiling a listing of the literature on which the two decades of teachings was based would simply be a matter of jotting each title down. This proved to be a deeply misplaced optimism. Eventually I realized my idea of what constitutes literature was a product of habits of mind created by our commercial type of civilization. It initially made me assume that written works always have specic formal titles. Eventually I realized they do so in our culture because of copyright needs and stablized identities for academic usage. As for the nuts and bolts of the references presented here: the initial citation is an Anglicized phonetic presentation of whichever language (Tibetan or Sanskrit) the text was originally written in. Where Sanskrit works have been variously identied (or have close derivatives by a similar


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name), I have said also and then listed them. I have used or between Tibetan listings where I found marked variations in titling for the same text. I was happy to discover that a few simple basic orthographic rules were sufcient for general understanding. These are as follows: the short form for a vowel is represented simply by the vowel itself; the long form has an appended e. In a few cases where the vowel sound was intermediate between long and short, I have inserted d where my Tibetan mentors thought it improved clarity. Similarly, soft forms of consonants are followed by h. I had the much-appreciated help of English-speaking Tibetan scholars from different monasteries and regions in devising this simple phonetic approach. It has not yet been standardized, since that would require a fully representative synod of Tibetan Buddhist scholars from the major Tibetan teaching monasteries of all the sects and regions to smooth out dialect differences. But even with its partially unresolved spelling inconsistencies, it seems to work. We tried it out on many English-speaking Tibetan scholar-monks and found they could quickly identify the text we had in mind. By comparison, they were not usually able to do so from the elaborate Western academic transliteration system. It seems to trip up the way most humans read (though that is not the reason we have left it aside). We admire it for the kind of precision that can come from being script-based, but it is still not quite a Rosetta Stone. Tibetans have long been intellectually exible. And just as with pronunciation, there are different renderings of script. Such factors made access to Tibetan literature (particularly the more arcane) more difcult than it needs to be. That was our principal reason for making the titles more readable for the average English speaker. Greater uniformity exists for the Sanskrit literature, which has been in the domain of international scholars much longer. But even there, differences in transliteration and spelling still crop up along with variations in titling (examples of which appear here and there below). While there may be more in their knowledge base, here are the texts that were mentioned in our sessions with the Tibetan Tantric lamas: Anangavajra, c. eighth century Prajnopaya-viniscaya-siddhi. Clear Mental Appreciation of Ethical Action. Aryadeva (Tib: Phag-pa Lha), 225250 A.D. Abhibodhi-kramo-padesha (Tib: Nyon-par Jangchub-pae Rimpae Men-nyag), A Way to Practice Bodhicitta. Aksara-sastra (Tib: Yi-ge Gya-pa), Hundred Syllables. Carya-melapaka-pradipa [see also: Carya-samgraha-pradipa] (Tib: Chod-du [or] Chopa Du-pae Don-mae), Clear-Light on the Completion Stage [of the Guhysamaja.Tantra]. Catuh-sataka-karika [see also: Yogacara-catuh-sataka-sastra-karika] (Tib: Tenchoe Gyapa [or] Tenchoe Zhi Gyapa Zhe Chawae Tsig Liu Chepa), Four Hundred Verses on the Teachings of Buddha. Citta-visuddhi-prakarana [see also: Citta-visuddhi-nama-prakarana] (Tib: Sem-kyi Drip-jong [or] Sem-kyi Dripa Nampar Jong-wa Zhe Ja-wa Rabtu Jed-pa), Practices by which Mental Delusions can be Eliminated. Jnana-sara-samuccaya (Tib: Yeshe Kuntud [or] Yeshe Nying-po Kuntud), The All Encompassing Wisdom. Sataka-sastra [see also: Sata-sastra] (Tib: Tenchoe Gya-pa), Hundred Verse Treatise.

The Emptying of Ontology


Skhalita-prama-dana-yukti-hetu-siddhi (Tib: Tse-ma Trul-wa Pongwae Ngo-drup), Preventing Errors by Logic. Svadhisthana-krama-prabheda (Tib: Dhag Jin-lap [or] Dhag Jin-gyi Lap-pae Rimpa Nampar Yewa), Clear Presentation of the Stages of Self Perfection [regarding transformation of subtle wind into subtlemost body]. Yogacara-catuh-sataka-sastra (Tib: Uma Zhi Gya-pa), Experientialist Four Hundred [on emptiness]. Asanga, fth century A.D. Abhidharma-samuccaya (Tib: Choe Nyon-pa Kun Tud), Compendium of Abhidharma. Arya-samdhi-nirmocana-bhasya (Tib: Do-de Gong-drel [or] Phagpa Gong-pa Sabmo Ngepar Drelpae Nampar Jed-pa), Commentary on the Thought Underlying Sakyamunis Bodhisattva Sutra [also referred to as the Third Wheel Sutra]. Bodhisattva-bhumi [see also: Bodhi-bhumi], (Tib: Jang Sa [or] Jang Chub Sem-pae Sa), Explanation of the Bodhisattva Stage [the only surviving portion of the original Sanskrit version of Asangas Yogacara-bhumi-shastra]. Dharmakaya-sadharana-stotra (Tib: Choe-kui Yonten Thumong Mayin Pae Todpa), The Extraordinary Qualities of the Truth Body of Buddha. Dhyana-pradipa (Tib: Sam-ten Gyi Don-mae), Clarifying Single-Pointed Meditation. Madhyanta-vibhaga-sastram [see also: Madhyanta-vibhaga-tika] Commentary on [Maitreyas] Madhyanta-vibhaga-sutra [on centers and extremes]. Mahayana-samgraha [see also: Mahayana-sutra-samgraha-sastra] (Tib: Theg-due [or] Thegpa Chenpoe Due-pa), A Compendium of Mahayana Teachings [including a summary of the lesser known Mahayana doctrines]. Mahayana-sutra-lamkara [Verses on the fundamentals of Mahayana]. Mahayana-uttara-tantra-sastra-vyakhya [see also: Uttara-tantra-sastra (and) Mahayana-uttaratantra-sastra-vrtti] (Tib: Gyud La Mae Drel-wa [or] Theg-pa Chenpoi Gyud La Mae Drel-wa), Commentary on [Maitreyas] Mahayana-uttara-tantra [regarding the ultimate nature of Buddha]. Maitreya-sadhana (Tib: Phakpa Jampae Drub-thap), Maitreya Visualization Practice. Prajnaparamita-sadhana (Tib: Sherab-kyi Pharol Tu Chenma Drub-thab), Method for Practicing Prajnaparamita. Ratnagotra-vibhaga [see also: Ratnagotra-vibhaga-mahayana-uttara-tantra-shastra] (Tib: Thegpa Chenpoi Gyud Lama Rabtu Ye-wae Tenchoe), The Jewel of Supreme Tantra. Tattva-viniscaya (Tib: De Nyid Nam Nge), Clear Ascertainment of Emptiness [explanations of the 100,000 stanzas of the Bhumi Sutra, the 25,000 stanzas of the Nyitri Sutra, and the 8,000 stanzas of the Gye Tong-pa Sutra]. Yogacara-bhumi-shastra [see also: Bhumi-vastu (and) Pancha-bhumi] (Tib: Sa De Nga), The [ve] Experiential Levels of Yogic Practice. Asvaghosa (Tib: Ta-yang), rst to second century A.D. Buddha-carita (Tib: Sangye Kyi Zhepa), Accomplishments of Buddha Sakyamuni. Mahayana-sraddhopada-sastra (Tib: Theckpa Chenpor Dedpa Pel-wae Tenchoe), Awaking Faith in Mahayana.


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Atisa (Tib: Jowo-je), eleventh century Bodhi-patha-pradipa (Tib: Jangchub Lam Gyi Dolma), The Way of the Bodhisattvas [also referred to as Lamp Illuminating the Path to Enlightenment]. Bhavaviveka, fth to sixth century A.D. Madhyamika-hrdaya-karika [see also: Madhyamaka-hrdaya-vrtti-tarkajvala] (Tib: Uma Nying-po), The Blazing Essence of the Middle Way. Prajna-pradipa-mula-madhyamaka-vrtti [see also: Prajna-pradipa-sastra] (Tib: Sherab Dolma [or] Uma Tsawae Drel-wa Sherab Dolmae Gyacher Drelpa), Wisdom Lamp [an extensive commentary on Nagarjunas Mula-madhyamaka-karika]. Bromston, 10081064 (Translated much of the early Sanskrit Buddhist literature into Tibetan and assembled more than 4,000 texts as the Kanjur and Tanjur.) Buddha Maitreya Abhisamaya-lamkara [see also: Abhisamaya-lamkara-prajnaparamita-upadesa-sastra] (Tib: Sherabkyi Pharol Tu Chinpae Me-ngag Gi Tenchoe Nyon Tok Gyen Zhe Ja-wa), The Gem of Emergent Clear Realization with Instructions on Perfecting Wisdom [elucidates the meaning of Prajnaparamita]. Dharma-dharmata-vibhaga-sutra [see also: Dharma-dharmata-vibhaga-karika] (Tib: Choe Dang Choe Nyid Nampar Jed-pa), Distinguishing Emptiness Clearly from Subjects and Objects. Madhyanta-vibhaga-sutra (Tib: We Dang Tha Nampar Jed-pae Tsig Liu Jed-pa [or] Wae-tha Nam-je Dang Chos Dang Chos Ngi Nam-je Tsa Drel), Distinguishing the Middle Way from Extreme Views. Mahayana-sutra-lamkara (Tib: Theg-pa Chenpo Dode-yi Gyen Zhe Jawae Tsig Liu Jed-pa), Qualities of the Great Vehicle [often referred to in English as The Scripture Sutra]. Mahayana-uttara-tantra [see also: Uttara-tantra (and) Ratna-gotra-vibhaga-mahayana-uttaratantra-sastra-sutra] (Tib: Gyud Lamae [or] Theg-pa Chenpoi Gyud Lamae Rabtu Ye-wae Tenchoe), Jewel Sutra of Tantra on Supreme Buddha Nature [the root text of the Ratnagotra-vibhaga-tantra]. Samdhi-nirmocana-sutra (Tib: Do De Gong Drel), Explanation of the Profound Secrets [Also referred to in English as The Intention Sutra]. Buddha Sakyamuni Acala (Tib: Miyo-wa), Self-Generation of the Unmoveable Acala [an explanation of consort practice]. Aksayamati-nirdesa-sutra (Tib: Lo-drel me Jig-pae Tenpae Dho), Aksayamatis Teachings. Arya-dakini-vajra-panch-mahatantra-raja-kalpa-nama (Tib: Gyud Tak Nyi [or] Thak-pa Khadroma Dorjee-gur Zhe Ja-wae Gyud-kyi Gyalpo Chenpo Tak-pa), Mother Tantra. Arya-karma-varana-visuddhi-nama-mahayana-sutra (Tib: Lay-kyi Dripa Nampar Dhak-pa Dho [or] Phagpa Lay-kyi Dripa Nampar Dhak-pa Zhe Ja-wa Thegpa Chenpoe Dho), The Great Sutra Path of the Aryas who Overcome Karma. Aryadaya-sama-tebi-daya-kebi-kalpa-maharaja-nama (Tib: Phakpa Nyisu Med Pa Nyam-pa Nyid Nampar Gyalwa Zhe Ja-wa), Achieving the Nondual Equanimity of the Aryas.

The Emptying of Ontology


Avatamsaka-sutra [see also: Maha-vaipulya-buddha-vatamsaka-sutra] (Tib: Dong-po Koe-pae Dho), Flower Garland Sutra [or] The World of Buddha Beyond the Human World. Cakrasamvara-tantra [also: Heruka Tantra] (Tib: Dechog Gyud [or] Khorlo Dhompa Gyud), Tantra of Supreme Wisdom. Dakini-sagar (Tib: Khadro Gyatso), Ocean of Dakini [treatise on the features of the Dakini in the Heruka mandala]. Dasa-bhumika-sutra [see also: Dasa-bhumi] (Tib: Sa Chu), Ten Stages Sutra [part of the Garland Sutra]. Guhyasamaja-tantra [see also: Guhyasamaja-mula-tantra (and) Tathagata-guhyaka (and) Tathagata-guna-jnana] (Tib: Sangwa Du-pae Tsa-gyud [or] Pel Sangwa Dupa Zhe Ja-wae Gyud Kyi Gyalpo Chenpo), The Great Guhyasamaja, Root King of Tantra [Secret Guide to Combining the Subtlest Form of Body with the Subtlest State of Consciousness]. Heruka-tantra (see Cakrasamvara-tantra). Hevajra-Tantra (Tib: Gya-pa Dorjee Gyud), The Tantra of Indestructible Bliss. Kalacakra-uttara-tantra-raja (Tib: Duekhor Gyud-gyi Gyalpo), The Royal Kalacakra Tantra. Ksitigarbha-sutra [see also: Ksitigarbha-bodhisattva-sutra], The Earth Encompassing Profound Compassion Sutra [sometimes referred to as the Earth Treasure Sutra]. Lankavatara-sutra [see also: Mahayana-sutra-lanka-vatara] (Tib: Lankar Sheg Pae Dho), The Lanka Sutra. Mahakala-tantra-raja (Tib: Gyud Gonpo Gyalpo Chenmo), The Great Mahakala Tantra. Panca-vimsatisa-hasrika-prajnaparamita-sutra (Tib: Nyitri Sutra). Prajna-paramita-hrdaya-sutra [see also: Maha-prajna-paramita-hrdaya-sutra (and) Hrdayaprajnaparamita-sutra-vyakhya (and) Bhagavati-prajnalparamita-hrdaya-sutra] (Tib: She-rab Kyi Pha Rol Tu Chin-pae Nying-po), The Heart of Wisdom Sutra [or] Heart of Wisdom beyond All Wisdom Sutra [an explication of emptiness and the perfection of consciousness]. Prajna-paramita-sapta-satika-sutra (Tib: Bum [or] Sher Chen Bum-pae), Transcendent Wisdom in Seven Hundred Stanzas. Saddharma-pundarika-sutra (Tib: Dham-choe Padma Kar-po), The White Lotus of True Justice. Samadhi-raja-sutra (Tib: Ting-nge Zin Gyalpo), King of Meditative Concentration Sutra. Sarva-durgati-parishodana-tantra [see also: Sarva-durgati-parishodana-tejo-raja-sya-tathagata-syaarhat-samyaksam-shuddha-sya-kalpa-nama] (Tib: Ngen Song Jong Gyud [or] De Zhin Shegpa Dra Chompa Yang Dakpa Zok Pae Sang-gye Ngen Song Tham Ched Yongsu Jong-wa Zhi Jedkyi Gyalpo Takpa Zhe Ja-wa), Full Enlightenment Tantra with Power to Eliminate Inferior Rebirth. Siddhi-bhiksa-rana-nama-tantra [see also: Bhikarana] (Tib: Gonpa Lungton-pa Zhe Ja-wae Gyud), Tantra in Which Meditative Sites Are Discussed. Sri-maha-samba-rodhya-tantra-raja-nama (Tib: Gyud Dom Jung [or] Pel Dechog Dompa Jungwa Zhe Ja-wae Gyud-kyi Gyalpo Chenpo), Supreme Practice of the Heruka Tantric Vows. Sri-parama-dinama-mahayana-kalpa-raja (Tib: Pel Chog Dag-po Zhe Ja-wa), Treatise on Supreme Perfection. Tripitaka-svabhava (Tib: Dhe Nod Sum-gyi Tsul), Three Modes of Sutra [also referred to as the Three Baskets Sutra]. Vajrabhairava-tantra (Tib: Jigje Tsa-gyud), Tantra That Overcomes Hatred and Death.


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Vajra-cchedika-sutra [see also: Vajra-cchedika-prajna-paramita-sutra] (Tib: Dorjee Choe-pa Doh), Diamond Cutter Sutra. Vajra-dakini (Tib: Dorjee Khadroma [or] Dorjee Khadro Dechog), The Dakini Tantra of Heruka [the Tantra of the feminine principle of Heruka]. Vajra-jnana-samucchaya-nama-tantra (Tib: Yeshe Dorjee Kun-tu [or] Yeshe Dorjee Kun Lae Tud-pa Zhe-jawae Gyud), Vajrayana Tantra. Vajramala [see also: Shri-vajramala-abhidharma-mahayoga-tantra-saba-tantra-hrdaya-raja-sarvavibagha-nama] (Tib: Dorjee Trengwa [or] Neljor Chenpo Gyud Pel Dorjee Trengwa Nyon Par Jod-pae Gyud Tham Chad-kyi Nying-po Selwa Nampar Chewa Zhe Ja-wa), Clearly Perceiving the Heart of Root Tantra through Vajra Repetition. Vajrayogini-tantra [see also: Shri-dakini-maha-yogini-tantra-raja-nama] (Tib: Naljor Ma Yi Gyud [or] Pel Khandro Gyatso Naljor Mae Gyud-kyi Gyalpo Chenpo Zhe Ja-wa), Ocean of Great Dakini Tantra. Buddhaghosa, fth century A.D. Visuddhi-magga (Tib: De-lam), The Route to Bliss. Buddhapalita (Tib: Sang-gye Kyang), fth to sixth century A.D. Buddhapalita-mula-madhyamaka-vrtti (Tib: Sang-gye Kyang Drel-wa), Buddhapalitas Commentary on [Nagarjunas] Prajna-nama-mula-madhyamaka-karika [a particularly clear commentary on Nagarjunas ultimate viewpoint]. Bu-ston, 12901364 Chos Byung, History of Buddhism. Candrakirti (Tib: Dawa Dakpa), c. 580650 A.D. Catuh-sataka-vrtti [see also: Bodhisattva-yogacara-catuh-sataka-tika (and) Yogacara-catuh-satakakarika] (Tib: Zhi-gya-pa Zhe Ja-wae Drel-wa), Commentary on [Aryadevas] Catuh-sataka [Four Hundred Treatise]. Madhyamaka-vatara-bhasya [see also: Madhyamaka-vatara-bhasya-nama] (Tib: Uma La Jupae Shed-pa Zhe Ja-wa), [Candrakirtis] Commentary on [his own] Madhyamaka-vatara-nama. Mula-madhyamaka-vatara-vrtti-prasanna-pada [see also: Madhyamaka-vatara-nama] (Tib: Uma Jug-pa [or] Uma La Jugpa Zhe Ja-wa), Clear Words on [Nagarjunas] Mula-madhyamakakarika [a supplement to Nagarjunas ideas on emptiness, the ten levels of achievement, and the ve paths]. Panca-skandha-prakarana (Tib: Phung Po Nga-yi Rabtu Chewa), Clear Taxonomy of the Five Aggregates. Pradipa-dyotana [see also: Pradipa-dyotana-nama-tika] (Tib: Dronsel [or] Gyud Thamched Kyi Gyalpo Pel Sangwa Dupae Tza-we Gyud Kyi Dronma Rabtu Selwar Je-pa Zhe Gyacher Shed-pa), Brilliant Lamp Commentary Clarifying the Difcult Meanings in the Guhyasamaja Tantra. Prasannapada-madhyamaka-vrtti [see also: Prasannapada-vrtti (and) Mula-madhyamka-vataravrtti-prasanna-pada (and) Prasana-mula-madhyamaka-vrtti] (Tib: Tsig-sel [or] Uma Tsawae Drel-wa Tsig Selwa Zhe Ja-wa), Clearly Worded Explanation of [Nagarjunas] Mulamadhyamaka-karika. Sunyata-saptati-vrtti (Tib: Tong Nyid Dun-chu-pae Drel-wa), Commentary on [Nagarjunas] Seventy Verses Explaining Emptiness.

The Emptying of Ontology


Vajrasattva-sadhana-nama (Tib: Dorjee Sempae Drub Thab Zhe Ja-wa), Accomplishing the Nondual Realization of Emptiness and Perfected Consciousness of Vajrasattva. Yukti-sastika-vrtti (Tib: Rigpa Druk-chu-pae Drel-wa), Commentary on Nagarjunas Sixty-Verse Treatise on Reasoning. Chakpa Rolpai Dorjee, seventeenth century Drupta [a concise historical classication of Tantras based on Tsongkhapas work]. Devasarman, fth century B.C. Vijnana-kaya (Tib: Gyal-wae Ku), Compendium on Consciousness. Dhakpo Namkha Dak, sixteenth century Dhak-poe Kye-rim [or] Gyud Thamche Kyi Gyalpo Pel Sangwa Dupae Kye-rim Gyi Namshae Dorjee Chang Wang La-mae Sung Gyun, Detailed Explanation of the Sangwa Dupa Generation Stage. Dharmakirti (Tib: Choe-drak), c. 580660 A.D. Hetubindu [also: Hetubindu-nama-prakarana] (Tib: Ten-tsig Thig-pa [or] Ten-tsig Thig-pa Zhe-jawae Rabtu Chewa), Vehicle of Logic. Nyaya-bindu [see also: Nyaya-bindu-nama-prakarana] (Tib: Rig-thig [or] Rigpae Thig-pa Zhe Ja-wae Rabtu Chewa), A Drop of Great Reasoning [an explanation of Nyaya logic]. Pramana-varttika [see also: Pramana-varttkika-karika (and) Acarya-dharmakirti-pramana-varttika] (Tib: Tsema Namdrel [or] Tsema Namdrel Gyi Tsig Liu Je-pa), Commentary on [Dignagas] Pramana-samuccaya [a discussion of valid cognition]. Pramana-viniscaya (Tib: Tsema Nam-nye [or] Tsema Nampar Nyepa Zhe Ja-wa), Precisely Understanding Unobstructed Valid Consciousness. Sambandha-pariksa [see also: Sambandha-pariksa-vrtti] (Tib: Drel-wa Tak-pa [or] Drel-wa Tak-pae Rabtu Je-pa), Analysis of the Relationship of Various Logical Positions. Samtanantara-siddhi [see also: Samtanantara-siddhi-nama-prakarana] (Tib: Gyud-zhen Drub-pa), Logically Demonstrating Different Individual Consciousness Streams. Vada-nyaya [see also: Vada-nyayana-nama-prakarana] (Tib: Tsod-pae Rigpa), Logic within Debate. Dignaga (Tib: Chok-lang), c. 480540 A.D. Alambana-pariksha (Tib: Mikpa Takpa), Critical Examination of Objects. Hetuchakra (Tib: Rigpae Khorlo), Wheel of Reason. Nyaya-mukha (Tib: Rigpae Kha), The Mouth of Logic. Pramana-samuccaya (Tib: Tsema Kuntud [or] Tsema Kun-le Tupa Zhe Ja-wae Raptu Je-pa), Precise Clarication of Rened Cognition. Drogmi Lotsawa, c. 9901070 Gya-pa Dorjee Gyud, [Drogmis Tibetanized version of the Hevajra Tantra]. Gampopa (Dakpo Lharja), 10791153 Dakpoi Thar-gyen, Dakpos Attributes of Liberation. Goe Lotzawa, 10591109 Tong-thun, A Session on Emptiness [essential meanings for all the Sangwa Dupa Tantric texts].


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Gyaltsab Je, 13641432 Gyaltsab-je Sung-bum Poe Druk, The Six Texts of Gyaltsab Je. Nying-poe Don Sel-war Jed-pa, Clear Presentation of the Meaning of Ultimate Essence. Haribhadra, c. ninth century Aloka [a detailed commentary on Maitreyas Abhisamayalamkara, especially with regard to the nine progressive meditative states leading to awareness realization]. Harivarman, third to fourth century A.D. Satyasiddhi-sastra (Tib: Denpa Drup-pae Ten-chod), Thesis on True Attainment. Indrabhuti, c. 687717 Jnana-siddhi, Attainment of Knowledge. Jam-yang Zhed-pa Drub-tha Chenmo, Great Tenets. Jnanagarbha, eighth century Arya-maitreya-kevala-parivarta-bhyasa, Commentary on [Maitreyas] Samdhi-nirmocana-sutra. Satya-dvaya-vibhanga [see also: Satya-dvaya-vibhaga-sastra], The Distinction between the Two Kinds of Truth. Kadampa Lama(s) Kadam Che-tud, Compendium of Kadampa Instruction. Kamalasila, eighth century A.D. Bhavana-krama (Tib: Gom-rim [or] Lopon Kamalasila Zepae Gomrim Thog-tha Bar Sum Shugso), The Three Stages of Meditation. Madhyamaka-lamkara-panjika (Tib: Uma-gyen-gyi Tha-Chod), Additional Clarication of the Middle Way. Madhyamaka-vatara [see also: Madhyamaka-loka-nama] (Tib: Uma-Nang-wa), Illumination of the Middle Way. Tattva-samgraha-panjika (Tib: Dhe Khona Nyi Dud-pae Ka Drel), Elucidation of [Santaraksitas] Essential Principles on Emptiness. Katyayaniputra, c. third century B.C. Jnana-prasthana (Tib: Choe Nyon-pa Yeshe Pharol-tu Chin Pae Tenchoe), The Structure of Wisdom. Khache Lamae (Kache Rinchen Dorjee) Lamae Drel-wa [Khache Lamaes commentary on Nagarjunas Pentabida-sadhana, dividing the Sangwa Dupa Completion Stage into ve levels]. Khedrup Je (Khedrup Gelek Pel Sangpo) fourteenth to fteenth century Kagyama, Commentary on the Generation Stage of Jigje. Kye-rim Chenmo Ngod Drub Gyatso [or] Gyud Thamched-kyi Gyalpo Pel Sangwa Dupae Kye-rim Ngo Drub Gyatso, The Ocean of Attainments of the Generation Stage of the Sangwa Dupa Tantra [essential preparation for entering the Sangwa Dupa Completion Stage]. Khedrup-je Sungbum Poe Chu-nui, Khedrups Twelve Texts.

The Emptying of Ontology


Losang Choegyen (Losang Choekyi Gyaltsen), seventeenth century Rim-nga Nying-po, Essence of the Five Tantric Levels of the Completion Stage. Losang Gyaltsen Seng-gye Pel Dorjee Jigje Pa-wo Chik Pae Zogrim-gyi Nam-shed Jam Pel Gye Pae Chod Trin, The Bliss of the Completion Stage of the Lone Hero Tantra [a commentary on the Completion Stage of the Pa-chik solitary form of Jigje]. Luhipa (Dechog Luipa) Lui-pae Drub Thab, The Luipa Method of Dechog Tantric Practice. Mahasanghika school (collective work) Mahavastu, Great Subjects. Manjushri Dvika-tattva-bhava-nama-mukha-gam (Tib: Jampel Zhelung), The Teachings of Bodhisattva Manjushri [with explanation of the Four Drops of concentrated attention in the Guhyasamaja Completion Stage]. Marpa Lotsawa, 10121099 Rig-nga Don-nya-pa (Skt: Sri-cakrasamvara-panca-krama-vrtti), Dissertation on the Five Lineages. Rig-nga Khorlo Chen, The Great Wheel of Five Lineages. Wosel Tzen Thap Kyi Me Ngak, Instruction on Inducing the Appearance of Clear-Light. Maudgalyayana, c. third century B.C. Prajnapti-sastra, On the Origin of Designations [a Sarvastivada Abhidharma]. Moggaliputta Tissa, c. 250 B.C. Kathavatthu, The Points of Controversy. Nagabodhi (Tib: Lhu-yi Jangchub) Karma-entavi-banga-nama (Tib: Lai-tha Namge [or] Lay Kyi Tha Nampar Jed-pa Zhe Ja-wa), The Limit of Karmic Action [including an explanation of the Four Great Empties]. Shri-guhyasamaja-mandala-upayi-kabem-shatabidi-nama (Tib: Chechok Nyi-shupa [or] Pel Sangwa Dupae Kilkhor-gyi Chogha Nyishu-pa Zhe Ja-wa), Twenty Ritual Variations for the Guhyasamaja Mandala. Nagarjuna, second century A.D. Arya-mula-sarvastavadi-sramanera-karika [see also: Mula-sarvastavadi-sramanera-karika] (Tib: Lopon Ludrup-kyi Zoy), Behavioral Modes for Novice Monks). Arya-sheli-tambaka-mahayana-sutra-tika (Tib: Salu Jang-pae Dodrel [or] Phagpa Salu Jang-pa Zhe Ja-wa Thegpa Chenpoe Doh Gyacher Shed-pa), Commentary on the Fertile Seed Sutra [an analytic explanation of cause and effect]. Bodhicitta-vivarana (Tib: Jangchub sem Drel), Commentary on the Spirit of Bodhicitta. Dasabhumi-vibhasa-sastra (Tib: Sa Chu-pae Do-drel), Explanation of Sakyamunis Ten Stages Sutra. Dharma-sangraha [see also: Acarya-nagarjuna-pranita-dharma sangraha] (Tib: Phag Chog-lu Drubkyi Zae-pae Cho-yon Dag-par Dupa), Compendium of Dharmas.


E Richard Sorenson

Dvadasa-nikaya-sastra [see also: Dvada-samukha-sastra] (Tib: Zamo Tong-pa Nyi Kyi Goh Chungni), Treatise on the Twelve Gates to Voidness. Maha-deha-tantra (Tib: Gyud Den-zhi), Generating the Body of Subtlest Emotive Force [gyumaelus]. Maha-prajna-paramita-sastra [see also: Maha-prajnaparamita-upadesa-sastra] (Tib: Sherab-kyi Pharol-tu Chenpa Zhe Ja-wa), Treatise on the Great Perfection of Wisdom [a commentary on the Maha-prajnaparamita-sutra]. Mahayana-vimsika (Tib: Khorlo Chenpo), Verses on the Great Vehicle. Mula-madhyamaka-karika [see also: Madhyamaka-karika (and) Prajna-nama-mula-madhyamakakarika] (Tib: Tza-shed [or] Tzawae Sherab [or] Uma Tza Wae Tsig Liu Je-pa Sherab Zhe Ja-wa), The Root of the Middle Way to Wisdom [a widely respected poetic presentation of the logic of emptiness]. Niti-sastra-jantu-posana-bindu (Tib: Kye Boi-so Thig), Drop of Nourishment for People. Pentabida-sadhana (Tib: Dor-jae [or] Pel Sangwa Dupae Drubthab Dor-jae), Simplied Practice of the Guhyasamaja Root Tantra. Prajna-danda (Tib: Sherab Dhong-po), Tree of Wisdom [shows wisdom as the basis of all action]. Prajnaparamita-stotra (Tib: Sherab-kyi Pharol-tu Chin-pae Toepa), Perfection of Wisdom Praises. Prajna-sataka (Tib: Sherab-kyi Pharol-tu Chin-pae Tsik Gya-pa), Hundred Verses on the Perfection of Wisdom. Pratitya-samutpada-hrdaya-karika (Tib: Phag Chog-lu Drub-kyi Zae-pae Tendrel Nying-po Tsadrel), Explanatory Verses on Dependent Causation. Rati-sastra [verses on the nature of the erotic]. Ratna-vali [see also: Raja-parikatha-ratna-vali [or] Yoga-ratna-mala] (Tib: Rinchen Trengwa [or] Gyalpo La Tam Ja-wa Rinpoche Yi Trengwa), Precious Garland of Royal Advice. Rimpa-nga, Lamp Illuminating the Five Levels [of the Sangwa Dupa] Completion Stage. Soma-raja-bhaisajya-sadhana (Tib: Man Choe Dawae Gyalpo), Great Moonlight on Medical Treatment. Sunyata-saptati [see also: Sunyata-saptati-karika] (Tib: Tong Nyid Dunchu-pa), Seventy-Stanza Treatise on Emptiness [explains the unreality of the elements of reality]. Sri-guhyasamaja-mahayoga-tantra-upadatrama-dana-satama-sharwa-kanama (Tib: Do-sae [or] Naljor Chen-po Gyud Pel Sangwa Dupae Kye Wae Rimpa Gom-pae Thap Dho Dang Se-pa Zhe Ja-wa), Stages of Generating Guhyasamaja and Combining its Methods with the Practice of Sutra. Tatite-samota-panda-hrdaya-bekanna (Tib: Ten Ching Drel-war Jung-wae Nying-poe Nampar Shed-pa), The Twelve Elements of Dependent Arising [a commentary on Sakyamuni Buddhas Tendrel Nying-po Doe]. Trikvam (Tib: Rimpa Sum-pa), Explanation of the Third Level of the Completion Stage. Upadesa-sam (Tib: Man Nying [or] Man Ngag Nying-poe Gyen), Decorations on the Essential Instructions. Vaidalya-prakarana [also: Vaidalya-sutra-nama] (Tib: Zhimo Nam-thag [or] Zhimo Nampar Thagpa Zhe Ja-wae Rabtu Jepa), The Finely Woven Foundations of Sutra [an analysis of variant views on emptiness, a refutation of Nyaya logic, and a logical proof of the validity of emptiness].

The Emptying of Ontology


Vigra-havya-vartani [also: Vigra-havya-vartani-karika] (Tib: Tsod-dhog), Deecting Objections [refutations of objections to the Madhyamika theory of emptiness]. Vyavahara-siddhi (Tib: Toe-drub), The Co-existence of Absoluteness and Relativity. Yukti-sastika-karika (Tib: Rigpa Druk Chupae Tsig Liu Je-pa), Sixty Verses Logically Demonstrating Wisdom. Naropa, 10161100 Naro Choe-drug, The Six Techniques of Naropa [instructions on vows and empowerment, generating inner heat and bliss, attaining subtle body, and experiencing clear-light with an explanation of the intermediate stage (bardo), as well as dream yoga and instructions on consciousness transference]. Naro-pae Zed Pae Gyud Chimae Drel-wa, Commentary on the Eighteenth Chapter [of the Marpa/ Lotsawa translation] of the Sangwa Dupa Root Text. Rim-nga Dud-pa, Condensed Explanation of the Five Levels of the Completion Stages [of Sangwa Dupa]. Nawang Palden Sang Chen Gyud De Zhi Yi Sa Lam-gyi Nam Zhag Zhung Sel Jae, Presentation of the Grounds and Paths of the Four Great Secret Tantric Sets. Patsab Lotzawa Tza-gyud Patsab-kyi Gyur-wae Liu Drug-pa, Patsabs Guide to the Sixth Level of the Sangwa Dupa Root Text. Rinchen Sangpo, 9581065 Shed-gyud, Explanation of the Sangwa Dupa Root Text [Rinchen Sangpos Tibetan explanation of Buddha Sakyamunis Guhyasamaja]. Santideva, seventh to eighth century A.D. Bodhicarya-vatara [see also: Bodisattva-carya-vatara] (Tib: Choe-jug [or] Jangchub Sempae Chodpa La Jug-pa), Bodhisattva Deeds in Practice. Madhyamaka-hrdaya-vrtti (Tib: Uma Drel-wa [or] Uma Nying-poe Drelwa), Commentary on the Essence of the Middle Way. Prajna-pradipa-tika, Commentary on [Bhavavivekas] Lamp for Wisdom. Shiksa-samuccaya-karika (Tib: Lab-pa Kun-tud [or] Lab-pa Kun Lae-tue Pae-tsig Liu Je-pa), Complete Teachings for the Bodhisattva Way of Life. Tathagata-hrdaya-papadeshana-vidhisahita-sataka-raraksa (Tib: Ten-due), The Essential Foundations of Reality. Santiraksita, eighth century A.D. Madhyamika-lamkara-karika [see also: Madhyamaka-lamkara] (Tib: Uma Gyen [or] Uma Gyen Gyi Tsig Liu Je-pa), Verses on the Middle Way [a poetic presentation of emptiness according to the Sautrantika Madhyamika school]. Madhyamika-lamkara-vrtti (Tib: Umae Gyen Gyi Drel-wa), [Santiraksitas] Commentary on [his own] Madhyamika-lamkara-karika. Tattva-samgraha [see also: Tattva-sangraha-karika] (Tib: Ten Due), The Truth within the Accumulated Teachings of Buddha.


E Richard Sorenson

Seng Dengpa (Singdingpa Zhonu), c. ninth to tenth century Gyuma Sum Gyud-kyi Man Nyak, Three Tantric Illusion Techniques. Khorlo-chen, Wheel Holder. Rim-nga Denzog, The Five Levels of the Completion Stage [practical explanations of the meditation practices]. Rim-nga Dhon Zhi-pa, The Meaning of the Fourth Level of the Completion Stage. Rim-nga Don Nga-pa, The Meaning of the Fifth Level of the Completion Stage. Rim-nga Sempa Sum Tzeg, Three Meditations [Yeshe Sempa, Damtsig Sempa, and Ting-ngezin Sempa]. Sarvastivada School (collective work), third century B.C. Lalita-vistara, The Play of Buddha. Shentipa Min-nyi [or] Min Gyak Nyi-ma, Sunlight on Instructions [Explanation of the winds-of-life activity in the body.] Sthaviravada School (collective works), third to fourth century B.C. Dhamma-sangani, The Orderly Relationship of Objects. Vibhanga, A Taxonomy of the Elements of Reality [dharmas]. Sthiramati, sixth century A.D. Abhidharma-samuccaya-vyakhya (Tib: Choe Ngonpa Zoe Kun lay Tue pa), Commentary on [Asangas] Abhidharma-samuccaya. Madhyanta-vibhaga-sutra-tika [see also: Madhyanta-vibhaga-sutra-bhasya-tika] (Tib: U-mae Drelwa), Commentary on [Vasubandhus] Madhyanta-vibhaga-sutra-bhyasa [a discourse on centers and extremes]. Trimsika-bhasya [see also: Trimsika-vritti] (Tib: Lab-pa Sum Gyi Drel-wa), Commentary on [Vasubhandus] Trimsika. Tilopa (Tillopada), 9881069 Phag-gya Chenpoi Men-ngag [or] Phag-gya Chenpo Dorjee Tsig Kyang Nyi Gyapa, [Tilopas] Twenty-Eight Verse Song of Mahamudra Instruction [to Naropa]. Tsongkhapa (Lozang Dragpa), 13571419 Badon Kunsel [or] Khorlo Dhompa Dechog Dhu-gyud Kyi Sacher Sheg-pa Badon Kunsel, Commentary on the Root Text of [Buddha Sakyamunis] Dechog Tantra [Skt: Heruka]. Chedhor Gyud-kyi Sindri Dhag Dinyi-kyi Sindri, Explanation of Buddha Sakyamunis Teachings on Hevajra. Dechog Rim-nyi Shed-pa Bagdon Tsa-wae Mik Namper Jed-pa, Clarifying the Buried Meanings within the Root Tantra of Dechog [Skt: Heruka]. Dorjee Dhe-pae Sindri, Results of Vajra Mantra Repetition [in relation to isolation of speech practice]. Dorjee Jigje-kyi Drupthap Dhulai Namgyal, Instructions on Achieving Self-Generation of the Solitary Jigje [Skt: Yamantaka]. Dragwa-dag Nyipae Don Nampar Chewi Tenchod Leg-shed Nying-po, Extensive Explanation of Differences in the Turning of the Three Great Wheels of Dharma by Buddha Sakymuni.

The Emptying of Ontology


Dronsel Gyi Kan-kyi Yangdril [or] Gyud Tham-ched Kyi Gyalpo Pel Sangwa Dupae Tza-Gyud Gyacher Shed-pa Dronma Selwae Kan-kyi Tachod, Illumination of the Difcult Points of the Sangwa Dupa Tantra Completion Stage [commentary on Candrakirtis Dronsel (Skt: Pradipa-dyotana)]. Dukhor Zogrim Jorwa Yenlak Druk-ge Khri Puni Ming-chen gye Je-yi Sungzheg Sindri Su Kodpa, Extensive Analysis of the Six Levels of the Completion Stage of the Kalachakra Tantra. Lamrim Chenmo [or] Jangchub Lam-gyi Rimpa Chenmo [or] Kham-sum Choe-kyi Gyalpo Tsongkhapa Chenpoe Zed-pae Jangchub Lam-gyi Rimpa Chenmo, The Great Graded Path of Tsongkhapa [Tsongkhapas systematic presentation of his distinguished Sutra Path to enlightenment]. Leg-shed Nying-po [or] Drawa-dag Nyi-pae Don Nampar Chewi Tenchod Leg-shed Nying-po), Essence of Eloquence [similarities, clear meanings, and examples of the essence of Buddha Sakyamunis ultimate and conventional meanings as propounded in his Three Great Wheels of Dharma]. Leg-shed Ser Thig-pa Shepa Man, The Essence of a Drop of Gold as Medicine [commentary on the Fourth to Eighth Chapter of [Maitreyas] Abhisamaya-lamkara]. Leg-shed Ser-gyi Trengwa [or] Sherab-kyi Pharol-du Chen-pae Mangak-gye Tenchoe Nyong-tok Gyan Drelwa-dhag Ched-pa Gyacher Shed-pae Leg-shed Ser-gyi Trengwa Kap Dag-po Nyi Sum-pae Bar, Commentary on the First Three Chapters of [Maitreyas] Abisamaya-lamkara. Ngag-rim Chenmo [or] Gyalwa Khyab-dak Dorjee Chang Chen-poe Lam-gyi Rimpa Sangwa Kungyi Nying-po Nampar Chewa, The Secret Presentation of the Stages of the Dorjee Chang Path [a comprehensive explanation of all types of Ultimate Tantra]. Rim-nga Seldron [or] Gyud-kyi Gyalpo Pel Sangwa Dupae Me Ngag Rimpa Nga Rabtu Sel-wae Dromae, Thoroughly Illuminating Nagarjunas Instructions on the Five Levels of Ultimate Tantra. Sa-ched Dhudon [or] Dronsel Gyacher Shed-pae Sached Dhudon [or] Gyud Tham-ched Kyi Gyalpo Pel Sangwa Dupae Tza-gyud Dronma Rabtu Selwar Je-pa Gyacher Shed-pae Sached Dhudon), Lamp Thoroughly Illuminating the Five Stages of Guhyasamaja, the King of Tantras. Sung-bum Choe-gye [the entire eighteen volumes of Tsongkhapas collected works]. Thachod Nyugu [or] Thachod Rimpoche Nyugu [or] Gyud-kyi Gyalpo Pal Sangwa-dupa Gyacher Shed-pa Dronma Selwae Kawa Nyid Kyi Thachod Rimpoche Nyugu, The Precious Sprout Establishing the Final Meanings of the Sangwa Dupa Tza-gyud. Uma Juk-pae Namshed Gong-pa Rabsel, Commentary on Candrakirtis Madhyamika-vatara. Uma Tza-wae Khrid Yek. Explanation of the Consciousness That Cognizes Emptiness and Understands the Root of Emptiness. Uma Tza-wae Tsik Lui Je-pae Namshed Rig-pae Gyaltso, Extensive Commentary on Nagarjunas Uma Tza-wae Sherab [Mula-madhyamika-karika]. Yeshe Dorjee Kuntud Kyi Tika [or] Pel Sangwa Dupae Shed-gyud Yeshe Dorjee Kunlae Tupae Tika, Commentary on Sakyamuni Buddhas Vajra-jnanna-samucchaya-nama-tantra. Zablam Naro Choedrug-gyi Khrid-rim Yeshe Sum-den [or] Zab-lam Naro Choe-drug Gyi Khrid-pae Rim-pa, Instruction on the Profundities of Naropas Six Levels of Practice. Vaibhasika/Sarvastivada School (collective work), second century A.D. Vibhasa [see also: Maha-vibhasa (and) Abhidharma-mahavibhasa-sastra], Great Elucidation.


E Richard Sorenson

Vajradhara, c. fth century B.C. Amoggasiddhi (Tib: Don-yod Drupa), Meaningful Actualization of the All Accomplished State. Samandra-bhadra (Tib: Kuntu Sangpo), Unperishing Excellence. Vairochana-samboddhi (Tib: Nam-nang Ngon Jang), Clear Visualization of True Essence. Vajra-jnana-samucchaya-nama-tantra [see also: Samucchaya] (Tib: Dhontu [or] Yeshe Dorjee Kuntu), An Accumulation of Meanings for the Guhyasamaja Root Text. Vajra-mantra-lamkara-nama-maha-tantra-raja (Tib: Pel Dorjee Nying-po Gyen Zhe Ja-wae Gyudkyi Gyalpo Chenpo), Beautifying Ultimate Vajra Tantra. Vajramala (Tib: Dorjee Trengwa), Indestructible Progression [an extensive commentary on the Guhyasamaja Tantra]. Vajrasattva-tantra (Tib: Gyud Dorjee Nying-po Gyen [or] Gyud Dorjee Nying-po Sempa Gyen), Beautication of Ultimate Essence Tantra. Vasubandhu (Tib: Lhopon Yik-ngen), fourth to fth century A.D. Abhidharma-kosa [see also: Abhidharma-kosa-bhasya] (Tib: Zoed-tza [or] Choe Nyon-pa Zod-kyi Tsig Liu Je-pa), Treasure of Knowledge. Dasa-bhumi-kavya-khyana, The Ten Stages of Realization. Dharma-dharmata-vibhaga-bhyasa (Tib: Choe Dang Choe Nyi Nampar Je-pae Drel-pa), Discriminating Phenomena and Their Qualities [a commentary on Maitreyas Dharma-dharmatavibhaga-sutra]. Karma-siddhi-prakrana (Tib: Le Drub-pae Rab-je), Treatise on the Genesis of Actions. Mahayana-sutra-lamkara-vyakhya [see also: Mahayana-sutra-lamkara-bhyasa] (Tib: Theg-pa Chenpoe Dho Dae Gyen gyi Drelwa), Explanation of [Maitreyas] Mahayana-sutra-lamkara. Mahayana-sangraha-bhyasa, Commentary on [Asangas] Mahyana-sutra-sangraha. Madhyanta-vibhaga-sutra-bhyasa (Tib: Due Tha Nam Je [or] Due Dang Tha Nampar Je-pae Drelpa), Commentary on [Maitreyas] Madhyanta-vibhaga-sutra. Panca-skandha-prakarana (Tib: Phung Po Ngae Rab-je), Treatise on the Five Aggregates. Trisvabhava-nirdesa (Tib: Sum gyi Rang-zhin Shed-pa), Treatise on the Three Natures of Existence. Trimsika [see also: Trimsika-vijnapti-karika] (Tib: Sum Chu Pae Tsig Liu Je-pa), Thirty Verses Explaining Consciousness. Vijnapti-matrata-siddhi-sastra [see also: Vijnapti-matrata-siddhi-sastra] (Tib: Gyalwae Ngak Gyi Ngod-drup), The Establishment of Cognitions Only. Vimsatika [see also: Vimsatika-karika-vrtti] (Tib: Nyishu-pae Tsig Liu Je-pa), Twenty Verses of Explanation. Vyakhya-yukti (Tib: Nam-shed Rigpa), The Fundamentals of Elucidation. Vasumitra Prakaranapada, The Basis of Explanation [a Sarvastivadin explanation of the elements of reality (dharmas) in relation to the basic constituents of being (skandhas)].

The Soul and Communication between Souls

Edith L. B. Turner

The material presented here questions the limitations of our present scientic assumptions in studies in the anthropology of religion. Ethnographic skills and sociological sensitivity related to the parameters of diverse cultures show that such limitations can be overcome by recognizing human situations that include the existence of souls and spirits. Such experiences do not demand theoretical statements or dogmas. Instead, these direct experiences are validated through their shared nature within a community. Curiously, a similar validation also occurs in ethnographic study of souls and spirits, leading to the effect of broadening what one takes seriously. In these matters, the narrow version of science has little to give, while a broadened science, in the sense of natural historynding out what the soul is and how it behaveshas a great future.

Introduction What happens when a person raised in a modern, technologically oriented sector of society sees a spirit? The reaction may be different from that of someone who lives in a culture with a clear understanding and acceptance of soul as a factual entityfor instance, someone who lives by the knowledge embedded in an ancient theology in India, or who is familiar with the deep skills of spirit curing in Africa, Native America, Aboriginal Australia, or Brazil. While most Americans are familiar with the idea of spirits, there seems to be a kind of knee-jerk shock when they occasionally see a spirit, a shock derived from their social representations. The reaction is, This is the occult! Its dangerous! or I must be crazy. Many learned anthropologists and psychologists have a sneaking suspicion that unexplained phenomena pointing to a spirit realm actually happen, and that spirit beings do exist. These manifestations are in the process of widening the accepted scientic boundaries of what is real for usof expanding our cultures ontological matrix, to put it more precisely. Such scholars are faced with accepting the truth that a consistent body of empirical data falls outside the purview of currently established scientic methodology.


Edith L. B. Turner

A standard objection commonly heard is the belief that such strange events as spirit manifestations live only in the imagination of those who claim to experience them. This kind of positivist thinking, analogously, is as if the male half of the world were to say that the sensations that women feel while giving birth to a baby were all in their imagination, arguing that they, the men, never felt them. Such feelings, and pain generally, affect the senses just as the presence of spirits affects the senses, although both are experienced subjectively and the actual experience itself and what it means to the human being cannot be measured scientically. Publications by McClelon (1994) in the sociology of religion, and Young and Goulet (1994) in anthropology, attest to some of the groanings and scrapings as the ontological matrix expands into a broader view. These works are among the serious literature that has developed around the documentation of spirit events (additional examples, among many others, include Desjarlais 1992; Friedson 1996; Jackson 1989; Mills 1998; Peters 1981; Sharp 1996; Stoller 1989; E. Turner 1996, 1998; E. Turner et al. 1992). Alongside such research go yet other types of study that attempt to provide systematic explanations of phenomena that our current scientic methods have not yet been able to substantiate. The argument brought forward by nearly all skeptics is that these events originate from an experiencers own braina sensitive organ that they argue has created in itself a capacity, for instance, to conjure up before ones eyes an occult or religious apparition, an effect that seems to originate in neurophysiological activity. There are other similar explanations. Curiously, many Western theologians take this kind of view, with the result that they have to superspiritualize their religion, to detach it from the possibility of any real attested acts of power in the concrete world, supermoralizing it. For some this even means claiming that Gods intention in giving us the miracle-lled gospels was to show us metaphors of goodness and self-sacrice, and that the events in the scriptures probably never really happened. For example, OMurchu (1997, 165), a priest who writes about theology, calls the resurrection a mythic tale. He says that the concepts of beginning and end, along with the theological notions of resurrection . . . , are invoked as dominant myths to help us humans make sense of our innite destiny in an innite universe (p. 183), and that resurrection and reincarnation are not facts, but mental/spiritual constructs that articulate both our paradoxical fear of, and yearning for, innity (p. 202; see also the theologians Dourley 1984, Kennedy 1988, and Wink 1992). These statements would give the lie to my own experience of seeing the spirit from a dead person and to the shamanic and other spirit experiences of the anthropologists cited above. Experiences of Direct Spirit Action Bridging cultures is the key operation of anthropologists. More and more researchers are achieving this task by dint of expanding their methodological framework. In this

The Soul and Communication between Souls


chapter I refer to some of their accounts. Let us look, for instance, at the case of one ethnographer who managed the bridging because he was ready to listen to what the eld people were telling him. This case shows the merging of an ethnographers perceptions with those of the people, his developing those perceptions in himself, and his partaking of and adding to the supports of the culture. The scene is the religious world of the Dene Tha Indians of Northwestern Alberta, and the ethnographer was Jean-Guy Goulet (1994, 1998) of St. Pauls University, Ottawa. The Dene Tha The Dene Tha, Athapascans of the Northwest Coast, live in a community thatwhen understood from within their own culturecommonly experiences a different consciousness from those of rationalists, the kind that is termed in a general sense altered state of consciousness (ASC). The consciousness is fed by ritual, and also, importantly, by the recounting to each other of stories of their own extraordinary experiences. Their world is inhabited by helping animals and is informed by dreams. Its inhabitants are gifted with experiences of the dead and of reincarnation. This sounds like a fairy-tale world, but such societies do indeed exist. When Goulet (1998, 178180) lived among these people he himself began to have experiences that changed his worldview. On a culminating occasion he saw a dead person in a vision, an event that he recounts: A young girl Goulet knew well had been accidentally shot and killed by a hunter. Subsequent to this event it happened that Goulet had to go to a conference in Ottawa. tis (mixed-blood) shaman was in the process of giving a conference talk There, a me when suddenly Goulet saw the deceased girl, smiling and radiant with light, in midair in the middle of the conference hall. Later, when Goulet returned to the eld and visited the Dene Tha, he recounted this story to the dead girls mother, who was touched and excited about his encounter.
Through conversations such as these I became aware of an emerging process of reciprocity. Dene Tha adults were offering accounts of visions and interpretations of them in response to my own sharing with them of the experience I had in Ottawa. They were no longer too reticent about their experiences. Each conversation drew me into deeper and deeper participation in the family dynamics associated with the expectation that [the girl] Nancy was to reincarnate. (Goulet 1998, 18)

The tribe, too, was strengthened by the story. After that, Goulet felt himself to be part of the mothers life and that of her people. The understanding of spirits among the Dene Tha is not won by sermons or books, nor by believing things one is told one should believe, but is won by ones own experience and that of others, the experience of what is, what happens, the experience of factual events. Thus the mothers own consciousness of spirits was fed by Goulets account. This event was now part and parcel of her life, her special spirit-aware life, and she could recognize Goulet in it too. Goulet says: Among Athapascans . . . religion is predominantly experiential . . . a person with religious experience is described not as a believer, but as someone who


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knows. . . . Discussion occurs between those who are in the know. . . . Information most often takes the form of stories (p. 114). This realization opened to Goulet a new appreciation of other researchers accounts about similar experiences (p. 119). Anthropologists, together with the people they study, may constitute the community of experiencers. Such participatory research can actually work due to awareness of the same phenomena by researcher and people, which may develop so that spirit powers are used by researcher and people together. Anthropologist and eld people become a community supporting the communitas (fellow-feeling) that circulates and gives strength to the culture, a culture that knows for sure the experiences are real. Here the bridging did take placeit was only on the grounds of spirit awareness that it could take place. What one perceives from Goulets work is that the telling of a story by one who knows to another who knows has the effect of conveying the experience whole cloth to the other, and the recipient now in a sense has the experience. In Goulets story of the vision, readers feel they are there with him in the conference hall. This changes the reader too, who has lived for a time inside the fully-felt experience. This kind of seeing eye to eye, then, does seem to be the common feature that can join people, the secret path that can lead into the heart of another culture. Then what? Then one can enter and see a culture working along with its people in a spiritual state of consciousness. Ears to hear the Dene Tha stories do exist. The stories strike a response from the hearer somewhat in the fashion of an electrical power systemthat is, in the Dene Tha meaning of power. This operates in a system of intercommunion in the religious sense. It is ironic that true intercommunion is by no means found in all Christian churches. Changing continents to Africa, I relate a moment of quite palpable intercommunion that was the signal for a spirit event and a notable cure. Each of the examples I am giving here is meaningful within its respective community, though quite inexplicable with reference to modern psychopathology. Here it presupposes a world inhabited by spirits that move independently of biological bodies. Ihamba in Zambia In Africa, spirits are well recognized and described by African practitioners. Numerous comments about spirits presented by practitioners can be found, for example, in Victor Turners book (1968) on the Ihamba ritual among the Ndembu, especially in appendix A, as well as in my own 1985 study. They refer to spirits effects on humans, making them shake; they mention their invisibility, except to those who have drunk herb potions; they refer also to African reincarnation; they mention the character of a spirit, like air, smoke, or mist, as well as its ambiguous nature, both material object and spirit with volition.

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In 1985, at one of the Ndembu rituals, I personally experienced the oneness of the ritual community and saw with my waking eyes an aficting spirit. Thenceforth I realized that my ontological matrix had grown beyond phenomena that are generally accountable within science proper. There were indeed spirits. I had seen one. I have presented a detailed description of this event elsewhere (E. Turner et al. 1992, 131158), and I will present a summary of it here together with my comments. The ritual was a collective effort to draw out an aficting spirit in the form of a tooth from a sick woman, with drumming to aid not only healing but the discernment of the spirit. The support of the community with singing and clapping was essential to the success of the ritual. The medicine men attached cupping horns to the back of the woman to draw out the spirit, and continually addressed the entity, persuading it to come out. When the woman began to shake and utter her long pent-up grudges about her misfortunes, the spirit was reckoned to be on its way out. But it took a long time. Finally, when most of the crowd had given up hope a major climax occurred. The sky had grown dark and a wind came up. Just then the central gure swayed deeply: all leaned forward, this was indeed going to be it. I realized along with them that the barriers were breaking. Something that wanted to be born was now going to be born. Then a certain palpable social integument broke and something calved along with me. I felt the spiritual motion, a tangible feeling of breakthrough moving through the whole group. Then it was that the patient fellthe spirit event occurring rst with the action following afterward. I was clapping and singing with the others like one possessed, while the drums bellowed and the tribal doctor pressed the patients back, guiding and leading out the tooth. The patients face wore a grin of tranced passion and her back was quivering rapidly. Suddenly she raised her arm, stretched it in liberation, and I saw with my own eyes a large thing emerging out of the esh of her back. This thing was a big gray blob about six inches across, a dark gray opaque thing appearing as a sphere. I was amazeddelighted. I still laugh with glee at the realization of having seen it, the Ihamba spirit, and so big! We were all one in triumph. The gray thing was actually out there, visible, and I could see the hands of the tribal doctor working and scrabbling on the patients backand then the thing was there no more. The tribal doctor had whatever it was in his pouch, pressing it in with his other hand as well. The receiving can was ready; he transferred whatever it was into the can and capped a castor oil leaf and bark lid over it. It was done. The patient was now relieved of her sickness. This was a ritual of many levels. The group of ve doctors who gathered on that day knew the deepest of the levels well. They knew it was hard to see the spirit, yet they were operating the process of actually getting to see it. Its nature was polarized as a symbol is, as Victor Turner (1974, 51) found:


Edith L. B. Turner

I mean a certain polarization of meaning in which the subsidiary subject [the spirit here] is really a depth world of prophetic, half-glimpsed images, and the principal subject, the visible, fully known, at the opposite pole to it, acquires new and surprising contours and valences from its dark companion. On the other hand, because the poles are active together the unknown is brought into the light by the known.

The healing community collectively had come to the point. Their music, their support, the singing, the symbols, the peoples goodwill toward the patient, their giving of their own support to the process, also the work of the spiritswho were the spirits of their own relatives, of whose presence the people had become aware during the repeated calls to the spiritsall these effects nally drove the moment up to its climax. I felt this unison effect through the group, vividly. We had reached, not a chance high spot, but a condition in which the community was one. It is notable that the Ihamba ritual is still undertaken today, as letters from Zambia have been telling me. It can be seen that music has high importance here. Drumming is no ordinary aspect of human experience. Our bodies have boundariesskinsthat prevent us from merging all of our bodies with other bodies. But by so intimately sharing precise timing in the transformative power of rhythm, we can merge, we nd that we are not separate. The multitudinous acts of discernment involved, the care in switching between levels and facets and modes of behavior, the release effect of the complex music, the presence of an aggrieved spirit that is the cause of the afiction, the excitement of the climaxtogether transcend the function of healing for the body and also of the community. They are most economically explained as the desire of the spirit to manifest itself, which was what the tribal doctor had diagnosed and what he successfully brought about. As for my function as ethnographer, in this case it began in a humble act of relaxing the detached-observer imperative, so that I was able to accept their invitation to join them, was briey able to see as the Africans did, and thus found it possible to bridge the gap and enter the culture. Sakti and Soul Numerous ethnographers report experiences that expand their knowledge of the soul. Suchitra Samanta (1998) wrote an ethnography of the processes of the spiritual levels of life in Calcutta, also dealing with the human-plus-spirit actions involved. Here, as with the Dene Tha, Samanta realized that the stories she collected from spiritual disciples were immensely important to the experiencers, in fact, central to their lives (p. 31). Samanta tells of the peoples sense of the uid power of the spirit called Sakti, and their sense of the soul. Sakti, soul power, is invisible, a communicable power that permeates both the material and nonmaterial worlds. It can pass from one person to another. It enables transformation in an individual, and is shown in the intense love of a guru for his disciple.

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Accounts by Bengali disciples about their gurus give their personal experiences of the extranormal powers of their preceptors, as manifested, for example, in psychic healing, or rebirth of the guru into the disciples family. These experiences, crucial to the gurudisciple relationship, may be understood in terms of the indigenous concepts of divine power (Sakti), experiential knowing or miracle (anubhuti), and a unique concept of the mind (man). The experiences are meaningful because they are powerfully transformative of the disciples self as culturally dened (p. 30). The worshipers tell of waking visions in which the faces of gurus merge with that of the nineteenth-century Kali saint Ramakrisna and/or of the goddess Sakti herself. Other experiences include the sighting of moving bright lights with no perceptible source, leading to the discovery of sacred objects; very detailed dream communications and instructions; the reincarnation of the guru into a followers family; or occasions when the guru psychically heals dangerously ill disciples at a distance. The guru also heals by absorbing the karma or future destiny of disciples, even transferring their destiny between persons in order to effect a cure (p. 30). What is actually seen, heard, smelled, or felt by an individual disciple in a real event is, in its extraordinary aspects, also a true event, contextualized within the overarching conception of Sakti as a uid, mysterious, and moral power that permeates the physical world of objects, actions, and effects. The disciples experiences of divine Sakti are also true events because the events draw disciples toward the divine, at once enhancing and transforming their moral perception. Inspired to reect further, and to consolidate this perception through prayer and spiritual discipline, the disciples learn not only what the guru can do, but how he achieves it. Such perception may result in the disciple himself or herself acquiring certain kinds of power, the ability to resolve marital conict, to heal and protect, and to predict the outcome of projects. When the disciple nally dies, he or she may continue to intervene in the lives of loved ones, as a dead guru is able to do (p. 47). The attributes of spirit here as uid, as communicable, and as permeating the material and nonmaterial worlds are compatible with accounts from other cultures, examples of which are given in this chapter. Spirit, Sakti, has a powerfully enlivening function. Spirits are connecting forces capable of rebirth. The accounts, told in good faith, substantiate the similar experiences of people of different cultures. Denial of these accounts undercuts conscious awareness of phenomena shared in participatory practice that is different from measurable phenomena derived from reductionist methodologies. The Milkmaids Once the mode of seeing spirits is, in principle, accepted as one possibility in human experience, we can begin to appreciate the accounts of spiritual events in the histories preserved in the different major religious traditions. What has been needed is a


Edith L. B. Turner

different level of comprehension. Let us look at an extremely well-known event in the history of Hinduism. It is about one dark-blue spirit seen in exactly the same shape at the same time in many places, one sighting for each of a company of milkmaids. It is the story of Krishna and the milkmaids. Krishna of the cows (Vanamali 1996), a mischievous beloved gure, playing his ute, his ankles twinkling across each other in the dance, swaying sideways at the waist, neck back, a sizzling, irresistible gurethis gure appeared dancing in the middle of the circle of women, his skin dark blue like a rain cloud, mysterious and strange. The women, gopis, who had been milking cows, heard his ute and found him there. When each of them danced, overcome with love and laughter, he did a trickashed himself into many Krishnas, one for each of them, dancing between each of them, dancing for each single one of them, and at the same time uting in the middle. How could this be? What they learned was not to question and, above all, that no single one of them should think Krishna had come for her alone. This was not the same kind of love as in their marriages, settled down on a farm with dowry and in-laws. Radha, the most famous of them, knew that. She who binds to herself a joy /Doth the winged life destroy /But she who catches the joy as it ies /lives in eternitys sunrise, to paraphrase William Blake (1970, 461). This was such a moment of spirit experience for Radha. Not the structures of society, not liturgies, not canon law, but the spirit as it ieswhich is a constant characteristic of many spirit encounters.1 Some of the milkmaids were tempted and wanted to possess the beautiful boy for themselvesbut then his image went ragged, and thinned to nothing. One of them reached out brokenhearted, but he was gone. So she danced on sadly, begging him to return. When Krishna returned she did not want to grab at him any more, but danced in gratitude. Communitas is the link between the gopis, the blue god between each milkmaid, explains Victor Turner (1969, 157) in an instructive passage on the antistructural nature of the encounter. The story conveys the mystery of the collective, the all of us in one, or as Vanamali (1996, 77) aptly describes it in her commentary on the gopis, submerged in a state of unity in which all is One and there is no other. That is what I felt, myself, in Ihamba. Such an experience of oneness was there even in the story of Goulet, as well as in the collective understanding of the Dene Tha tribe about their wondrous experiences. The stories nd their mark with those who have experienced similar events. The full implications of the stories are then accepted because teller and listener exist in a commonality of knowledge. Recognition originates from the memory of similar situations rather than from analysis; it is provided by direct participation and not by distant observation. The Fire Spirit The next exampledrawn from a Pentecostal traditionis similar to the gopi tale.

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When the time for Pentecost was fullled, they were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it lled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues of re, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all lled with the holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim. (Acts 2, 15)2

It can be seen how each of the apostles in this biblical story was endowed with his own spirit, but they were all the same spirit, just as in the story of the milkmaids. One notes that in the great religions the appearance or presence of a spirit has received intense attention, so that the occasions become central, sanctied, much illustrated, the basis of sermons, with an aura of holiness. A continuum of spirit occasions exists, of course; some of them are well known, and some very obscure. But in my experience they are all mentioned with awe, even though touched with familiarity and sometimes laughter because of the unexpectedly and outrageously afrmative revelations given to the visionaries (see the touch of mischief about Krishna, the laughter of Don Genaro in Castaneda as he teleports on the edge of a gorge, the humor of the women who reported the walking Jesus doll of Tlaxcala, Mexico, the feeling of a spirit gamble at Lourdes, the jokes at Knock shrine in Ireland, or the outburst of hilarity in the middle of Ihamba). The pair of collective spirit eventsgopis and Pentecost, given abovealso show the workings of communitas. The events occurred among a group of comrades among whom their very oneness was sanctied. Both stories were known by their coreligionists as historic events, fortuitously occurring, neither of them deliberately induced by ritual, merely happening among good folks who were enabled to realize what was going on. The Ihamba event was not entirely a matter of the medicine mans control its climax came unexpectedly. I had a direct sense that my own exhaustion was shared by all the participants, as I have described in my account of the climax. There had been a distinct moment of despair. This direct sense itself is my eldwork material here. In such a context, the experiencer knows, just as a woman knows of the tension and release of normal childbirth. It is not without signicance that, in the African ritual, comparisons and links between Ihamba and childbirth are frequent (see E. Turner et al. 1992, 9092). Such knowledge in both cases cannot exist ahead of time, in a calculated way, but comes spontaneously, unexpectedly. Communitas in Social Rituals Victor Turner identied the condition of communitasthat is, ones generic sense of fellow feeling, a basic union with others. This sense is inseparably linked to the aim of ritual and to its major methods and tools. Without communitas, ritual fails. We have noted the great importance of social unity, important in the support given in cases of change of consciousness, and where the consciousness of the social group is


Edith L. B. Turner

changed as well as that of the individual, producing this social unity in its most intense form. Ritual support in the communitas mode can become a great effector for healing and human betterment, but it is often taken for granted in the literature. We can nd statements such as large crowds attended the pilgrimage devotions, or the community drummed and sang until the shaman went into a trance, and the like. In an otherwise excellent article on Mexican Pentecostalism the anthropologist author says, Those present will ask for a baptism by the Holy Ghost, which is made evident by the gift of tongues. Due to the collective state of mind that has been created, it is not surprising that many people do produce glossolalia at that moment (Navarro 1998, 355). But what was actually going on in the consciousness of these support groups? The author does not give any detail, so we presume he did not participate in the speaking in tongues. I propose we break the methodological, indeed semireligious, taboo against sharing consciousness; for instance, one might even speak in tongues, scary though it seems. Generally, it is surprising how easy it is to let go and allow the delight of experiencing spirituality. This is a truly simple eldwork technique practiced by many anthropologists, and is exemplied in different ways in the cases below described by Ellingson and Turnbull. Unity for the Purpose of Cogenerating Gods from GodsTibet What set me off on the topic of support was Ter Ellingsons (1998) description of the monks support of their leader in the contemporary annual Tibetan State Oracle ritual at Lhasa, in which the oracle-speaking monk goes into a trance, is possessed by a god, is then burdened with an immensely heavy crown, and bursts from the monastery shooting with a bow and arrow. At the climax the crowd presses forward, eager to receive a wound from the arrow. Ellingson describes the preliminary drumming, the attendance of the other monks and assistants, the chanting and prayers. The article includes an illustration that looks like a typical Buddhist holy picture. To put the monk in a trance and to bring down the gods, the drums produce an unforgettable slow, mounting, hastening, and thunderous sound that rises to a climax. The monk himself is saying a mantra in his heart, which is the gods heart, so that the two are joined by a ray of light that fuses them together like water owing into water, as the people describe it. Meanwhile the intense focus of the others on the actual sensing of the gods presence, and the abandonment of the trancer to the process that the worshipers are pressing on him, bring about the ecstasy, of which he remembers nothing. Outside the temple the large crowd hears the drumbeats and they too become shot through with the power. Out bursts the Oracle in his sacred garb, the crown on his head, a mirror on his chest, and a bow and arrow in his hands. The people swarm to-

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ward him, throwing white scarves over him, attempting to receive his arrow in their bodies. He utters words, not remembering anything. The assistants even have to try to limit the process to save everyone from being trampled. Thus the entire group receives the god, not just the individual monk. Ter Ellingson, the ethnographer, also felt the advent of the godsomething, for example, that Navarro, the ethnographer of those who spoke in tongues, never indicated he had felt. Ellingsons account of the Tibetan ritual demonstrates the support given to the Oracle by others, along with a reexive feedback effect from the Oracle to others. This mutual process is the paramount element in the complex event. Humans do seem able to come together to effect the presence of a spirit or god, an entity who is usually invisible and who has intentions with regard to humankind. These intentions also become plain: that humanity should respect the ancestors, do good to the neighbors, heal, and act honestly. All religionists sense that the initiative is with the gods, and this major element of religion is one that scholars of philosophy, religion, anthropology, and consciousness need to address. The Lhasa event is not a psychological one. The spirits are real, deeply connected with humankind, and can change the state of a human beings actual body in healing events. In the event at Lhasa the god was strongly there, having arrived in the body of the monk. Thus the kind of sociality I am considering carries the effects and links people. We may see it involved in the Tibetan ritual when the populace enters a state of truly collective nonordinary consciousness, in an ancient ritual that, through the ages, has been carefully tooled and produced with many human skills. Uniting to Heal, to Make GoodThe Pygmies Colin Turnbull came across this great communitas in the Ituri forest, in an experience that took him far beyond the boundaries of reality as he knew it at that time. It was an experience of the collective becoming unied in a change of consciousness. It happened during a repeatedly enacted and yet strongly effective ritual among the Mbuti (see Turnbull 1990). We see Turnbull in the forest with the pygmy singers, participating in their curing, or, as they call it, in their making good rituals. As Turnbull became more and more involved in the ritual process, he noticed a change in his behavior:
No longer looking for any explanation, [I was] just intent on enjoying myself. . . . And by the same illogic I felt free to join in the singing. And in an instant it all came together: there was no longer any lack of congruence, and it seemed as though the song was being sung by a single singer. . . . Then I made the mistake of opening my eyes and saw that while all the others had their eyes open too, their gaze was vacant . . . there were so many bodies sitting around, singing away. . . . Something had been added to the importance of sound, another mode of perception


Edith L. B. Turner

that, while it in no way negated the aural or visual modes of observation, none the less went far beyond them. (p. 56)

By identifying himself with their communitas and by sharing their goals, Turnbulls perception of the social process shifted in a qualitative way that opened an expanded ontological realm for direct access. His participatory observation of and active engagement with the ritual process opened for him a new horizon of conceptualization. Turnbull argues that social research will benet from participatory methodologies:
What is needed is a technique of participation that demands total involvement of our whole being. Indeed it is perhaps only when we truly and fully participate . . . that we nd this essentially subjective approach to be in no way incompatible with the more conventional rational, objective, scientic approach. On the contrary, they complement each other and that complementarity is an absolute requirement if we are to come to any full understanding of the social process . . . it provides a wealth of data that could never be acquired by any other means. (p. 51)

The enchantment of achieving a perfect unison in music did the work of creating a group connection that was here not a matter of seeing spirits but a kind of power that would effect curing. This curing takes place in a collective environment. The group acts as a single singer and penetrates into a world far beyond the aural and visual (p. 51). Nigel Rapport has written (personal communication, January 1998) that such a thing is only an illusion, it cannot be effected; mere individual act is all that is happening, employing for social purposes a temporary articially constructed uniformity of performance. He reiterates, There is no revelationthere is not even anything truly social of itself. Rapport has xed his sights on the theory that in the Durkheimian world of social fact, where God is actually society writ large, all behavior is merely constructed. But it is in anthropology that the illusion arises. Anthropology has been suffering for decades from the self-imposed limitation of dissective reasoning. Sadly, owing to their ironclad dogma of detached observation, the disciplines of social and cultural anthropology have been ignored by the general Western public because their teachings are at variance with the experience of ordinary people. If we want to apply the idea of a constructed world in the Mbuti pygmy case, we must recognize that they do know their constructed world; it is the world of their own mundane village, separated from the forest, separated from the place where the communitas songs are sung. The Mbuti people know that the village is the world without music or healing. Turnbull traces a dichotomy consisting of the mundane village and the liminal forest, where the forest is the other side, a world where the ritual songs really have power to heal. Turnbull found that he had struck a mode of perception that cannot be reduced to aural and visual modes of observation. In other words, he had experienced an extension of his socially conditioned ontological matrix. In a different context, this perceptual extension can be recognized in the medieval gure of the wizard, who is capable of

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penetrating the membrane surrounding the world, about to pierce through to the starry spheres (see the early sixteenth-century woodcut in the Bettmann Archive). In todays world, many ethnographers have experienced these matters as well. upiat Uniting to Change the WeatherIn upiat people of northern A telling record of spirit power is an episode among the In Alaska at a time when the people had been dying from nuclear pollution inicted by the U.S. government. They had subsequently fought for and won the cleansing of the environment, and had even received an apology from President Bill Clinton in 1996 (E. Turner 1997, 95109). The village is located on a long gravel spit pointing west, with a north and south shore. I paid a visit in April 1996, when the warm current was coming up the Bering Straits, and found the whale men looking anxiously out of their windows to the south shore for water cloud, the sign of open water in the long-frozen ocean. They needed a north wind to open the water. But the weather was warm and muggy, 26 F, and the wind was from the south, blowing the ice against their harbored south shore. There would be no whales for their major food, for there was no water through which a whale could come. They were restless: the wind was wrong. After church on Sunday a call came through on the citizens band radio: Any volunteers to bring a boat into the church? Aha! I remembered how they brought a boat into the church the rst year I was there, and how they blessed it and prayed for whales. I remembered all the whaling captains standing in the sanctuary. I wandered outside in the snow to watch the laborious task of moving a sixteen-foot boat across the village to the church. Then the whale men lifted the boat through the church entrance, sideways, with banging and side slipping, until they could nally get it through the door and the right way up again, then up the aisle. Sled and boat were set up as on the ice and at sea, but this time in church, where the altar boy was changing the colored altar cloth for a white one. Whales like white. The preacher wore white. The paddles in the boat were all scoured white and set uprightas when a whale is caughtto send a signal to other boats meaning catch. The church was lling rapidly. All twenty-two whaling captains, including the upiat hunter with the greatest catch, Henry Nashookpuk (known for his peculiarly In gifts), stood in two rows on each side of the boat. The preacher took up his station at the prow and began. We all sang, about the whales and all that moves in the waters, the sea is his and he made it, and when I in awesome wonder consider all the worlds, songs that brought tears to the eyes of many of us. We all gathered at the boat and put our hands on it, with others touching us behind. Then we began to pray for the wind to change. The sound rose until my ears felt they would burst. I prayed as hard as I could. There were weird cryings from the crowd, with arms whirling on high. The intensity rose and rose and rose. I looked over at Henry, the chief


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whaling captain. He appeared calm and faintly happy. I relaxed. Soon the hullabaloo was over. We nished with one more hymn, with most of us experiencing chills that is, in an inspired state. The congregation started to leave; the men took the boat down and out the door. We left the church and walked along until we had rounded the end of the building and come into the open. There it was. The wind had changed to the north. It blew icy and fresh from far up the village at 10 F, falling freely on our cheeks and on the south shore. It would blow the ice away and there would be water. No one said a word. The next day there was water, and the whalers went down on the ice to break a trail over the ice ridges for the snowmobiles. By Tuesday there were several crews down at the water, watching. Several whales were seen and eventually caught. This event was in keeping with the shamans intercommunication with the winds. upiat religion the weather, One of the shamans powers is altering the weather. In In upiat shamans have often helped to modify sila (E. Turner sila, is itself a spirit. In 1996). On this occasion the people did not drum and dance, for the ritual was held in church. But they were using the same powers, the power of singing and the wellrecognized collective act, prayer to a helping spirit. Conclusion: A Broader Ontology of Consciousness Social unity of a nonordinary kind appears to be a vital catalyst in helping people discern the presence of conscious beings or powers that are beyond the connes of individual selves. Here I have presented scenes of unity of that type in action and in expanded consciousness, seen in the same way many times. Expanded consciousness is present when the oracle-speaking monk in Tibet is the focus of his assistants, with drumming and songs to bring the god. Having received the goda spiritual entity who of his own will enters the monkthe monk is weighted down by the fty-pound crown, and charges out. He is the god. He gives psychic power to the people and receives it from them. Similarly, the Ndembu singers and drummers in Africa gather around with a focused purpose, to cure the woman aficted with a spirit. The sick Ndembu woman endures bloodletting, is encouraged to reveal her nastiest grudges, falls, then becomes the center of an extraordinary sense of social release, with the spirit manifesting itself in material form as it is extracted by the medicine man from her body. The Mbuti pygmies take Turnbull into the forest away from village, food, and business, and share their songs. They merge as they sing, and they have incorporated Turnbull into their shared reality. This social group has merged. Then we gain a sense of the private world of the Dene Tha, a people careful not to spill their precious talk with those who cannot receive it. Theirs is a world where life is like an electric current that needs two polesone simply cannot talk unless the hearer is in that current too, unless he or she also knows ones spiritual world. If all are in the current, the stories

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they tell one another are about the returning soul, messages from the dead, second sight. The tribe and its religion become a community of experiencers. The peoples support for each other is essential to the process of communication and enables the spiritual information to get through. Scientic methodology requires us to apply Occams razor, the rule of parsimony. Thus we should not go out of our way to invent complicated explanations so as to avoid accepting the possibility of the existence of spirit being and powers. When working on unexplained events it is more parsimonious, and more just, simply to listen to what those adept at these matters are saying and begin to take them seriously. Then, for us to understand what they say, we might start by using our own intuition. One might be able to perceive that reservoir of power somewhereand classically the power is not owned by the giver, it comes through him or her and is well-nigh impossible to pin down, that is, to dene. People know it very well when they experience it. Victor Turner called it communitashis name for it. It seems to be where healing takes place, where the burden is lifted. It is God to Monsignor Chester Michael, who trains men and women in the skills of spiritual direction. For him, Jungs collective unconscious is God. You receive it. It is somehow the Holy Spirit. It has the initiative, you do not. One feels that the question of how this is so will only be answered from some similar source, and differently for every individual. One might start with the soul of a person, and see that it has many prepositional plugs, as Victor Turner put itwith, to, in, for, by, from, of, against, through; all kinds of extension cords from one person to another. Around and part of and through all this connective tissue oods an impalpable element that carriesas the air carries our voicesthe thoughts from person to person, the body language and state, the love, the shamans powers. It is the place in which the halo shines and where the angels dwell; people you meet can put their hand near your hand or above your head and feel it, and vice versa. It is an integument, it is what contains us, like the upiat crew on the ice, as the In upiat put it. There are ways to tent that shelters the In feed and develop and honor this element. A whole world of skills exists in the worlds societies. Drawing together the resistant and ragged threads between science and an acceptance of an expanded ontology is not easy. A reexamination of what living societies actually do and have experienced may be a pathat least from anthropologyto a meeting place of disparate disciplines. Science is not too proud to examine what is, and it is surely not yet complete, and has no absolute and unshakable tenets except truth. The examples in this chapter are but a few of those available to teach that peoples lives go deep, that what they experience at that depth is true material to be respected in its own right, and that to exclude it causes science itself to become a dogma and lack fruitfulness. In this chapter it is only the material itself that can truly speak, and the


Edith L. B. Turner

reader, like the Dene Tha tribespeople, will need to tune in on the same wavelength and begin to experience the events on a truly personal level.
Notes Research on the Ndembu was funded by the Carter-Woodson Foundation for African and AfricanAmerican Research, and also by the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research. Re upiat was funded by the Wenner-Gren Foundation and the University of Virginia. search on the In I am grateful to these organizations for their support. My warm thanks are also due to James and Mary McConnell for their sponsorship of my research in general. 1. V. Turner (1969, 132) mentions the spontaneity and immediacy of communitas [spiritual moments of fellowship]as opposed to the jural-political character of structure . . . [and he refers to events of] existential or spontaneous communitasapproximately what the hippies today would call a happening. 2. I apologize for any bias in my use of examples in this chapter. I am a kind of Catholic, though I attempt to participate all the way with other religions I have encountered and to give them full credit in their own right. I maintain that none of the religions or spiritualities are superior to any other. References Blake, William (1970), The Poetry and Prose of William Blake, David Erdman ed., New York, NY: Doubleday. Desjarlais, Robert (1992), Body and Emotion: The Aesthetics of Illness and Healing in the Nepal Himalayas, Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press. Dourley, John P. (1984), The Illness That We Are: A Jungian Critique of Christianity, Toronto: Inner City Books. Ellingson, Ter (1998), The Arrow and the Mirror: The Tibetan State Oracle, Anthropology and Humanism, Vol. 22, No. 1, pp. 5176. Friedson, Stephen (1996), Dancing Prophets: Musical Experience in Tumbuka Healing, Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Goulet, Jean-Guy A. (1994), Ways of Knowing: Towards a Narrative Ethnography of Experiences among the Dene Tha, Journal of Anthropological Research, Vol. 50, No. 2, pp. 113139. (1998), Ways of Knowing: Experience, Knowledge, and Power among the Dene Tha, Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press. Jackson, Michael (1989), Paths toward a Clearing: Radical Empiricism and Ethnographic Inquiry, Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. Jung, Carl G. (1928), Two Essays in Analytic Psychology, New York, NY: Dodd and Mead.

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Kennedy, Eugene (1988), Tomorrows Catholics, New York, NY: Harper Row. McClelon, James (1994), Wondrous Events: Foundations of Religious Belief, Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press. Mills, Antonia (1998), Scientic and Participant Validation of Rebirth: Similarities, Differences, and Is There a Bridge? Paper read in the panel The Spirit Hypothesis, American Anthropological Association Annual Meetings, Philadelphia, December. Navarro, Carlos Garma (1998), The Socialization of the Gifts of Tongues and Healing in Mexican Pentecostalism, Journal of Contemporary Religion, Vol. 13, No. 3, pp. 353361. OMurchu, Diarmuid (1997), Quantum Theology: Spiritual Implications of the New Physics, New York, NY: Crossroad Publishers. Peters, Larry (1981), Ecstasy and Healing in Nepal: An Ethnopsychiatric Study of Tamang Shamanism, Malibu, CA: Undena. Samanta, Suchitra (1998), The Powers of a Guru: Sakti, Mind, and Miracles in Narratives of Bengali Religious Experience, Anthropology and Humanism, Vol. 23, No. 1, pp. 3050. Sharp, Henry Stephen (1996), Experiencing Meaning, Anthropology and Humanism, Vol. 21, No. 2, pp. 171186. Stoller, Paul (1989), In Sorcerys Shadow, Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Trevarthen, Colwyn (1984), Brain Science and the Human Spirit, Zygon, Vol. 21, No. 2, pp. 161200. Turnbull, Colin (1990), Liminality: A Synthesis of Subjective and Objective Experience, in Richard Schechner and Willa Appel, eds., By Means of Performance, pp. 5081, Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press. Turner, Edith (1987), The Spirit and the Drum, Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press. (1996), The Hands Feel It: Healing and Spirit Presence among a Northern Alaska People, DeKalb, IL: Northern Illinois University Press. (1997), There Are No Peripheries to Humanity: Northern Alaska Nuclear Dumping and upiats Search for Redress, Anthropology and Humanism, Vol. 22, No. 1, pp. 95109. the In (1998), Religious Event and Religious Ritual: Performance among Inuit Whalers, Paper read at the Anthropology of Religion Section Annual Meetings, Kansas, April. Turner, Edith, William Blodgett, Singleton Kahona, and Fideli Benwa (1992), Experiencing Ritual: A New Interpretation of African Healing, Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press. Turner, Victor (1968), The Drums of Afiction: A Study of Religious Processes among the Ndembu of Zambia, Oxford: Clarendon. (1969), The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure, Chicago, IL: Aldine.


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(1974), Dramas, Fields, and Metaphors, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Vanamali, Devi (1996), The Play of God: Visions of the Life of Krishna, San Diego, CA: Blue Dove Press. Wink, Walter (1992), Engaging the Powers: Discernment and Resistance in a World of Domination, Minneapolis, MN: Fortress. Young, David, and Jean-Guy A. Goulet, eds. (1994), Being Changed: The Anthropology of Extraordinary Experience, Peterborough, ON: Broadview.

3 Consciousness and Reality in Nahua Thought in the Era of the Conquest

James Mafe

Nahua ontology is monistic. It claims that there is a single reality: teotl. Teotl is the unceasingly self-generating and self-transmuting sacred force or energy that originally created as well as continues to recreate the cosmos. Teotl is the unied totality of all things. All things consist of teotl. All things are ultimately identical with teotl. Nahua ontology is processive because teotl is essentially becoming, change, and motion. Whats more, teotl is essentially undifferentiated, unordered, and unstructured, and as a consequence, ineffable. Language, concepts, and categories cannot be employed literally in representing or knowing teotl. Humans know teotl via neither sense experience nor reason but through mystical experience. Teotl manifests itself cyclically in multiple aspects, preeminent among which is duality. This duality takes the form of the ceaseless opposition of mutually arising, interdependent, and complementary polarities. As instances of these dual polarities, consciousness and matter along with mind and body are merely two aspects or facets of teotl, one with teotl, and hence ultimately one with one another.

Introduction Wisdom was highly prized by Nahuatl-speaking peoples in Central Mexico in the era of the Conquest (1521). Nahuas believed wisdom provided humans with the practical knowledge needed for living their lives artfully and keeping their balance on the slippery surface of the earth.1 Wisdom affords humans some measure of well-being in an otherwise evanescent life lled with sorrow and suffering, here on an impermanent, ultimately doomed earth. Living artfully and in balance requires that one correctly understand the nature of reality. Nahua tlamatinime (knowers of things, sages, philosophers; tlamatini (singular)) accordingly pursued the ontological quest and set about ordering the cosmos in terms of such concepts as being, nonbeing, and becoming. They sought answers to such questions as What is real? and What is the nature of consciousness? Nahuas did not regard the ontological quest as an idle pastime divorced from the practical exigencies of daily life; rather, they regarded the


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answers to these questions as having intrinsic normative and universal import for how humans should conduct their lives. Sixteenth-century Nahua thought provides us with a fresh approach to the foregoing questions, one that has been largely if not wholly ignored by Anglo-American and continental philosophers, and, whats more, one that deserves a voice in contemporary discussions alongside Western, East Asian, South Asian, and African approaches. The Nature of Reality Nahua ontology maintains that a single, dynamic, self-generating sacred force or energy originally created as well as continually recreates, regenerates, and permeates the cosmos. Nahuas call this force teotl. Teotl is essentially becoming, motion, and change. It manifests itself cyclically and regularly in multiple aspects, preeminent among which is duality. This duality takes the form of the endless opposition of mutually interrelated and mutually interdependent, complementary polarities that divide, alternately dominate, and explain the diversity, movement, and momentary structure of the cosmos. The ceaseless becoming of the cosmos is dened and constituted by the endless oscillation of these complementary polarities. The overall result of this dialectical oscillation is an overarching balance. Consciousness and matter as well as mind and body are not two essentially different kinds of substance but rather two aspects or facets of one and the same single reality: teotl. Teotl At the heart of Nahua ontology stands the thesis that there exists a single, vivifying, eternally self-generating-and-self-conceiving as well as self-regenerating-and-selfreconceiving, sacred energy, power, or force: what Nahuas call teotl.2 The cosmos and its contents are generated by teotl, from teotl, as one aspect, facet, or moment of its own eternal and unceasing process of self-generation-and-self-conception and selfregeneration-and-self-reconception. Teotl continuously and simultaneously generates and conceives as well as permeates, encompasses, and shapes the cosmos and its contents as part of its own eternal process of self-generation-and-self-conception and selfregeneration-and-self-reconception. Teotls self-generation-and-self-conception and self-regeneration-and-self-reconception are identical with its generation-conception and regeneration-reconception of the cosmos. Both processes spring from teotls simultaneously possessing such qualities as active and passive, and male and female. Since process, becoming, and transmutation are essential qualities of teotl, teotl is properly understood as ever-owing and ever-changing energy-in-motion rather than as a static entity or being. Since it better reects the dynamic nature of teotl, I propose we gloss teotl as a verb denoting a process rather than as a noun denoting a static being. (In doing so I follow David Coopers (1997, 6973) suggestion that we gloss God

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of the mystical teachings of the Jewish Kabbalah as a verb rather than as a noun.) So construed, teotl refers to the eternal, cosmic process of teotlizing. Finally, the cosmos and its contentsincluding what humans ordinarily regard as mind and bodyare merely aspects of teotl and ultimately identical with teotl. As such, they, too, are everowing and ever-changing, energy-in-motion. Dialectical Polar Monism Teotl presents itself cyclically in multiple aspects, preeminent among which is duality. This duality takes the form of the opposition of contrary yet mutually interdependent, mutually arising, and mutually complementary polarities that divide the cosmos, alternately dominate the cosmos, and explain the diversity, movement, and momentary structure of the cosmos. Among these polarities are being and not-being, order and disorder, active and passive, life and death, light and darkness, and male and female. Consider life and death, for example. Death contains the fertile, energizing seed of life; life contains the seed of death. Neither can exist without its opposite. They are simply two facets of a single energy: teotl. The artists of Tlatilco and Oaxaca expressed this idea artistically by fashioning a split-faced mask, one half alive and eshed, the other half, dead, eshless, and skeletal (see gures 3.1 and 3.2).3 The masks are intentionally ambiguous. Skulls simultaneously symbolize both life and death, since life arises from the

Figure 3.1 The mask portrays a human face, one half eshed, the other half skeletal. In this manner native artists expressed the dialectical interdependence and ultimate oneness of life and death (and by extension, order and disorder, light and darkness, active and passive, male and female, etc.) (ceramic, Tlatilco, Las Bocas, Mexico, c. 230 B.C.100 A.D., Museo Nacional de Anthropologia, Mexico City).


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Figure 3.2 This mask (like gure 3.1) is correctly perceived as a single, dynamic life-death unity of mutually arising, complementary opposites. After years of education and ritual preparation, one is able to perceive the face unmasked, and in so doing discern the interdependence, interrelatedness, and ultimate unity of the complementary properties presented. When perceived correctly, one sees the face as neither alive nor dead, yet simultaneously both alive and dead (ceramic, Mixtec culture, Solyaltepec, Oaxaca, Mexico, c. 600900, Museo Nacional de Anthropologia, Mexico City).

bones of the dead. Flesh simultaneously symbolizes both death and life, since death arises from the esh of the living. The Mixtec artists who painted-scribed the indigenous document known to us as the Codex Vaticanus B expressed the same idea via a pictoglyph depicting Mictlantecuhtli (the god of death) and Quetzalcoatl Ehecatl (the god of life) sharing a single spine. Like the masks in gures 3.1 and 3.2, this image artistically and symbolically presents that which Mesoamerican thinkers uniformly averred cannot be articulated discursively, namely, the mutual interdependence, interrelatedness, and arising of life and death, order and disorder, being and not-being, and so on. The cosmos consists of the unending, cyclical tug-of-war between or dialectical oscillation of these polaritiesthe totality of which is simply the manifold selfpresentation of teotl. The cosmos is consequently unstable, transitory, and devoid of any permanent order, being, or structure. This notwithstanding, teotl is nevertheless characterized by an enduring pattern or regularity. How can this be? Teotl is the dynamic, sacred force generating and constituting the endless oscillations of the cosmos. It is the balance immanent within the endless, dialectical swing of interdependent

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polarities. Because it is essentially and hence perpetually self-transmuting, teotl is properly understood in terms of becoming rather than being or not-being. Being and notbeing are, after all, two dialectically interrelated polarities of teotl and, as such, strictly speaking not applicable to teotl. For the same reasons teotl is properly understood in terms of unorder rather than order or disorder. Rhett Youngs and Roger Amess (1977) account of Lao Tzus characterization of the Tao offers insight into this aspect of teotl:
Lao Tzus Tao . . . is unchanging in the sense that it does not increase or diminish, but it is constantly changing in the sense that it is in perpetual motion: It revolves without pause (Chapter XXV), and the myriad of things follow its interminable change. All things in the process of motion and change ultimately decline and perish, but the Tao alone is eternally free from decay. It alone stands solitary and does not change (Chapter XXV), having the capacity to transcend decay and decomposition.4

Teotl, like the Tao, is unique and absoluteas opposed to the myriad created things in the cosmos that are multifarious and relative. Both teotl and the Tao are eternal and remain unaffected by the changes of created phenomena. Both teotl and the Tao are the regularity and pattern manifested in the cosmos. They are the warp and woof of the fabric of the cosmos. They are what the cosmos is as well as how the cosmos is. In light of this, Nahua and Taoist philosophies contend it is a mistake to conceive order/disorder, life/death, light/darkness, male/female, and so on as mutually exclusive, mutually hostile, logically contradictory dualities. As a consequence, both consider it folly to seek one polar opposite (e.g., life) at the expense of the other (e.g., death). I call this aspect of Nahua metaphysics dialectical polar monism: the single reality, teotl, presents itself as the ceaseless and regular dialectical oscillation of polar opposites. The cosmos consists of the ceaseless back-and-forth movement of these polarities and in so doing exhibits the enduring pattern of dialectical polarity. Teotls process of self-presentation provides the immanent balance and pattern that denes the cosmoss endless oscillation between order and chaos, being and not-being, and so forth. Finally, dialectical polar monism (like Taoism) differs from eschatological varieties of dualism, which, for example, conceive order and disorder, light and darkness, and so on as mutually exclusive contradictories and that maintain in addition that order and light triumph over disorder and darkness at the end of history. Teotl moves cyclically, not linearly. As mutually arising and mutually interdependent complementarities, light and darkness, order and disorder, and so forth alternate eternally without resolution.5 Pantheism Nahua ontology also understands teotl in pantheistic terms. Nahua pantheism claims: (1) everything that exists constitutes an all-inclusive and interrelated unity; (2) this


James Mafe

unity is sacred; (3) everything that exists is substantively constituted by the sacred; (4) everything that exists is substantively identical and hence one with the sacred; (5) the sacred is teotl; and (6) teotl is not an agent or minded being possessing the characteristics of a person. In short, there is only one thing, teotl, and all other apparent forms or aspects of existence (e.g., consciousness and matter) are constituted by and ultimately identical with teotl.6 Teotl is therefore more than the unied totality of things; it literally is everything and everything literally is it. It not only subsumes and substantively exhausts the cosmos, but the cosmos and its contentssun, earth, water, re, humans, and so onare nothing more than self-presentations of teotls evermoving energy-in-motion. Teotl is the unifying metaphysical-cum-naturalistic principle of the cosmos; the all-encompassing, everlastingly creative energy-in-motion whose own ceaseless changing presents itself as the ceaseless becoming of the cosmos. Lastly, teotl is immanent in that it penetrates deeply into every detail of cosmos and exists wholly within the multitude of existing things, yet teotl is also transcendent in that it is not exhausted by the multitude of existing things. Teotl as Creative Self-Disguising Artist and Shaman Nahua metaphysics conceives teotls original generation and continuous regeneration of the cosmos as its artistic-creative self-presentation and self-transformation. Teotl is a quintessentially artistic-creative process that eternally regenerates and transmutes itself as the cosmosnot a divine legislator who imposes order upon chaos from outside, for example in the manner of Yahweh. Given teotls essential dynamic and artisticcreative nature, the cosmos and its contents are teotls ongoing work of performance art. Nahua metaphysics alternatively characterizes the cosmos as teotls nahual that is, teotls disguise or mask. The word nahual derives from nahualli, signifying a formchanging shaman. This etymology suggests that this characterization of teotl is rooted in indigenous Mesoamerican shamanism.7 In sum, the cosmos and its contents are teotls self-generated, creative-artistic, self-disguising, and shamanic self-masking and, as such, dynamic presentations of teotl. Teotl artistically masks and disguises itself from humans in a variety of ways. First, it masks itself as the apparent thingness of existentsthat is, the appearance of static entities or beings such as humans, trees, insects, rocks, and so on. This is illusory since reality is dynamic and processive. Contrary to appearances, one and all are dynamic aspects of teotls sacred energy-in-motion. Second, teotl disguises itself as the apparent multiplicity of existentsthat is, the appearance of multiple, discretely and independently existing entities such as mountains, birds, plants, etc. This is illusory since there is only one thing: teotl. Finally, teotl masks itself as the apparent distinctness, independence, and irreconcilable oppositionality of life and death, male and female, and so forth. This is illusory since these are not only mutually arising and interdependent but also ultimately one with teotl.

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The Nature of Earthly Existence In light of the foregoing, Nahua tlamatinime standardly characterize earthly things as painted images and symbols on teotls sacred canvas. Aquiauhtzin, for example, characterizes the earth as the house of paintings,8 while his contemporary, Xayacamach, writes, your home is here, in the midst of the paintings.9 Like images on canvas painted by human artists, the images on teotls sacred, cosmic canvas are ephemeral, fragile, and evanescent. The fteenth-century Tezcocan tlamatini Nezahualcoyotl writes:
With owers You paint, O Giver of Life! With songs You give color, with songs you give life on the earth. Later you will destroy eagles and tigers: we live only in Your painting here, on the earth. With black ink you will blot out all that was friendship, brotherhood, nobility. You give shading to those who will live on the earth. we live only in Your book of paintings, here on the earth.10

Since they regard everything earthly as teotls artistic self-disguise, as aspects of teotls self-generated shamanic mask, Nahua tlamatinime regard everything earthly as illusory and dreamlike. Expressing this point, the tlamatini Tochihuitzin Coyolchiuhqui writes: We come only to dream, it is not true [ahnelli; literally unrooted], it is not true [ahnelli] that we come on earth to live.11 Nahua philosophers conceive the illusoriness of earthly existence in epistemological rather than metaphysical terms. Illusion, in other words, is not an ontological category as it is, say, for Plato. In the Republic (Book VI), Plato employs the notion of illusion: to characterize an inferior or lower grade of reality; to distinguish this inferior grade of reality from a superior, higher one (the Forms); and to deny that earthly existence is fully real. This conception of illusion entails an ontological dualism that divides the cosmos into two fundamentally different kinds of things: illusion and reality. Nahua philosophers employ the concept of illusion as an epistemological category (as do Maya philosophers, Dogen, and Samkara).12 They use it to make the epistemological point that the natural condition of human beings is to misperceive and misapprehend teotl and hence be deceived and misled by teotls mask. They do not use the conception of illusion to make the metaphysical point that teotls mask and earthly existence constitute a distinct ontological category that is substandard or not fully real. The misleading, dreamlike character of earthly existence is a function of our human point of viewnot a function of a metaphysical dualism inherent in the makeup of things. Illusion consists of our mistaking the myriad things that compose teotls mask as faithfully disclosing the nature of teotl. Such a conception of illusion is compatible with Nahua monism since human illusion, misperceiving, and unknowing are simply aspects of the one reality, teotl. Viewed from this perspective, it is our own misperceiving and misjudging that prevents us from seeing reality as it really is. As we have seen, humans commonly


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misperceive and mistake teotls multifold dual polarities (e.g., life/death, male/female) as mutually exclusive, logical contradictories. Humans commonly misperceive and misattribute discrete, independent, and static existence to the multiplicity of individual things (e.g., humans, plants, and stars). Consequently, when humans ordinarily gaze on the cosmos, they perceive teotl under an illusory description or set of categories. They perceive teotl as an individual human or dog, as maleness or death, and so onnot teotl itself. In short: they perceive teotls nahual. Consider gures 3.1 and 3.2. One ordinarily perceives each mask exclusively either as a living face or as a dead face. One ip-ops back and forth between the masks two sides but never perceives them as a mutually interdependent, dynamic dialectical unity. Perceiving the mask in this manner is mistaken. However, on acquiring greater understanding of teotl, one is able to perceive the mask correctly, namely, as a dynamic dialectical unity that is simultaneously both-living-and-dead-and-yet-neitherliving-nor-dead. The mask is both-living-and-dead (where life and death are conceived as mutually compatible polarities) yet simultaneously neither-living-nor-dead (where life and death are conceived as mutually exclusive, logical contradictories). Yet the both-yet-neither mask is not metaphysically hidden from us in the manner that Cartesian-style epistemology conceives the noumenal object as being hidden behind a veil of sensory phenomena. The both-yet-neither mask is present immediately and directly to our eyes. We are simply unable to perceive it. In short, the both-yet-neither mask is epistemologically but not metaphysically hidden from us. Analogously, Nahua philosophy claims that when humans perceive the world uncritically, what they perceive is teotl as an individual human, as male/female, and so onrather than teotl unmaskedthat is, teotl as teotl. Humans inability to perceive teotl unmasked is not due to teotls noumenal-like hiding behind a veil of perception but rather due to humans inability to perceive what is directly present before their eyes. Teotl is epistemologically, not metaphysically, hidden from us. What is it that humans realize when understanding teotl? In brief, they realize the processive nature of teotl, the unity, singularity, and identity of all things, dialectical polar monism, and pantheism. They understand that reality consists of a single, allencompassing energy-in-motion and that polar opposites such as life and death, order and disorder, and so on are constituted by this energy, self-presentations of this energy, and aspects or moments of this energy. They understand that consciousness and matter (mind and body) are analogous to the half-eshed, half-skeletal masks above. Humans customarily view consciousness and matter in mutually exclusive, either/ or terms, when in fact teotl is simultaneously both-consciousness-and-matter-yetneither-consciousness-nor-matter; simultaneously both-mind-and-body-yet-neithermind-nor-body. On understanding teotl, humans also come to appreciate the profound inadequacy of literal language for expressing their understanding of teotl. Nahua tlamatinime consequently turn to song-poems, music, painting, and other

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modes of creative artistry to express their understanding of teotl. The truest, most authentic expression of ones understanding of teotl involves the poetic use of language. (One does not employ language literally as in the present exercise. For example, in trying to characterize teotl literally I nd myself constrained by the subject-predicate structure of English. This inescapably fosters the mistaken ideas that teotl is distinct from the cosmos and that teotl is an agent or minded being who chooses to create the cosmos and to disguise itself from humans.) Several seemingly paradoxical consequences follow from the present interpretation. First, illusion and nonillusion enjoy equal ontological status: they are equally real. Illusion is nothing more than teotls shamanic self-disguise, hence an aspect of teotl, and hence every bit as real as teotl. Second, the impermanent, mutable, and ephemeral enjoy equal ontological footing with the permanent, immutable, and stable. Everything earthlyits impermanence, mutability, and evanescence notwithstandingis fully real because a manifestation of and ultimately identical with teotl. Unlike most Western metaphysics, Nahua metaphysics does not therefore equate reality with being, immutability, or permanence. Instead, like pre-Han East Asian philosophies (e.g., Taoism and Confucianism) and many native North and Meso-American philosophies (e.g., Mayan, Sioux, and Navajo), Nahua metaphysics equates reality with movement, change, and becoming. Third, human consciousness and experience (including human misperceiving, misunderstanding, and knowing) are simply further aspects of teotls artistic-cum-shamanic self-expression. Human misperceiving consists of teotls disguising itself from itself, whereas human knowing consist of teotls knowing itself. Lastly, insofar as humans come to know teotl, they come to know that which is unordered, unstructured, mutable, and impermanent. In this respect Nahua epistemology differs from most Western epistemologies that claim that humans can only know that which is ordered, structured, permanent, and immutable.13 Teotl as Source, Standard, and Object of Intrinsic Value Teotl serves as the foundation of Nahua axiology. Teotl is the ultimate source, standard, and object of intrinsic value and hence the ultimate standard and object of appropriate (right) behavior. In this manner teotl functions as does the Form of the Good in Platos Republic, hozho in Navajo philosophy (Witherspoon 1977), and the Tao in Lao Tzus Tao Te Ching (Young and Ames 1977). Like the latter philosophies, Nahua metaphysics also denies the fact-value distinction. Intrinsic value, along with the intrinsically normative implications of reality for human conduct, are rooted in teotl and as such are objective facts woven into the fabric of the universe. Nahua axiology maintains that balance-and-purity constitutes what is intrinsically valuable, good, or worth pursuing for human beings as well as the ideal condition for human beings. Nahua ethics conceives right conduct in terms of the promotion of balance-andpurity.14


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The Nature of Consciousness Human consciousness is one of many facets and self-presentations of teotl, and as such, ultimately identical to teotl. Consciousness is a process rather than a static entity or state (as suggested by contemporary Western psychologys talk of states of consciousness). Nahua thinkers conceive cognition, knowledge, understanding, ignorance, and delusion as ways of moving about in the worldnot as static states or momentary events. Properly stated, a person cognizes knowingly, ignorantly, and so on. The human body serves as the temporary location for three animistic forces or energies, each residing in a different animistic center. Tonalli (from the root tona, heat) is located in the head. It provides the body with character, vigor, and the energy needed for growth and development. Individuals acquire their tonalli from the sun. A persons tonalli may leave her body, as in the case of dreams and shamanic journeys. Such journeys allow humans to perceive places far removed from their bodies. Tonalli is ritually introduced into an infant as one of her animistic entities. It is closely united to the person as her link to the universe and as the determining factor of her destiny. Everything belonging to a human by virtue of her relation to the cosmos receives the name tonalli. Teyolia (that which gives life to people) is located in the heart. It provides memory, vitality, inclination, emotion, knowledge, and wisdom. Unlike tonalli, a persons teyolia is not separable from her while alive. It is that animistic force that goes beyond after death and enjoys a postmortem existence in the world of the dead. Nahuas liken teyolia to divine re.15 Finally, ihiyotl (breath, respiration) resides in the liver. It provides passion, cupidity, bravery, hatred, love, and happiness. Of the three, teyolia most closely resembles the European notion of spirit or soul.16 Every human is the living center and conuence of these three vital forces. The three direct the physiological and psychological processes of humans, giving each individual her own unique physiological and psychological character or temperament. All three must operate harmoniously with one another in order to produce a complete, mentally and physically balanced person. Disturbance of any one affects the others. Only during life on earth are all three forces fully integrated within humans. After death, each force goes its own way. Since each of the three forces resides in its respective bodily organ, its character is affected by the character of that organ. If the body and its organs suffer from damage, disease, or imbalance, the three forces are unable to function properly. At this time we can only speculate how Nahua sages might assess the effects on consciousness of such recent developments as commissurotomies and organ transplants. Yet it does seem clear that they would regard these activities as profoundly altering the nature and character of a persons consciousness. The indigenous text from Puebla known as the Codex Laud contains (p. 44) an artistic rendering of these three animating energies separating from one another and from pez Austin (1988, 316), the imthe human body upon death. According to Alfredo Lo

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age contains skull and bones falling backward. These represent the cadaver emptied of its animistic powers. A serpent emerging from the crown of the head represents tonalli, a second serpent springing from the heart represents teyolia, and a third serpent leaving the stomach and intestines represents ihiyotl. The fact that each force is symbolized by a serpent is signicant since serpents signify rebirth and transformation in Mesoamerican thought. Their mutual differences notwithstanding, all three forces are instances of the unceasing motion and energy of teotl, suggesting that the three are ultimately neither fully discrete nor separate. Human consciousness and experience are the joint product of the three forces while united in the body, and as such, aspects of teotl. Consciousness and experience are constituent elements of organic life and enjoy an equal ontological footing with the physical processes of the human body. They are not, pace epiphenomenalism, mere byproducts of the physical. Head, heart, and liver serve merely as temporary human locations for these three forces. Humans do not exclusively possess these forces. Tonalli is present in other living things such as animals and plants. Teyolia is present in living things such as humans, animals, and plants as well as nonliving things such as towns, mountains, lakes, and sky. Both living and nonliving things possess teyolia by virtue of their ultimate oneness with teotl. According to Sandstrom (1991, 258f.), contemporary Nahuas in Veracruz believe every created thing possesses its own share of this universal, vivifying force. The heart is simply a fragment of this force. Epistemological Dimensions of Consciousness Nahua epistemology conceives tlamatiliztli (knowing, wisdom) in terms of neltiliztli. Scholars standardly gloss neltiliztli (and its cognates) as truth (and its cognates).17 Unlike most Western philosophers, however, Nahua philosophers do not conceive truth in terms of the correspondence between propositions (or sentences) and facts or in terms of the internal coherence among propositions (or sentences). According to n-Portilla (1963, 8), Truth . . . was to be identied with well-grounded Miguel Leo stability. To say that a person cognizes truly is to say that she cognizes with wellgrounded stability, well-foundedness, or well-rootedness. The only thing providing such well-grounded stability and well-rootedness is teotl. n-Portillas gloss of neltiliztli yet contends Willard Gingerich (1987) defends Leo well-rootedness does not exhaust its full content. The Nahuas conception also contains an ineliminable Heideggerian-style component: non-referential alethia [i.e.] disclosure (p. 104), unconcealedness (p. 102), unhiddenness (p. 105), and self-deconcealing (p. 105). That which is neltiliztli is both well rooted and nonreferentially unconcealing or disclosing. Neltiliztli (truth) as well-rootedness-cum-alethia is a nonsemantic notion since it eschews correspondence, reference, representation, aboutness, t and successful description.


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Whats more, Nahua sages characterize utterances as well as persons, things, and activities equally and without equivocation in terms of neltiliztli. This, too, distinguishes their notion of truth from Western-style correspondence and coherence notions. That which is well rooted in teotl is genuine, true, authentic, pure, and wellbalanced as well as nonreferentially disclosing and unconcealing of teotl (see Gingerich 1987, 1988). Created things exist along a continuum ranging from those that are well rooted (nelli) in teotl and thus faithfully present, disclose, and authentically embody teotl at one end, to those that are poorly rooted (ahnelli) in teotl and thus neither faithfully present, disclose, nor authentically embody teotl. The former, which includes ne jade and quetzal plumes, possess what Ninian Smart (1966) calls special presence.18 Humans cognize knowingly if and only if they cognize with well-rootedness-cumalethia, and they cognize with well-rootedness-cum-alethia if and only if their cognizing is well rooted in teotl. Nahuas conceive well-rootedness-cum-alethia in terms of burgeoning (Brotherston 1979). Burgeoning and rootedness are vegetal notions deriving from the organic world of agricultural life. A plants owers burgeon from its seed, roots, and soil, and in so doing, present and disclose the latters qualities. Cognizing knowingly is likewise a kind of organic ourishing. It is the ower of teotls burgeoning and blossoming within a persons heart. Teotl wells up within a persons heart and presents itself as knowing consciousness. As a result of such burgeoning teotl makes itself known to humans (and thus known to itself). Humans become knowledgeable. As the generative expression of teotl, human knowing constitutes one of the ways teotl faithfully and authentically discloses itself here on earth. Knowledgeable cognizing moves knowingly: it understands, presents, unconceals, embodies, and enacts teotl. Unknowing (delusional, illusory, dreamlike) cognizing moves unknowingly. It is poorly if not wholly unrooted (ahnelli) in teotl and hence inauthentic and undisclosing. Teotl does not burgeon and ower within such cognizing. Unknowing cognition constitutes a form of cognitive perversity or disease. It is one of the ways teotl unfaithfully and inauthentically presentsthat is, disguises and masksitself here on earth. Humans come to understand teotl by means of the higher levels of consciousness made possible by teyolia. Teyolia draws humans toward that which alone lls their emptiness and gives them stability and rootedness: teotl. Teyolia resides in the heart, and the human heart (as opposed to head) is uniquely qualied to serve as the organ that enables humans to attain higher levels of consciousness in two ways. First, the Nahuatl word for heart, yollotl, derives from the root ollin or movement, indicating that the heart is fundamentally akin to teotl. Both are essentially movement. Second, the heart is anatomically situated between head and liver, and therefore able to attain the proper balance between the heads reason and the livers passion as well as proper balance between conception and generation, male and female, active and passive required for receiving and expressing sacred knowledge. Unlike tonalli (the vital force employed by shamans in their out-of-body journeys), teyolia is not separable from the

Consciousness and Reality in Nahua Thought


body during ones lifetime. Consequently, in order for one to come to understand teotl, teotl must reveal itself from within ones heart. As we have seen, this is the case: teotl is metaphysically immanent within human hearts and humans need only uncover and unconceal that which is immanent within their hearts in order to experience teotl. They need not leave their bodies and search the cosmos outside of themselves. Understanding teotl involves teotls expressing itself both to and through the higher levels of consciousness provided by the teyolia of ones heart. Understanding teotl requires that one possess a yolteotl or teotlized heartthat is, a heart charged with teotls sacred energy. One possessing a teotlized heart is said to have teotl in his heart and to be wise in the things of teotl.19 A teotlized heart reproduces teotls own cosmic balancing within itself by balancing male and female, reason and emotion, active and passive, and so on. Receiving and expressing sacred understanding requires that one possess teotls active, masculine (generative) aspect as well as its passive, feminine (conceiving) aspect.20 As we will see in greater depth below, one best attains this balance during the activity of creative artistry. When the movement of ones heartthat is, ones teyoliaresonates in harmony with the movement of teotl, ones heart moves well-rootedly, authentically, understandingly, and knowingly. The rhythm of ones heart synchronizes with the rhythm of teotl. A mystical-style union occurs as the movement of ones teyolia melds with that of teotl. When this occurs, ones heart moves knowingly. One has teotl in his heart. Ones heart enjoys special presence. Teotl not only speaks through ones voice, one speaks with teotls voice. The two are now epistemologically one. Attaining higher levels of consciousness and deeper levels of understanding requires the satisfaction of a variety of preconditions. It requires that one be born with the correct day sign and hence proper amount of the vital force, tonalli. It requires years of ritual discipline, penitence, and morticationfor example, autosacrice (i.e., selfinicted pain and blood loss through body piercing), fasting, sexual abstinence, and sleep deprivation. Consuming entheogens (i.e., plants containing special presence) allows teotl to take possession of or to come out in ones consciousness.21 Such ritual activities help balance and purify ones heart and increase the quantity of ones vital energies. They help elevate ones consciousness so that one might see and understand teotl.22 Because teotl is essentially undifferentiated, unstructured, and unordered, Nahua philosophy maintains that teotl and the human experience of teotl are ineffable. Humans can only knowingly experience teotl directlythat is, in a manner unmediated, unstructured, and undened by language, concepts, and categories (along with their attendant divisions, classications, and distinctions). The latter are elements of teotls disguise or mask, and thus, strictly speaking, inapplicable to teotl and ones experience of teotl. Ones experience of teotl involves an unstructured and undifferentiated feeling of oceanic unity with the universe (to borrow from Fischer 1971, 901),


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and the content of this feeling cannot be represented or described using literal language. Therefore, to the degree reason and rationality necessarily employ concepts, language, and categories, humans accordingly experience and understand teotl nonrationally, nondiscursively, intuitively, and mystically. Taoism helps illuminate this aspect of Nahua philosophy. Like Nahua metaphysics, Taoism is a form of monistic pantheism; and like Nahua epistemology, Taoist epistemology is mystical. David Halls (1989) discussion of Taoist epistemology is especially useful here. According to Hall, the Taoist notion of wu-chih or no-knowledge consists of an intuitive grasp and appreciation of the totality of things in their unied interrelatedness and ultimate seamless and undifferentiated oneness. Hall (1989, 108) suggests no-knowledge is properly understood as unprincipled knowingthat is, the sort of knowing that does not have recourse to principles as external determining sources of order such as transcendent Platonic forms or laws of nature. R. G. H. Shiu puts it this way: It is called no-knowledge in that it is a state which is not that of knowledge [in the discursive or rational sense]; it is not a piece carved out of the total realm. It is the sharedness of the uncarved totality.23 No-knowledge is intuitive and mystical. So conceived, no-knowledge differs profoundly from traditional Western conceptions of knowledge, which insist that reality must be grasped discursively and rationally. Discursive and rational modes of knowledge employ conceptual categories and linguistic classications, which, because they carve up the totality, render genuine understanding and knowledge of the totality impossible. One must therefore abandon them and seek ultimate reality intuitively. In light of this, David Hall and Roger Ames (1987, 1998) also contend that pre-Han Taoism (and Confucianism) do not embrace correspondence and coherence notions of truth (just as Nahua philosophy does not). Similarly, since teotl is an uncarved totality, since it is the seamless and undifferentiated unity and oneness of all things, and since language, categories, and concepts only function to carve up things, the latter are inapplicable to teotl. Furthermore, knowledge of teotl is therefore also well characterized as no-knowledge since it, too, does not employ rational principles, categories, and distinctions. This result suggests that any attempt to explicate Nahua thought in rational-discursive terms (such as the present chapter) is doomed at the outset. It is precisely for this reason that Nahua sages like Taoist thinkers according to Hall 1978turned to ower and song, including song-poems, symbolism, music, dance, theatrical performance, and painting, in order to present their understanding of teotl. Why bother acquiring a teotlized heart? Doing so enables humans to contribute to the preservation and continuation of the cosmos as well as to balance and purify their lives and hence attain some measure of well-being. The earths surface is, after all, the only realm wherein humans enjoy the full potential for well-being. Humans possess very little knowledge regarding the afterlife, and moreover, possess little control over

Consciousness and Reality in Nahua Thought


their destiny in the afterlife. Consequently, there is little concern with the afterlife. Nahua thought regards humans as in and of the world, and accordingly conceives the aim of wisdom to be this-worldly rather than other-worldly. A wise life consists of moderationthat is, of walking a middle path between the twin extremes of underand overindulgence.24 Nahua epistemology is characterized neither by a subject-object dualism nor by the epistemological problematic this dualism typically engenders, namely, the knowledge seekers having to span the metaphysical gulf separating her from the object of knowledge. Nahua monism and pantheism generate a very different epistemological problematic, one that requires that in order for the subject to come to know the object of knowledge, the subject must come to know an object of knowledge that resides masked or disguised within herself. The knowledge-seeker need neither leave nor search outside herself to know teotl, since teotl is metaphysically immanent within her. Indeed, humans qua subjects of knowledge and teotl qua object of knowledge are ultimately identical. Yet teotls metaphysical immanence does not entail teotls epistemological immanence. The fact that teotl is metaphysically immanent within humans does not mean that teotl is not masked or disguised from humans, that humans enjoy easy epistemological access to teotl, or that humans are guaranteed knowledge of teotl. What, then, is the nature of the epistemological relationship between humans, on the one hand, and teotl qua immanent object of no-knowledge, on the other? Whereas Cartesian-style, dualistic epistemology understands the relationship between knowledge seeker and object of knowledge in terms of a veil of perception needing to be penetrated, Nahua monistic epistemology understands the relationship between knowledge seeker and object of knowledge in terms of a shamanic mask. Nahua epistemology is an epistemology of the mask rather than an epistemology of the veil. And masks in Nahua philosophy possess different properties than veils in Cartesianstyle philosophy.25 In their study of Mesoamerican masks and shamanism, Peter Markman and Roberta Markman (1989, xx) argue that masks simultaneously conceal and reveal the innermost spiritual force of life itself. How are we to understand this claim, and what light does it shed on Nahua epistemology? Consider the life-death masks in gures 3.1 and 3.2. I suggest each mask simultaneously reveals and conceals the aspect of teotl I call dialectical polar monism. How so? Each mask conceals teotl by virtue of the fact that humans ordinarily misperceive the mask as either-living-or-dead (but not both). However, after acquiring greater understanding, humans are able to perceive the mask correctly as both-living-and-dead-yet-simultaneously-neither-living-nor-dead. In this way each mask thus reveals teotl. Yet there are not two, ontologically distinct masks: either-or mask and both-yet-neither mask. There is only the one mask: that which is rst misperceived and subsequently correctly perceived. There is only the single mask that simultaneously conceals and reveals teotl. The either-or mask does not


James Mafe

metaphysically conceal the both-yet-neither mask. Nor is human epistemological access to the both-yet-neither mask mediated by the either-or mask. In sum, the bothyet-neither mask is identical to the either-or mask. Teotl is both concealed and revealed by these half-eshed/half-skeletal masks. More generally, teotl is both revealed and concealed in varying degrees by all its self-masking presentations, including earth, sky, mountains, trees, human experience, gender, and so on. Flower and Song Cultivating a proper understanding of teotl also requires that humans engage in creative-artistic activity. Indeed, only creative-artistic activity enables the human heart to move in rhythm with teotl and so come to understand teotl. Only creative-artistic activity carries human hearts to higher levels of consciousness because it alone excites and balances the hearts motion in the way needed for understanding the sacred. Nahuas express this relationship between artistic creation and sacred understanding by saying that humans attain higher consciousness of teotl as a consequence of in xochitl, in cuicatl or ower and songthat is, creative-artistic, symbolic, or metaphorical activity.26 In addition to this, humans are able to express their understanding of teotl only through in xochitl, in cuicatl. In short, ower and song constitutes the path both to and from understanding teotl. Nahua tlamatinime are thus perforce sagepoets, artist-knowers, or philosopher-artists since ower and song, not discursive argumentation, is the proper medium of philosophical expression. Why does ower and song possess this power? Nahua philosophy envisions teotl as a consummate creator-artist, conceives the cosmos as teotls magisterial piece of performance art, and argues that human beings must imitate teotl by engaging in creativeartistic activity in order to understand teotl. Creative activity involves aesthetic (i.e., sensitive, passive, receptive, female) and artistic (i.e., active, generative, male) aspects as well as emotional and intellectual (albeit nonrational) aspects.27 Successful creative artistry requires the proper balancing of these complementary polarities. This is true not only of teotls own self-regeneration-and-self-reconception as well as generationconception and regeneration-reconception of the cosmos but is also true of successful human creative artistry. Creative-artistic activity enables the human heart to attain well-rooted consciousness and sacred understanding by cultivating within the heart both the sensitivity required for receiving-conceiving sacred understanding (i.e., the aesthetic component) and the activity required for generating sacred understanding (i.e., the artistic component). Coming to understand teotl involves simultaneously receiving and generating the sacred within ones heart.28 By engaging in creative activity, the human heart does more than simply imitate teotl, however. The rhythmic motion of ones heart harmonizes and unies with the motion of teotl and in so doing participates along with teotl in the process of cosmic self-regeneration-and-self-reconception. As ones heart becomes teotlized one experi-

Consciousness and Reality in Nahua Thought


ences feelings of intoxication. The following song-poems speak of the sacred origin and intoxicating quality of ower and song:
From whence come the owers that enrapture man? The songs that intoxicate, the lovely songs? Only from His [teotls] home do they come, from the innermost part of heaven, Only from there comes the myriad of owers . . . Where the nectar of the owers is found . . . The fragrant beauty of the ower is rened . . . They interlace, they interweave; Among them sings, among them warbles the quetzal bird.29 In owers is the word Of the One God [teotl ] held secure.30 It is a true [nelli, rooted] thing, our song, It is a true [nelli, rooted] thing, our owers; The well-measured song.31

The cloud of unknowing (as the anonymous, fteenth-century English mystical text by the same name calls it) epistemologically (not metaphysically) separating knowledge seeker and object of knowledge lifts upon the dynamic union of human heart and teotl.32 One experiences teotl directly, gaining knowledge by presence.33 One becomes directly acquainted with teotl in a manner unmediated and undifferentiated by concepts, categories, and linguistic classications. Ones heart experiences the seamless, undifferentiated oneness of all things and ultimately oneness with teotl. One knows teotl through teotl. In line with the metaphor of burgeoning, Andrew Wiget (1980, 3) observes that Nahuas characterize the sage-artists singing of a new song-poem as a process by which the song-poem is made to blossom. Tochihuitzin Coyolchiuhqui writes:
As an herb in spring time, So is our nature. Our hearts give birth, make sprout, The owers of our esh. Some open their corollas, Then become dry.34

Nahuas also liken the human hearts creating-performing ower and song to a songbirds singing. David Damrosch (1991, 102) points out that the word cuicatl in the expression in xochitl, in cuicatl actually means birdsong. The relationship between a teotlized human heart and its ower and song is thus closely analogous to that between a songbird and its song. In creating-performing ower and song, the teotlized heart participates in the cosmic creative artistry of teotl. Ayocuan Cuetzpaltzin writes:


James Mafe

Your beautiful song Is a golden woodthrush Most beautiful, you raise it up. You are in a eld of owers. Among the owery bushes you sing. Are you perchance a precious bird of the Giver of Life [i.e., teotl ]?35

In a similar spirit, Xayacamach writes:

Who am I? As a bird I y about, I sing owers; I compose songs, Butteries of songs. Let them burst forth from my heart! Let my heart be delighted with them!36

Although ower and song serves as the necessary path to sacred understanding, I submit sacred understanding is neither constituted nor mediated by ower and song. Flower and song is not a lens through which the heart understands the sacred, but rather, like meditation in Zen Buddhism, a ritual activity preparing the heart for sacred understanding. It is a vehicle that delivers the heart to its destiny, not the destiny itself. As Denise Carmody and John Carmody (1996, 13) put it:
When mystics are expressing their experiences . . . they are usually not in the midst of the experience itself, which tends to take them outside of . . . their prayer, healing, dancing, whatever they are thinking and doing. Those activities were vehicles to carry them toward their goal. In the mystical experience they reached their goal, or their goal moved to meet them, overcoming the distance that separated them at the outset.

I suggest this characterization applies to Nahua tlamatinime. Flower and song accompanies but does not constitute their experience of teotl.37 Consider Taoism once again. David Halls characterization of Taoist epistemology as a form of what he calls nature mysticism ts Nahua epistemology equally well. According to Hall (1978, 80), nature mysticism focuses on the experience of the togetherness of all things, which we may describe as con-stasythat is to say, standing with. It is a sense of the presence of all things standing together in a felt unity. It is not merely the sense of being one with Nature, though that is part of it. It is the experience of the inner fusion of each with each, the sense of compresence. Nature mysticism differs from what Hall calls theistic mysticism (e.g., exemplied by Christian mystics such as Saint Teresa of Avila), which typically involves an ecstatic experience that consists of the souls experiencing the sacred from without itself. Theistic mysticism focuses on the souls leaving its proper domain to unite with the sacred. Nature mysticism also differs from what Hall calls soul mysticism (e.g., exemplied by

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some Hindu mystics), which typically involves an enstatic experience that consists of the souls experiencing the sacred from within itself. Soul mysticism focuses on the soul itself, and the experience of unity involves an in-dwelling (Hall 1978, 280). Constatic experience, however, and especially the constatic experience that occurs during creative-artistic activity, simultaneously incorporates both the enstatic and ecstatic intuitions of the Totality (Hall 1978, 281). Hall interestingly suggests that the most promising place to nd the expression of Taoist mystical intuitions and insights is Chinese art. I suggest Nahua philosophys claims regarding the existence and nature of teotl (e.g., dialectical polar monism and pantheism) are rooted in such artistically induced constatic experiences, ones yielding mystical intuition into the interrelatedness of all things as aspects of teotl as well as the ultimate oneness of all things with teotl. The constatic or standing-with experience of teotl subsumes both the ecstatic experience of teotl as something outside of oneself and the enstatic experience of teotl as something dwelling within oneself. The sage with a teotlized heart comes to understand teotl by means of epistemologically self-validating intuition. This intuition blossoms within her consciousness as teotl burgeons within and discloses itself to her heart, at which time she sings like an intoxicated bird. The customary epistemological limitations of human experience and consciousness unfold and transmutejust as a bud unfolds and transmutes as it blossoms into a ower. And just as a blossoming ower opens itself to its environment, so a teotlized heart opens itself to the oneness and interrelatedness of all things. One experiences teotl both inside and outside oneself as one experiences teotl everywhere and experiences the identity of everything with teotl. The cloud of unknowing that ordinarily enshrouds38 ones heart is dispelled, making possible an unmediated understanding of the teotl. In this manner humans come to understand teotlan understanding that cannot be attained either through sense experience or rational, conceptually based thought. Indeed, the impossibility of knowing teotl empirically is suggested by one of the many metaphorical names given to teotls supreme mythological manifestation, Ometeotl: yohualli-ehecatl (night and wind), n-Portilla 1963, meaning invisible (like the night) and intangible (like the wind) (Leo 92, 179). As we have seen, ritual preparation for knowledge-yielding artistic activity and for the hearts becoming teotlized includes such practices as autosacrice and the ingestion of entheogens. Nahuas avail themselves of various psychotropic substances such as extracts from jimson weed, psilocybe mushroom, ololiuhqui (morning-glory seed), and peyotl (peyote cactus button). According to Gordon Brotherston (1979, 262f.), Nahua poets ritually ingest psychotropic substances in order to heighten their sensa n (1971) reports that Nahua tions and expand their consciousness. Fray Diego Dura priests smear their bodies with an entheogenic (psychotropic) mixture of spiders, scorpions, vipers, and lizards. They call such substances teotlacualli or food of teotl.39 In


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this manner Nahua sage-artists induce theophanic manifestations (Nicholson 1971, 441)that is, visual and acoustic experiences of teotl that are well rooted in teotl. In the process they experience various combinations and sequences of colors and shapes as well as sounds, rhythms, and songsall emanating from teotl. Teotl speaks to the knowledge seeker in the language of poetry, song, and rhythm, namely, in xochitl, in ceres observes that psychotropic drugs often produce cuicatl or ower and song. A. Ca auditory effects that assume the form of music, and suggests that the second word of the metaphor for poetry, cuicatl (song), may indeed refer to the effects of these substances.40 Comparable claims regarding the aural and visual apprehension of the sacred are common in mystical and shamanic epistemologies. Witness, for example, the sacred visions and auditions of Arjuna, Julian of Norwich, Saint Teresa of Avila, the Wixarika of Mexico, and the Tukano of Colombia (to name only a few).41 The prevalence of such theophanic manifestations notwithstanding, I nevertheless contend that the highest, most profound understanding of teotl neither assumes the form of visions or auditions nor is mediated or constituted by such manifestations that is, by ower and song. Although teotl presents itself to humans by means of such manifestations along the path to ultimate knowledge, the denitive, knowledgeyielding experience of teotl consists of a constatic feeling of oneness with teotl and everything around oneself as well as a sense of the inner fusion of each thing with every other thing in the cosmos. Contemporary Insights Roland Fishers (1971) psychological and pharmacological cartography of ecstatic and meditative states of mystical consciousness sheds contemporary scientic light on the Nahuas aesthetic-artistic mystical epistemology. Fisher distinguishes: 1. The perception-hallucination continuum consisting of ergotropic states of increasing hyperarousal. This scale ranges from normal consciousness to aroused states of artistic sensitivity and creativity, acute schizophrenic states, and nally ecstatic experiences of mystical rapture. These are characterized by high levels of cognitive and physiological activity. 2. The perception-meditation continuum consisting of trophotropic states of increasing hypoarousal. This scale ranges from normal consciousness to states of relaxation and tranquility to zazen and Yoga samadhi. These are characterized by low levels of cognitive and physiological activity. As one departs from normal consciousness along either continuum, one experiences a gradual loss of voluntary control over ones experiences as well as gradual disappearance of time, space, and the separateness of subject and object (or subject-object dichotomy)that is, a loss of those experiences that accompany ones nonaroused

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daily routine in the physical dimension. These phenomenal changes reect the increased integration of the brains cortical (interpretive) and subcortical (interpreted) structures and activities. At the highest levels of both hyperarousal and hypoarousal, one experiences a feeling of oceanic unity with the universe (Fisher 1971, 901) including a complete loss of subject-object dichotomy. This experience cannot be meaningfully expressed using the dualistic, rational, Aristotelian . . . two-valued (either-or, true-false) logic [and language] (Fisher 1971, 902; brackets mine) of daily practical life since these presuppose the validity of the subject-object dichotomy. One is therefore forced to invent a new symbolic, metaphorical, or artistic logic and language to express the meaning of the experience of oceanic unitya logic and language, Fisher adds, that may subsequently become ritualized. Fisher claims both the rapture and ecstasy of intense ergotrophic arousal and the tranquillity of intense hypoarousal are mystical states. I suggest we interpret Nahua epistemology as holding that artistic activity helps humans reach the point at which they experience a breakthrough (as Fisher puts it) to ecstasy. The acoustic and visual hallucinations as well as feelings of intoxication that accompany ower and song fall squarely on Fishers ergotropic continuum. I also suggest that on reaching the heights of ergotropic arousal, Nahua tlamatinime experience an intoxicating oceanic unity that yields intuitive insight into and direct acquaintance with sacred reality: no-knowledge of teotl. This is precisely the constatic experience of oneness we examined above: the felt experience of the interfusion, interconnectedness, and seamless unity of all things as well as ultimate oneness of all things. As a result of this feeling-insight, Nahua tlamatinime invent a special, nondualistic language, namely, ower and song broadly construedin order to present, express, and communicate their experience.42 Conclusion Nahua ontology suggests both a holism according to which all parts of the cosmos are mutually interrelated and a monism according to which the cosmos and all its parts ultimately consist of a single, sacred force or energy. This energy is immanent within all individual things yet also transcendent of all individual things. Consciousness and matter not only consist of this single energy; they are manifestations and twin aspects of this energy. As such, they are not two essentially different kinds of substances radically opposed to one another, mutually exclusive of one another, or only contingently related to one another. The either-or appearance of consciousness and matter is an illusion engendered by the fact that consciousness and matter are two ways by which this single energy commonly presents itself to human experience. Humans liberate themselves from this misperception and misunderstanding by shedding ordinary consciousness and discerning the nature of this single, universal energy as simultaneously


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both-consciousness-and-matter-yet-neither-consciousness-nor-matter. Wisdom involves liberation from this misperception and misconceptionalong with the other illusions of enshrouded consciousness discussed hereand in so doing provides humans with the practical ken needed for maintaining their balance on the twisting, jagged path of life. Wisdom enables humans to identify and avoid activities that promote imbalance-and-impurity as well as to identify and pursue those that promote balance-and-purity in humans and the cosmos.
Notes This chapter has beneted from conversations with James Boyd, Gordon Brotherston, Julie Greene, the late David Hall, Jane Kneller, Grant Lee, Michael Losonsky, Urbano Francisco Martinez, Patrick McKee, Johanna Sanchez, Alan Sandstrom, Ben-Ami Scharfstein, John Sullivan, and Helmut Wautischer. Special thanks go to Willard Gingerich. 1. A Nahuatl proverb recorded in the sixteenth century states, It is slippery, it is slick on the n 19531982, vol. VI, p. 228; trans. Burkhart earth, Tlaalahui, tlapetzcahui in tlalticpac (Sahagu 1989). Nahuas believed the earth to be a very dangerous place morally and physically speaking and believed wisdom that enabled humans to keep their balance on its slippery surface. The natives of the High Central Plateau of what is now Mexico spoke the Nahuatl language, an Uto-Aztecan tongue related to languages of the native inhabitants of western and southwestern United States. The Nahuatl-speaking peoples of pre-Hispanic Mexico included, among others, the Mexicas (Aztecs), Acolhuans, Texcocans, Tlacopans, Culhuans, Chalcans, Tepanecs, and Tlaxcaltecs. Due to their common inheritance and language, scholars typically refer to them as Nahuas, and to their culture, as Nahuatl culture. Nahuatl culture ourished for several centuries prior to 1521, the date standardly assigned to Cortezs conquest of the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan. Our sources for studying pre-Hispanic Nahua philosophy include precontact and early postcontact native pictorial manuscripts or codices (e.g., the Codex Borbonicus and Codex Mendoza); reports by conquerors (e.g., Diaz del Costillo); and ethnography-style chronicles composed by n, Olmos, Motolin a, the rst missionary friars entering Mexico after the Conquest. Friars Sahagu n, and Mendieta sought knowledge of Nahua culture and questioned survivors of the ConDura n assembled hundreds of folios containing enormous quest about their culture. Friar Sahagu amounts of information, which serve as the basis for his Historia General de las Cosas de Nueva a. The Cantares mexicanos and Romances de los Sen ores de la Nueva Espan a consist of transcripEspan tions of native song-poems compiled by natives under Spanish supervision during the last part of the sixteenth century. Recent ethnographies of contemporary Nahuatl-speaking peoples in nMexico also prove useful (e.g., Sandstrom 1991; Knab 1995). For discussion of sources, see Leo Portilla 1963, 1966, 1969, 1992, and Ortiz de Montellano 1990. 2. For further discussion, see Klor de Alva 1979; Monaghan 2000; Nicholson 1971; Read 1998; Boone 1994. This discussion is indebted to Burkhart 1989; Carrasco 1990; J. L. M. Furst 1978; n-Portilla 1963, 1966, 1992; Lo pez Austin 1988, 1997. Leo 3. For discussions of duality in Mesoamerican art, see Miller and Taube 1993; Pasztory 1983.

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4. Young and Ames 1977, 5; chapter references are to the Tao Te Ching. 5. My understanding of Taoism is indebted to Ames 1989; Hall 1989; Hall and Ames 1987, 1988; Young and Ames 1977. For discussion of Nahua dualism, see Caso 1958; Burkhart 1989; Davies pez Austin 1988, 1997; Mafe 2002a; Markman and Markman 1989; Miller and Taube 1990; Lo 1993; Ortiz de Montellano 1990; Pasztory 1983; B. Tedlock 1982; D. Tedlock 1983. Davies 1990 and Ortiz de Montellano 1990 also note parallels between what I call dialectical polar monism and Taoisms notion of yin and yang. Young and Ames use the phrase the principle of antithetical rotation for the Taoist principle stating that being and nonbeing, life and death, male and female, and so on are mutually arising and interdependent. 6. I adopt the above denition of pantheism from Levine 1994. As I understand it, Nahua metaphysics neatly ts the denitions of pantheism advanced by scholarly studies such as Levine 1994 and Sprigge 1997. Interpreting Nahua metaphysics pantheistically is supported, too, by Sandstrom 1991, Hunt 1977, and Irene Nicholson 1959, and also by the fact that sixteenth-century Nahua thought remains close to its shamanic roots and that native Mesoamerican shamanism is pantheistic (e.g., see Florescano 1994; Markman and Markman 1989; Ortiz de Montellano 1990; Meyer n-Portilla (1963, 9599). hoff 1976a, 1976b). For an opposing view, see Leo 7. For helpful discussions of shamanism and the role of masks in Mesoamerican thought, see P. T. Furst 1976b; Markman and Markman 1989; Ortiz de Montellano 1990. n-Portilla (1992, 282). Aquiauhtzin (c.1430c.1500) 8. Cantares mexicanos fol. 10 r., trans. Leo hailed from the hamlet of Ayapanco in the region of Chalco-Amaquemecan. The expression house of paintings refers both to the building in which the Aztecs stored their painted codices and to earthly existence. n-Portilla (1992, 228). Xayacamach (second half 9. Cantares mexicanos fol. 11 v., translated by Leo of the fteenth century) hailed from and governed the town of Tizatlan, in Tlaxcala. ores de Nueva Espan a, fol. 35 r., translated by Leo n-Portilla (1992, p. 83). 10. Romances de los sen Nezahualcoyotl (14021472) was not only a renowned poet-philosopher but also the ruler of the city-state of Tezcoco. In a similar spirit, Ayocuan Cuetzpaltzin writes, Earth is the region n-Portilla (1992, 221)). See also of the eeting moment (Cantares mexicanos fol. 10 r., trans. Leo n 19531982, bk. III, appendix, p. 41. Sahagu n-Portilla (1992, 153). Tochi11. Brackets mine; Cantares mexicanos, fol. 14 v., translated by Leo huitzin Coyolchiuhqui (end of the fourteenth to the middle of the fteenth century) hailed from n 19531982, bk. III, appendix, p. 41, for a similar view. Teotlatzinco. See Sahagu 12. The Mayan text, Popol Vuh (D. Tedlock 1983, 166167), propounds an epistemological conception of illusion strikingly similar to the Nahuas conception. It says humans were blinded [by the gods] as the face of a mirror is breathed upon (p. 167). For discussion of Samkara, see Deutsche 1969; for, Dogen, see Kasulis 1980. 13. According to Deutsche 1969, similar paradoxes arise within Samkaras Advaita Vedanta. My ninterpretation of Nahua metaphysics contradicts the received view among scholars (e.g., Leo Portilla 1963; Bierhorst 1985; Clendinnen 1991; Burkhart 1989), which places Nahua metaphysics


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squarely within the orbit of Indo-European metaphysics and epistemology. For discussion of indigenous American metaphysics and epistemology, see Deloria, Foehner, and Scinta 1999; Meyerhoff 1976a, 1976b; Ortiz de Montellano 1990; Popol Vuh 1985; Witherspoon 1977. For discussion of pre-Han East Asian metaphysics and epistemology, see Hall 1989; Hall and Ames 1987, 1988. n-Portilla 14. For further discussion see Gingerich 1988, 521525; Burkhart 1989, chaps. 4, 5; Leo 1963. 15. Carrasco 1990, 69. pez Austin 1988; J. L. M. Furst 1995; Carrasco 1990; Knab 16. This discussion is indebted to Lo 1995; Ortiz de Montellano 1990; Sandstrom 1991. n-Portilla 1963. 17. See Karttunen 1983; Gingerich 1987; Leo 18. For further discussion, see Mafe 2002b. n 19531982, III, 67; quoted in Leo n-Portilla 1963, 143. See also Lo pez Austin 1988, I, 19. Sahagu 258f., II, 245, 298, and appendix 5. 20. See Meyerhoff 1976a, 1976b, for related discussion concerning shamanism. 21. See Ortiz de Montellano 1990, 6870, and P. T. Furst 1976a, 1976b. n-Portilla 1992; Lo pez Austin 22. Very few individuals ever satised these conditions. See Leo 1988; Ortiz de Montellano 1990. 23. Quoted in Hall 1978, 279 (brackets mine). n-Portilla 24. For further discussion, see Burkhart 1989; Gingerich 1988; Klor de Alva 1993; Leo 1963. 25. Levine (1994, 96, 102) demonstrates that although pantheists are committed to the metaphysical immanence of the sacred, they are not therefore committed to epistemological immanence of the sacred in the sense that the sacred is knowable either easily or even in principle. nHe cites Spinoza as a pantheist who rejects the epistemological immanence of the sacred. Leo Portilla (1963) apparently believes metaphysical immanence logically entails epistemological immanence, and on that basis argues that Nahua metaphysics cannot be pantheistic since Nahuas n-Portilla on this matter. regard the sacred as epistemologically transcendent. I thus differ from Leo 26. Flower and song functions in some contexts as a metaphor for song-poems specically and n-Portilla 1963, 1966, 1969, 1992; Brotherin other contexts for artistic activity generally. See Leo ston 1979; Gingerich 1987; D. Tedlock 1983. 27. I use aesthetic in the original sense of the Greek word aisthetikos (perceive), to denote perception, reception, or sensitivity, and thus to distinguish the aesthetic from the artistic, which I construe as active. 28. See Miller and Taube 1993 and Ortiz de Montellano 1990 for discussion of knowledge as (re)creation.

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n-Portilla (1963, 77) (brackets mine). 29. Cantares Mexicanos, fol. 34 r., trans. Leo 30. Cantares Mexicanos, fol. 11, trans. Gingerich (1987, 103) (brackets mine). 31. Romances, fol. 41, trans. Gingerich (1987, 103) (brackets mine). 32. The Cloud of Unknowing (1924). Illusion as a cloud of unknowing is yet another way of expressing an epistemological conception of illusion. 33. I borrow this phrase from Mehdi Hairi Yazdis (1992) exposition of Islamic epistemology and mysticism. Nahua epistemology ts the prevailing denition of mysticism adopted by scholars of mysticism. Weeks (1993, 6) denes mysticism as knowledge of the divine from the divine . . . one knows god through god, and in so doing, the knowing being communes with, or indeed may be united with, the divine object of knowledge. Mann (1995, 515) denes mysticism as the doctrine or discipline maintaining that one can gain knowledge of reality that is not accessible to sense perception or to rational, conceptual thought. In their exhaustive study of Western and Eastern mysticism, Carmody and Carmody (1996, 10) propose the following working description of mysticism: the direct experience of ultimate reality. See also Gimello 1978; Meyerhoff 1976a, 1976b. n-Portilla (1992, 153). 34. Cantares Mexicanos, fol. 14 v., trans. Leo n-Portilla (1992, 220) (brackets mine). 35. Cantares Mexicanos, fol. 11 v., trans. Leo n-Portilla (1963, 181). 36. Cantares Mexicanos, fol. 11 v., trans. Leo 37. See also Nicholson 1971, 442. For an opposing view, see Gingerich 1987. n-Portilla 1963, 175; see also Lo pez Austin 1988, p. II, 246. The foolish, dull-witted 38. Trans. Leo person was said to possess an enshrouded heart. 39. For further discussion of the sacred use of entheogenic (psychotropic) substances in Nahua culture, see P. T. Furst 1976a; Nicholson 1971; Ortiz de Montellano 1990. ceres 1984, 208, as reported in Ortiz de Montellano 1990, 70. 40. Ca 41. See Carmody and Carmody 1996; Forman 1990; P. T. Furst 1976a; Ortiz de Montellano 1990; Meyerhoff 1976a, 1976b; Reichel-Dolmatoff 1978; Schaefer 2002. 42. Did Nahua tlamatinime also experience trophotropic states of mystical knowledge acquisition? Fishers analysis hints at the possibility. Fisher claims his research demonstrates the existence of a phenomenon he calls the trophotropic rebound. That is, despite the mutual exclusivity of ergotropic and trophotropic systems, individuals experiencing intense ergotropic hyperarousal experience a rebound or reversal into intense trophotropic hypoarousal. Individuals experiencing a state of heightened ecstasy typically experience a rebound or reversal into a state of tranquil samadhi. Fishers nding thus suggests the possibility that after experiencing artistically induced states of heightened ergotropic excitation, Nahua artist-sages underwent a trophotropic rebound and experienced heightened states of hypoarousal such as zazen or samadhi. After the song-poems had been composed and performed, the conch and ute playing, drumming, and dancing had ceased, the costumes shed, and the copal fumes wafted into the night air, Nahua


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artist-sages rebounded into a state of trophotropic tranquility during which they apprehended sacred truth. Unfortunately, the primary sources contain no evidence supporting this hypothesis. References Ames, Roger T. (1989), Putting the Te Back into Taoism, in J. Baird Callicott and Roger T. Ames, eds., Nature in Asian Traditions of Thought: Essays in Environmental Philosophy, pp. 113144, Albany, NY: SUNY Press. Bierhorst, John, trans. and commentary (1985), Cantares Mexicanos: Songs of the Aztecs, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Boone, Elizabeth (1994), The Aztec World, Washington, DC: Smithsonian Books. Brotherston, Gordon (1979), Image of the New World: The American Continent Portrayed in Native Texts, London: Thames and Hudson. Burkhart, Louise M. (1989), The Slippery Earth: Nahua-Christian Dialogue in Sixteenth-Century Mexico, Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press. ceres, A. (1984), In Xochitl, in Cuicatl: Hallucinogens and Music in Mesoamerican Amerindian Ca Thought, Ph.D. dissertation, Bloomington, IN: Indiana University. Carmody, Denise Lardner, and John Tuly Carmody (1996), Mysticism: Holiness East & West, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Carrasco, David (1990), Religions of Mesoamerica: Cosmovision and Ceremonial Centers, San Francisco, CA: Harper and Row. (1999), City of Sacrice: The Aztec Empire and the Role of Violence in Civilization, Boston, MA: Beacon Press. Caso, Alfonso (1958), The Aztecs: People of the Sun, trans. Lowell Dunham, Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press. Clendinnen, Inga (1991), Aztecs: An Interpretation, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Codex Borbonicus (1976), commentary by Karl Anton Nowotny, Graz: Akademische Druck- und Verlagsanstalt. Codex Laud (1990), facsimile edition, and commentary by C. A. Burland, Graz: Akademische Druck- und Verlagsanstalt. Codex Mendoza (1992), Francis F. Berdan and Patricia R. Anawalt, eds., Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Coleccion de Cantares Mexicanos (1904), in MS 1628 bis, Biblioteca National, Mexico. Cooper, David (1997), God Is a Verb: Kabbalah and the Practice of Mystical Judaism, New York: Penguin Putnam, Inc.

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Damrosch, David (1991), The Aesthetics of Conquest: Aztec Poetry Before and After Cortes, Representations, Vol. 33, No. 1, pp. 101120. Davies, Nigel (1990), Dualism as a Universal Concept: Its Relevance to Mesoamerica, in R. van Zantwijk, R. de Ridder, and E. Braahuis, eds., Mesoamerican Dualism/Dualismo Mesoamericano, pp. 814, Utrecht: RUU-ISOR. Deloria, Barbara, Kristen Foehner, and Sam Scinta, eds. (1999), Spirit and Reason: The Vine Deloria, Jr., Reader, foreword by Wilma P. Mankiller, Golden, CO: Fulcrum Publishing. Deutsche, Eliot (1969), Advaita Vedanta: A Philosophical Reconstruction, Honolulu, HI: University of Hawaii Press. Diaz del Castillo, Bernal (1956), The Discovery of Mexico and Conquest of Mexico, 15171521, ed. Genaro Garcia, trans. with notes by A. P. Maudslay, New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. n, Fray Diego (1971), Book of the Gods and Rites and the Ancient Calendar, trans. and ed. FerDura nando Horcasitas and Doris Heyden, Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press. Fisher, Roland (1971), A Cartography of Ecstatic and Meditative States, Science, Vol. 174, No. 4012, pp. 897904. Florescano, Enrique (1994), Memory, Myth, and Time in Mexico: From the Aztecs to Independence, Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. Forman, Robert K. C. (1990), Introduction: Mysticism, Constructivism, and Forgetting, in Robert K. C. Forman, ed., The Problem of Pure Consciousness: Mysticism and Philosophy, pp. 352, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Furst, Jill Leslie McKeever (1978), Codex Vindobonensis Mexicanus: A Commentary, Albany, NY: Institute for Mesoamerican Studies. (1995), The Natural History of the Soul in Ancient Mexico, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Furst, Peter T. (1976a), Hallucinogens and Culture, San Francisco: Chandler-Sharp. (1976b), Shamanistic Survivals in Mesoamerican Religion, in Actas del XLI Congreso Internacional de Americanistas, Vol. 3, Mexico: Instituto Nacional de Anthropologia e Historia, pp. 149157. Gimello, Robert (1978), Mysticism and Meditation, in Steven T. Katz, ed., Mysticism and Philosophical Analysis, pp. 170199, New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Gingerich, Willard (1987), Heidegger and the Aztecs: The Poetics of Knowing in Pre-Hispanic Nahuatl Poetry, in B. Swann and A. Krupat, eds., Recovering the Third World: Essays on Native American Literature, pp. 85112, Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. (1988), Chipahuacanemiliztli, The Puried Life, in The Discourses of Book VI, Florentine Codex, in J. Kathryn Tosserand and Karen Dakin, eds., Smoke and Mist: Mesoamerican Studies in Memory of Thelma D. Sullivan, Part II, pp. 517544, Oxford: BAR International Series.


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Hall, David (1978), Process and Anarchy: A Taoist View of Creativity, Philosophy East and West, Vol. XXVIII, No. 3, pp. 271286. (1989), On Seeking a Change of Environment, in J. Baird Callicott and Roger T. Ames, eds., Nature in Asian Traditions of Thought: Essays in Environmental Philosophy, pp. 99306, Albany, NY: SUNY Press. Hall, David L., and Roger T. Ames (1987), Thinking through Confucius, Albany, NY: SUNY Press. (1998), Thinking from the Han, Albany, NY: SUNY Press. a (1969), Angel K. Garibay, ed., 4 vols., Mexico City: Historia General de las Cosas de Nueva Espan Editorial Porrua. Hunt, Eva (1977), The Transformation of the Hummingbird: Cultural Roots of a Zinacatecan Mythical Poem, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Karttunen, Francis (1983), An Analytical Dictionary of Nahuatl, Austin: University of Texas Press. Kasulis, T. P. (1980), Truth and Zen, Philosophy East and West, Vol. 30, No. 4, pp. 439450. Klor de Alva, Jorge (1979), Christianity and the Aztecs, San Jose Studies, Vol. 5, No. 3, pp. 721. (1993), Aztec Spirituality and Nahuatized Christianity, in Gary H. Gosen in collaboration with Miguel Leon-Portilla, eds., South and Meso-American Spirituality: From Cult of the Feathered Serpent to the Theology of Liberation, pp. 173197, New York, NY: Crossroad. Knab, Timothy (1995), A War of Witches: A Journey into the Underworld of the Contemporary Aztecs, Boulder, CO: Westview Press. n-Portilla, Miguel (1963), Aztec Thought and Culture: A Study of the Ancient Nahuatl Mind, trans. Leo Jack Emory Davis, Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press. (1966), Pre-Hispanic Thought, in Mario de la Cueva et al., eds., Major Trends in Mexican Philosophy, pp. 356, Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press. (1969), Pre-Columbian Literatures of Mexico, trans. Grace Lobanov and Miguel Leon-Portilla, Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press. (1992), Fifteen Poets of the Aztec World, Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press. Levine, Michael P. (1994), Pantheism: A Non-theistic Concept of Deity, London: Routledge. pez Austin, Alfredo (1988), The Human Body and Ideology: Concepts of the Ancient Nahuas, trans. Lo Thelma Ortiz de Montellano and Bernard Ortiz de Montellano, Salt Lake City, UT: University of Utah Press. (1997), Tamoanchan, Tlalocan: Places of Mist, trans. Bernard R. Ortiz de Montellano and Thelma Ortiz de Montellano, Niwot, CO: University Press of Colorado. Mafe, James (2002a), We Eat of the Earth and the Earth Eats Us: The Concept of Nature in PreHispanic Nahua Thought, Ludus Vitalis, Vol. X, No. 17, pp. 520.

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(2002b), Why Care about Nezahualcoyotl? Veritism and Nahua Philosophy, Philosophy of the Social Sciences, Vol. 32, No. 1, pp. 7191. Mann, William E. (1995), Mysticism, in Robert Audi, ed., The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, pp. 515516, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Markman, Peter T., and Roberta H. Markman (1989), Masks of the Spirit: Image and Metaphor in Mesoamerica, Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. McCann, Abbott Justin, ed. (1924), The Cloud of Unknowing, London: Burns Oats. Miller, Mary, and Karl Taube (1993), An Illustrated Dictionary of the Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya, London: Thames and Hudson. Monaghan, John D. (2000), Theology and History in the Study of Mesoamerican Religions, in John D. Monaghan, ed., Supplement to the Handbook of Middle American Indians, Vol. 6, pp. 2449, Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. Meyerhoff, Barbara G. (1976a), Balancing between Worlds: The Shamans Calling, Parabola, Vol. 1, No. 2, pp. 613. (1976b), The Huichol and the Quest for Paradise, Parabola, Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 2229. Nicholson, Henry B. (1971), Religion in Pre-Hispanic Mexico, in Gordon V. Ekholm and Ignacio Bernal, eds., Handbook of Middle American Indians, Vol. 10, pp. 395446, Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. Nicholson, Irene (1959), Firey in the Night: A Study of Ancient Mexican Poetry and Symbolism, London: Faber & Faber. Ortiz de Montellano, Bernard R. (1990), Aztec Medicine, Health, and Nutrition, New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press. Pasztory, Esther (1983). Aztec Art, New York, NY: Harry Abrams, Inc. Popol Vuh: The Mayan Book of the Dawn of Life (1985), trans. and commentary by Dennis Tedlock, New York: Simon and Schuster. Read, Kay Almere (1998), Time and Sacrice in the Aztec Cosmos, Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. Reichel-Dolmatoff, Gerardo (1978), Beyond the Milky Way, Los Angeles: UCLA Latin American Center Publications. ores de la Nueva Espan a, Poesia Nahuatl I (1964), ed. Angel K. Garibay, Mexico Romances de los sen City: National University of Mexico. n, Fray Bernardino de (19531982), Florentine Codex: General History of the Things of New Sahagu Spain, ed. and trans. Arthur J. O. Anderson and Charles Dibble, 12 vols., Sante Fe, NM: School of American Research and University of Utah.


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Sandstrom, Alan R. (1991), Corn Is Our Blood: Culture and Ethnic Identity in a Contemporary Aztec Indian Village, Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press. Schaefer, Stacy B. (2002), To Think with a Good Heart, Salt Lake City, UT: University of Utah Press. Smart, Ninian (1966), Myth and Transcendence, The Monist, Vol. 50, No. 2, pp. 475487. Sprigge, T. L. S. (1997), Pantheism, The Monist, Vol. 80, No. 2, pp. 191217. Tedlock, Barbara (1982), Time and the Highland Maya, Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press. Tedlock, Dennis (1983), The Spoken Word and the Work of Interpretation, Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press. Weeks, Andrew (1993), German Mysticism from Hildegard of Bingen to Ludwig Wittgenstein, Albany: State University of New York Press. Wiget, Andrew O. (1980), Aztec Lyrics: Poetry in a World of Continually Perishing Flowers, Latin American Indian Literatures, Vol. 4, No. 1, pp. 111. Witherspoon, Gary (1977), Language and Art in the Navajo Universe, Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press. Yazdi, Mehdi Hairi (1992), The Principles of Epistemology in Islamic Philosophy: Knowledge by Presence, foreword by Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. Young, Rhett Y. W., and Roger T. Ames (1977), Introduction, in Chen Ku-ying, Lao Tzu: Text, Notes, & Comments, pp. 1149, trans. and adapted by Rhett Y. W. Young and Roger T. Ames, San Francisco, CA: Chinese Materials Center.

Pre-Columbian Artistic Expressions of Indigenous Concepts of Soul

in Cross-Cultural Perspective
Armand J. Labbe

This chapter gives interpretive context and meaning to a heretofore little deciphered body of pre-Columbian art, by viewing this art against a large body of ethnographic data relevant to indigenous concepts of soul and neotropical shamanism. Juxtaposition of the ethnographic present against the pre-Columbian past demonstrates an ideological and thematic continuity between the two. In this study I use indigenous concepts of soul in comparison with artifacts to identify and interpret soul-related themes as they are reected in pre-Columbian art. These ethnographic references to indigenous concepts of soul in turn are compared cross-culturally and, where appropriate, resynthesized into a more cohesive, interpretive model. Such a model identies and differentiates four core themes pertaining to shamanism and indigenous concepts of soul: (1) shamanic empowerment, (2) shape-shifting or the transformation of soul, (3) shamanic soul ight, and (4) soul loss and capture. The representation of these themes in the pre-Columbian art of the Americas may thus be examined in the context of their relevant iconography. Many indigenous cultures worldwide differentiate two or more souls in the formation of a human being; however, the ethnographies are not always careful to distinguish between these souls. This chapter denes the characteristics of each soul; distinguishes which soul is involved with a particular shamanic endeavor; and identies which soul is referenced in the art.

Introduction Artistic representations of shamanic themes found in the pre-Hispanic art of the Americassuch as trance, shape-shifting, and soul ightcontain valuable information about indigenous concepts of soul and subtle realities. This information is accessed by exploring the meaning of iconography used to decorate a large corpus of funerary art, produced in Peru, Colombia, Panama, and Mesoamerica. These artifacts demonstrate that the essential iconography of shamanic themes was shared crossculturally and persisted through time.


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Pre-Columbian art illustrates the ethnohistoric and ethnographic databases about soul ight and shape-shifting of the soul, thus expanding our understanding of both human consciousness and human physiology. Such shamanic themes occur elsewhere worldwide and evince similar correspondences with relevant ethnographic and cultural realities. A clear understanding of the nature of New World shamanism also offers us better insight into the nature of subtle states of consciousness and gives us a better vantage point from which to assess the relationship of New World shamanism to shamanic traditions found in other parts of the world. Indigenous Concepts of Soul Information on New World religions has been collected since the earliest period of European contact, yet only disjunctive fragments of this corpus of data pertain to indigenous concepts of soul. This fact is particularly underscored by the pioneering work ke Hultkrantz (1953, 1997). His work clearly demonstrated the of anthropologist A problems encountered in relying on informants whose personal knowledge of these traditions is questionable, or in relying on eld researchers who were ill-prepared to understand the nature of the responses gathered from these informants. His study made it clear that the English word soul is inadequate for translating indigenous concepts of soul, which often referred to multiple animating entities. Most commonly, he found references to the presence of two souls in the individual human being: In all of North America except the southwest the belief recurs in one form or another that man is equipped with two kinds of soul, one or more bodily souls that grant life, movement, and consciousness to the body, and one dream or free soul identical to man himself as he is manifested outside of his body in various psychic twilight zones (Hultkrantz 1980, 131). The two-soul theory is of great antiquity and is found widely dispersed in cultures around the globe. It is noted in Egyptian writings, most notably the so-called books of the dead, such as the Egyptian Papyrus of Ani (15001350 B.C.) and the Vedic Upanisads of India (beginning from the eighth century B.C.). It is the most common model found among indigenous groups in the Americas from Mexico all the way to Peru. Notwithstanding the variety of cultural traditions in which the two-soul theory appears, careful analysis yields a remarkable cross-cultural ethnographic consistency with respect to descriptions of the structure, substance, function, and attributes of each of the souls or animating entities. Synopsis of the Two-Soul Theory: The Bipartite Nature of the Human Spirit The two-soul theory postulates the existence of two distinct animistic entities in the makeup of the individual human being. All of the traditions are in agreement that the rst and lower of the two animistic entities comprises a form and a constituent

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energy that fuels the form. In Chinese this energy is called chi (generally translated as vital force), in Sanskrit it is called prana (generally translated as life breath or life principle), among the Yoruba of Nigeria it is called emi (generally translated as animating energy), while in much of Polynesia it is referred to as mana (generally translated as sacred power or sacred energy). Among the Aztecs this energy was called tonalli (generally untranslated, but signifying vital force). The Chinese tradition of chi considers the meridians or channels through which the chi ows, its corresponding acupuncture points, as well as the storage and transformational centers for chi (Veith 1984). This notion of chi continues in Taoist traditions and in Chi Kung, and arguably represents the basic physiological understanding of the lower animistic entity or vital force soul. Generally, the Chinese, Tibetan, and Indian traditions provide the most in-depth and comprehensive knowledge of the subject. The Indian tradition, as exemplied in the Brhada ranyaka Upanisad, names the channels or meridians through which the vital force ows hita: In him, verily, are those channels called hita, which are as ne as a hair divided a thousandfold and lled with white, blue, yellow, green (uids). According to Radhakrishnan (1996, 261262), The subtle body is said to be in these channels. The concept of vital force owing through an animate vehicle or entity is widespread. Surprisingly, the Igbo of Nigeria also use the word chi for the vital force. Chi is a central concept of Igbo thought and is dened as the essence that animates life (Cole and Amiakor 1984, 15). Although a distinction is made between the vital force and the animistic entity it animates and through which it ows, most ethnographic traditions in which this duality is found use the same term in reference to each component. For example, the term chi is also applied by the Igbo to what they conceive to be the animate self (Henderson 1972, 107). Shamanic traditions are in agreement that an entity exists that animates the physical body and serves as the bodys shield against many forms of invasive illness. It is commonly held that part of this entity can be projected or extended outside and beyond the body, but that a complete projection outside the physical body without tangible connection will result in the bodys demise. The lower animistic entity can be harmed and its energy can be drained. This is referenced in the literature as soul loss or soul capture. While in some traditions the lower animistic entity is said to be the repository of memory, generally it is thought to have little independent will. The willful and personal higher animistic entity is usually described as variable in size, and capable of expanding itself or reducing itself to very small proportions, even down to a point of light. We nd such a description in the Svetasvatara Upanisad: Of the size of a thumb, but brilliant, like the sun, the jiva possesses both volition and egoism. . . . Know the embodied soul to be a part of the hundred part of the point of a hair divided


Armand J. Labbe

a hundred times; and yet it is innite (Nikhilananda 1963, 137138). The higher animistic entity is said to dwell within the physical form in a tiny space within the space enveloped by the physical heart. During normal consciousness it is believed to anchor itself in the head: more specically, as the intellect in the seat of consciousness. There is widespread agreement in identifying the heart as the seat of the higher animis pez Austin (1988, 231), basing his studies on a careful reading of the Spantic entity. Lo ish chronicles and early colonial-period documents, such as the Florentine Codex, identies the heart as the seat of the teyolia: the Mexica term for the higher animistic entity. Reichel-Dolmatoff (1971, 64) reports that among the Desana, a Tukanoanspeaking group of the Colombian Northwest Amazon, The seat of the soul (simpora) is the heart. Egyptologists, however, have demurred from making a connection between the heart and the Egyptian ba, one of the animistic entities constituting the human being. They view the heart as a separate entity. As Goelet (1998, 151) notes, The heart was considered to be the seat of the emotions and the intellect. In short the heart was the Egyptian equivalent of the mind. Wilkinson (1992, 77) agrees, positing that in the view of the ancient Egyptians the heart was the seat of thought and emotion and even of life itself. As the heart was regarded as the center of life, it was said of the deceased that his heart had departed, and the heart was often equated with a persons very being. It is curious that both Egyptologists refer to the heart as the seat of higher animistic functions, but then equate it with life and being. There is no evidence in the Egyptian texts that the physical heart itself was endowed with individuality and movement after death. When it is pictorially represented in the various New Kingdom texts, the heart is simply placed in the scales of judgment to be weighed in the balance against Maat, the Egyptian personication of truth and justice. It is noteworthy in this respect that in the passages referring to the weighing of the heart, the ba is present and carefully watches the heart being weighed in the scale. If, as it seems, the heart itself was only the seat of higher animistic functions, then what was the animistic entity that performed those functions? The ba is undoubtedly the most reasonable candidate. Wilkinson notes concerning the ba that it was a spiritual aspect of the human being which survived . . . at death, and which was imbued with the fullness of a persons individuality (p. 99). These are the very characteristics also associated with the heart. I propose that the heart was but the seat of the ba and that, while the individual was still alive, the two were not distinguished by the Egyptian scribes. Once death had taken place, however, the ba was released from its seat and distinguished by its own hieroglyph. The Upanisadic traditions of India make even clearer and more denitive references to the heart as the seat of the higher self. The Katha Upanisad states that the Self, ller smaller than small, greater than great, is hidden in the heart of that creature (Mu 1962, p. 11). In the Brhada ranyaka Upanisad it is noted that

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the point of his heart becomes lighted up, and by that light the self departs, either through the eye, or through the skull, or through other places of the body. And when he thus departs, life na) departs after him, and when life thus departs, all the other vital spirits (pra nas) (the chief pra depart after it. . . . That person, under the form of mind (manas), being light indeed, is within the ller 1962, 174175 and 192) heart, small like a grain of rice or barley. (Mu

The association of the higher animistic entity with light is noteworthy, for it is an association found in some New World cultures as well. The Desana state that the soul is a luminous element that not only exists under the reection of the Sun but possesses its own luminosity that the Sun gave it at the moment of birth (Reichel-Dolmatoff 1971, 64). The Upanisadic seers of India, the Aztec Codices, and other sources agree that the seat of the higher animistic entity lies within the heart. This and related postulates are not stated as arbitrary theorizing or simplistic religious beliefs; instead, they reect careful observations made by practiced adepts. From the indigenous viewpoint, these concepts relate to shared realities, experienced by adepts of the respective communities, and represent concepts rooted in corresponding structures of reality. Pre-Columbian Art as a Viable Ethnographic Resource The term pre-Columbian is both chronological and cultural. It refers to the indigenous cultures of the Americas, before they were affected by contact with Europeans. In many cases such contact did not occur until long after 1492. Many pre-Columbian artworks portray shamans or shamanic themes. This is particularly notable in the Olmec culture of Mexico, in the Chavin and coastal cultures of Peru, and in Central America, Colombia, and Ecuador, where shamanic artwork testies to the attributes and skills of shamanic practice. Systematic study of these artifacts, along with corresponding ethnographic literature, allows for a detailed assessment of shamanic practice that can be correlated with iconographic elements observed in the art. A precise mapping of culturally reinforced themes demonstrates their perpetuity through time. Certain core shamanic themes are relevant for an understanding of indigenous concepts of soul: (1) shamanic empowerment; (2) soul ight, or the perceived shamanic ability to leave ones physical form and travel about in ones soul body; (3) shapeshifting, or the belief that shamans can alter the size, shape, and form of their souls or animistic entities; and (4) soul capture, the stated ability to harm, capture, or even absorb and incorporate the lower soul or animistic entity of another. Each of these themes is graphically and repeatedly represented in pre-Columbian art. Shamanic Empowerment: Imaging the Empowered Soul The indigenous views on shamanic powers are internally consistent and form part of an integrated worldview. Neotropical shamans do not walk about during normal


Armand J. Labbe

consciousness ready to undertake shamanic tasks such as healing, altering the weather, soul travel, and other paranormal abilities ascribed to shamans. They must rst activate these powers within themselves, and the ethnographic literature is clear in identifying the various souls as the vehicles of expression for shamanic powers and endeavors. This activation entails a preparatory phase that may include fasting, mental reection and contemplation, the singing of power songs, the yogic posturing of the physical body, or the ingestion of various psychomimetic substances. A large number of mind-altering plants are used to activate shamanic powers. There are depictions of the mescaline-bearing San Pedro cactus in the Moche (100700 A.D.) art of Peru, the peyote cactus in the art of the Shaft Tomb Cultures (200 B.C.400 A.D.) of West Mexico, and representations of shamans smoking cigars in a number of preHispanic art traditions of Costa Rica as well as Mexico. Psychotropic plantsthat is, ayahuasca (Banisteriopsis caapi), yopo (Anadenanthera peregrina), virola (Virola calopylla, as well as Virola calophylloida), and datura (Datura aurea, Datura candida, Datura dolichocarpa, Datura sanguinea, and Datura suaveolens)are believed by indigenous practitioners to be especially effective in facilitating contact between the shaman and the spirit of the plant. Early Spanish observers were quick to attribute such communication to the work of the devil. Later Western ethnographers were just as quick to characterize the native experience as a product of drug-induced hallucination. Under the best of circumstances, researchers can only prove or disprove the native claim from their own standpoint, and that, only if they are able to replicate all of the cultural and contextual variables comprising the experience. The purpose here is not to demonstrate the proof or validity of the native interpretation of the experience, but faithfully to portray the indigenous perspective. A number of different postures and physical techniques evolved that were used as aids in achieving certain subtle states of consciousness, much in the same manner that yogic postures are believed to assist the practitioner in achieving subtle states of consciousness. Many yogic postures in India are likely rooted in an earlier, indigenous shamanism on the subcontinent. A posture used by Tukanoan shamans in the northwest Amazon of Colombia to induce trance consists of a seated position in which the knees are grasped and engulfed by the arms. A dynamic tension is created by attempting to extend the legs outward, while the arms hold the legs in bent position. The knees are pulled inward, but never to the point of touching the chest. The position is assumed while vision is focused on a point of external light, a torch for example. The rate of respiration is altered by this posture as pressure is brought to bear on the thorax (Reichel-Dolmatoff 1988, 44). A relatively large number of portrayals in gold in Muisca style from the Eastern Cordillera region of Colombia document the antiquity and continuity of this posture into the present.

Pre-Columbian Artistic Expressions of Indigenous Concepts of Soul


Tukanoan shamans do not induce trance for the sake of trance, but merely to free themselves for other endeavors of a conscious, willfully directed nature. The relevance of trance to achieving certain altered states of consciousness is directly related to the belief that shamans must disengage their higher soul from the sensory distractions generated by their lower soul, if they are to access subtle states of consciousness and enable shamanic powers such as soul ight or shape-shifting. Contrary to the suggestions that shamanic endeavors are byproducts of hallucination or worse, of a schizophrenic mind, neotropical shamans undergo specic, directed training. The ethnographic literature is clear in its assertion that practitioners, as well as other members of their society, accept the shamanic powers and endeavors as rooted in reality. This is not to deny that hallucinations were not at times also a part of the experience of taking psychomimetic substances. Hallucinatory visions are often deliberately induced and interpreted by neotropical shamans. This is particularly true with respect to the ingestion of yopo and virola, both widely used in the Colombian northwest Amazon (Reichel-Dolmatoff 1975, 324). Although researchers distinguish voluntary trance states, such as those entered into by shamans, from involuntary trance states, such as are experienced by epileptics, there is a need to rene our understanding of trance further. Looked at from the perspective of the indigenous two-soul model, trance can entail displacing the higher animistic entity by an agent other than ones self. This would be what occurs in purported cases of spirit possession. In the case of involuntary possession, the invasive spirit would be seen as willfully displacing the higher animistic entity. In the case of voluntary possession, the individual makes a conscious decision to vacate the seat of consciousness and make it available to an invited spirit. This is little different from a hypnotic state in which the willful conscious individual is supplanted by the hypnotist, who gives directives to what appears to be a somnambulistic, will-less, entity. From this perspective, hypnosis is a psychophysical state in which the higher animistic entity, or soul, has been displaced from its seat of consciousness in the brain by the hypnotist. The second form of trance involves consciously disengaging the higher animistic entity from the lower animistic entity, thereby breaking the xation of the former on normal sensory stimulation, while maintaining conscious awareness. The anchoring of the lower animistic entitys attention on a repetitive, xed phenomenon, like a ame, is believed to facilitate this second kind of trance state. The process of maintaining willful consciousness, while inducing trance in the lower animistic entity, is purportedly accompanied by great tension in the physical body (Reichel-Dolmatoff 1975, 44). This is part of the rationale behind the clenched-teeth motif in pre-Columbian art. Trance states brought about by mind-altering plants or shamanic techniques are also indicated by making the eyes of the gure concentric and glazed looking, or the eyes are portrayed in a way that imparts a sense of introspection to the gure. For example,


Armand J. Labbe

Figure 4.1 The gure is seated cross-legged. The expression on the face, in combination with the eyes, imparts a sense of inner contemplation or trance. The status of the gure is indicated by the large earspools; the higher the rank, the larger the earspools. The designs on items of clothing were sometimes indicative of group identity or afliation. The identication of the object placed between the individuals legs is unclear (polychrome painted pottery, Moche culture, North Coast Peru, c. 100700. Bowers Museum of Cultural Art Collection 88.4.14).

in gures 4.1 and 4.2, both of which are from the Moche culture (c. 100700 A.D.) of the North Coast of Peru, the persons are portrayed seated with eyes xed, staring vacuously. Iconographic Emblems of Shamanic Empowerment Pre-Columbian artists used many conventions to indicate that a shaman was empowered. In gure 4.3, for example, the winged shaman is portrayed in ecstatic ight, borne aloft by his spirit ally, imaged as a gigantic bird with human arms. Both the fact that he is winged, as well as the fact that he is accompanied by a spirit ally, inform us that he is empowered. More specic iconographic references to shamanic empower-

Pre-Columbian Artistic Expressions of Indigenous Concepts of Soul


Figure 4.2 The gure is in seated posture with hands placed on the knees. The eyes are xed and stare vacuously. Figures such as this likely depict shamans in self-induced trance. Entering trance states was often a state preparatory to undertaking a shamanic endeavor such as prognostication, diagnosis of illness, or even soul ight. The white cape and headgear are likely references to the individuals role and function within Moche society. Although both gures 4.1 and 4.2 are in seated posture, the legs are positioned differently. The positioning of the hands and feet, as well as the posture assumed by the individual, is signicant in determining the state of consciousness or condition of mind the individual is endeavoring to access (polychrome painted pottery, Moche culture, North Coast Peru, c. 100700. Bowers Museum of Cultural Art Collection 91.26.532).

ment are sometimes common to particular regions of pre-Columbian America. For instance, horns emanating from the forehead of human gures also served as emblems of shamanic empowerment in West Mexico and other parts of Mesoamerica (see Furst 1965, 2980; Von Winning 1974, 32): Horns are one of the most widespreadindeed universalinsignia of supernatural, priestly, and shamanic power, so much, from the Paleolithic to the ethnographic present, and in so many places, that one hardly needs to make a case that it had the same meaning in pre-Columbian art and symbolism (Furst 1998, 180). Figures 4.4 to 4.9 are representative of this genre. Although Graham (1998, 191203) has argued that the protrusions are not really horns, but seashells, or, more specically, conch shells strapped to the gures head as an emblem of status, his arguments are not compelling and are easily refuted by examining the empirical evidence. Figures 4.4 and 4.6ab to 4.9 illustrate the independent nature of the horn in the Mexican


Armand J. Labbe

Figure 4.3 The composition comprises a winged shaman in soul or ecstatic ight borne aloft on the back of a large spirit bird. That this is no ordinary bird is indicated by the enormous size of the bird and the fact that, instead of legs, the bird has arms that, in the portrayal, are swept back as if to add stability to the shaman gure. The human gure, characterized by a pair of wings, clutches the neck of the bird spirit. Compositions showing a shaman borne aloft in ight by a spirit animal are seen in Amerindian cultural art from the Northwest Coast to Peru (blackware pottery, Chimu culture, North Coast Peru, c. 9001500. Private Collection, Los Angeles).

portrayals. Explanations such as Grahams ignore the fact that the protrusions are not depicted as spiral in form, as are conch shells, and ignore those gures in which the protrusion is present, but the straps are not. Moreover, in many cases where the straps
Figure 4.4 The gure is in seated position and holds a rattle in each hand. It is clear from the manner in which the strap wraps around the horn that it plays no role in holding the horn to the head. It is merely encircling a horn that is emanating from the gures head. Erect or tumescent phalli are commonly depicted in association with shaman gures to denote empowerment or to call attention to the shamans role in mediating fertility. The rattles, horns, and ithyphallic condition of the gure identify the gure as a shaman engaged in ritual. There are essentially two forms of spouts portrayed in West Mexican art of this perioda female spout, in which the opening is wider than the base, and a male spout, in which the base is wider than the aperture. The spout on this gure is of the male variety (pottery, Comala style, West Mexican Shaft Tomb cultures, Colima, West Mexico, c. 100 B.C.400 A.D. Bowers Museum of Cultural Art Collection 86.53.4).

Figures 4.5ab The gures demeanor indicates an individual engaged in deep inner contemplation. The facial features are reduced and the lips tightened. The gure stares, as in trance. The horn at the top of the head identies him as an empowered shaman (pottery, Comala style, West Mexican Shaft Tomb cultures, Colima, West Mexico, c. 100 B.C.400 A.D. Bowers Museum of Cultural Art Collection F78.78.2).

Figures 4.6ab The gure is engaged in playing a large drum, with feet placed along the side of the instrument. Figural whistles such as this were common ritual objects used in a variety of social and cultural contexts. Note that the strap is wrapped around the horn, but not in a manner that would secure a false horn to the gures head. The horn is depicted as a real emanation. The gures hunched back is also iconographically signicant. Hunchbacks were considered endowed with magical powers in Mesoamerica (pottery, West Mexican Shaft Tomb culture, Colima, West Mexico, c. 100 B.C.400 A.D. Bowers Museum of Cultural Art Collection F74.8.9).

Figure 4.7 There are numerous sculptures in the Comala-style art of West Mexico that depict trophy heads or disembodied heads. Headhunting was a widespread pattern. The size of horns on horned gures is believed to reect the relative power of the individual. The sculpture may represent the head of an enemy shaman taken in battle (pottery, Comala Style, West Mexican Shaft Tomb cultures, Colima, West Mexico, c. 100 B.C.400 A.D. Bowers Museum of Cultural Art Collection 86.56.11).

Figures 4.8ab The shape of the body is unusual, but the horn identies the gure as an empowered shaman. The long, angular, prominent nose and elongated face show some inuence from the Jalisco area of West Mexico in this composition. The coffee-bean eyes, however, are typical of the Colima area (pottery, West Mexican Shaft Tomb cultures, Comala style, Colima, West Mexico, c. 100 B.C. 400 A.D. Bowers Museum of Cultural Art Collection 2000.40.21).

Figure 4.9 The gure is strapped to a bed and is portrayed in a highly emotive state. A large horn emanates from the head. This composition likely represents a shaman undergoing a hallucinatory experience, strapped to the bed for his own protection. The sculpture is in fact a whistle that undoubtedly would have been used by a shaman-priest in ritual activities (pottery, Veracruz, Mexico, c. 5501500. Bowers Museum of Cultural Art Collection 96.56.10).

Pre-Columbian Artistic Expressions of Indigenous Concepts of Soul


Figure 4.10 The two menacing gures that ank each side of the central gure are actually portrayed as emanating from the central gures head. They are tingunas or projections of the central shamans power. Projections emanating from the shamans body may take many different animal forms. Serpents, birds, felines, and fanged gures are common forms of tingunas in the pre-Hispanic art of Peru and elsewhere. On the other hand, crocodilians were commonly used in the Macaracasstyle art (c. 8001000 A.D.) of Central Panama. Projections of this type are used to reference shamanic empowerment (textile, Coastal Peru, c. 10001600. Bowers Museum of Cultural Art Collections 91.449.1).

are present, as in gures 4.4 and 4.6ab, the strap is clearly wrapped around the protrusion, supported by it, rather than holding it in place against the head. In the case of the West Mexican portrayals, the protruding horn is also associated with other iconography that assists us in identifying the gure as a shamanfor example, gural postures in which the gure is facing to the left, believed to be the direction from which inimical spirits will approach a shaman. A widespread convention in Central and South America was to depict emanations from the body of the central shamanic gure. These often take the form of serpents, crocodilians, birds, or other animals (gures 4.10 to 4.16). They are characteristically serpentine and undulating regardless of the head of the animal depicted. The term tinguna is used by Peruvian vegetalistas to refer to shamanic electromagnetic-like emanations, which may take the form of animals or people. The term seems to be an appropriate designation for the pre-Columbian portrayals. The Peruvian Lamistas from whose language the term is derived entertain an analogous concept (Luna 1991, 33). For them tingunas (gures 4.10 to 4.19) represent the shamans ability to radiate and project shamanic power. The power projected is that of the lower animistic entity, directed by the will of the higher animistic entity. The ethnographic description of


Armand J. Labbe

Figure 4.11 A central anthropomorphic gure stands in a menacing pose. Numerous tingunas incorporating triangular elements emanate from the head and the sides of the body. Masks such as this were placed over the face of the deceased, probably to protect the deceased from potentially harmful spirits or forces. In such cases the shaman image serves as a guardian of the tomb and corpse. Although each mummy mask is uniquely decorated, stock conventions such as the use of tingunas as symbols of shamanic empowerment are routinely employed, as can be seen in the other examples referenced below (painted textile, Paracas culture, South Coast Peru, c. 300100 B.C. Bowers Museum of Cultural Art Collection 91.49.4).

Figure 4.12 The central gure in this mummy-mask fragment is characterized by large concentric eyes and numerous tingunas, including tingunas in the form of feline heads. The composition represents an empowered shaman. The power of the shaman is accentuated by the zigzag form given some of the tingunas. The zigzag pattern is a symbol of lightning and hence dynamism and vitality (painted textile, Paracas culture, South Coast Peru, c. 300100 B.C. Bowers Museum of Cultural Art Collection 91.49.9).

Figure 4.14 Figure 4.13 The standing central anthropomorphic gure is characterized by numerous projections and emanationsthat is, tingunas. The empowered shaman is a stock theme of the Paracas mummy masks (painted textile, Paracas culture, South Coast Peru, c. 300100 B.C. Bowers Museum of Cultural Art Collection 91.49.20). In this composition only the head of the shaman is distinguished. The rest of the body has dissolved to become a eld of emanations, or tingunas (painted textile, Paracas culture, South Coast Peru, c. 300100 B.C. Bowers Museum of Cultural Art Collection 91.49.6).

Figure 4.15 The principal emanations, or tingunas, in this composition are serpentine in nature and terminate in the form of trophy heads. This may be an allusion to the central gures source of Figure 4.16 In this composition the tingunas emanating from the central body are serpentine in nature. Some of the serpentine tingunas terminate in the form of trophy heads. Note the trophy heads hanging from the gures arms (painted textile, Paracas culture, South Coast Peru, c. 300100 B.C. Bowers Museum of Cultural Art Collection 91.49.7). shamanic power. Among neotropical ethnographic groups that practiced head-hunting in the not-so-distant past, it was believed that one could gain personal power by controlling the spirit of the beheaded enemy or, in some cases, by incorporating the enemys spirit in ones own being, thereby increasing ones personal power (painted textile, Paracas culture, South Coast Peru, c. 300100 B.C. Bowers Museum of Cultural Art Collection 91.49.5).


Armand J. Labbe

tingunas is the best explanation for the projections and emanations associated with shamanic gures in pre-Columbian art. Shamanic empowerment is the theme of a composition recorded on a blackware stirrup-spout pottery bottle from the Chimu Culture (9001420) of the North Coast of Peru (gures 4.17ab). The front of the vessel portrays a gure seated on a bench, a widespread symbol of authority in pre-Columbian art, but also closely associated with the shaman and shamanic contemplation. The gure holds a staff in each hand. On the reverse side the bench is absent and the gure is transgured. In place of staffs,

Figure 4.17a The front side of the vessel depicts a shaman in meditation, seated on a bench, and about to enter a trance state preparing himself for shamanic empowerment (black pottery, Chimu culture, North Coast Peru, c. 10001500. Bowers Museum of Cultural Art Collection F81.49.1).

Figure 4.17b The back side of the vessel shows a shaman in transguration. Note the tingunas in the form of serpents at the head and the two animal familiars or spirit assistants anking the shaman. Although the bench is not indicated, this gure on the back side likely represents the same shaman seen on the front of the vessel, who is now in a transformed state of being.

animal auxiliaries ank the gure on each side. The gure appears to be levitating and serpentine protrusionsthat is, tingunasemanate from the head or headdress. The famed seven-foot-tall Peruvian Raimondi Stela, a Chavin (1000500 B.C.) monument depicting a fanged anthropomorphic gure grasping a staff in each hand, is a case in point. Numerous serpentine tingunas are seen emanating from the head and sides of the body. This composition has been variously identied as an agricultural de-

Pre-Columbian Artistic Expressions of Indigenous Concepts of Soul


Figure 4.18 Drawing of the Gateway God at Tiwanaku. The gure is characterized by a profusion of easily identiable shamanic images such as the serpentine tingunas emanating from the head and sides of the body. Related iconography includes the trophy heads suspended from the arms, indicating head-hunting. The gure holds a bird-headed staff in each arm. The iconography is clearly shamanic in nature. If the gure portrayed represents a deity, it is one the artist wishes us to recognize as shamanically powerful. In many South American ethnographic cultures, the Sun Father is referred to as the First or Paramount Shaman. This may be the personage referenced in the so-called Gateway God and Staff God compositions of Peru and Bolivia (artist rendering by Eric Beltz, 2001).

ity or simply referred to as a staff god. Whether a deity is intended or not, the tingunas and fangs clearly identify the gure as one possessing great shamanic power. Similar portrayals are seen on pre-Hispanic Peruvian pottery, as well as textiles, and are distinctly related to the so-called Gateway God or Portal God of Tiwanaku in the Bolivian Highlands. In a line drawing of this monument (gure 4.18) the personage is seen clutching a serpentine staff in each hand. As in the Raimondi stela, numerous serpentine tingunas emanate from the head and sides of the body. The images in question are generally found represented on monuments and on funerary art. The funerary context is not surprising, given the role of the shaman in these societies as psychopomp, the individual entrusted with conducting the soul of the


Armand J. Labbe

Figure 4.19 The composition consists of two winged warrior gures, one on each side of the vessel. Each is armed with spear and shield. Sparse vegetation, representative of the desert landscape of the North Coast of Peru, is seen in the background. The bird-beaked face and wings suggest that this composition represents a battle between two shamans occurring in out-of-body travel, or soul ight. Each culture had its own iconographic conventions to depict the shaman-in-combat theme. Winged warriors appear to have been a variant used by the Moche of Peru. Winged anthropomorphic gures are widespread in Central and South American pre-Columbian art (painted pottery, Moche culture, North Coast Peru, c. 100700. Bowers Museum of Cultural Art Collection 88.4.11).

dead into the afterlife. The iconographic associations with fertility are also not surprising, because the shaman in these societies is considered the guardian of fertility. Both the horn symbol of Mesoamerica and the shamanic emanations (tingunas) found in the pre-Columbian art of lower Central America and South America represent projections of power beyond the connes of the normal physical body. In some respects, the halos in Christian art used to depict the radiant soul of saints and the spirit forms of angelic beings may be seen as comparable artistic conventions. Tingunas are almost invariably associated with gures that are undergoing or have undergone metamorphosis: a condition invariably associated with shamans in the ethnographic literature. These same gures also usually have binary geometric emblems

Pre-Columbian Artistic Expressions of Indigenous Concepts of Soul


or double-headed birds on their chests, a convention alluding to the shamans role as 1995, 8999) and referencintermediary between the dualistic powers of nature (Labbe ing the shamans role in maintaining fertility and balance in nature. Soul Flight: Bird Men and the Flight of the Soul The so-called souls or animistic entities are perceived by shamans to be self-contained elds of energy. They are believed capable of separating from the physical body either accidentally or intentionally. Accidental separations are sometimes said to be due to posttraumatic stress, incurred from severe accidents or even medication. Only shamans who have undergone the necessary training, however, are believed capable of intentionally leaving the body. This can be effected by means of trance, learned techniques, or ingestion of psychomimetic substances such as yaje. The perceived ability of shamans to leave their physical body and y about in one or another soul body is universal in the neotropical literature: Taking tobacco juice via the nose, the shaman separates quickly his soul from his retching body and is transported by the tobacco Spirit on an ecstatic journey (Wilbert 1987, 174). According to Reichel-Dolmatof (1971, 64), the Desana of the northwest Amazon held that the soul can separate itself occasionally from the body during life as for example, during a hallucinatory state or in the case of a sudden accident. Similarly, among the Aztecs of Mexico it was believed that shamans could voluntarily send their tonalli on magical ights to other worlds outside their bodies, aided by hallucinogens (Ortiz de Montellano 1990, 69). Contextualizing this phenomenon against the backdrop of the two-soul theory, I postulate that the principal entity that engages in soul ight is the higher animistic entity. The shaman engages in soul ight as a willful, conscious entity. Both willfulness and consciousness are attributes associated with the higher animistic entity. What is unclear is the nature of any involvement of the lower animistic entity in this endeavor. Since soul ight is a persistent theme in the South American ethnographic literature, one should expect to nd it also represented in the pre-Columbian art of the region. In his inuential work, Goldwork and Shamanism, Reichel-Dolmatoff proposed that a genre of pre-Columbian gold artworks was embodied by representations of shamanic ight. The essential element in these compositions is a blending of avian and anthropomorphic characteristics, were-birds so to speak, which are referenced as birdmen in the scholarly literature (Reichel-Dolmatoff 1988, 7795). Analogous birdmen representations are found in the pre-Hispanic art of widely dispersed regions of the Americas. Reichel-Dolmatoffs interpretation is supported by the fact that the cultures that produced these images were clearly shamanic cultures. The fact that similar imagery was used over wide regions of the Americas would preclude the likelihood that the imagery in question represents a local deity or an aspect of exclusive local myth.


Armand J. Labbe

Figure 4.20 This composition blends several shamanic themes, including the following: shaman-in-trance, referenced by the concentric eyes in combination with an open, menacing mouth; shamanempowered, referenced by elements such as serpentine tingunas and stingray spines radiating from the sides of the gures body; shaman-in-transformation, referenced by the fact that the gure is represented as an anthropomorphic saurian; shaman-in-soul-ight, referenced by the arms that have been transformed into wings; and shaman-in-combat, referenced by the menacing posture and inherent dynamism of the composition (polychrome painted pottery, view of inner bowl, Macaracas culture, Central Panama, c. 8001000. Bowers Museum of Cultural Art Collection 97.115.7).

Anthropomorphic birdmen are portrayed in many pre-Columbian cultures. For example, gure 4.19, a ceramic stirrup-spout vessel of the Moche culture of Peru, portrays a winged, bird-headed, anthropomorphic warrior brandishing a shield and weapons. Donnan (1978, 132) identied such gures as supernatural warriors. I agree that the gure is not a portrayal of an ordinary warrior and that it represents a shaman, in soul ight, about to engage in shamanic combat. Shamanic combat is a common theme of neotropical shamanism and is portrayed in pre-Columbian art from West Mexico down through Peru. In most other cultures in which the theme is portrayed there is additional contextual iconography, such as tingunas, that enable us condently to identify the winged personage as a shaman. There are several specic, winged anthropomorphic personages in the Moche art of Peru. Among these are the so-called bird runners, which are winged anthropomorphic gures, depicted running in prole, and generally shown carrying an unidentied object: possibly something wrapped in a cloth. Donnan did not associate the bird run-

Pre-Columbian Artistic Expressions of Indigenous Concepts of Soul


Figure 4.21 This sketch, patterned after actual Olmec artworks, depicts a winged anthropomorphic gure, likely a portrayal of a shaman in soul ight. In this case, however, the wings might be those of a bat, rather than those of a bird, as seems to be indicated by the shape of the wings and the scalloping of their sides (artist rendering by Eric Beltz, 2001).

ners with shamanic ight. I suggest that the winged runners are also in soul ight, and that they represent shamanic auxiliaries, or subordinates, in service to a paramount shaman. Figure 4.20 is typical for the Macaracas style and depicts in its center an anthropomorphic frontal facing gure that represents a transformed shaman. A whole complex of shamanically related iconography comes together in this composition; notable are the concentric eyes and menacing teeth. His arms have transformed into wings suggesting soul ight, while distinctive projectionsthat is, tingunasemanate from the head and body. The feet are equipped with long claws. The portrayal is a Central Panamanian example of the shaman as supernatural warrior and is thematically equivalent to the Moche supernatural winged warrior noted above. Figure 4.21 is an artists rendering, based on actual examples, of a winged anthropomorphic gure in Olmec style. The wings, however, are scalloped in outline and may represent those of a bat, rather than those of a bird. In any event it is likely that a winged shaman and the theme of soul ight is intended. The gure is wearing a belt, which may be a stylized Olmec version of the avian belts seen elsewhere (e.g., ReichelDolmatoff 1988).


Armand J. Labbe

Shape-Shifting: Jaguars, Crocodilians, and the Transformation of Soul Shamans who have mastered soul ight may also learn to willfully alter the shape and appearance of their animistic entities, or souls. The ethnographic literature is rich in allusions to the souls ability to shape-shift and undergo transformation. A Sibundoy Indian from southern Colombia conded: I saw it, you know, a rey (the soul) came along and then turned into a dog. The dog turned white and it wouldnt let me pass (McDowell 1989, 131). It is noteworthy that the informant described the apparition as a reythat is, visually a point of light. The association of the soul with a point of light, as noted earlier, references the higher animistic entity. Furst (1995, 6983) noted that the Huichol shamans of West Mexico somersault to transform themselves into animal alter egos. Referring to their shamanic ancestors, Tukanoan informants of the northwest Amazon stated that these ancients had viho (psychotropic snuff) to turn themselves into doubles (Reichel-Dolmatoff 1975, 110). The most common and widespread form assumed is that of the jaguar. Wilbert (1987, 193) noted: A closer afnity between jaguar and shaman is hardly conceivable, and tobacco, like other mind-altering drugs, is an important agent of the jaguar transformation complex of South America. Among some groups the shaman-turnedjaguar is imaged as a were-jaguar. The Catio, explains Wilbert, picture them as personages with a human body and feline head and claws (p. 196). Wilberts description of the Catio perspective resonates with many portrayals in pre-Columbian art, most notably the Olmec anthropomorphic jaguars with human body and feline head. Were-jaguar representations are common in the Olmec art of Mesoamerica. Some researchers have recognized that the Olmec were-jaguar forms are representations of shamanic transformation (Furst 1995, 6981). Figures 4.22 to 4.24 are representative of typical portrayals of Olmec jaguar transformations. In most of the Olmec renditions, the jaguar characteristics are especially pronounced in the gures head, particularly in the region of the face below the eyes. The mouths are often depicted snarling. The bodies are generally more anthropomorphic in detail. A jaguar metate (gures 4.25ab) from Costa Rica also places the jaguar characteristics in the head. The binary complementary geometric design atop the felines head serves to bring attention to the shamans power over fertility in the same manner that similar symbolism is placed on the chest of shamanic gures in other compositions. The legs of the metate are composed of a series of inverted bird heads. Inverted images in preColumbian art are often allusions to the underworld, another shamanic domain. In gure 4.26 each of the various shamanic dimensionsthat is, Upper, Middle, and Lower Worldsis seen to be an inverted, mirror image of the adjacent world. The zigzag lightning pattern effected as negative design forms a network used by the artist to illustrate the interconnectedness of the three realms of reality, as well as the interconnectedness of life itself.

Figure 4.22 Kneeling gure with jaguar facial features and anthropomorphic body. The hands are held on knees, a stock posture associated with Olmec anthropomorphic jaguar gures, portraying the jaguar transformation theme (artist rendering by Eric Beltz, 2001).

Figure 4.23 Figure is kneeling with one knee bent and the other raised. The body is anthropomorphic, the face catlike (artist rendering Eric Beltz, 2001).

Figure 4.24 Typical of all Olmec depictions of the jaguar transformation theme is the portrayal of the body in anthropomorphic form with the head rendered with strong feline characteristics. The pose and style of this sketch patterned after actual Olmec artworks is very close in style to the feline-headed artwork from Key Marco, Florida, referenced in the text (artist rendering Eric Beltz, 2001).


Armand J. Labbe

Figures 4.25ab Highly ornate and intricately carved metates such as this are found in the funerary context of elite burials. Metates, or grinding stones, are by nature associated with the concept of transformation. Only the head of the sculpture is in jaguar form. The legs incorporate a series of long-beaked bird heads positioned upside down. The composition is shamanic in nature. The jaguar head alludes to the theme of jaguar transformation associated with neotropical shamans. The shamanic nature of the jaguar head is reinforced by the interlocking, binary L-shaped elements used to decorate the head. This alludes to the shamans control over the dualistic male and female forces involved in fertility and the formation of life (volcanic rock, Guanacaste-Nicoya zone, Costa Rica, Late Period IVPeriod V, c. 300700. Bowers Museum of Cultural Art Collection 97.40.1).

Key Marco, a site excavated by Frank Cushing in the 1890s, yielded an extraordinary sculpture in wood depicting a kneeling form with human body and feline head. Although the piece is estimated to have been made sometime between 1000 and 1400, it is remarkably similar in style and composition to the much earlier Olmec jaguar transformation pieces, which mostly date from between 1000 and 400 B.C. (see gure 4.24, which the Key Marco sculpture closely resembles). The Olmec pieces were largely unknown at the time of the Cushing excavations. The shamanic nature of the Key Marco sculpture is underscored by the series of triangles encircling the eyes of the feline head. Geometric congurations, often in the form of stylized bird heads or stylized birds, commonly encircle the eyes of shamanic gures in pre-Columbian art. The sculpture likely represents a shamanic feline transformation and may be older than heretofore realized. A common practice in pre-Columbian art is the use of metonyms, the representation of a complex symbolism by abstracting a part of the complex to represent the whole. In the case of the were-jaguar, the felines fangs were abstracted and used in such a

Pre-Columbian Artistic Expressions of Indigenous Concepts of Soul


Figure 4.26 The design is divided into three decorative bands, each representing a division of the shamanic cosmos. The upper band represents the Upper World, the middle band the Middle World, and the bottom band the Underworld. Each band is a mirror image of the adjacent band. The artist, however, has deftly connected all three realms by means of geometric zigzag design elements, used to represent lightning, which itself represents dynamism and fertility (painted pottery, Chupicuaro culture, Guanajuato, Mexico, c. 300100 B.C. Bowers Museum of Cultural Art Collection F81.18.2).

manner. Fanged anthropomorphic gures, lacking other feline characteristics, are common in the art of Colombia (gures 4.27 to 4.30), Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. Many of these are likely representations of shamanic were-jaguars. In the art of Central Panama, although shamanic felines are depicted, werecrocodilians or were-saurians are more common. Typically, the were-crocodilians are rendered in prole. The torso, characteristically, is decorated with binary geometrics, symbolic of the shamans mastery of dualistic forces, particularly fertility. Both the hands and feet are clawed. The composition is a classic example of the transformed shaman as warrior, which is emblematic of the shaman-in-combat theme portrayed in gure 4.20, a frontal-facing version of a were-crocodilian. In gure 4.20, the shamanin-soul-ight theme is combined with that of the shaman-in-combat. In common


Armand J. Labbe

Figure 4.27 The negative space around the gures eyes is in the form of stylized bird heads, more commonly painted around the eyes of shamanic gures in the pottery art of other regions. The fanged teeth are used metonymically to represent the jaguar. Metonymy is a common feature of preColumbian art. This gure, then, may represent an empowered shaman serving as a guardian gure. The n art is indisputable. shamanic context of San Agust Many comparable gures were found buried within the n renumerous elite cist graves found in the San Agust n gion. They serve as guardians of the tomb (San Agust , Region, Colombia. Photograph by Armand J. Labbe 1984).

with other compositions in this genre from Central Panama, the gures eyes are encircled with bird-head motifs and tingunas in the form of stingray spines. Earlier interpretations identied such were-creatures as Crocodile Gods or Bat Gods: names chosen by the researcher simply because the personage was no ordinary

Figure 4.28 The gure is in a dynamic posture with the arms, in tension, pulled back alongside the body. The alter ego is in the form of a bicephalic anthropomorphic saurian with a human head atop and a crocodilian head below. The n composition is clearly shamanic in nature (San Agust , Region, Colombia. Photograph by Armand J. Labbe 1984).

Pre-Columbian Artistic Expressions of Indigenous Concepts of Soul


Figure 4.30 The gure is fanged and is surmounted by an alter-ego gure. He brandishes a club to indiFigure 4.29 The fangs are likely used here metonymically to reference a jaguar tranformation by an n Region, Coempowered shaman (San Agust , lombia. Photograph by Armand J. Labbe 1984). cate that he is ready for combat. This composin example of the shamantion is a San Agust n in-combat theme seen elsewhere (San Agust Region, Colombia. Photograph by Armand J. , 1984). Labbe

animal since it had mixed zoomorphic and human characteristics. More recent ethnographic ndings, however, suggest an alternative interpretation. The neotropical database is rich in references to the theme of shamanic transformation and the association of this theme with were-animals, but devoid of references to bat gods or crocodile gods. Even in cases where the gure may represent a deity, the iconography is referencing the shamanic power of the deity. Although certain forces of nature were personied as deities, animals were not. Animal imagery, but not anthropomorphized animal imagery, was most commonly used to reference attributes of deities. In Mexico, the turtle was used to image the earth in relationship to the movement of the sun along the horizon. The head of a toad was used to refer to a male aspect of the earth, Tlaltecuhtli. A feathered serpent represented Quetzalcoatl, a personication of the cosmic dual-natured life force otl, another name for Ometecuhtlithat was engendered by the cosmic duality, Omete


Armand J. Labbe

Figures 4.31ab This composition is an example of the shaman-in-transformation theme. In this case the shaman is shape-shifting into a bird form. The human arms are, however, still visible and the head is portrayed as more human than birdlike. The body is painted with dynamic tingunas and the eyes are encircled with the image of a bird head. Both tingunas and the parrot-head eyes are iconographic indicators that the gure portrayed is a shamanic gure (polychrome pottery, Conte style, Central Panama, c. 600800. Bowers Museum of Cultural Art Collection 97.115.5).

Omecihuatl. None of these animal representations, however, referred to the animal portrayed as an animal god. Among some groups in South America, the spiritual sun played a prominent role, as did certain forces of nature, but the cosmologies are surprisingly sophisticated. The sun, as avatar and harbinger of civilization, is given anthropomorphic form among some groups. A number of Panamanian pieces depict shamans in avian transformation. Figure 4.31a is a typical example of this genre. That we are not observing a ritual in which a practitioner is simply wearing an avian costume is indicated iconographically. The gure is coded with typical, easily identiable shamanic imagery such as the prole birdhead markings around the eyes and the dynamic tingunas painted on the torso. The shamans metamorphosis into a bird is indicated by the lack of legs and feet, and is especially evident when the gure is seen in prole (gure 4.31b). Figures 4.11 to 4.16, a group of mummy cloths from the Paracas culture of Coastal Peru, illustrate the widespread distribution of the essential iconography noted above. Each cloth is decorated with a central shamanic gure. Each gure is seen frontally and

Pre-Columbian Artistic Expressions of Indigenous Concepts of Soul


each has numerous serpentine tingunas emanating from the body. All have open mouths with bared menacing teeth. The images on these cloths are Paracas versions of the empowered shaman and shaman-in-combat themes. The Paracas examples are conceptually and iconographically essentially identical to the Central Panamanian examples (compare the Paracas examples in gures 4.11 to 4.16 with gure 4.20). The signicance of the Paracas examples lies in their age, between 300 and 100 B.C., which ranks them among the earliest artworks reecting these themes and associated iconography. In gure 4.10, a later fragment of a large Coastal Peruvian textile, the central personage is anked by anthropomorphic jaguars, which on closer inspection are also seen to be tingunas emanating from his head. Soul Capture and Soul Loss The concept of soul capture, like the other themes discussed above, is intimately connected to the indigenous concept of soul. The indigenous concept views the lower animistic entity to be phenomenally based. Since the lower animistic entity is purported to be a self-contained eld of energy, driven and sustained by the vital force, it is susceptible to being affected by other phenomena or actions directed against it. As noted above, both the esoteric traditions of India and China postulate the existence of a system of channels through which the vital force is said to ow. Acupuncture was developed in China as a means of stimulating the ow of vital force through meridians or centers that had become congested or blocked. It is held that if the ow of chi is impeded, ill-health will follow. It is also held that in a healthy individual the lower animistic entity permeates the physical form, thereby bathing it in vital force. If the ow of vital force is impeded, a corresponding part of the body will be deprived of vital force and will therefore be susceptible to degeneration, attack by invasive agencies, and decay. There is a strong conceptual link between the vital force and health. This link is found cross-culturally and is widespread. (In this respect it is noteworthy that the Egyptian hieroglyph for the ka, or lower animistic entity, was a pair of arms and hands held upright, which meant to protect.) The portrayal, in art, of numerous tingunasthat is, vital emanationsmay thus be seen as a means of emphasizing that the shaman has great stores of vital force. Figures 4.20 and 4.10 to 4.16 are illustrative. Indigenous ideology identies the lower animistic entity with the vital force. By inference, the tingunas, therefore, are emanating from the shamans subtle body, the lower animistic entity. From the indigenous perspective, vital force can be increased or decreased. Its ow (through the meridians) can be enhanced or impeded. The concept of soul loss references this characteristic of the vital force. Soul loss, therefore, is a condition associated in the indigenous mind with the lower animistic entity. The concept of soul loss is not restricted to indigenous communities. Under the name of susto, it also forms part of


Armand J. Labbe

the cultural reality of the mestizo and white populations of Latin America. The vulnerability of the vital force is not, however, a purely conceptual phenomenon. The concept of vital force, and such phrases as soul loss and soul capture that refer to vital force, are narrative representations of actual physical processes. To the casual observer, the individual aficted with susto appears paranoid and physically wasting. As the condition progresses, the individual complains of acute cold and numbness in the extremities and voices concern about impending death. Western physicians who are confronted with it often diagnose the condition as posttraumatic stress. The indigenous healers and mestizo curanderos diagnose the illness as due to soul loss. The condition can be brought on in many ways, but a common cause is a situation in which the victim believes that he or she is being targeted by a malevolent sorcerer. If the victim shares the indigenous perspectives on sorcery, great fear is engendered. Western medicine is usually inefcient in bringing about a cure of susto, while the indigenous healers reputedly have a high success rate. The difference in interpretation between the Western doctor and the indigenous healer about the nature of susto, however, is signicant to this success. The indigenous healer believes that the victim of susto is in a condition in which the lower animistic entity is partially or in great part projected from the body due to the engendered fear. From the indigenous perspective, this will deprive certain parts of the physical body of vital force, resulting in vulnerability to invasive agents and chill and cold in the hands and feet. If unchecked, this vulnerability progresses ever upward from these extremities. The healer of susto begins by establishing a rapport with the victim. The treatment often consists of a combination of chanting, aromatic herbs, and shaking a rattle. By implication, the treatment consists in coaxing the lower animistic entity to return fully to the body. The lower animistic entitys attention is apparently solicited through the aromatic herbs and the sound of the rattle, because it is believed that the sense of hearing and sense of smell are the two most developed senses in the lower animistic entity. To an outside observer unfamiliar with the indigenous belief system, the whole procedure seems like so much superstitious nonsense. To the informed observer, the treatment is a logical response within the context of the indigenous concept of soul. The ethnographic literature for Mesoamerica and the neotropics documents the widespread belief that an individuals lower animistic entity could be drained of its energy, captured, or even absorbed by an adversarial shaman. The following references are illustrative. Rulers, who had special need for tonalli, could also increase it through other means. n 1956, Slaves were sacriced to add vitality to the ruler and to extend his life (Sahagu vol. 1, 334335).

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Since a man with an arutam soul cannot die as the result of physical violence, poisoning, or witchcraft, i.e., any interpersonal attack, a person who wishes to kill a specic enemy attempts to steal his arutam soul away from him as a prelude to assassinating him. (Harner 1984, 141) (shaman) may seize it and thus The soul of any individual is exposed to many dangers. A paye cause death or serious illness. (Reichel-Dolmatoff 1971, 65)

n mention of tonalli refers to the vital force and hence the lower animistic The Sahagu entity, while the Harner reference pertains to the Jivaro of Eastern Ecuador. The arutam soul is believed to be the soul of an ancestor that is initially acquired by an individual prepared to receive one. Its acquisition is thought to confer power and protection against harm to its possessor. The soul referenced in Reichel-Dolmatoffs comment on the Desana is the simpora. Among the Yanomamo, who, like other Native Americans, entertain the concept of multiple souls, the animistic entity that is vulnerable to harm or capture is known as the noreshi: Sickness results when the noreshi has left the body. Unless it is brought back soon, the person will die. The noreshi is the vulnerable portion of the complete being, the part that is the target of witchcraft and harmful magic (Chagnon 1968, 49). The identication of soul capture in pre-Columbian art is difcult to ascertain because of the variables involved. The ethnographic literature informs us that the soul capturer is the shaman or one of his or her spirit agents. Any composition portraying soul capture should have a gure identiable as a shaman or a shamans agent. The composition must also include an element or icon identiable as the captured soul. A clue to identifying the element that represents the captured soul may lie in the Jivaro ethnographic database. Among the Jivaro, one of the purposes of head taking and head shrinking is to capture the muisak or avenging soul of an enemy (Harner 1984, 145). The muisak is thus contained, and for a time at least, is imprisoned within the trophy head. Within the context of indigenous concepts of soul presented above, this would imply that the lower animistic entity had been prevented from leaving the body along with the higher animistic entity. Because a prime exit from the body is through the crown of the head, the implication would be that this passageway had been blocked in the course of the capture and before the decapitation had taken place, thereby preventing the lower animistic entity from leaving the head. The pre-Columbian art of Coastal Peru contains many compositions depicting powerful shamanic personages holding trophy heads. In the art of Sipan, a manifestation of Moche culture, such a personage is known as the decapitator. The decapitator characteristically has a fearsome open mouth with large felinelike fangs (a were-jaguar shaman?) and holds a head in one hand and a large tumi knife in the other. Another Moche theme that may reect a concept analogous to that of Aztec rulers increasing their tonalli by absorbing the tonalli of sacriced victims, is the Moche sacrice ceremony epitomized by a line drawing on a Moche ceramic vessel (Donnan,


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1976, 160161). The scene consists of a powerful central gure, with what appear to be serpentine tingunas emanating from his head, being offered cups of blood obtained from sacriced prisoners. The cup bearer is an anthropomorphic winged personage. The iconography suggests that the central gure is either a powerful ruler or shaman (perhaps shaman-priest or even shaman-ruler) in the act of ingesting the vital force of the sacriced victims by drinking their blood. The winged humans are likely shamanic auxiliariesthat is, subordinate shaman assistants. Flying anthropomorphs clutching trophy heads or spiritized gures are common in the pre-Columbian graphic art of South Coast Peru. Such forms are usually identied as mythic creatures in the literature. Like the Moche decapitator, they often have a knife in one hand and a head or spirit form in the other. The artists seem to equate the head and the spirit form, and to have the head is to have control over the spirit form. The two are artistically and contextually connected. The decapitators, moreover, are usually rendered in prole, with bodies and legs positioned horizontally to give the appearance of ying. Given the associations in the ethnographic literature between trophy heads, blood, and indigenous concepts of soul, I suggest that they represent shamans in ight in the act of soul capture. Figures 4.32ab are an example of one of these prole gures. This example is from the Nazca culture of the South Coast of Peru. The gures head is human but the body is long and serpentine in nature and terminates in the form of a bird. A closer look at the serpentine body, however, reveals that the body is lled from one end to the other with schematized anthropomorphic spirit gures that apparently have been ingested or consumed by the central gure. The implication is that the power of the central gure is derived from the spirits he or she has ingested. Conclusion What is the relevance of indigenous concepts of soul to an understanding of native concepts of consciousness? To begin, the model of consciousness that emerges from a study of pre-Columbian art and the contemporary ethnographies is inferred from and implied in the data, rather than stated or dened. The study only allows for a preliminary reconstruction of the native perspectives pertaining to concepts of consciousness. Nonetheless, certain salient features can be discerned. The Native American paradigm identies the higher animistic entity as the experiencer of consciousness. It rejects the view that consciousness is an epiphenomenon of purely material processes. Although the higher animistic entity normally functions through the physical body and subtle body, it ultimately has an existence independent of either. In this respect, the model also distinguishes the consciousness of an ordinary individual from that of a trained adept; that of the former is conditioned, that of the latter can be intentionally enhanced or modied.

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Figures 4.32ab Whether the personage portrayed on this jar is a shaman in transformation or a personage taken from the shamanic mindscape of prehistoric Peru, is unclear. The iconography, however, suggests a shaman in transformation. The gures head and face are essentially human. The body is serpentine and terminates in a bird form. All of these elements can be seen incorporated in shamanic gures from other pre-Columbian regions. Moreover, a close examination of the body (see gure 4.32b) reveals that a series of spirit forms with heads have been ingested and run through the center and length of the central gures body. This would suggest that the central gure has captured and incorporated these spirits into his being and that they may be a source of his power (polychrome pottery, Nazca culture, South Coast Peru, c. 100600. Bowers Museum of Cultural Art Collection 88.50.1).

Ordinary consciousness is affected by physical law, the physical and subtle forms, as well as culture. Relative to the conditioned individual, the adept is characterized by increased control, enhanced powers, and freedom of movement within the realms of the shamanic cosmos. The ordinary individual experiences a world of xed consciousness localized in the physical space occupied by the body. The adept is not only capable of altering the operational mode of consciousness; his or her consciousness moves freely within the eld of reality. The common persons identity is derived from his or her identication with the physical form and from the functions and positions allotted to a person by culture and society. The adepts identity is largely with life itself as process and destiny. Form


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has only relative signicance, as a functional mask adopted as adaptation to environment. Lacking xed intrinsic signicance, it is viewed as a tool, a mere vehicle of phenomenal expression. In this scheme, there are no hierarchies of forms, merely formal functions in the integrated fabric of life. In conformity with the Buddhist view, the indigenous American model of consciousness acknowledges that the phenomenal aspects of consciousness result from the interplay of phenomenal forcesthat is, they are the product of conditioned coproduction. In this view, sense consciousnesssuch as vision or hearingis conditioned by and dependent on sensory stimuli and sensory receptors. Unlike Buddhism, however, the indigenous model does not deny the existence of an individual soul, only the view that this soul is independent of the rest of reality. Although none of the indigenous beliefs can be ontologically demonstrated at present, the fact that such beliefs persisted for thousands of years, as is demonstrated by the pre-Columbian art, and the fact that the claims made in the Americas are supported by similar claims made by indigenous practitioners in cultures worldwide, argue against the proposition that such claims are merely personal fantasies engendered by hallucination. The interpretations given above constitute working hypotheses that can be applied against the ethnographic and pre-Columbian data. The value of any hypothesis lies in its ability to order the data in meaningful ways and explain problems posed by the data. The study underscores the need for additional ethnographic work on extant indigenous cultures that focuses specically on collecting data on indigenous concepts of soul and native esoterica. This requires the development of a well-designed research model and the identication of indigenous informants, willing and qualied to comment on the esoterica of their group.
Note I would like to thank Peter Keller (President) and Vickie Byrd (CAO) of the Bowers Museum of Cultural Art for supporting this research; Alice Bryant (Collections Manager) and Jennifer Manuel (Assistant Collections Manager) for the preparation of artworks for study and photography; and Jennifer Miller for administrative assistance. My thanks to Eric Beltz (graphics), Thor J. Mednick (textual reading, commentary, and suggestions), and to Helmut Wautischer, for patience and forebearance. References : The Fierce People, New York: Holt, Rinehart and Chagnon, Napoleon A. (1968), Yanomamo Winston.

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Cole, Herbert M., and Chike C. Amiakor (1984), Igbo Arts: Community and Cosmos, Los Angeles, CA: University of California. Donnan, Christopher B. (1978), Moche Art of Peru, Los Angeles, CA: Fowler Museum of Cultural History, UCLA. (1992), Ceramics of Ancient Peru, Los Angeles, CA: Fowler Museum of Cultural History, UCLA. Donnan, Christopher B., and Walter Alva (1993), Royal Tombs of Sipan, Los Angeles, CA: Fowler Museum of Cultural History, UCLA. Furst, Peter T. (1965), West Mexican Tomb Sculpture as Evidence for Shamanism in Prehispanic Mesoamerica, Anthropologica, Vol. 15, pp. 2980. (1995), Shamanism, Transformation, and Olmec Art, in Jill Guthrie, ed., The Olmec World Ritual and Rulership, pp. 6982, Princeton, NJ: The Art Museum, Princeton University, in association with Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (1998), Shamanic Symbolism, Transformation, and Deities in West Mexican Funerary Art, in Richard F. Townsend, ed., Ancient West Mexico: Art and Archaeology of the Unknown Past, pp. 169190, Chicago, IL: The Art Institute of Chicago. Goelet, Ogden (1998), A Commentary on The Corpus of Literature and Tradition Which Constitutes The Book of Going Forth by Day, in Eva Von Dossow, ed., The Book of Going Forth by Day, San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books. Graham, Mark Miller (1998), The Iconography of Rulership in Ancient West Mexico, in Richard F. Townsend, ed., Ancient West Mexico: Art And Archaeology of the Unknown Past, pp. 191203, Chicago, IL: The Art Institute of Chicago. varo: People of the Sacred Waterfalls, Berkeley, CA: University of CalHarner, Michael J. (1984), The J ifornia Press. Henderson, Richard (1972), The King in Every Man, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. ke (1953), Conceptions of the Soul among North American Indians, Monograph Series 1, Hultkrantz, A The Ethnographical Museum of Sweden, Stockholm. (1980), The Religions of the American Indians, Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. (1997), Soul and Native Americans, Woodstock: Spring Publications. , Armand J. (1982), Man and Cosmos in Prehispanic Mesoamerica, Santa Ana, CA: Bowers MuLabbe seum Foundation Press. (1986), Colombia Before Columbus: The People, Culture, and Ceramic Art of Prehispanic Colombia, New York, NY: Rizzoli International. , (1995), Guardians of the Life Stream: Shamans, Art and Power in Prehispanic Central Panama Santa Ana, CA: Cultural Arts Press.


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(1998), Shamans, Gods, and Mythic Beasts: Colombian Gold and Ceramics in Antiquity, New York and Seattle: The American Federation of Arts and the University of Washington Press. pez Austin, Alfredo (1988), The Human Body and Ideology: Concepts of the Ancient Nahuas, Vols. I Lo and II, Salt Lake City, UT: University of Utah Press. Luna, Luis Eduardo (1991), Ayahuasca Visions: The Religious Iconography of a Peruvian Shaman, Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books. McDowell, John Holmes (1989), Sayings of the Ancestors: The Spiritual Life of the Sibundoy Indians, Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky. Miller, Rebecca Stone (1996), Art of the Andes from Chavin to Inca, New York, NY: Thames and Hudson. ller, F. Max ed. and trans. (1962), The Upanishads, New York, NY: Dover Publications. Mu Nikhilananda, Swami, ed. and trans. (1963), The Upanishads, London: George Allen and Unwin Ltd. OConnor, Mallory McCane (1995), Lost Cities of the Ancient Southeast, Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida. Ortiz de Montellano, Bernard R. (1990), Aztec Medicine, Health, and Nutrition, New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press. Radhakrishnan, S., ed. and trans. (1996), The Principal Upanishads, New Delhi: Indus. Reichel-Dolmatoff, Gerardo (1971), Amazonian Cosmos: The Sexual and Religious Symbolism of the Tukano Indians, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. (1975), The Shaman and the Jaguar, Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press. (1988), Goldwork and Shamanism: An Iconographic Study of the Gold Museum, Medellin: Banco de la Republica. ngel n, Fray Bernardino de (1956), Historia general de las cosas de la Nueva Espan a, 4 vols., A Sahagu a Garibay K., ed., Mexico Gity: Editorial Porru a. Mar Veith, Ilza (1984), The Yellow Emperors Classic of Internal Medicine, Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Von Winning, Hasso (1974), The Shaft Tomb Figures of West Mexico, Southwest Museum Papers, No. 24, Los Angeles, CA: Southwest Museum. Wilbert, Johannes (1987), Tobacco and Shamanism in South America, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Wilkinson, Richard H. (1992), Reading Egyptian Art: A Hieroglyphic Guide to Ancient Egyptian Painting and Sculpture, London: Thames and Hudson.

Why One Is Not Another: The Brain-Mind Problem in Byzantine

Antoine Courban

Stimulated by my studies on the human body as an anatomist, and because of my deep concern about critical anthropological matters like consciousness and the relations inside the binomial (brain-mind, body-soul, esh-spirit), I have chosen my subject for this entity soma-psyche chapter as it is widely discussed in the history of ideas, an academic eld sometimes called culturology. I have always been puzzled by the divorce between medicine and philosophy that, according to Celsius, occurred at the time of Hippocrates of Cos. Anthropological dualism is indeed the very heart and the major issue of such reection. Philosophy and medicine separated, (cuwh ` ), although incompletely, about the problem known as the disease of the soul (Gk: psyche nov), pneuma, also with the meaning passion). For multiple cool breath of life; menos (me historical reasons, passions were excluded from consideration in ancient scientic medicine and captured by philosophy. Later on, due to the inuence of Stoic thought on the new Christian religion, dualism passed into the patrimony of religious sensitivity, where it can still be traced in the traditions of Eastern Orthodoxy, more precisely those concerning monastic life and writings. My aim in this chapter is to narrate this story and to highlight some key changes in the anthropological dualistic paradigm of late antiquity, which have allowed the emergence of a less radical and more monistic one in the Byzantine culture. My approach is transdisciplinary. I will mainly, although not exclusively, focus on the intermediary era going from the death of Galen (c. 131c. 201) until the time of Maximus of Chrysopolis (c. 580662, also known as Maximus of Constantinople or Maximus the Confessor). This era is erroneously thought to be the realm of theology and religious history, when in fact it has also been an essential breaking point in the history of ideas, especially with regard to the self-image of human beings. Many scholars consider Maximus the most important and most specic Byzantine thinker: the one who shaped a Byzantine Weltanschauung that still shapes the ideas and imagination of a large number of people belonging to, or inuenced by, the cultural Dower of Byzantium. I will rst attempt to give a denition of what could be called so, and later explore what, if anything, is Byzantine, as Clifton Fox (1996) asks. By discussing the historical evolution of anthropological ideas between late antiquity and the early Byzantine era, I will highlight the emergence of some signicant nondualistic concepts, from whose study one may recognize a nonmonistic quality of


Antoine Courban

the supposed monism as it is embraced by current mainstream cognitive science and neuroscience. The Byzantine concepts involved may appear fairly familiar in the modern Anglo-American debate of brain-mind issues. This contemporary debate highlights some rather Platonic notions of mind-brain relationships that are conceived as being the actual operation of efcient causalityin other words, as if actions only came from the brain. Instead, I will try to present a modern account of that Byzantine-specic Weltanschauung, one that looks like Alices other side of the mirror. In this case, much remains unfamiliar and puzzling to those who are on this side. I wish to let the reader better understand the cultural background for the triumph of contemporary academic dualism, widely believed to be a monism. This triumph is a result of the split between medicine and philosophy, which led to the elimination of passions from the medical sciences and their capture by philosophy, principally the Stoa. It also resulted from the partition between diseases of the body and diseases of the soul, which led to a certain globalization of the monism-playing dualism. To this purpose, my discussion will elaborate in passing on the developments of some issues at stake throughout the history of the Eastern Roman Empire (3131453), which we call, rather erroneously, the Byzantine Empire.

The Byzantine Empire By modern convention, we call the Byzantine Empire a political entity that once dominated the whole Mediterranean world after the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great had adopted Christianity and decided, in 313, to transfer his capital from Rome to the ancient city of Byzantium, on the Bosphorus. The new capital was ofcially inaugurated in 330 under the name of New Rome, the city of Constantine, or Constantinople. In 1204 it was captured and looted by the crusaders, who established a Latin empire until the Byzantines expelled them in 1261 and restored their previous empire. In 1453, this political entity ceased to exist after being conquered by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II. Nevertheless the city, today known as Istanbul, remained the capital of an immense empire ruled by the Ottomans until the end of World War I and the dismantling of the old European universal empires. Short History of a Misunderstanding The political role as well as the specic cultural inuence of such a long historical period is not sufciently understood by the modern educated public. Byzantium is regretfully a victim of historiography. Lasting for eleven centuries and rich in its cultural heritage, Byzantine civilization has been denigrated and pejoratively judged. The term itself was used and popularized by French scholars of the eighteenth century. Montesquieu (16891755), for example, worshiped immensely the ancient Greeks and Romans and refused to give such noble names to the empire in Constantinople. He preferred to call it Byzantine after the citys ancient name, and inaugurated the traditional commonplace of speaking about this historical era with the moral preju-

Why One Is Not Another


dice of corruption, cruelty, and decadence. The British scholar Edward Gibbon produced an account of the empires history where he covered the entire Byzantine era. The title of his work, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, conveys a signicant misunderstanding. Urbs Romana and Romanitas The citizens of this empire never realized, from 330 until 1453, that they were Byzan in Greek; rum in Turkish; rumi in Aratine. They knew themselves as Romans (romaio bic) and apparently took pride in their culture. They lived in different provinces of the Imperium Romanorum (Basileia Romaion); their homeland was their Patria, in the modern sense of the word. Their land was known to be the Domain of the Romans, or The Romania. Contemporary Arab chronicles called it Bilad al Rum (the Roman Lands) and sometimes merely Rum (Rome). In the Chinese chronicles of that time, Rum is known as Ta-Tsin: the concept conveyed by this term is that of the nal stage and destination of what we call today the Silk Road. It should be noted that in the Roman East, or Pars Orientalis, a cultural or sociological hiatus with late antiquity never occurred. It instead happened in the Roman West, or Pars Occidentalis, due to the barbaric invasions and the ages that followed in Western Europe. In the Pars Orientalis, things went on as usual, after Emperor Caracalla, in 212, granted Roman citizenship to all his subjects, or more precisely to all free persons living in the empire. The Dower of Byzantium Regardless of its pejorative and erroneous usage, the term Byzantine nonetheless is helpful, for it identies and categorizes specic realities that Franc ois Thual (2004) pertinently calls The dower of Byzantium. We may recognize three levels to this dower, and different boundaries and contents to each of them. Politics Historically, Byzantium ourished in the same era (3301453) that found most of Western Europe ensnared with poverty and violence. It was the economic hub of the Mediterranean world, and stood at the political and cultural heart of Europe. It was Roman/Latin in its institutions and its management methods, Hellenistic/ Greek in its culture, and Semitic/Judeo-Christian in its religion; this epitomizes the specicity of Byzantium. In other words, we have here an interesting historical combination of Latin legalism, Hellenic intellectualism, and Semitic realism. Religion Byzantine civilization contributed strongly to the development of Christianity and its philosophy. Some of its heritage is shared, to a large extent, by all Christian denominations. This is true, as will be seen, concerning some issues related to the anthropological basis of this religious system. Since the separation that occurred in 1054 between Eastern and Western churches, the Byzantine religious patrimony is mainly


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the realm of Eastern Orthodox people in Central and Eastern Europe, in the Middle East, the Caucasus, and far beyond, where different orthodox Diasporas live. Although deeply related, Orthodoxy and Byzantium can neither be interpolated nor confused. The whole of Orthodoxy is not all of Byzantium and vice versa. Culture This topic is of the utmost importance for this chapter, and I will remain on this specic level for the entire discussion. As I have mentioned above, the heart of this realm includes the self-assessment of its people, in Eastern Europe including Russia, in the eastern Mediterranean, or generally belonging to Eastern Christianity of multiple jurisdictions, either Orthodox or Catholic, but certainly non-Latin and nonderived from the movements of Reformation. This cultural dower expands also into Western Europe. The development of Eastern and Western Europe diverged due to cultural misunderstanding, and mainly on issues that I will address later. Nevertheless, Byzantium contributed in shaping the Western imagination. It elaborated numerous gurative models of European art, and crucial concepts of Western civilization, like the human person, or the relations between reality and the modalities for its reproduction into paintings. Louis Brehier (1970, 479) observes that the whole Western erudition remains indebted to the immense achievements in philology accomplished by Byzantine scholars. In some way, Byzantium can be considered the missing or forgotten link of Western cultural identity. At the same time, right at its oriental ank, Byzantium transmitted its culture to the Arab-Islamic culture. In many of its features, this latter is, more or less, Byzantine. This correlation is noteworthy for the history of science and the history of ideas. For example, medical concepts and also practical or institutional models of Arabic medicine are Byzantine to a large extent, even though some of their own achievements surpassed these roots. Representative Byzantine and Arab physicians and scholars, like the desert father, Abba Macarius of Egypt (c. 301c. 390), Ibn Bajja (Avempace: 10901139), or Gregory Palamas (12961359), share roughly a similar nondualistic anthropology. Yet some prominent Arab thinkers like Ibn-Sina (Avicenna: 9801037) or Abul Walid Muhammad ibn Ahmad Ibn Rushd Al-Qurtubi (Averroes: 11261198)who planted some of the seeds of the European Renaissanceremain closer to antiquitys dualistic ideas than to the Western Scholastic culture of the Middle Ages. A Corporeal Mental Prole Throughout the Mediterranean, Eastern and Western minds remain very close to each other. They have the same roots, share a common patrimony, and use the same symbols. Yet they remain different, which does not mean that they are contradictory or mutually exclusive. They are rather complementary. The Scholastic era, the Renaissance, and the Enlightenment gave the Western mind its specic features, while Byzantine culture did not go through the medieval academic turbulence of nominalism

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versus realism, known as the quarrel about universals, and it was also not inuenced by Cartesian dualism. The Byzantine mind operates not in modo geometrico but rather through images.1 It is, mutatis mutandis, a craft of picture making. Its mental contents, its gnoseological objects, are preferably iconicthat is, meaningful images. In short, such a mind endeavors not to be polarized or torn between two different categories of the same reality, like form and substance. It does not systematically operate through dual oppositions: it prefers the bipolarity of both A and B to the radically polarized A or B. Therefore, it remains on a more global level. In every aspect of its cultural and political life, Byzantium tried to keep this intermediary way. Heated debates lasted for centuries all around the Byzantine dower to address critical issues about the con (brain-mind, body-soul, esh-spirit) and its operative stitutive unity of soma-psyche modalities, although the debate took place predominantly in a religious domain. Nevertheless, three main anthropological points were identied and vigorously discussed: person, face, and will. The apparent realism of this culture leads a modern Russian scholar, Oleg Klimkov (2001), to call it Christian materialism. This peculiar materialism is most likely the best hidden but forgotten secret of Byzantium. Antiquitys Paradigm: Dualism Deeply inuenced by the debates in modern dualism about substances, we seem unwilling to conceive of the human individual as a nite (and as such, not selfsustaining) spatiotemporal or psychophysical unity. A person is seen as an accidental juxtaposition of a passive material extended substance (res extensa) and a subtle cognitive immaterial one (res cogitans). The most difcult task seems to be to determine how and why the ghost (namely, the soul) gets into the machine (the body). It is the merit of the Anglo-American cognitive neurosciences to move away from such an uncomfortable position. Their apparent anthropological monism focuses attention on the material or physical pole of this binomial problem. Matter is understood today as an agglomerate of small parts or particles, or as network of their structures. Such small particles, either wave-particles or chords, are not understood as massive objects, and can hardly be considered as material, like for example, some hard stones. The cognitive and intellectual faculties are said to be dynamic processes and functional properties of such an agency. Such a position, however, differs from other academic traditions of modern neuroscience, and also from the monistic position elaborated in Byzantium as a solution to anthropological dualism. Body-Soul: The Unsolved Problem Celsius tells us that Hippocrates, in the fourth century B.C., separated medicine and philosophy. Until the Hippocratic book On Sacred Disease, medicine was holistic and reected a rather monistic anthropology. Subsequently, the partition between


Antoine Courban

somatic and psychological diseases, the triumph of dualism and the emergence of the Stoic theory on passions as souls diseases are major events2 of our civilization deeply rooted in the Mediterranean world. Already at the time of Alcmeon of Crotona (c. 520 c. 450 B.C.), remarking on the importance of the brain in nervous and mental func los, tions as well as the permanent and extreme mobility of the soul (named from aio Eolos, personied wind; cf., e.g., aeolian energy) was commonplace. Antiquity, too, reected Platos dichotomy between the intelligible and the sensible worlds. Such ontological duality was both intellectually conceived and ethically perceived. Moral judgment is the heart of dualism: the split arises as matter is seen as less valuable than spirit. It is sometimes seen as bad and even demonized. According to such ideas, the body is the souls prison. Therefore, the soul exists prior to its corporeal envelope and is embodied or incorporated because of some dysfunction, error, or guilt. It was accepted that the soul falls into its miserable prison. The souls permanent mobility revealed its desire for liberation. Aristotles De Anima shaped scholarly opinions about body-soul relations, when the Greek master formulated a criterion that allowed one to discover whether or not the human soul is separable from the body. He states that if the soul performs any activity totally independent of the body, then its substance too must be separable from any corporeal reality.3 This statement centers on Aristotles concept of substance; it has traveled throughout Western culture, and can be considered the oldest formulation of what is called today the brain-mind problem, or in its more general framework, the ontology of consciousness. Inuenced by Semitic realism, Byzantine culture kept a suspicious distance from the notion of substance, which is a central idea in any dualistic anthropology. From Chaos to Human The cultural scene at the end of antiquity, when a new religion emerged in the Mediterranean world and a new capital of the Roman Empire was founded, was dominated by Hellenic views about reality that reected the assumed dichotomy between sensible and intelligible worlds. Within the universe, all beings are said to exist either at random or by necessity. Regular behavior of nature ( physis) as well as the incomprehensi che ble arbitrariness of chance (ty ) are both immanent in reality. They are the pillars of natural causality that dominates and submits to its absolute and indisputable power all that exist: gods and humans, animals and things. The French scholar Adolphe Gesche nesis) che (1993) interprets both physis and ty as ruling and steering the emergence ( ge of reality. They do not procreate reality from nothingness. Instead, they pull it from ton cha os) according to an inner need, an immathe unbegotten primitive chaos ( pro nche), without any intervention nent mechanism of pure and blind necessity (ana 4 of an intelligence, a god, or a craft (techne).

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Technical causality remains accidental, conventional, and articial. Commonly seen nche), craft (te chne) can che on an inferior level under natural causality (physis, ty , ana mesis) of less value than natural only consist in an imitative and articial repetition (m nche. Whatever humans may do, we are always governed by such a necessity or ana fatum, in which we are totally immersed. Human nature and freedom are not symmetrical in meaning. Only in the ethical and political realms are humans able to attain some degree of culture-expressing freedom. We must snatch this freedom from the gods in a titanic and Promethean project where, in a constant eddy of guilt, we risk mesis provokes the falling into hybris or immoderate excess. In this case, a terrible ne raging of natural forces against us. A Cosmic Soul On this basic theme, different theories were developed. For the Stoic philosophy of late antiquity, physis/nature was progressively assimilated to the soul of the universe (anima mundi), the pneuma of a macrocosm conceived as some huge organism. The fundamental unity of this cosmic entity is reected in a permanent regularity, an im gos spermatiko s that rules the entire reality and predetermines the manent law, a lo whole course of its events. This is destiny (fatum). It contains all the seeds of individual goi spermatiko ` that will precisely fulll the function of Platos intelligible fates, the lo Ideas. This theory was later to please Augustine (354430), who with the utmost re goi spermatiko ` as rationes seminales (seminal reasons). Created by spect translated lo God all at once, they are to appear in due season, each when its appropriate time s) comes in the way that God had ordained. As a distant echo of these Augusti(kairo nian ideas, Bonaventure (12211274) and Malebranche (16381715) later professed that, since creation was completed in its rst instant, nothing new will ever appear independently of that creative act. Puzzling Unity of the Binomial Soma-Psyche Besides providing their reections on cosmology, the Greeks developed important views concerning mental faculties. Chiey in the Platonic line of thought, intellect was frequently understood as being passive and its development was perceived as the successive contemplative discovering of preexisting intellectual relationships. Although conicting with the concept of free will, this nonactivity pervaded the most general academic view of intellect. In the twentieth century, Jean Piaget (18961980) in Europe and, on a more local level, Christfried Jakob (18661956) in South America broke (incorrectly translated as the with this scholarly tradition. Aristotle understood psyche soul in the Jewish-Christian meaning) as the form of a substance that preexists in Platos intelligible world, prior to its incorporation or descent into a somatic envelope, the physical body. During this embodiment process, the rational soul and its three


Antoine Courban

faculties (imagination, reason, memory) are completed by the irrational soul (sensation, desire, temper). Two major conceptions primarily explained the origin of the individual soul. For the Stoics it was a spark of the anima mundi, while for the NeoPlatonists it was an emanation of an original consolidating unity, some godhead or di nad ). The relation of the mind to mental mass is similar, differing vine principle (he mainly in the interpretation of the latter. Thus, a human being remains a microcosm, a reproduction on a lesser scale of the macrocosm. The anthropology of late antiquity was therefore rigorously dualistic, with mind conceived of as a spark or an emanation of what is not itself the body. These ideas were shared with variations by prominent scholars such as Posidonius of Apamea (c. 13550 B.C.), Cicero (10643 B.C.), the great physician and philosopher Galen of Pergamon (c. 131c. 201), and Plotinus (c. 203 270), and were later to permeate the Kaballah, a central body of scholarship incorporating the teachings of many contemporary followers of this tradition. The unity in this scenario created several notorious puzzles, primarily concerning memories and the possibility of their inscription on some material support. Ever since Plato, explanations of episodic memories have required some nonmental material support, now called engrams. As a matter of fact such support has never been found. The modern views concerning mental development have made it hardly plausible that the recovery from amnesia, for example, could depend on the possible restitution of such old, erased cerebral traces. During late antiquity, the unity and coherence of the bino is addressed with many theories that consider the individual mial entity soma-psyche pneuma as some unifying principle. In fact, considering the body and all its components as a tool for the soul, Galen understood pneuma to be the souls rst organ ton o rganon), a view that in itself is compatible with dualism as well as with the ( pro nonreductive, genuine monism found in some current developments of neurobiology (e.g., Jacobs tradition discussed in chapters 11 and 12). In the West the dualist concepts dominated anthropology. In contrast, the Byzantine culture developed a striking divergence between monism and dualism. On the Other Side of the Mirror When Christian thought spread throughout the Roman Empire, this new religion soon confronted the cultural environment of Hellenism. A scholarly work by Jaroslav Pelikan (1993, 368) shows how the momentous encounter between Christian thought and Greek philosophy reached a high point in fourth-century Byzantium, where the principal actors were four Greek-speaking scholars, the so-called Cappadocian Fathers or simply the Cappadocians.5 Due to their immense achievements, Christianity was able to acquire some of the Hellenistic cultural heritage of antiquity in a selective manner. The impact of major new concepts, as they were introduced by Semitic culture, had such a deep cultural inuence that Byzantine society denigrated the term Hellenes

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(i.e., Greeks) to qualify what it called the ancient errors and, as I mentioned earlier, used for itself exclusively the name Romans. It is unfortunate that the controversies of that time are rarely familiar to the educated public of today. The Central Issue: Human Freedom For centuries, scholars as well as political and religious authorities quarreled on religious grounds about the person of Jesus of Nazareth, understood as a dual humandivine composite. In the background of these debates stand anthropological issues of the utmost importance, such as the place of humans in the universe and in relation link, to nature, the status of corporeality, the brain-mind connection or soma-psyche and the steady constitutive coherence of each individual human being despite the duality and heterogeneity of his or her ontological structure. The most critical of these issues is indeed the ability of the human mind to judge and decide; this is the reality of human individual freedom and, ultimately, human normative responsibility. It is puzzling to notice how religious controversies about christology took place during centuries in Byzantium within an atmosphere of extreme violence, sometimes civil wars and bloodshed. But when the outcome of a controversy is the constitutive freedom of human beings, no one would be surprised to see the active role that any political power might play in the context of this quarrel. Such a feature may not be ignored in the context of neuroscience, especially for the assessment of its presumably neutral results. Michel Foucault (1975) has ably reminded us that coercive power is being exerted mainly over the corporeality of human beings, their bodies. In other words, anthropology is also a major political statement, regardless of whether the human image is philosophically conceived or scientically built. Byzantiums history and its so-called Byzantine quarrels paradoxically illustrate this situation. Semitic Realism and the Reversal of Anthropology Reecting on the conceptual innovations introduced by Semitic culture, one would immediately think about the advent of monotheism. However, the idea of a single and unique god was not foreign to the Hellenic mind. The real cultural innovation concerned two topics: humankind and reality. Due to the Judeo-Christian inuence on Greek culture, the idea of substance and the idea of necessity were progressively revisited and new meanings were given to them. The Semitic cultural contribution introduced a trichotomic or tripolar anthropological conception. There are three (nephesh), and spirit (ru ah). For a sa r), soul/psyche polarities in humans: body/esh (ba Semitic mind, there can hardly be a distinction between these three topics, and the Bibles anthropology may look rather ambiguous or lacking in rigorous differentiations. The Semitic concept of soul (nephesh) denotes all that has life and breathes. The word is applied to humans and animals alike, either collectively or with distinctions. It has become a central topic that allows one to distinguish between the living and the dead,


Antoine Courban

though it was not developed in order to distinguish between two specic living entities, one and another. Yet nephesh is not seen, in an Aristotelian way, as a form . of some substance, and its Semitic meaning was soon to split into the Greek psyche also refers to selfness or sameness, always For the Semitic mind, nephesh/psyche positively conceived, that is, whose nonalterity or nonotherness is taken for granted from the very fact of its existence. For example, in Arabica cousin of Hebrew psyche ). This word is used to speak about the deepest and most subconnotes al nafs (Ar. jective aspects of ones individuality. The modern Arabic expression ana nafsi (Ar. ) translates into me myself, but its precise transliteration is me-my-soul, where soul is the most accurate reference for a specic living individual. Unbreakable Wholeness of the Human Being The Hebrew tradition did not understand humans other than in terms of an unbreakable wholeness, a global and yet specic individuality. A holistic unity of body, soul, sa r-nephesh-ru ah, and spirit always refers to a person. This unity is his or her ba one single subject that is expressed alike in the terms of soul and spirit. Yet, these terms are not exact synonyms. Neither, however, can one infer a dualism between some higher self and lower self from the use of the terms (Anderson 1982, 208). In this view, the constitution of a person as soul and body is hardly understood without ah. But the inuence of dualism was too strong and the tripolar the foundation of ru Semitic conception led to a controversy between trichotomists and dichotomists, both inuenced by the Hellenic dualistic tradition. Dichotomists view humans as consisting of two different substances enigmatically linked: a body and a soul-spirit. Trichotomists view also humans as involving a juxtaposition of different substances and a spirit. Appolinaris of Laodicea,6 in the uneasily joined together: a soma-psyche fourth century, understood the soul as being the intermediary between body and spirit, thus playing the role of the Stoic pneuma as a principle of unity and coherence. Problems emerged because the concepts (body, soul, spirit) became determinative of ontology, so that the being of the human person was expected to be derived from analytic reasoning. Sooner or later, and due to heated debates about the unity, in Jesus of Nazareth, of divine and human nature, a new concept emerged, the hypostatic union. We will encounter hypostasis further below, in the meaning that one cannot separate the divinity and the humanity of this person into different compartments. In any case, radical trichotomism had been rejected at a church meeting held in Constantinople in the middle of the sixth century. It took a long time to establish a clear distinction between duality of being, where a modality of differentiation is constituted as a fundamental unity, and dualism that essentially works against such unity. As Emil Brunner (1939, 373) says perceptively, Ontologically, man is a unity. Phenomenologically, mind and nature, and specially mind and body are to be clearly distinguished.

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This observation is addressed below in the section A New Vision of Human Beings: Person and Face. Crossing through the Mirror Common to Judaism and Christianity, although more specic to the latter, a new concept, incarnation, entered Hellenistic culture. Incarnation referred to Jesus of Nazareth, understood as a human and divine composite. The relations between the visible and the invisible were no longer seen as ruled by the classical incorporation process (embodiment) but rather by the event of incarnation. Matter no longer incorporates/ embodies the subtle soul/spirit, nor is it the spirit/soul that grasps the material esh to take over a specic physical body. In common people, the soul was presumably created in relationship with a constant continuing parcel of nature, which in its biographical sequence adopts a variety of biological organizations. Given the special circumstance of Jesus (namely, his divine attributes), his presumed ontic kernel assumes a mindbody unity that already possesses mind-body relationships. In the context of such mind-body relationships, that soul hunting is now transformed into esh grasping refers to the biological occurrence of a specic individual than to any different one. Souls were no longer falling into bodies but the exact opposite situation occurs: esh/matter is now ascending toward the spirit. The direction of movement between the visible and the invisible is totally inverted. By assuming such a reversal, the cultural imagination of that time achieved something similar to Alice in Wonderland. It crossed to the other side of the mirror and undertook a new description of the world. There, the human being was understood as a living soul and a psychic body (empsyched in Aristotles terminology), and not perceived as a pure subtle evanescent form, or an intelligible idea caught in some material prison like a caged animal. The body has now become the home of a free soul, and is no longer viewed as its jail. Similarly, conceptions of reality, nature, and humankind were also deeply transformed. Progressively, Mediterranean scholars built a new Weltanschauung that affected their culture until the Scholastic intervention of the thirteenth century, which allowed Western Europe to move in a new direction and reshape its cultural identity. This new framework deeply affected medical assumptions concerning the brain-mind problem and assumptions about the place of humans in the world. The Brain-Mind Problem and Byzantine Medicine The period during which anthropology was reformulated (from approximately the fourth to the seventh centuries) is known as the patristic era. Some of the scholars who introduced the new conceptions were religious thinkers and are referred to as the church fathers of Christianity, or simply the fathers. In a culture where nobody


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could have envisaged a separation between religion and civil society, many of these church fathers held high ecclesiastical ofces. I should mention that these were educated men who mastered the classical culture of antiquity, and also its science, especially with regard to medicine. Some of them were physicians, like Nemesius of Emesa (oruit late in the fourth century), or they studied medicine, like Gregory of Nyssa (c. 340394). Most of these scholars, if not all, based their arguments on medical science or medical practice. The brain-mind issue was a familiar and commonly discussed topic in medical literature. A modern reader would be surprised to notice the constant presence of philosophical considerations in Byzantine medical literature. This fact pregured what Xavier Zubiri proclaimed: Metaphysics that is not physical enough would cease to be what it is and converts to logic and phenomenology.7 The emergence of Christianity did not put an end to medical developments in Byzantium or later in the Islamic word. In addition to specic Christian philanthropy, the sociomedical outcome of the new anthropology and its focus on the psychophysical wholeness and selfness of a human being led to the creation, in the fourth century, of a health-care institution, the nosokomeion or hospital,8 where monks and nuns attended to the care of patients and physicians practiced healing. This formula proved successful throughout the empire, and beyond. Additional caretaking institutions were also implemented,9 with a deep inuence on Arab-Islamic civilization.10 Medicine and Dualism Although creative and successful in its social dimension, Byzantine medicine did not improve medical science and research. It remained faithful to Galen and Hippocrates. In a way, we might say that it did not cross through the mirror and remained under the inuence of Hellenic dualism. Most likely, it could not integrate the Semitic understanding of soul, because of its estrangement from philosophy, especially on the grounds of the souls disease. For example, I have always been puzzled by the distinction made between melancholia and acedia. Both terms refer to a depressive state, more or less severe and obscurely related to the body. For Byzantine as well as for Arab medicine, melancholia is a general term used to speak about mental illness. Acedia (Gk: khdi a), literally meaning without care: the dont-care feeling, sloth) is rather akedia (a a specic medical term indicating what we now call thoracic pain due to gastroesophageal reux, which might be avoided by standing upright or seated after meals instead of not-caring and lying down. This is the point, and here brain-mind relationships or rather the outlook of the patientbecome relevant. Preferring to lay down, not caring about the medical problem of reux, is precisely what brings the thoracic pain about. Thus, Byzantine culture used acedia in spirituality to speak about one of the seven deadly or capital sins, often dened as spiritual laziness, putting off what God asks you to do, or not doing it at all because of blindness to the present good. Thomas Aquinas (12251274), in his Summa Theologica (IIII, 35), summarized the doctrine as

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being as much Christian as Rabbinic and Muslim, by calling acedia sadness in the face of some spiritual good one has to achieve. Thus, while melancholy was seen as a disease, a disturbance in the harmony of the Hippocratic bodily humors, acedia was considered more specic to the soul. Stoic philosophy had already elaborated on this topic, building a medical theory that understands such diseases of the soul as passions. The theory is in perfect harmony with Aristotles assertion that disease is a state of mobility while health is a quiet state.11 Medical care of the soul (cura animarum) was now delegated to religious circles. Still today, and especially in the Dower of Byzantium,12 monastic life is understood as a specic therapy for the souls mobility and diseases. The Anthropological Turning Point The transfer of authority for care of the soul from medicine to religion did not lessen the interest of Byzantine physicians and scholars in the brain-mind issue. They extensively discussed the nature of the soul, its relation to the Stoic pneuma and to body, as well as the localization of psychic or mental functions in the nervous system. Some of the church fathers opposed the discussion of these matters. Some scholars, such as Origen of Alexandria (c. 182c. 253), accepted the preexistence of souls. The prominent Gregory of Nazianzus (c. 335390) writes about us who are captives of the earth . . . and clothed with the denseness of this esh.13 An eloquent writerand one of the most inuential scholars in this eldwas Nemesius (late fourth century), physician and bishop of Emesa,14 with his treatise De natura hominis. The entire third chapter is devoted to the union of body and soul. He accepted Galens anatomical and physiological ideas and localized the three aforementioned faculties of the soul in the three alleged known cerebral ventricles.15 Another physician, Posidonius, undertook experimental studies on the nervous system around 390 in order to localize mental functions.16 Apparently he did not succeed. The most signicant gure in the scientic turning point was John Philoponus (c. 490575),17 an eminent but little-known representative of Alexandrias school. He discussed important brain-mind issues in his Commentary on Aristotles De Anima (Verbeke 1985, 451470). Commenting on the aforementioned famous Aristotelian causal criterion, if the soul performs any activity totally independent of the body, then its substance, too, must be separable from any corporeal reality, Philoponus answered the Master: If the soul is incorporeal, the pneuma is so to speak its rst home, but if it is corporeal it is identical with the pneuma.18 This was probably the most explicit turning point. It echoed Ephraim the Syrian (c. 306c. 373), see by experience that the soul only exists completely in / the body.19 We arrive here at an issue of the utmost importance: the soul/psyche mind/nephesh/spirit/self is inseparable from a physical body; it is unable to exist without a special relationship to its bodily structures. In other words, this culture understood the unity of human individuals, their deepest self, the essence of their identity, as a specic psychophysical nitude. This is probably what the human ontology


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of consciousness looked like when seen from the other side of the mirror. Centuries later, commenting on the inuence of Gabriel Marcel in The Phenomenology of Perception, Maurice Merleau-Ponty would declare: I am my body.20 Such a modern statement, though insufciently detailed, would have sounded very familiar and unexceptional to Byzantine scholars. A New Vision of Reality At the very heart of this emerging new Weltanschauung are key concepts that I will now address, primarily the Byzantine perspective on nature and causality. As for an ontology of humans, the core concept relates to person in its internal mode of union. ` Pa nta Metamorphosis of the View of Nature: Ta The history of ideas in late antiquity is, therefore, full of novel articulations. Even passing most of them up, here it is a must to make out the developments that changed key concepts such as nature, substance, causality, and especially person. A renovated idea of nature appeared in early patristic times. In its elaboration, the traditional word physis, which designated the world in a holistic way, gradually became inadequate to account for the new outlook on nature. Which technical word did replace the old ` pa nta or Allname, physis? Byzantine authors of the period preferred to speak of ta Things. With that expression, the emphasis shifted away from the uniformity of the world toward the multiplicity of what is or exists. The term nature or physis thus no longer denoted the inherent character of the world as a whole; instead it referred to a a or substance. Rather than using physis to designate a shared mode of particular ous being, the authors of the period were stressing that reality is made of many physei (Pelikan 1993, 81). Each component of reality and, a fortiori, every living being was therefore understood as constituted by a particular nature/substance. Yet these signicant semantic changes did not bring agreement in interpretation. Heated theological a, quarrels shook the Byzantine world, particularly around the concepts of physis, ous pon. These quarrels left an imprint on the Mediterranean Orient that persists and proso today. Mode of Union With the aim of providing the brain-mind problem with a satisfactory solution, especially in the context of debates surrounding Jesus of Nazareth, several general councils were convened to try to reach a consensus on the denition of a person. The most important of the councils was one held in Chalcedon in 451. While recognizing that any other human has a single specic nature, the council proclaimed the hypostatic union of Jesus of Nazareth as two natures in a single person. Apolinaris of Laodicea misunderstood this interpretation by failing to recognize that hypostatic union must not be

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understood as a union of soul and body. Rather, its correct interpretation is as a union of the divine nature with another component of human nature. The latter component, , which, through such a body, in turn, consists of both a body and a unique psyche interacts with nature. Orders of Reality The most noteworthy aspect of this line of development is the growing distance from the Aristotelian concept of substance. Reality, globally seen, in this way is necessarily viewed as comprising a multiplicity of natures distributed on more than one order of presences: 1. The order of such a reality that is eternalthat is, without beginning or end. This gos. order of reality is ascribed to the eternal Lo ` nta or All-Things. Inside of it, a reality of 2. The order of temporal reality, that of ta pa personal type and an impersonal reality may be distinguished. Each thing in this order gos. A number of quandaries, of course, originated in of reality features a characteristic lo this exclusive attribution of the reality of personal type to the order of temporal reality. Through these conceptual tools it is also possible to grasp what other key ideas de smos and ait a (cause). The articulation of those tools was to generate a note, such as co true revolution of concepts such as causality and personal reality. In fact, while natural causality used to be understood as equivalent to the idea of necessityso that in contrast, the imaginative and resourceful technical causality was seen as accidentalthe new worldview was to overturn this conception. Here, technical causality was set chne before ana nche). It was understood that the eternal before natural causality (te gos. order of reality is that of technical causality, now seemingly more akin to the Lo Technical causality, therefore, came to be understood as the cause and foundation of All-Things. It becomes easy to understand why Byzantine culture, either secular or gos as the sole ruler of everything, or Pantocrator. religious, always referred to the Lo Within All-Things, and inside every being or thing, the two types of causality nche and te chne) exist in different degrees. This bipolarity of temporal reality (ana implies a dynamic tension that may be termed becoming. Within temporal reality, namely, the reality that becomes, persons are individualities that manifest closest to poles of technical causality, made up of imagination, inventiveness, creativity, and especially will. This explains how freedom is constitutive to personsalthough freedom, of course, is not unbound by its surrounding circumstances. A New Vision of Human Beings: Person and Face Undoubtedly, the concept of person has a long history of development. Its actual meaning seems so obvious to us, yet it took many centuries to conceptualize an acceptable


Antoine Courban

understanding of the obvious. Inherited from Greco-Latin antiquity, it was rst accepted by Christian culture, and then remodeled through different periods of secularization that are constitutive of Western European culture. Etymologically, the word persona belongs to the Roman legal realm and its theatrical practice of philosophy. It rst designated, in a theater, the actors mask before acquiring the specic legal meaning that Cicero gives to it in his De ofcis. Many scholars establish a strict symmetry pon, which may also refer to a mask between the Latin persona and the Greek proso worn by an actor playing a character on the stage. Yet, as Florence Dupont (2003, 39) observes, even though these terms refer to similar objects, they do not have the same meaning. Speaking about the Roman actor, she understands him via the theatrical pon is persona, as being a faceless or featureless orator (orateur sans visage). The proso understood by Dominique Lecourt to hide the actors own face in order to substitute the features of the specic character portrayed. The Latin persona does not achieve the same substitution regarding personality features. It tends to be conceived instead as a megaphoneas suggested by its etymology, per-sonare. Regardless of the specic nature of the theatrical practices, the Latin mind preferred to reveal a specic behavior by hiding the actors features, thus unveiling a certain way of being of the character portrayed. The Greek mind was more concerned with the specic identity of that character. This is a crucial cultural difference between the two parts of the Mediterranean world. The Knowing Points: Hic and Ibi A specic identity is the starting point of being someone. It is a featured reality situated here (hic). From this pointthis herea specic individuality exists, can be known, and can acquire knowledge. This situated point (Goethe spoke of Mittelpunkt), which is an existential here, is related to, but not the same as, its space-time circumstance. In Byzantine culture, this source owing to which one is oneself, or endowing the nephesh with selfness or sameness, is always positive. Since the concrete nephesh under consideration is already existent, its nonalterity is taken for granted.21 Therefore, this same individuality is acknowledged as its own existence and not merely an echo, to be found anywhere there (ibi). In this regard, concerning a characters identity, the Hellenic mind is mainly interested in what it is and what it looks like, whereas the Latin mind would focus more on what it does. This shading in meanings seems signicant for understanding some of the differences between Eastern and Western perceptions and their respective comprehension of a given reality. According to Dupont,22 one might say that Atreus persona (mask), iratus Atreus, is not pon (face) of a furious and angry man named Atreus, but rather the the specic proso pon, or very features of a general behavior called anger (ira). Even though the proso face, is not the whole of a personal reality, it nevertheless both discloses and hides

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that same reality, which is the essence of the human being. As Lecourt shows, the Roman jurists used the word persona in a general or universal way. The term did not refer to a specic individual but rather was useful to legally attribute to that person a social part in the civil codex they invented. This is apparently why until the modern era, a person and an individual were not, lexically speaking, the same thing. It is interesting to quote Boetius (sixth century) denition of a person as individual substance of rational nature. It can be found in his Liber de persona et duabus naturis, and had a striking inuence on Western culture. Aristotles concept of substance is indeed the central issue of Boetius denition. Aquinas later focused on this rational nature of human substance. In his conceptualization, which on the realism-nominalism spectrum qualies as moderately realist, human nature consisted in being a person. This task can rationally be achieved only by total submission to natural law that emanates directly from God. The concept of autonomy elaborated by the Enlightenment rejected this sort of submission to Gods will, although it upheld under natural law the concept of person and the subject of modernity, and recognized its physical and moral ground. The Ground of Reality According to Maximus Most scholars will agree that Maximus of Constantinople, also known as the Confessor, was the most prolic representative of the perspective that largely shaped the Byzantine mind. Undoubtedly, he was the most prominent thinker in Byzantine culture. Maximus achieved a brilliant synthesis of patristic thought, which although not unique in Byzantine culture, was probably the most complete and most accurate synthesis of views on ontology and anthropology as well as on mind and body. Valorization of Motion At the core of our topic is a famous sequence, dear to Origen, who utilized the follow nesis. ing conceptual series to account for the passing into existence: stasis, kinesis, ge Origen attempted to show that the ontological passing into existence is a movement, a perturbation of the original motionless state (stasis). In contrast, the new Weltanschauung, as reected in the natural sciences, was soon to transform this sequence nesis, k nesis, stasis. Now, the passing into existence (contemporary physicists into ge speak of microphysical particles enacted by a vacuum) is an act. This applies to human spirit, too. The positive source endowing the concrete nephesh with selfness or sameness is the enactment of this act. Passing into existence is no longer conceived nesis) is in itself a dynamic as the perturbation of a motionless state. Existence (ge nesis) process of becoming, which tends toward a pole of permanent state of fulll(k ment (stasis).


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Indivisible Unity of Nature and Will This reversal was not achieved in Origens time but some four centuries later. The reversal was the lifes work of Maximus, whose tormented days were an unrelenting struggle against the Monothelite heresy. Monothelites wished to nd a formula of compromise, by afrming that Jesus of Nazareth certainly had two natures, but one single will. Monotheletism dissociated the will from nature exactly as Aristotle distinguished form from substance. Maximus went to the extreme of giving his life in order to afrm the indivisible unity of esh and will: the nature that constitutes the will and thereby freedom. For Maximus, inasmuch as Jesus of Nazareth was a hypostatic union of two natures, clearly Jesus was also a hypostatic union of two wills. This is what was at the stake in Maximus outlook, as expressed in two of his writings from early adulthood, probably composed sometime between 630 and 634: Ambigua ad Ioannem and Quaestiones ad Thalassium. Although Maximus vocabulary is extremely difcult, I will present a short summary, closely following the analyses made by Dalmais (1952), Ponsoye and Larchet (1992), and especially Larchet (1996a, 1996b). gos and Lo goi Lo gos is eternal, the cause of All-Things, and the source and Acording to Maximus, Lo gos recapitulates everything that exists, purpose of every entity. The bosom of the Lo gos is the union of what is determined and what is not deternamely, All-Things. Lo mined, of the measured and the immense, of the limited and the unbound . . . of repose gos. The lo gos of a and motion.23 Each existing reality has in its individual nature a lo being is its principle, its nature, what denes it, and what distinctively characterizes it. gos is also the nality of such a being: that in view of which such a being exists. But lo tre in a double sense, of source and also of purpose for In sum, it is the entitys raison de goi its being rather that not being. Maximus takes special care to make us see that these lo radically differ from Platonic Ideas and, above all, should not be taken as the Aristotelian forms, different from the material substance that such forms are supposed to shape. Passing into Existence: Becoming gos, which denes its naEvery entity is enacted by its own specic principle or topic lo ture, its being or essence, (from esse, being). But, the same entity is also dened by a gos, which conditions its passing into existence.24 In other words, Maxidynamic lo gos physiko s or physical lo gos, but also radically differ, not only from the lo mus logo goi spermatikoi. This allows one to better from Platonic Ideas and from the Stoics lo understand the Maximian sequence:

nesis. Eclosion of the particular lo gos framed in its temporal horizonthat is, in Ge s (opportunity). Here, this enactment of existence is the outgrowth either of its kairo gos. technical causality or of the creative will of the eternal Lo

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nesis. Movement of existence, or becoming. The cause of this movement or of this K becoming is a temporal sequence where the future acts on the present. This idea acceptable to Platonisms is being shared by some modern physicists who use concepts rieur (Constantin de Charrie ` re) or advanced action (Wheeler and Feynsuch as futur ante man 1949), claiming that back action is caused by advanced waves propagating backward in time from the future absorption of the radiation. John G. Cramer (1986) has developed a transactional interpretation of quantum mechanics, and the notion is also embraced by Huw Price (1996), Peter Holland (1995), Mariela Szirko (2005), and gos. others. This anticipative cause is found, too, in the eternal Lo n Stasis. Repose by fulllment of the project or by realization of the model.

goi Enacting the Lo goi of the particular entities are manifestations of the Lo gos will and are not parThe lo ticles of divine essences. Rather than sparkles of the divine intellect, they are volitions, voluntary acts, or grains of alterity. This is why, as we will see below with Gregory Palamas, the essence of God is to be clearly distinguished from his uncreated goi in the Lo gos means the profound unity of all energies. The preexistence of all lo entities in their principle, and likewise, every entity that exists or is about to exist pos gos. As a result, both the diversity of All-Things and sesses a specic and particular lo gos. This interpretation the particularity of every entity are grounded in the eternal Lo by Maximus, where he valued every particular entity, thoroughly contrasts both with Platos model, where the particular appears as a derivative, degenerate form of the universal (Ideas or Essences), and with the model of Origen, whounder the inuence of Neoplatonismsaw the multiplicity of rational entities as resulting from a dispersion nad. or decomposition of a supposed original he Unity as the Ground of Diversity gos is presFor Maximus unity and diversity coexist inside every same reality: the Lo goi, the multiple lo goi are grounded at their foundation in the ent in the multiple lo 25 gos. The coming to exist, in the physical instant, is an eclosion and every eclosion Lo s, which is its own. For Maximus, repose could possesses a temporal horizon, a kairo not be the primitive condition of temporal realities. A priori, only God is immutable; everything that exists is essentially mobile. Motion ensues the passing into existence. In contrast, Origenists see motion, in contrast to the primitive condition of repose, as an act of decomposition. For Maximus, movement and temporality are ontologically featured by nondivine entities. This allows for nitudes to have a beginning. Even when a human being reaches a condition of repose by lling the space that separates gos of its beginnng from the lo gos of its end,26 such a human does not decrease the lo ` tos stasis).27 Amazingly, his or her condition of repose in perpetual motion (aiekine


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this is what happens to Alice on the other side of the mirror: she feels she must keep running in order to remain in the same place. gos and Tro pos The Exploration of Will: Lo If the Logos, for Maximus, does work as a sort of principle of nature, this does not render the world a gigantic automatic mechanism, with everything rigorously determined. gos or principle does its work tied to the This is prevented inasmuch as each personal lo 28 pos or mode. Jean-Claude Larchet (1996b, 143) counted seventy occurrences of the tro gos-tro pos in the two writings by Maximus mentioned above. While the lo gos dyad lo pos is the fact of its hypostasis: a fact denes the nature of an entity, this entitys tro that manifests its capacity of self-determination. This means the possibility for every gos, namely as per his or her nature, or one of living in conformity with his or her lo gos and contra nature. This scenario frames and poses in opposition to his or her lo the problem of will. To account for free will, Maximus used several concepts, frequently difcult to tell apart. For a summary assessment, I would say that he showed that what we call will ` , the lesis, and themay be understood as having different connotations, including gnome ma. Gnome ` is the disposition of nature toward self-determination. The lesis, in conle trast, is the actual capacity of the individual to work out voluntary choices. Maximus ma to denote the individuation of the the lesis or the gnome `. also utilized the term thele By this ability of individuation, Maximus seemed to open the way for existential temporality. In his view, being (einai) belongs to human by nature and is related to ones gos, whereas proper being (eu e nai)29 is related to, or rather predisposes toward,30 lo 31 pos. ones free will. The latter is a tributary of ones hypostasis and related to ones tro 32 gos of human nature is originally disposed to this being proper, but is not deThe lo termined. The attainment of wellness is a work of the particular human being, enacted when he or she decides to live by the idea of good, namely, in harmony with ones moral conscience. Stakes of Anthropological Monism: The Palamite Controversy The idea of the indissoluble unity of the human being had considerable impact on the ensuing developments in Byzantine culture. As an example, I will briey address the Palamite Controversy,33 deployed in the fourteenth century and decided in a council convened in Constantinople in 1341. The subject of this controversy was the body. It consisted in ascertaining whether the physical body participated in prayer, or if prayer is a meditative entreaty of the soul. Protagonists included on one side the hesychast monks, led by Gregory Palamas (12961359),34 and on the other side scholar Barlaam of Calabria (12901348). The hesychast monks had been afrming

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that, because of their way of living, they were able to achieve a state of permanent prayer (hesychia35) engulng their whole beingbody and soul together. In such a state, these men reported experiences that, to our modern eyes, might be categorized as out-of-body experiences. They claimed to see an intense light, which they interpreted as the uncreated energy of God present within every reality that is regarded as nite. This should be distinguished from the Western mystical ecstasy, which somehow typically withdrew from contemplation any sensible experience that a person can have in such state. For hesychasts, in contrast, the state of permanent prayer in no way was passive, and it did not block sensory-perceptual activity. In other words, it was understood that the sensible faculties of the body are not an obstacle for the consciousness that one might achieve about God in his energies. The hesychasts36 clearly distinguished between Gods essence, unknowable and not-participable, and the uncreated energies of God deemed present in everything that exists. This is why such energies were considered knowable and participable by way of sensible experience. Barlaams critiques against the hesychasts, together with the replies contributed by Gregory Palamas, represent an important moment in the history of ideasa moment that helps to clarify what distinguishes the Mediterranean Orient from the Occident. At bottom, Barlaam spoke in the name of a dualist anthropology.37 The arguments he utilized can only be comprehended within the framework of the controversy that ensued at the same time in the nominalism/realism debate concerning the issue of universals. Gregory Palamas expressed himself in the name of a genuinely monist anthropology, and consequently could not have excluded the body from the state of prayer. In his view, the noetic and discursive faculties of humans express themselves while the body continues to function. Such simultaneity was rejected by Barlaam. The quarrel was of a religious nature, but the outline of the controversy interests us here because the council held in Constantinople condemned Barlaam in 1341 and ofcially adopted the standpoint of his adversary, Gregory Palamas. This decision shaped the Byzantine world, some decades before the end of the Eastern Roman Empire, and in some ways displaced dualism in favor of two positions that are central to this discussion: anthropological monism, and the proclamation of the presence of Gods uncreated energies nta. Such uncreated energies, in Palamass in every thing and every entity of ta pa goi and, in the Byzantine view, are responsible for terms, are similar to Maximus lo what makes one not anotherto allude to the title of this chapter. Synthesis: Understanding the Byzantine Ontology of Consciousness Without accounting for all the data in the Barlaam-Palamas argument, I have attempted to demonstrate the essential variables for the topic of this book, the ontology of consciousness. It is now time to employ a modern vocabulary to summarize the


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essential points of the preceding discussion. Mindful of technical language from early theological developments, a specic outlook on reality and human beings can be portrayed and rendered into present-day language: 1. There is a reality without a beginning and without an end. This includes the specic domain of pure consciousness. One may call it God if this concept seems convenient. This self-consciousness is not a mathematical formula, it is an enactment, and that is why all causality in this domain is technical, in the sense of creativeness, or an expression of free will. This can be restated by stating that the domain of consciousness is also personal. 2. There is another order of multiple realities, each of them having a starting point grounded in the previous one. This can be described as the domain of progressive sentience or becoming consciousness. These ontological agencies can undergo inner development, yet they are not arranged on a vertical or ladder-shaped axis. This order of reality is dynamic and causality in this domain is diversied. It goes from blind deterministic necessity to free will. Natural causality does not steer everything. Living and mindful creatures are less subordinate to it than solely mineral materials. If these multiple realities are to be understood vertically, they emerge from each other in a continuous transformative process (procession) steered by some law of necessity. Time is a general continuous frame for such a process. From this point of view, one and another are synonyms in a temporal sequence. When such realities are to be seen horizontally, each of them is rooted by its own gosin the eternal Lo gos. This would exclude ontological principleits Maximian lo any transformation, but would imply a vision where the very notion of evolution is an evolution of individual time and not of some morphological sequence. Time is discontinuous, and there is a gap, a hiatus between each sentient agency. This is why one is not another, in the case of fully sentient and fully self-conscious physical action. Sailing to Byzantium Byzantine culture sounds like an anachronism to modern ears. It is worth revisiting with modern eyes and vocabulary. Under the ashes of obsolete Neoplatonist vocabulary one can see reality with different eyes, and be surprised by the hidden modernity of Byzantine culture and its amazing realizations that are in perfect harmony with current perspectives on consciousness. Here, one can notice to which extent the senses are ontologically active and participate in shaping a moral world. This has been eloquently stated by William Butler Yeats (18651939) in his famous poem Sailing to Byzantium:38
THAT is no country for old men . . . An aged man is but a paltry thing, A tattered coat upon a stick, unless

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Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing For every tatter in its mortal dress, Nor is there singing school but studying Monuments of its own magnicence; And therefore I have sailed the seas and come To the holy city of Byzantium.

Conclusion Inuenced by Semitic realism, Byzantine culture kept a suspicious distance from the Aristotelian notion of substance, which is a central idea in any dualistic anthropology. In the Eastern Imperium Romanorum (Basileia Romaion, Bilad al Rum), an interesting historical merger of Latin legalism, Hellenic intellectualism, and Semitic realism took place. The rst tradition dened individuals primarily by their social roles; the second emphasized their common features; and the third stressed a concrete, eshed personal unity. In this regard, Semitic realism counterbalanced the other two. However, in the context of the theme of this discussionWhy one is not anotherit holds the creation hypothesis of each entity sufcient enough to tell how and why the ghost (namely, the soul) gets into the machine (i.e., the body). This view could denitely not have been narrow enough to cast creation history as a mere record of interactive brain-mind exchanges. The process of disengaging from Platonist assumptions was slowindeed millennarianand chiey achieved by two rst-rate scholars, Maximus of Constantinople, or the Confessor, and Gregory Palamas, who without throwing out any essential element, articulated an indisputable anthropological monism. They may have left the process incomplete, though their thinking was no less advanced than some approaches to brain-mind issues in contemporary universities.
Notes I would like to express my deep gratitude to the abbot and monks of the Benedictine Monastery of Chevetogne in Belgium, who welcomed me so that I could prepare this chapter. My thanks go especially to the librarian the Reverend Antoine Lambrechts who let me consult freely the priceless nicollections of his scriptorium, and to the Reverend Michel Van Parys, director of the review Ire kon, for his valuable counseling in patrological issues. I am also indebted to Assad Kattan from Balamand University in Lebanon for his help in understanding Maximuss concept of human will. I also thank Amale Dibo from the American University of Beirut. She kindly agreed to read my original manuscript in both French and English versions. 1. See the section Thinking in Images in Carruthers 2003, 7277. 2. Pigeaud (2004, 697702), trans. Antoine Courban. 3. From Aristotles De Anima, I, 1, 403 a 310; quoted in Verbeke 1985, 454.


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4. Gesche (1993, 59), translated from the French by Antoine Courban. 5. After a region in what is now southeast Turkey called Cappadocia. Jaroslav Pelikan (1993, 160 177) describes four Cappadocians, the two brothers Basil of Caesarea and Gregory of Nyssa, together with their sister and teacher Macrina, and their friend Gregory of Nazianzus. 6. Apollinaris of Laodicea was one of the most brilliant scholars of the fourth century. He certainly was the rst to formulate correctly what is known as the chrisotological problemthat is, the rational understanding of the relations between human and divine natures in the individual Jesus of Nazareth. His teachings were condemned at the Second Ecumenical Council held in Constantinople in 381. He was the rst to formulate the central argument by stating that two perfect principles cannot become one, thus allowing a better understandingto be achieved at the Council of Chalcedonof the irreducible wholeness of what a person is. 7. This is in fact a statement made by Ignacio Ellacuria and reproduced by Xavier Zubiri. Quoted from Secretan et al. 2002, 67; translated from the French by Antoine Courban. 8. The creation of the hospital may be traced to Basil, bishop of Caesarea, who in 375 implemented the rst known nosokomeion within the walls of a public inn or xenodocheion. He engaged monks and nuns in his jurisdiction to take care of sick people. This measure is considered to be the basis of the medical professions. 9. A network of such public institutions existed in Byzantium: ptochiia for the poorest, orphanotrophia for orphans, brephotrophia for abandoned children, gerontokomia for older people, and so on. See Lichtenhaeler 1973 and Miller 1997. 1990; Hunke 1960. 10. For further references see Issa 1981; Samira ` mes, VII, 4 (ed. Louis, p. 124); quoted in Grmek 1996, 219. 11. Aristote, Proble 12. In the fourth century, Evagrius Ponticus, a Byzantine monk of the dualist tradition, carefully classied such diseases of the soul and wrote about their healing. His nosology is still extremely popular in Eastern monastic circles. It lists the following diseases: Philautia (self-love), Gastrimargia (gluttony), lust, Philargyria-Pleonexia (cupidity-meanness), sadness, Akedia (sloth), anger, fear, Kenodoxia (vanity), and pride. See Larchet 2000, 845848. 13. Quoted in Ellverson 1981, 27. 14. The modern city of Homs, on the Orontes river in todays northern Syria. 15. See Outes et al. 19811984: This ancient connection contributes to the conceptual itinerary of Western neuropsychiatry. It is astonishing how the monk Chalcidius was able to access the neuropsychological knowledge acquired by Alcmeon eight centuries earlier. This knowledge differs, in some essential respects, from the views of Aristotle and other subsequent physician-naturalists. The conceptual path of Chalcidius situates him in a project most likely initiated by Ossius of Cordoba, who achieved an integral synthesis of human knowledge about nature. What is of relevance here is the theory of ventricular pneumatism: memory is localized in the posterior ventricle, imagination in the middle chamber, and sensation in the anterior one. Arabic medicine will abundantly elaborate on this theory, as the work of Razi and Ibn Baja demonstrates.

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16. Lewy and Landesberg 1847, 1848. Quoted in Symposium on Byzantine Medicine, Dumbarton Oaks Papers, XXXVIII (1984, xii). See also Temkin 1931, 268270. 17. It is not well established if he practiced medicine or ever studied it, although he was a professor of literature in Alexandria ( grammatikos). A Neoplatonist who adopted the Christian religion, he was condemned by his colleagues for criticizing Proclus and Aristotle on the eternity of the universe. Due to historiography and his conversion to Christianity, he was accused of being opportunistic shortly after the Emperor Justinian closed Athens philosophical school in 529. Richard Sorabji (1998) notes: In dynamics, the idea of an impetus, which in its medieval context has been hailed as a scientic revolution, can be seen to have traveled by an Arabic route from the sixth-century commentator Philoponus. Galileo in his early works mentions Philoponus more often than he mentions Plato. And Brentano in the nineteenth century got from the commentary tradition, and not from Aristotle himself, his idea that all activity in the mind is directed towards intentional objects. See also McKenna 1997, 157. 18. Cited in Todds communication, quoted from Symposium on Byzantine Medicine (1984, 108). 19. Ephraim the Syrian, Nisibean Hymn 11:4. Quoted in Papademetriou, n.d.; 20. English translation by Colin Smith (1981, 203). Merleau-Ponty adds that the theory of the body schema is, implicitly, a theory of perception (p. 206) in which our own body is in the world as the heart is in the organism: it keeps the visible spectacle constantly alive, it breathes life into it and sustains it inwardly, and with it forms a system (p. 203). vila and Crocco 1996. It thus does not appear to differ from what makes it not an21. See A otherthat is, the enactment of this creation is different in each case, exemplied in chapter 12, where nonalterity is not automatically taken for granted (because nonexistent existentialities are also considered). Therefore, in each enactment, a special determination is focused. With such a focus, the spatiotemporal circumstance denotes a determination that points to or reveals the existential here, which is called oneself. 22. Lecourt 2004, 857859. I follow Dominique Lecourt through the whole discussion of this issue about the person. 23. Ponsoye and Larchet 1992, 1013, translated from French by Antoine Courban. 24. Qu. LX, PG 90, 625A, LS2 81. Some readers may want to know that all Patristic texts are cited, after Larchet 1996a and 1996b, from the Jacques-Paul Migne Collection. Qu. stands for Quaestiones ad Thalassium, followed by the number of the question in Roman numerals; PG stands for Patrologia Graeca, followed by the volume number, page number, letters of columns, and line numbers. 25. Quoted in Ponsoye and Larchet 1992, 12. 26. Ponsoye and Larchet 1992, 13. 27. Qu. LIX, PG 90, 608D, LS2 53, and Qu. LXV, PG 90, 760A, LS2 285. gos-tro pos according to Maximus, see Sherwood 1955, 164168. 28. On lo


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29. Qu. XXXV, PG 90, 380AB, LS 241. 30. Qu. LV, PG 90, 545BC, LS1 495. 31. Qu. II, PG 90, 272B, LS1 51. 32. Qu. XL, PG 90, 396A, LS1 267. 33. See the following entries in the Oxford Dictionnary of Byzantium (Kazdan and Talbot 1991): Barlaam of Calabria, Palamas Gregory, Palamism, Hesychasm, and Hesychia. 34. Kazdan and Talbot 1991, 1560. 35. Kazdan and Talbot 1991, 924. 36. Kazdan and Talbot 1991, 923. 37. Kazdan and Talbot 1991, 257. 38. Quoted from The Literature Network; This poem is considered one of the masterpieces of the Irish poet. It was rst published in 1927 in Yeatss collection October Blast, when he was in his sixties. References Anderson, Ray (1982), On Being Human: Essays in Theological Anthropology, Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. ` mes, trans. and ed. Pierre Louis, Paris: Les Belles Lettres. Aristote (1991), Proble vila, Alicia, and Mario Crocco (1996), Sensing: A New Fundamental Action of Nature, Folia NeuroA gica Argentina, Vol. X, Buenos Aires: Institute for Advanced Study. biolo Brehier, Louis (1970), La Civilisation Byzantine, Vol. 3 in Le Monde Byzantin, 3 vols., Paris: Albin Michel. Brunner, Emil (1939), Man in Revolt, England: Guilford. Carruthers, Mary (2003), The Craft of Thought: Meditation, Rhetoric and the Making of Images 400 1200, Cambridge Studies in Medieval Literature, Vol. 34, New York: Cambridge University Press. Cramer, John G. (1986), The Transactional Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics, Reviews of Modern Physics, Vol. 58, No. 3, July, pp. 647687. ne e-Henri (1952), La The orie des logo atures chez Saint Maxime le Confes des cre Dalmais, Ire according to Saint Maximus the Confessor], Revue des seur [The Theory of Creatures Logo ologiques, Vol. 36, pp. 244249. sciences philosophiques et the Dupont, Florence (2003), Lacteur romain, orateur sans visage [The roman actor, a featureless thique et Ethique Medicale, Res Publica, Nov. 2003, speaker], quoted by Dominique Lecourt in Bioe special issue, Paris: Presses Universitaires de France (PUF).

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e de Xavier Zubiri [Introduction to the ` la pense Secretan, Philibert et al. (2002), Introduction a thought of Xavier Zubiri], Paris: LHarmattan. Sherwood, Polycarp (1955), The Earlier Ambigua of St Maximus the Confessor and His Refutation of Origenism (Studia Anselmiana, Vol. 36), Rome: Pontical Institute. Sorabji, Richard (1998), Aristotle Commentators; .htm. Symposium on Byzantine Medicine, (1984), Dumbarton Oaks Papers, XXXVIII. Szirko, Mariela (2005), Why Is Time Frame-Dependent in Relativity? Minkowskis Spacetime as a a, Vol. 13, No. 3, Kantian Condition of Possibility for Relativistic Calculations, Electroneurobiolog pp. 181237;

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derpaar Philagrios und Posidonios, SA, 24, pp. 268270. Temkin, Owsei (1931), Das Bru Thual, Franc ois (2004), Le Douaire de Byzance [The Dower of Byzantium], Paris: Ellipses. Todd, Robert B. (1984), Philosophy and Medicine in John Philoponus Commentary on Aristotles De Anima, cited in Symposium on Byzantine Medicine, Dumbarton Oaks Papers, XXXVIII, 1984, p. 108. rard (1985), Levels of Human Thinking in Philoponus, in C. Laga et al., After ChalVerbeke, Ge cedon: Studies in Theology and Church History Offered to Professor Albert Van Roey for His Seventieth Birthday (Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta, Vol. 18), pp. 451470, Leuven: Peeters. Wheeler, John Archibald, and Richard Phillips Feynman (1949), Classical Electrodynamics in Terms of Direct Interparticle Action, Review of Modern Physics, Vol. 21, No. 3, July, pp. 425433. Yeats, William Butler (1927), Sailing to Byzantium;

Soul and Paideia: On the Philosophical Value of a Dialectical

Michael Polemis

In classical Greek philosophy, especially for Plato and Aristotle, the notion of soul is a necessary and constituent part of human life that manifests itself in the actualization of a dialectical a2eth sojov bi ov, philosophical life) and arete (Gk: a , relation between philosophos bios (Gk: jilo virtue). Reecting on Platonic and Aristotelian descriptions of soul, and incorporating the later interpretation of this notion in Christianity, philosophers continue to discuss soul throughout modernity. Yet, this same notion of soul has been tempered by events of historyfor example, in Hegelian idealism, with its attempt to undermine the traditional Kantian theory of knowledge that continued this trend toward apory about the place of soul within the ow of history. Consequently, the traditional notion of paideia (Gk: paide a, education) ceased to remain a meaningful category for education, by undermining the ability of individuals to construct an effective subjective identity and to comprehend history. In this chapter I demonstrate how the traditionally philosophical ideal that unied soul and paideia has lost its appeal and scientic value, and I assess the ethical consequences of this pragmatic shift for future attempts to educate humanity. An analysis of this philosophical process clearly indicates the conditions leading to the demise of soul in philosophynevertheless, there are genuine options for philosophers to rehabilitate the concept of soul.

Prologue (cuwh ` , cool breath of Reminiscence resides within language and contains psyche nov, a vigorous force life), which is imperturbable breath conjoint with menos (me nov shares its etymological Indo-European root with the term man of life). The term me (male or human) and describes the same manic vitality that is attributed to the fury of humans. In the Greek language, this human quality is associated with our ability to ny2opov, human) is derived turn things upside down. Accordingly, anthropos (a nat2e po, overturn) and describes the human capacity to act in a headfrom anatrepo (a over-heels manner.


Michael Polemis

This same reference to raging vitality is also contained in the other Indo-European , namely, soul. The soul can be associated with two vital eleroot of the word psyche ments, one originating in water (sea) while the other is associated with air in motion (wind). The origin of soul traces back to the fury and vitality of Aiolos, the King of Winds (Ai olov), whom the ancient Greeks associated with the celerity of air currents akin to three additional symbols: the velocity of a bird of prey in capturing knowledge e2ax), the divine (i e2o n), and the other majestic bird of prey, the eagle (often a falcon, i eto v). All three constitute a symbol of eternity and incorporate knowledge for eons of (a i ei ), while at the same time residing next to a ghastly god of death ( A eternity (a dhv) in his capacity of bearing eternal knowledge of the Great Divide. It is precisely this knowledge of death that constitutes an essential element in Greek philosophy concerning our comprehension of the concept of soul. Philosophy becomes the means of combating thanatos and one can assert cum grano salis that paideia (paide a, education) represents the contribution of Greek culture toward mastery over death. This prevalence is most visible in Platonic-Aristotelian philosophy and forms the intellectual basis for consecutive generations of philosophers to overcome death. In this context, the battle against death is primarily a battle toward eternity. The subtle difference between these two forms of combat is most vividly presented in Platos magnum opus, where the masterly philosopher demonstrates between the lines of his dialectical discourse the suggestive nuances of his philosophical language that enable a reader to hear whispers of eternity. Platos serene allusion to eternity is embedded in multiple coherent schemata of interpretation that reinforce each other in a constant ux of inspiration. The absence of a static concept of cosmos or soul adds to the charm of Platos perpetual dialogue, which strives to attain knowledge of eternity and his desire to engage the other, and himself, in an eternal dialogue. Genesis and Transcendence More than any other of the Platonic dialogues, Phaedo displays a unique demonstration of the two primary motifs in the philosophers battle against death: genesis from opposites and the transcendence of ideas. Both motifs are discussed extensively at different locations of the corpus Platonicum, but only in Phaedo do we nd a systematic assessment of the two motifs in their relation to the concept of soul. Plato has in part inherited these motifs from earlier Indo-European traditions, and has in part inaugurated novel ideas toward comprehending eternity that continue to be meaningful concepts in a continuous historical unfolding of ideas. The rst motif originates in Platos concept of dialectics as teaching through opposition. The gestation of a thing or object from its opposite is reected, for example, in the contrasting and codependent evolution of small things that must come from large

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ones, which in return become smaller (Phaedo 70d71e). This same cycle also applies to Platos presupposition that living comes from no other source than the dead, and death comes from the living in a process of eternal recurrence that is reective of growth from decline and vice versa. Insofar as this motif can be presented as a general theme of discourse, one can derive from it an overall life principle, a world soul that is an immanent and constituent element of cosmos. Such an objective-idealistic concept of soul is typical of Platos philosophy and appears consistently through all his works, including his late dialogue, Laws. In the dialogue Laws, Plato describes the concept of an imminent perpetual motion holding together the entire cosmos as a spinning celestial disk, which is reective of his assertion about a world soul embedded in the unity of opposition (Laws X, 897a 898d). He expands on this idea in Phaedo when he modies his objectively idealistic concept of the soul. It is also here that Plato introduces the second primary motif in relation to the unity of opposites: the transcendental nature of concepts that is inherent in his theory of forms. The preexistence of soul is part of Platos theory of remembrance that constitutes an aspect of his theory of forms (Phaedo 72be). All life comes into existence out of quietus, according to the principle of opposites; therefore Plato claims that the soul must continue to live, even after bodily death, in order to return to life. Plato has already introduced the concept of individual soul earlier in the text (71e72a), but his references to a sort of creation of soul from its opposite, death, appear slightly inept. This blurred vision of the soul seems to occur primarily when Plato develops the concept of immortal individual souls in contrast to death. For example, he explains that although bodies and souls are not eternal, they are nonetheless indestructible: for if either of them had been destroyed there would have been no generation of living beings (Laws X, 904a5904b1). This passage demonstrates Platos emphasis on body and soul as an ontological principle that is couched in the language of universals, as long as one maintains the souls difference from ideas that manifest as particulars instead of concrete universals; conversely, Aristotle objects in the Metaphysics (A 9, M 45) that such entelechial interpretation of a process-oriented dynamic ontogenesis of reality is not acceptable.1 It can be argued that this Aristotelian critique starts with false premises topon, incongruity) to allow by incorrectly placing Platos ideas into a realm of atopon (a for empiricist explanations of concrete universals, but this is a different matter not directly related to the scope of this chapter, since it relates to one of the more arcane hermeneutic passages in the interpretation of Aristotles work. While any attempt to grasp the Platonic concept of soul within the parameter of a singular individual soul is bound to fail, one can indeed nd such caesural transformation in the Christian soul. Platos concept of the soul remains ambivalent with reference to the contrast between universal and particular soulthe same ambivalence is found in the Platonic concept of God (as the demiurge who acts communally and represents reason in primary and


Michael Polemis

secondary motion of a perpetual ux, Laws XII, 966e). The Christian concept of soul evolves from this ambivalent interpretation in favor of a clearly dened individual soul. Any remaining traces of Platonism had been eliminated from Christian doctrine primarily through the help of Greek clergy in their attempt to purge Origenian interpretations of the soul once and for all from their teachings. The climax of this project was reached at the fth ecumenical synod of Constantinople at the time of Emperor Justinian. Here, the Platonic concept of a preexisting soul, along with other doctrines that had to this point remained active due to Origens work, was now eliminated from theological dogma. This nal coup removed all Platonic elements from the concept of soul, which was now unfathomably characterized in accord with the Christian belief in the creation of humankind. Henceforth, the concept of individual souls is deprived of any empyrean groundingthis we nd conrmed later in modernism when Kierkegaard eloquently analyzes the concept of sinand the grave presupposition for its existence is found in the abyss of nothingness (see chapter 14). All subsequent attempts by theologians to explain the origin of individual souls were in vain; creationism, traducianism, generationism, and similar attempts to overcome this transcendental dilemma did not succeed. Christian theologians declared that Origens doctrine of the souls preexistence was a heresy primarily on the basis of a surreal yet forceful argument, namely, that the lack of any memory of earlier stages of ones soul supposedly demonstrates the fallibility of such belief. Consequently, Platos concept of paideia was also revised and subjected to interpretations more suitable to Christian doctrine. While paideia was still seen as a path toward acquiring virtue, its meaning, nonetheless, had been transformed. The theological transformation of paideia originated in a suppression of the philo 2ov). I am referring to the amsophical nature of Platos ambivalent concept of eros (e bivalence that attributes to eros a role as mediator (Symposium 201d204c). This dual character of erosas mediator who spans the chasm between ignorance and truthful philosophical knowledgeis known in the history of European philosophy as a veiled metaphor for the negative force contained in all sentient life. This arcane power of thought originates in a dialectical structuring of reality toward its self-sustaining presence. Plato describes this process in his Seventh Epistle (342 cd) as a blaze kindled by a leaping spark, while Hegel solemnly declares it to be the impressive power of the negative that is the force of sentience, namely, a pure self (Phenomenology of Spirit, p. 21). This principle of negativity is the Truth of eros; it is the very center of Europes paideia tradition. For Plato, eros is the negative force that brings insight and mediates between the unknowable transcendentality of the dynamic power of concepts on which the ontological and cosmological reality of paideia (or of idea) rest. Both the inseparable knowledge and ones awareness of it become the enigma for all sentient life. They are

Soul and Paideia


also the very subject of philosophical discourse about truth and virtue that allow one to recognize the indivisible creative powers that reside in the dialectical process of sentience to unite eros with ones own divine nature. Such an individual is akin to the Platonic God to which Plato refers only in analogies, with intentional vagueness, for the purpose of illustrating the divine nature of philosophical discourse. According to Plato, the dual nature of eros is mediated through the concept of individual soul. Eros represents a force that is external to human nature and that is mysteriously derived from the nature of cosmos, as well as a genuine property of individual souls. Plato argues that a person can comprehend truth only through this mediating force of eros, which is ultimately the privilege of philosophical reection. Aristotle maintains the etymological classication of Platos ontology when he differentiates between intellectual virtues (dianoia, rational thought) and moral virtues (ethikos, character), and places the latter in the context of proper habituation that indirectly is found in the elitist character of the term paideia. For Plato, the ideal of achieving v, philosophical life) and bios theoretikos (bi ov jilosoji0o ov both bios philosophikos (bi yeo2hti0ov, life of contemplation) is reached by only a few sentient beings. Aristotle a, wisdom) and sophrosune (soj2osu nh, temperaccepts Platos division of sophia (soji ance) and reinforces the culturally binding ontology that is derived from habituation and skeptical assessment of the concept of individual soul (Nicomachean Ethics II, 12). The Transformation of Eros The theologians categorical rejection of Origens Neoplatonic teachings about the preexistence of individual souls so radically distorted the ancient concept of individual soul that it was rendered outside its original Hellenistic scope. It is paradoxical that the Christian distortion of Platos thought took place in the context of a theological doctrine that supported a metaphysical claim for the existence of individual souls on the basis of divine exhalation.2 In spite of this metaphysical support, or perhaps because of it, the concept of individual soul became a controversial and, at the same time, radical Christian denominator of a persons unique existence, especially if this concept was used as the basis of self-reection and self-awareness and was opposed to the Socratic dialectical-dialogical search for the roots and meaning of self-identity. Socrates is undoubtedly an icon in the history of philosophy, with his uncompromising search for introspection in full awareness that there is absolutely nothing in the world that can give us assurance about ones claims for truth except ones own afrmation of life and ones joyous search for the good in spite of the constant presence of a merciless death. In contrast, Christianity dwells in the fear of sin; the concept of individual soul is associated with Gods mercy and one is frightened more of sin than of death, since sin is a rejection of mercy and the consequence of eternal damnation is


Michael Polemis

more frightening than the prospect of nite death (So I tell you this: every sin and every slander can be forgiven, except slander spoken against the Spirit; that will not be forgiven; Mt 12:31). In this overall context, the value and meaning of eros became transformed. While Plato saw as the highest ideal ones search for knowledge and truth, Christianity preaches love. While Socrates condemned injustice and located the power of justice in the laws of the Greek polis, Christianity engages in an ambivalent relationship between the gospel and the power of states as the supreme measure of moral authority, as indicated in the Pauline Epistles, while assuming a superior role beyond the state as mediator of human interaction. For example, the early Christian Letter to Diognet (5:510) 2oi0ov, sojourner) in the describes Christ in his fundamental solitude as paroikos (pa world who overcomes his isolation by means of transcendence that helps him to understand the relation between political powers and the divine, just as St. Paul recognized the dialectics between law-abiding citizenship and introspective liberation. Thus, the meaning of eros has fundamentally changed, and with it also the meaning of paideia. Christianity redenes eros in the context of agape, love for God, humans, and cosmos; consequently, paideia no longer is associated with knowledge, but with love. This means that eros is not seen as a means toward attaining knowledge; instead its function as Christian agape has become the goal of knowledge. St. Augustines motto amare amabam becomes the central force toward paideia for the Christian West. No longer is the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake a desirable virtue, as had been proposed in ancient Greece (see Metaphysics A 2, 982b); instead knowledge has been subordinated to love, and love is now the supreme form of knowledge. This goal of Christianity presupposes that paideia is not merely a matter for philosophers, but is available to all human beings. In fact, one can argue that all but philosophers are closer to the Christian notion of love, since nonphilosophers will accept love as an unconditional principle without any intellectual reservation. This Christian interpretation of truth utilizes the Platonic ideal of actuality and agency; however, it transforms eros into agape. The transformation is reected in the Christian concept of love for God as ecstatic joy and in the entirely new vernacular of the so-called Neoplatonic clergyfor example, with respect to the eroticism of the cosmos, which bears little resemblance to philosophical Neoplatonism. A similar tendency toward eroticism is found in medieval mystical traditions with the German mystics Mechthild (12071282) and Gertrud (12551302). Both stress the importance of conjugal love with Christ in heaven on the basis of beatic visions derived from sublime eroticism (see McDannell and Lang 1988, 100107). Regardless of this historical transformation of eros, its transition from knowledge to agape presupposes a radically solitary individual soul that sees love as a result of Gods grace. It is no longer Platos concept of the good that will help an individual soul to

Soul and Paideia


nd redemption after death or to ndaccording to Aristotle eudaimonia as a way of life; instead, Christian redemption takes place through the grace of God as an act of opaque love.3 One important aspect must be addressed here: in spite of essential differences in the interpretation of paideia from a classical point of view compared with a Christian point of view, especially with reference to the preexistence of the soul, one must recognize many similarities. As an example, neither tradition views paideia as a utilitarian concept. In the Western tradition, paideia is the unremitting path toward forming and educating ones soul. During the pre-Christian era the soul shaped itself by means of philosophical reection on truth; later, the soul was seen as the highest good that brings meaning and justication to ones life. Although its loss is equal to perdition, all of our personal efforts cannot guarantee a result, since the nal judgment is delegated to God. Even the most virtuous person does not automatically have a ticket to paradise; paradoxically, we nd in Lk 23:3943 that the crucied robber who had asked Jesus for mercy will be among the rst to obtain eternal redemption. (This passage contains a dramatic climax, since Jesuss promise already is in effect for him that same day and thus guarantees the robber a seamless transition to eternity.) In this context it is also important to mention the difference between a dualistic concept of soul-body and the tripartition of body-soul-spirit that attributes to the soul a bodily component in the tradition of Origen. This tripartition differs from the concept of pneuma (pneuma, pure spirit); however, it is also beyond the scope of this chapter to address the various hermeneutic models of biblical interpretation and contrast them in an anthropological study with theology. Christianity reinforced the ancient Greek notion that the value of an individual bearer of an indivisible soul is not determined by ones temporal social status, but rather, within the scheme of a larger ontological order. A person is to be seen against the background of eternityeither by virtue of his or her position in eternity, or simply as an objectively idealized eternal being who, in spite of the cessation of life, still remains immortal on the basis of his or her soul. This presupposition had been continuously cherished by philosophers throughout the reign of religious dominance. The Aristotelian concept of an objectively immortal soul has survived in spite of, and side by side with, the Stoic materialistic interpretation of the soul, and it has remained a valued concept throughout its opposition both in medieval times and throughout the Arab enlightenment, from Avicenna and Spinoza to Leibniz and Hegel. This tradition reinforced the importance of an eternal perspective: goodness is seen within the context of eternity and not within the context of immediate gratication. The value and dignity of humankind can only be determined sub specie aeternitatis. In this context, one can come to understand the importance and value of irony within Platonic philosophy. Socratic irony occurs if one assumes, for the sake of discovering


Michael Polemis

the truth, a position of ignorance or the acceptance of uncritical assumptions about what is correct. During the discourse, then, the truthful and consequent application of ones presuppositions will soon lead to disavowal or ridicule. Socrates cheerfully demonstrates the art of sophistry by the analogy of a sherman in the dialogue the Sophist (219d233b). The deeper meaning of his playful rhetoric is certainly found in Platos use of irony sub specie aeternitatis by utilizing the force of negativity to start a dialectical process with reference to a mathematical difference, derived from a contrast between truth and lack of truth, by subtracting untruth from truth and the awareness that comes from the remaining position. This, in turn, opens a small gap through which the reality of truth can shine. This dialectical principle was practiced centuries before Hegelian logic and preceded its philosophical thrust; however, such an assessment can only take place in the context of eternity. A similar irony can be found in evangelicalism when Christ was duped into making statements that should have been harmful to him. Some of these rhetorical questions were transformed through Christs replies into revealing statements about his accusers, and Christ answers according to his rhetorical powers (Lk 20:18). The irony comes into play through the classic double function of revealing untruth while at the same time giving strength to the person who happens to be in the just but weaker position. Thus we can also nd within the tradition of philosophy of religion a manifestation of a divine tragedy on earth. God, as incarnated logos, uses irony to oppose the representatives of political power in their questions about his competency. One could argue that all four evangelical gospels are ironic fundamental scriptures reective of humanitys boundaries. We meet this irony in its power of negativity once again at the beginning of modernity in the great literary tradition of Dante, Shakespeare, and Cervantes, all of whom portray masterfully the human souls struggle when reecting on its subjectivity that is typical of the modern period. Following the literary examples of antiquity, the souls primary purpose and motif continue to be its diabolical struggle for redemption and self-afrmation. Dante (Paradiso, XXXIII:137145) gives a beautiful demonstration by fusing the Platonic concepts of paideia and eros that in their Christian interpretation now become transformedin accord with the Pauline traditioninto agape, and describes with poetic metaphors a metaphysics of trinity as the only path for selfreection that is thought to unite the means and its end.
I wished to see how image joined to ring, And how the one found place within the other. Too feeble for such ights were my own wings; ... My power now failed that phantasy sublime: My will and my desire were both revolved,

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As in a wheel in even motion driven, By Love, which moves the sun and other stars [trans. L. G. White].4

For both, St. Paul and the church fathers, love is the highest asset derived from grace that guides a human soul to see itself and to attain a paradisiac vision of the divine, which makes love ultimately no longer dependent on ourselves. Dante represented the modern paideia interpretation in Christianity when he joined the agapetransformed ancient Platonism together with the emphasis on subjectivity that emerged from modernity, to form a new synthesis. During the early Renaissance, Dante envisioned this synthesis of paideia with an agape-transformed eros as the great new concept of modernity, but this unity was ultimately defeated in a historical process giving rise to the idea of productivity and freedom, henceforth unleashing the powers of material productivity. A new Manichaean turn signaled the radical decline of eroticism in the Christian-Platonic world as modernity did away with the Augustinian unication of the history of salvation and world history. Notwithstanding the attempts in philosophy to reinstate such unity, the primary concept of modernity became dualism. Philosophers attempted to overcome this dualism, as seen in their philosophies of mindfrom Descartes throughout Kantand Hegel did succeed with this task by overcoming epistemology itself, when he formed the concept of subject from the substance of history, which could only be seen as a place of evil. The concept of modernity unfolded with diabolical attributes and its character was recognized consistently from Descartes to Kant, from Rousseau to Hegel, and nally, from Nietzsche, as they all attempted to overcome the chasm of cosmic reality that had been created through reason. By attributing supreme qualities to reason, they attempted to forget the tragedy of the human condition, namely, its imperfection in the light of reason. This condition is reinforced by our beliefs in technology and money, and by the fetish of productivity as a means toward autonomous universal liberation. Such is the contemporary predicament for humankind, tethered like Prometheus not only by the whimsy of the gods but also by our own limitations. We must admit that, while we are at the dawn of a new century, we still face death, injustice, poverty, and war. Conclusion The literal meaning of humankind remains diabolical, for it is, by denition, a constituent part of diabolos to renounce both the primal unity of idea and resemblance, as well as any concept of humanity and humanity itself, consequently rejecting the necessity for a divine nature of all existence. Such limitations constitute the extreme boundaries in the tradition of identity philosophy, and have radically challenged in modernity any attempts at dening subjective agency, ultimately leading either to its


Michael Polemis

current positivistic destruction by means of language analysis or to the postmodern dissolution of reality. Along with the notable philosophies of identity comes their inability to overcome the demarcation of transcendental difference in constituting the subject with its own systematic parameter that is suitable for the claims of reason, as well as the resuscitation of the Sophists eristic disputation that Plato had eloquently delineated in Meno (80e) and attempted to solve in his poignant maeutic (Meno 84c).5 The possibilities of human knowledge remain tied up in the limitations of rational categories within time and space. Antiquity did not succeed in reconciling subject and object to rekindle an acerbity and disquietude of reason that gazes on its own limitations once again during modernity. Any attempts to develop new philosophical themes by resorting to either scientic models or obscure religious beliefs must ultimately fail, since no simplistic model of ontology will ever ameliorate humankinds perpetual contradiction and difference that is akin to mediation in metamorphosis.
Notes An earlier German version of this chapter was presented at the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy, Boston, August 816, 1998. I would like to thank Helmut Wautischer for his translation and for his research to replace my German bibliography with English works. 1. Aristotle criticizes Platos concept of forms primarily on the grounds that Platonic forms result in an unnecessary metaphysical doubling of reality, while at the same time leading to a methodological circulus vitiosus in the context of an alleged regressus ad innitum that has become the subject of numerous philosophical debates under the general aporia of the third man. This aporia explores the necessity of assumingad innituman ideal person who is simultaneously form and appearance over and above any given form. Plato discusses this situation in Parmenides (133a), where he develops further the dialectics of opposition to demonstrate that the forms themselves cannot be thoughts, and thereby distances himself from the theory of forms. The controversy between Platos theory of forms and Aristotles concept of entelechy centers around the topos of identifying and explaining consciousness in the context of a relation between nature and reason. Any philosophical novice without proper methodological training for understanding ancient Greek philosophy might easily confuse the psychological dimension of consciousness with its philosophical grounding. Thus, contrary to Aristotles entelechy, Platos theory of forms is neither entelechial nor dynamic. 2. Although there are various interpretations to account for such exhalation, the concept of divine intervention for the occurrence of the individual soul remains a constituent part of theological doctrine. 3. A precise comparison of the differences between Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant theology in their interpretations of Gods grace exceeds the scope of this chapter.

Soul and Paideia


4. The Italian text is from the 1975 edition of the Bollingen Series LXXX, Princeton University Press:
veder voleva come si convenne limago al cerchio e come vi sindova; ` le proprie penne: ma non eran da cio [. . .] ` possa; A lalta fantasia qui manco ` volgeva il mio disio e l velle, ma gia ` come rota chigualmente e ` mossa, s lamor che move il sole e laltre stelle.

5. Socrates: I know, Meno, what you mean; but just see what a tiresome dispute you are introducing. You argue that a man cannot enquire either about that which he knows, or about that which he does not know; for if he knows, he has no need to enquire; and if he not, he cannot; for he does not know the very subject about which he is to enquire. . . . Socrates: But do you suppose that he would ever have enquired into or learned what he fancied that he knew, though he was really ignorant of it, until he had fallen into perplexity under the idea that he did not know, and had desired to know? (Meno 80e, 84c, trans. Benjamin Jowett). References Aristotle (1966), Metaphysics, trans. Hippocrates G. Apostle, Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. (1985), Nichomachean Ethics, trans. Terence Irwin, 2 vols., Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing Company. Dante Alighieri (1948), The Divine Comedy: Paradiso, trans. Lawrence Grant White, New York, NY: Pantheon Books. Hegel, George W. F. (1977), Phenomenology of Spirit, trans. Arnold V. Miller, Oxford: Clarendon Press. McDannell, Colleen, and Bernhard Lang (1988), Heaven: A History, New Haven: Yale University Press. Meecham, Henry G. (1949), The Epistle to Diognetus, Manchester: Manchester University Press. Plato (1925), Epistle VII, in Levi A. Post, ed. and trans., Thirteen Epistles of Plato, pp. 61113, Oxford: Clarendon Press. (1953), The Dialogues of Plato, ed. Benjamin Jowett, 4 vols., Oxford: Clarendon Press. The Revised English Bible with the Apocryphia (1989), New Rochelle, NY: Oxford University Press and Cambridge University Press.

II Localizing Subjective Action

Any ontology of consciousness requires solid scientic grounding that is inclusive of early culturally dened concepts of conscious action, while integrating these ndings into current theories of nature. Since consciousness research is being constantly updated by all scientic elds, it becomes increasingly difcult to develop comprehensive theories that are inclusive of empirical data from diverse disciplines without excessive parsimony. As a given fact, if not by ontological necessity, conscious action manifests itself within boundary variables, regardless of how minute or transient such eclosions appear. The action of minds presents itself both locally and nonlocally, providing an electrifying tension that is described in this section. The rst four chapters in part II provide theoretical frameworks to address nonlocal action and the relevance of relational dynamics for sequential mapping of events. Each chapter does so from within the methodological boundaries of its research. An admittedly bold, but at the same time beautiful, execution of empirical research in the neurosciences brings data for a grand synthesis presented in the two chapters that follow. A monistic theory that acommodates a dualistic interpretation appears to be an oxymoron, but succeds in transforming a palindrome from metaphor into fact. A brief note on these two concluding chapters is needed. Crocco and Szirko present their bold theory of universal mindful action in nature that is consistent with neuroelectric research from Argentina. Their chapters have gone through an extensive editing process with exemplary support from the authors. Nonetheless, readers are encouraged to explore these pieces with an open mind. Their terminology is never casual, and the grammatical challenge of their chapters is not a variable of translation, but is due to the necessity of breaking linguistic modalities of categorization to accommodate their ndings about living systems.

Language and the Evolution of the Human Mind

Hubert Markl

This chapter hints at new answers to a set of functional questions. The ontology of the mind, whatever its ultimate substance may be, diversies into mental contents in whose making the brain noticeably intervenes. This diversity can be safely assumed to have evolved by the process of genetic variation and natural selection investigated in evolutionary theory. Why has the human species developed this astounding capacity to maintain an internal theater full of images, thoughts, conclusions, beliefs, prejudices, emotions, hopes, and anxieties, which we can conjure up almost at will, yet can suppress only sporadically and with considerable effort? Why do we have this capacity? What might it be good for? Can we see this remarkable variety of mental contents as a special adaptation of our species? Is there a relationship between the evolution of our conscious mind and our no-less-signicant capability of developing symbolic language and social systems characterized by common beliefs, knowledge, and the skills of a complex culture handed on by learned tradition? The question of why humans have developed a unique style of mental contents should be answered according to the usual paradigm of Darwinian evolutionary theory, which tries to elucidate how a complex trait under study could evolve by means of natural selection, and how this contributes to the reproductive tness of its bearers. Social intelligence is detailed, and individualized knowledge of relationships, rank, and behavioral dispositions, along with knowledge of the abilities of other group members, and with the rating of ones own abilities to reach desired goals in such a network of behavioral probabilities by acting immediately or with deliberate delay, become the most vital, most crucial resources. Social intelligence generates ones ability to comprehend strategic action within a rule-conforming environment, such as the moves in a game of chess where the present distribution of a game, along with possible future second-, third-, fourth-, and nth-order moves and their consequences are assessed, for every decision that the other player may make. Consciousness would thus become a virtual space for trying out behavioral games, for checking outcomes in theory before trying them out in actuality. It may decide for an individual whether he or she ends up successfully protected and well accepted in the core of a social group or as a peripheral playerthat is, an outcast in danger of being the rst target for predators and with reduced chance for replication of ones genetic endowment.


Hubert Markl

The evolution of a conscious mind as tentatively described may have entered into one of those autocatalytic, self-reinforcing relationships that so often in evolution are the hallmark of truly novel achievements. It seems that the prelinguistic hominid brain1 developed a number of capacities that can be regarded as prerequisite building blocks of the primate mind from which a truly linguistic cognitive system could develop, maybe even rather late in the history of our own species. Thus, while in primates intensive and frequent tactile communication through mutual grooming is the most important mode of interpersonal communication for building cooperative alliances and thus fostering social cohesion, these functions could have been partly but advantageously taken up by rening language. The linkage between such a well-prepared brain with a truly linguistic representational system must have produced more than communicative putty to hold together societal networks. In fact, step by step it probably enriched the private world of consciousness, that subjective interactive theater of world models in which an individual could preenact and reenact games in order to adapt better to the complex social reality where it actually had to perform in a public, shared conscious world. This enactment can also occur in possible virtual ctitious worlds that can be represented as thought shared by language. The capacity for consciousness and language would thus become mutually interlinked in a self-reinforcing circle. Even though the idea of replacing grooming by talking in expanding social groups may at rst glance seem a bit simplistic and certainly not adequate to explain what happened during that genetic and neurolinguistic jump from a protolinguistic brain to a brain fully competent for human language, there is certainly a tertium comparationis of deeper importance in this. Communities that use language as a common mental unity derive an unmistakable and immutable linguistic identity. This cohesion binds the users of a language together into a tightly knit special relationship for life, into which others who speak differently rbaroi of the Greekscan only intrude with much effort and often and strangelythat is, the ba not at all. Thus, language opens and closes the human mind: it opens the way to communication of an unlimited richness of content and it closes groups against each other by erecting linguistic boundaries of discommunication. The view of the world would change from the day on which separate views of linguistically joined individuals of a social group could be amalgamated, and from that time on, the world itself would never again be as before. To Donald R. Grifn, mentor and friendwho dared

Foreword This chapter has been written in the spirit of Erasmus, the eminent European humanist and illustrious scholar who, probably more than anyone else in his day, was able to bridge the manifold chasms that have been, since earliest times, both the strength and the predicament not only of the intellectual history of Europe, but also

Between ancient thinking and Christian thinking Between Christian theology and a philosophy that no longer regarded itself as ancilla, as handmaiden of the former

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Between the chauvinism of rising nations and the common intellectual heritage of the Greco-Roman and Christian West And above all, Erasmus represented the attempt to bridge the gap

Between devout belief and critical rationality, between clerical and secular reasoning

Who could better stand for the ideal goals of overcoming the ominous split of not only C. P. Snows (1964) two cultures (i.e., natural sciences versus humanities), but of cultures in general, than Erasmus, who lived and worked and inuenced others in his native Netherlands as well as throughout Europe, (especially England, Italy, Germany, and Switzerland)? Who among all those towering medieval and Renaissance scholars could more authentically stand also for the self-critical modern scientic mind than this priest and son of a priest, this herald of religious tolerance and human rights based on natural law who, nevertheless, wrote a whole book making fun of himself and of pretentious scholarship while praising foolishness in his Encomion Moriae (Praise of Folly) of 1511? And who, nally, could more aptly lend his name to a discussion of the relationship between human language and the evolution of consciousness than this man with deep knowledge of the linguistic foundations of European thinking? He paved the way for a rationalistic, natural theology that provided the fertile ground for that young bachelor of divinity, Charles Robert Darwin, who would later shake the very foundations of our thinking about ourselves. This nally brings me back to my topic. Language and the evolution of the human mind is a topic certainly large enough to be associated with an Erasmus. But how can an animal behaviorist like myself, who has devoted most of his working life as a researcher to the intricacies of the sensory capabilities and communicative organization of social insects, dare to address such uniquely human characteristics as language (writ large) and consciousness (writ even larger)? The reason is similar to the way of thinking that invites linguists and psychologists to ponticate about what animals are and do, or supposedly are not able to do, often without ever having studied the actual behavior of even one of the beasts about which they claim to know so much by pure introspection (actually not the worst way to learn a lot about animals, I must admit). Different from such humanists, the student of animal behavior, on the other hand, does at least have the advantage of rsthand experience of actually being a conscious human person and of using language to convey his or her thoughts and observations, and consequently might be qualied to ponder the evolution of the human mind. How urgently answers to these questions about the substance of our humanity and about its roots in the animal kingdom are sought may be read from the two most luxuriously owering branches of the biosciences publishing business: the Darwin


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industry and the mind-body industry, as I take the liberty of calling these most impressive and laudable efforts, made by many of the best scholarly and scientic minds. Daniel Dennett, the author of both Consciousness Explained (1991) and Darwins Dangerous Idea (1995), is the undisputed master of both arts of intellectual enterprise. Let me therefore also dabble in the murky waters lling the trenches between philosophical quagmires, linguistic sand dunes, evolutionary rainforests, and the ethological outback. Clearing the Path for a Functional Question In order not to be completely lost in this wilderness, I should specify from the outset the things I will denitely not discuss. First, I will not address the question of what man and woman really are in essence, as compared to all nonhuman animals (as if these were unied by anything other than by not pertaining to our species). As far as this fundamental question is concerned, I will be glad to leave it with the old Linnean denition of that erect and mostly hairless primate erect body, naked, scant hair concentrated in the remotest parts (corpus erectum, nudum, pilis raris remotissimis adsper put it in the tenth edition of his Systema Naturae (1758, 21). However, sum) as Linne he recognizes as important among other characteristics: animal that weeps, laughs, sweetly sings, converses, can be trained, judges, admires . . . yet frail . . . of unreliable character, stubborn hopes, lamentable life, belated wisdom (animal ens, ridens, melodum, loquens, docile, judicans, admirans, . . . sed fragile . . . precarii spiritus, pertinacis spei, querulae vitae, tardae sapientae), while at the same time he maintains the notion of a miracle of nature (miraculum naturae), Prince of Animals because of which the whole nature was generated (Animalium Princeps cuius causa cuncta genuit natura). For the purpose of my discussion, humans are nothing but the members of a biological species of primates, one of peculiar capabilities and often rather queer habits (including the less-than-proper sense of the word). Thus, I am not addressing the question of whether there are special spiritual qualities to our species. I am neither advocating nor denying such concepts; rather, I am not exploring them because I do not feel qualied to do so. Let me therefore only consider that part of the human being that can be safely assumed to have evolved by the process of genetic variation and natural selection as assumed in Darwinian evolutionary theory. Second, I will not try to join the hunt for the ivory unicorn (or the red herring) of trying to answer the question of what consciousness as a reied entity really is. It may well be that we only feel compelled to raise this question because by joining a word to the inescapable self-evidence of conscious experiences, thoughts, desires, and intentions (in addition to unconscious performances of our neural system), we cannot but assume that there must be something to consciousness. To say it with Mephistopheles in Johann Wolfgang von Goethes Faust: Its just when sense is missing that

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a word appears (. . . denn eben wo Begriffe fehlen, da stellt ein Wort zur rechten Zeit sich ein (Goethe 1994, part 1, line 1995, p. 85)). To the great disappointment of my estimation of Dennetts (1995, 370) scholarship, where he nds it possible to write This bon mot appeared in the Tufts Daily, attributed to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, but I dare say it is a meme of more recent birth. Si tacuisses philosophus mansisses. Frankly, I do not know what the reied entity consciousness really is (although I certainly feel conscious enough), nor do I see that anybody else knows. It seems sufcient for our purpose to take it as common wisdom that we are capable of special types of cognitive, emotional, and voluntary processes, which we call consciousa capacity that, as we know, depends on the functioning of our brains. We also know that we can lose this capacity, for instance during boring lectures, BUT ONE LOUD SENTENCE CAN BRING IT BACK TO US! Thus, there are very real problems connected with conscious experiences, inviting thorough scientic inquiry: How and where do these experiences come about in our brains, and what neurobiological functions and mechanisms are they dependent on? What happens when we lose them during sleep or replace them with subconscious dreams? Above all, when did such a capacity for conscious experience rst evolve in the natural history of our species or of other animal ancestors endowed with it? This situation raises the question of the evolutionary level on which we can assume animals have conscious experiences. All these questions are fully legitimate and bona de scientic questions, open to critical scrutiny, and I will come back to some of them shortly. There are other questions that, in my experience, are at the forefront of most peoples curiosity, yet are clearly out of bounds for scientic investigationfor example, questions about the essence of consciousness, as if it were some pneumatic substance with a very special quality, or whether that substance, called psyche or soul, could exist separately from our bodies and even survive their demise. Although the dualism of self-experience is irreducible, for a dualism of substance there is no evidence of a scientically relevant kind. Third, I will also not address any further those scientically accessible questions just mentioned, such as the connection between brain functions and the conscious neural state, however interesting it would be to do so. These connections are among the most exciting in the eld of neurosciences, advancing by leaps and bounds with the amazing progress of neurophysiological, neurogenetic, neurochemical, neurohistological, electroencephalographic, magnetoencephalographic, nuclear-magnetic-resonance, X-ray- and positron-emission-tomographic, and, nearly monthly, other new imaging techniques applied to the intact, living, and consciously active human brain. The wonderful detail in which all these and many other methods allow us to localize and correlate physiological, biochemical, and neurological mechanisms with specic mental performances in the healthy as well as in the pathological brain will, in due course, through investigations by thousands and thousands of our most gifted neurobiologists,


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neuropsychologists, neurolinguists, and droves of other neuromaniac scientists probably in even less time than given by the Decade of the Brainunravel most of the secrets of what is going on in our brains when our minds consciously think, feel, desire, or intend. When that is nished, will it mean that we then know in the scientic, reductionist sense of the natural sciences, what consciousness really is? As said before, I doubt that a satisfactory answer to this question will be the nal outcome. I would be prepared to accept as a satisfying answer to the question of the neurobiological basis of consciousness that, if all the neurophysiological processes accompanying conscious experiences are localized, described, and quantitatively analyzed to the last molecule of the last neuron involved, then exactly such a description is all there ever will be for a physical explanation of conscious experiences of the mind (although it is most likely never fully achievable). Whoever wants more than this, as for instance an explanation of how the neural representation of the perception of Chopins Minute Waltz relates to the qualitative subjective feelings evoked by this piece of musicthe qualia problem, about which some people presently make public noises by calling it the hard problem of consciousness (see Chalmers 1996) and claim that eventually it can be brought to a scientic solutionwill be disappointed. It may after all turn out to be only the hard problem of seeing the emperors new clothes, in a semantic discourse that Francis Bacon (1974, sec. IV.3) might have counted among the rst distemper of learning, when men study words and not matter. But even if this is so, it will not be a minor achievement, but rather a tremendous success of the scientic investigation of the physical foundations of conscious experiences and actions, if all the physical and chemical mechanisms involved in bringing them about will have been nally elucidated, as without doubt they will be sooner or later. This result will be one of the most important achievements of the scientic endeavor to explain reality in its currently most highly evolved form, but it will not explain away anything of this reality, or conscious feelings, or ones internal certainty of possessing free will with its capacity and obligation to make choices on moral grounds. Nor will it cast the slightest doubt on the self-evident experience of the reality of the private subjective mental world of the human individual. These aspects will neither be touched nor, as it were, conjured away by the knowledge of what happens, for instance, in a specic group of neurons in our limbic system while we feel a rising emotion. Even if we animal behaviorists knew all and everything about dogs, it would still take a dog to feel like a dog! And even if a man boasted that he knew everything that can ever be known about his fellow men, let alone about womenwhich is of course impossiblehe would never know what it feels like to be the other, and of course vice versa, unless they share and discuss their experiences with one another.

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Even then, and regardless of the gender variable, to hear a description of feelings is evidently not equivalent to having such feelings. Humans Capacity to Keep an Inner Theater Bountiful The privacy of experience nally brings me to the question I want to explore further. I am not concerned with what consciousness is, or with how our neural system brings it about; instead I will frame Darwinian questions more thoroughly: Why has the human species developed this astounding capacity to maintain an internal theater full of images, thoughts, conclusions, beliefs, prejudices, emotions, hopes, and anxieties, which we can conjure up almost at will, yet we can clear the stage only sporadically and with considerable conscious effort? Why do we have this capacity? What might it be good for? Can we see it as a special adaptation of our species? Needless to say, answers to the questions will open up further questions, such as whether other species have similar capacities accessible to us in recognizable degrees. A further consideration is the nature of a relationship between the evolution of our conscious mind and our equally signicant ability to use symbolic language, and its impact on social systems, which are characterized by common beliefs, knowledge, and the skills engendered by a complex culture, handed on by learned tradition from generation to generation, and modied and embellished along its historical path. Let me try at least to hint at some new answers to such a set of functional considerations, which would not be exhaustively addressed, even if we knew everything about the neural mechanisms of conscious cognition, because we would still keep asking why such activities occur at all. I will pursue these matters from the base of a well-dened presupposition, a working hypothesis, as it were, but one for which all the available empirical evidence speaks forcefully: namely, that our ancestors (through Miocene, Pliocene, and Pleistocene epochs) evolved from an animal stage to the current human status as a wholebody and mind, physically and psychologicallywith brain and self-awareness, articulatory apparatus and language capacity, instead of from increasingly humanlike, bipedal apes who, one Sunday morning, woke up fully equipped overnight with a human soul that made them once and for all something categorically different from all animal forebears. In other words, the question of why we have developed the extraordinary capabilities of conscious thought and feeling and of abstract conceptual language should be answered according to the usual paradigm of Darwinian evolutionary theory, which attempts to elucidate how a complex trait under study could evolve by means of natural selection, the determining factor being the reproductive tness of its bearers. When we follow the expansive evolution of the hominid brain from its apelike state in the bipedal Australopithecus afarensis (either 46 or 3 million years ago (mya))


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through that of Homo habilis and Homo erectus (1.72 mya) to the fully developed human brain of the earliest Homo sapiens several hundred thousand years ago, we can assume that the enlargement of the hominid brain, which occurred concurrently with the increasing fetal neuron growth rate, resulted in the increased complexity of the hominid mind. The gradual renement of tools and weapons is an early indicator of such change. But what exactly is the purpose of such Darwinian tness in relation to the increasingly brainy creatures? It is inescapable at this point to ask whether, and to what degree, we can assume that our ape ancestors (or their more primitive primate and insectivorous mammalian forebears) had already developed cognitive and emotional capacities, which would thus allow us to impute to them conscious thoughts and feelings. This area of study, newly dubbed cognitive ethology, receives considerable attention in the eld of contemporary animal research, which includes more than fty years of excellent work in comparative experimental psychology, mostly on rats, mice, pigeons, monkeys, chimpanzees, pigs, parrots, and even honeybees. These studies have convincingly proven that all these and many other animals have excellent associative and operational learning capacities, combined with short- and long-term memory equivalent to that of humans. They have demonstrated, at least in the warm-blooded vertebrates, the ability to develop mental representations, called cognitive maps, that allow themby drawing on past experienceto solve novel problems related to orientation and manipulation, which in humans we would not hesitate to call the result of deliberate thought. They have shown that all these animals, when exposed to complex choice situations, can make decisions according to rules that tend to optimize some outcome of their behaviorfor example, in the selection of food, nest sites, shelters, and social partners. They have, in exceptional cases for instance in rats, elephants, monkeys, apes, as well as pigeons and parrotsshown that these animals are able to build abstract generalized concepts, such as numbers (although well below ten), shapes, or colors of objects, and that some of them can associate such concepts with self-produced gestural or acoustic signals in a way that, in principle, comes close at least to the use of words for conceptual notions in humans. Summing up, most students of the cognitive performances of highly evolved vertebrates, especially of mammals and above all, higher primates, seem convinced, even after the most critical scrutiny of the experimental evidence, that these creatures are able to learn and memorize and to think and solve complex novel problems in a way not fundamentally different from what we know from our own experience. But do they do this consciously, meaning, is there incontrovertible evidence for conscious thoughts, feelings and, above all, self-awareness in any of these mammalian relatives? It depends on whether one accepts similar evidence, for instance, when posing the same question with respect to such human individuals as deaf-mute children, or disabled stroke patients, or even simply some foreigner with whom one does not have a

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single word in common. Most of the signs that we take as a certain indication of consciousness in such fellow human beings would easily pass muster in the aforementioned birds and mammals. Of course this may not convince the skeptic who maintains that even the most humanlike ape is nothing but a highly sophisticated biological robot, some kind of active somnambulist, who performs learning, problemsolving, and tool-using procedures as any microchip-equipped mechanical robot would do. Such interpretations bring us dangerously close to the quicksand dilemma of whether information-processing machines could be developed to reach such a status of articial intelligence as to become conscious beingsanother question that I denitely will not try to answer. Let me return later to the open question of conscious experience in animals although for me, the question is open only in the sense that the notorious skeptic can hardly be forced by compelling evidence to accept that it exists, while critical observation of higher animals and birds makes it impossible, at least for me, to not ascribe conscious experiences, thoughts, and feelings to them, mostly on the basis of the argument of evolutionary continuity between animals and humans. Instead, I will address the question of why, from the state of an already rather clever and skillful problemsolving monkey or tool-using ape, the rocketlike ascent of the genus Homo, with a tripling of brain volume in less than two million years, could have occurred, and how this ascent might have depended on the expansion of the physical nervous system as well as of the mental capacities for conscious thought. Furthermore, this begs the question of why our capacity to use and produce abstract symbolic language is denitely lacking as a natural behavioral ability in all those animals and birds I have just considered. Minds Neurally Loaded with Abstract Mental Contents as an Adaptive Trait What could have made an increasingly conscious mind adaptive for our ancestors on their way from picking fruit and cracking nuts to writing poems, playing sonatas, and building cars with internal combustion engines? Apparently whatever constituted the rst stirrings of conscious thought in Australopithecus or early Homo, who were living in groups of some twenty-ve males and females with their offspring,2 avoiding their enemies and eating seeds, berries, fruits, buds, and occasional insects, birds eggs, or, once in a while, a butchered monkey baby, engendered a different evolutionary process than that of the hairy chimp on the other bank of the river whose life consisted of the same activities. It remains an act of rhetorical bravery to discern any advantage for reproductive tness that might have resulted in increased thoughtfulness and premeditation compared to the other animals around. Natural selection could hardly have worked on enlarging the brain beyond the allometric proportions of animal primates (i.e., more than proportional to the increase in overall body size) if such enlargement had


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not been connected with an enhancement of reproductive success. We should not forget that our brain is one of the most expensive organs to maintain; with hardly more than 2 percent of our body weight, it needs nearly 20 percent of our total daily energy consumption. Evolution probably would not have tripled the size of such a gluttonous organ without a proportionately added valueand this balance is conrmed by evolutionary evidence of increased replication activity of genes related to neural endowment. The question of whether the enlarged cranial capacity is directly linked to the enhanced conscious awareness of its bearer continues to remain unsolved. This correlation could hardly have come alone from better learning ability, improved memory, increased sensory information processing, or enhanced motor skills, because in all these and many other aspects of neural control of behavior one cannot infer that the capacities of humans would excel when being compared to their more lowly relativesfrom pigeons to parrots, from bats to dogs or monkeysand in most respects even when compared to ants and bees. Of course, it is well known that superproportional enlargement, especially of the hemispheres or terminal telencephalic centers of the brain, was characteristic throughout mammalian evolution and that, especially in simian primates, the increased exibility of learned behavior and decreased control by genetically xed patterns of behavioral routines allowed them to expand their realm to diurnal arboreal life. It was this exible adaptation to unpredictable food sources and ways to escape enemies that gave them the chance to exploit the canopy region of tropical forests, where there were few other similarly large-sized competitors around. However, our ancestors came from the same prime living space that those primates have left. They lived where there was denitely no dearth of large herbivores or carnivores and where, at least in the fully developed genus Homo, the free-swinging life of the arboreal ancestors was exchanged for locomotion on solid, two-dimensional ground for which, as antelopes, zebras, or warthogs demonstrate, extra-large brains were certainly unnecessary. So brain size exploded from less than 500 cc to double that size in a few hundred thousand years, and to triple that size in little more than a million years of a way of life that basically was not too different from that of a horde of baboons, which still escapes well-founded explanations today. What seems to me the correct answer to this worrisome question is neither my own nor entirely new. It has existed in one version or another for quite some time, connected with names (especially of primatologists) from Allison Jolly (1999), Michael Chance (1988), John Crook (1980), Hans Kummer (1990), or David Premack (1986) to Nicholas Humphrey (1992), Dorothy Cheney and Robert Seyfarth (1990), Richard Byrne (1995), Andrew Whiten and Richard Byrne (1997), Robin Dunbar (1993, 1996), and Frans de Waal (1989), among others. Mostly, it goes by the name of social intelligence theory of the human minds evolution. Its real content, however, as far as I can see, has become clearer only since the application of game theory to the evolution of

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social behaviorthat is, behavior whose outcome depends on the interaction between individuals. It is the seminal studies of John Maynard Smith (1982) and William Hamilton (1996) that have given us a deeper insight into very special aspects of optimizing selection processes in natural populations. Natural selection optimizes heritable traits of organisms under conditions of scarcity of vitally necessary resources, because among the genetic variants available in every natural population, these traits will increase in relative frequency from generation to generation. Thus, the mode of distribution of heritable traits will move along a trajectory of increasing adaptation to prevailing selective conditions, with the range of genetic variation within a population determining its adaptabilitythat is, the speed of this optimizing process and its ability to react to changing selective conditions by genetic adjustment. This does not mean that, at any given time, any natural population must ever be truly optimally adapted in an absolute sense; the dialectic properties of the evolutionary process itself, together with the unpredictability of at least some inuential environmental conditions, will always ensure that tomorrow some better solution may become the enemy of todays good solution. Now, as long as we are talking about traits that can be produced by an individual alone, as for example control of blood pressure, efciency of digestion, running speed, or visual acuity, this short qualitative description of evolutionary optimization will temporarily sufce. However, such optimization is no longer applicable if the tness success of one individual depends crucially on the actions of others with whom the individual has to interact in order to reach his or her goals. The typical examples of this are, of course, predator-prey or host-parasite relations, aggressive or cooperative interactions between conspecics, and, among the latter, the interactions between sexual partners in reproduction and those between parents and offspring in broodcare. Again, natural selection will tend to optimize individual tness and thus replicative success of those genes inuencing specic behavioral traits in all these relationships. But this success depends not only on the characteristics of one bearer of a specic genetic constitution, but on behavioral responses and their control by genetic inuences in behavioral partners. Whether reproductive tness is better served when encountering a competitor for a desired resourcesay, a nest site, a territory, or a sexual partnerby giving in without ghting, by threatening in order to discourage the rival, or by immediate aggressive action will evidently be of great consequence for ones chances of obtaining the needed good. It will also very much depend on what the competitor might be able to do in response to ones actions and, above alland this is the important point in the present discussionon the partners assessment of each other regarding the actions and their possible outcomes with respect to genetic tness. The same would hold for a male having the choice of either to stay with a female in a continuing reproductive relationship or to leave her for different partners during a lifetime, or for a broodcaring


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female who might have to decide whether to invest in already-existing offspring or to wean them and produce another clutch instead. In all of these truly social interactions, which are adequately modeled by the mathematical methods of game theory, the way to optimal adaptation is not as clear as it usually is in the straightforward cost-benet models of individual behavioral optimization. Often it may not even be possible to reach an optimal outcome for all the partners involved but only some compromise in the evolutionary race for tness benets of all the relevant parties. Thus, an Evolutionary Stable Strategy (ESS) in the sense of John Maynard Smiths work, more often than not can be only a compromise. Without going into further details, there is one aspect of this common evolutionary situation that deserves special emphasis. If each of the interacting individuals has many different options for behavioral actions and reactions, with probabilistic distributions of possible outcomes for them, then the more exible and open toward learning processes the behavior of a species isfor example, more so in mammals than in reptiles, and even more so in primates than in shrewsthe better off these individuals are. Consequently, if each of these individuals in a stable social group has, in addition, the chance to learn from the consequences of previous amicable relations, playful interactions, or aggressive clashes with other group members for decisions to be made in future encounters between them, then we will not only get very complex individual histories, albeit without detailed knowledge from externally hardly predictable relationships, we will also have social conditions for pursuing individual tness in which one capacity becomes paramount for the social and, consequently, reproductive success of the participants. This gift shapes ones behavior according to the most sophisticated evaluation of all possible outcomes of all possible options of actions and reactions, sometimes of two or more social partners who will all try to do the same, possibly at the others expense. Social intelligence is a detailed and individualized knowledge of relationships, and rank and behavioral dispositions, along with the abilities of other group members, and with the rating of ones own possibility to reach desired goals in such a network of behavioral probabilities by acting immediately or with deliberate delay. Under such conditions, it becomes the most vital, most crucial resource. Remembering not only who is whose son or daughter or brother or sister, but being able to evaluate what that means for Ego and its given set of relatives in the struggle for social advantages and against disadvantages, may decide for an individual whether he or she ends up successfully protected and well accepted in the core of a social group or as a peripheralized loser, an outcast in danger of being the rst target for predators and without much chance for replication of ones genetic endowment. Social advancement is endowed by learning and memory, self-control of ones behavior, the ability to make and keep friends by mutual cooperation, and of course it helps to be the son or daughter of a high-ranking female or to have many close relatives with whom to join forces. But even more than all this, it certainly helps if one

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does not have to rely only on learned traits or astute evaluations of present conditions. Instead, when one has the capacity to enact present and past experiences in a mental model that allows him or her to represent the probable outcomes of different possible options of strategic action and counteraction under the given circumstances, then one has a better opportunity to stay within the protective embrace of the highest-ranking social group. By analogy, consider imaginary chess-game opponents and their strategies to attempt victory. This does not mean that I am hinting at an evolutionary explanation of why the human brain is not only able (but in so many of us outright eager) to play such a game as chess. Playfulness, the ability to engage in mock behavior, play aggression, pretense of escape, ctitious hiding, and all those as-if behaviors that are not the real thing but wonderfully useful to explore what could happen if they were real, provide ne examples of what games can do for social learning. More to the point, it seems to me that exactly this performance quality of individuals, which allows them to play a game like chess, has all the properties necessary for assuming that they are capable of conscious thought. But we need to add one more step, which will also answer the obvious objection that such reasoning might force one to treat every $100 chess-computing program as a conscious creature. The one additional step is that this whole neural cost-benet machinery only becomes really productive in the sense of a higher-order mental device if it can not only represent experiences past and present and rules connecting them with possible moves and actions, but if it can also represent ones intentions, expectations, desires, and anxieties connected with this situational evaluation and, in addition, similar mental states of the interacting partners. In other words, a brain with such performance qualities would not only allow thoughts on past and present facts and probabilities of events, but also harbor thoughts on thoughts, reections on intentions, hopes, and fears in oneself and in others, as well as representations of experiences, but metarepresentations of thoughts about such experiences. That is what we could call a truly conscious brain and, if we had convincing evidence for such capabilities in an animal, we would, without doubt, not hesitate to call it a fully conscious fellow being. In fact, for a number of mammals, especially for the hominid apes, we do have at least highly suggestive anecdotal and some experimental evidence of such capacities to infer intentional considerations in social partners, especially when trying to enlist their cooperation in solving problems, but also in situations that we can only describe as involving a deliberate intent to deceive a partner in competition for desired goods. Thus, I would suggest that the capacity for full consciousness has evolved in higher primates from already well-developed capacities in other mammals to the ability to represent past and present experiences and the ability to link them with actions by adding the representation of intentions, goals, and positive and negative emotions of


Hubert Markl

oneself and others as some kind of internal experiences. This allows the brain not only to model what happens and what can happen, but also what should happen from ones own point of view and from that of interacting participants, as it already does in simpler animal systems. Consciousness would thus not be some internal cinema in which prerecorded events can be revisited before they actually occur in the external world, but rather some kind of internal interactive play with the author also assuming the role of an actor who could try out in advance how the other actors might react to this. Such adaptation of role-playing can be utilized to fulll ones own intentions and to bring about corresponding outcomes in ones social world. Consciousness would then become a virtual space for trying out behavioral games, for checking outcomes in theory before trying them out in actuality. Theoria is the Greek word for watching a theater performance and, in that sense a human being is certainly a theoretical animal. Our never-ending interest in seeing plays on stage and screen is only the extension of our instinctive desire to live out the plot in our minds. If there is truth in this view of understanding what drove the evolution of the human brain to expand its computational and representational capacities beyond all previous limits in order to allow the representation not only of social partners and actions and outcomes of their activities, but also of ones own thoughts, intentions, feelings, desires, and fears, then this still does not answer the question of why cognitive evolution occurred to such a degree in primates and not, for instance, in wolves or dolphins. I will not attempt to answer this question, which may be of the kind so common in the reconstruction of evolution, where we can post factum try to understand the causation involved, but never prospectively predict what should happen next in an evolving lineage, thus making it fruitless to ask why not all trees can live for thousands of years, or why we cannot digest cellulose. Letting Partners Interact: The Minds Richness Is Expanded by Social Communication It is now time to address the function of language for mental development. Could it be that the key to understanding better why the human brain, with its expansion, the human mind, have developed beyond the bounds known previously in animals is because of social communication, of which human language without doubt is the most highly developed form? The evolution of a conscious mind as tentatively described may have entered into one of those autocatalytic, self-reinforcing relationships that so often in evolution are the hallmark of truly novel, emergent achievements. I hope to convince the reader that this might have been the case. Even so, we certainly know even less in terms of factual evidence about the evolution of human language than we know about the evolution of the human mind (for which, at least, brain enlargement

Language and the Evolution of the Human Mind


may be taken as some kind of physical indication of the dynamics of the process involved). Let us begin by looking at typical sender-receiver interaction in animal communicationfor example, crickets or birds singing. The sending animal produces some kind of acoustic signal that depends on its state, and thus codes a message, allowing a receiver to draw conclusions about that state. When the receiving animal responds to that signal, it has to decode the importance of that message with respect to its own nature and behavioral state, thereby giving the message some meaning. A male bird singing the message I am a valiant and sexually mature male of species XY and hold a nice nesting territory may of course convey an entirely different meaning to a male or a female of the same species, or to a cat trying to catch its lunch. Message and meaning of a signal are intimately connected with the intentional or emotional states of both sender and receiver. In addition, once we realize that communication roles are not merely asymmetrical, as between a courting male and female, but rather symmetrical as between two rival males or contenders in a ght for a valuable resource, and once we further consider that the increasing learning capacity of the communicators affects their signals, messages, and meanings, which are all apt to be modied by experience and by the consequences of past interactions, then we come to describe conditions of representation of signals and responses in the cognitive apparatus of animals. This interactivity opens entirely new ways of expanding the role of communication from rather simple stimulus-response types of interactions to highly complex modes of information exchange, and of mutual behavioral adaptation between sender and receiver. An important factor in many of these exchanges is the continuously changing roles between sender and receiverfor example, with threat signals that require availability in the animals minds for the coding mechanisms transforming behavioral and intentional states into messages, as well as the capacity to decode their meanings. The studies of Peter Marler and his students on acoustic communication in songbirds support this interpretation (see Bradbury and Vehrencamp 1998; Hauser 1996). Their studies show that the females of a species can recognize and decode the song of their conspecic males and, if primed by a dose of male sex hormone, they show full competence to produce male songs. Without this priming, these abilities are absent. Similarly, we know not only from birds but also from mammals, including humans, that members of both sexes often have complete access to nearly all their respective sex-related behaviors, and thus are capable of communicating messages and related mental and emotional states of the other sex. At the human level, these skills can be applied at will, which suggests that in some respect, we are inherently actors. Social communication fullls, in an ideal way, the prerequisites needed for empathetic representation of a partners representational model for behavioral options and


Hubert Markl

intentions, and for applying this knowledge with regard to ones intentions and emotions, since our mind, of course, has continuous rsthand access. Through role change in dyadic communication, individual A, after sending a signal, can assume the position of individual B in the very next instant, interpreting Bs response, just as B before had assumed the position of A to interpret As signal. Therefore, what at rst seemed a rather far-fetched assumption, namely that the conscious mind should represent ones own intentions and thoughts, as well as those of an interacting partner in order to facilitate for planning adaptive behavior in ctitious social encounters, turns out to be congruent with the reality of communication and mutual adaptation of behavior by signaling (Markl 1985). Metarepresentation of situations, as well as thoughts and intentions in the virtual space of consciousness, are derivatives of the cognitive parameters for such communication. But how about language? Many would claim that there is more to language than the simple exchange of signals that underlies animal communication systems. For example, Steven Pinkers (1994) The Language Instinct explores the chasm separating even the most sophisticated achievements of animal communicationsay, the honeybees communication dances, birdsong duets, or vervet monkeys referential callsfrom the simplest forms of human language, such as the newly invented creole languages analyzed by Derek Bickerton (1990) and others. However, even if one is rightfully critical of exaggerated claims about sign language in apes, such comparative experimental animal studies in chimpanzees and other nonhuman primates have at least revealed features and abilities of the primate mind, which Bickerton registers as protolinguistic, and which he also nds in the rudimentary linguistic achievements of children under two years of age, in adults who have been deprived of access to language models in their early years, and in speakers of pidgin-type communication systems. Such studies suggest that the prelinguistic hominid brain developed a number of capacities that can be regarded as prerequisite building blocks of the primate mind from which a truly linguistic cognitive system developed, perhaps even later in the history of our own genus. The remarkable coincidence found in a number of humanoid mental and behavioral capacitiespresent to some degree separately in other species of animals, but in its condensed combination only in primates most closely related to humansappears to have set the stage for the evolution of a brain with a more developed language instinct. These capacities include self-recognition in mirror images; demonstration of a concept of self along with a degree of self-consciousness; and advanced and variable tool use, especially tool selection and production, as well as the inventive and insightful use of tools for problem solving. These remarkable abilities yield causal inferences, as well as the capacity and propensity for the social teaching of manipulative skills especially to ones offspring. Furthermore, the ability of apes to learn, use, and even teach referential signalsthat is, protowords, represent names

Language and the Evolution of the Human Mind


for present or absent physical objects, as well as actions, and even rather abstract concepts and intentional mental states such as desires or fears. It is rather clear by now that this ability to use word signs to whatever degree, even in associative strings, lacks the simplest characteristics of any language that involves syntax and grammar. Nonetheless, it seems remarkable that the demonstration of such abilities in primates, especially in combination with the other achievements mentioned, may teach us how the language-competent human mind evolved as the latest stage of ascent of an evolutionary rocket that was launched from early primate stock. If these protolinguistic achievements did not represent some more primitive form of human language, and if human language nonetheless is a truly biological, genetically founded characteristic of Homo sapiens, then we are back to the same question as before: What are the functional reasons that explain the evolution of a fully conscious human mind? What did the advent of modern Homo sapiens some 200,000 years ago contribute to achieving a real language capacity? This search takes place in biologically adaptive termsagain, in Darwinian reproductive tnessand adds to what the protolinguistic, ancestral forms neither had nor needed. Robin Dunbar (1996) looks at this evolutionary development by assessing the relationship between brain development and group size. Specically, he found that in primates there is a strong correlation between mean size of social groups and the relative degree of neocortex development. From this he drew the conclusion that neocortical size limits the degree of social complexity with which a primate can cope. This parameter indicates some of the evolutionary selective forces acting on the enlargement of neocortical size in human evolution. A lot of brain would be necessary to bring forth the conscious representational systems, which are needed to maintain the increasing network of inuential relationships that are part of the social behavioral games that determine individual and inclusive reproductive success in increasingly larger social groups. In their investigation of primate Machiavellian intelligence, Richard Byrne and Andrew Whiten (1988) have added to Dunbars insight that the occurrence of deceptive social behavior also correlates positively with neocortical development. Their assertions still seem to be insufcient to understand the evolution of human language. Dunbar points out that intensive and frequent tactile communication through mutual grooming is the most important method of communication for building cooperative alliances and thus fostering social cohesion in primates. When groups extend beyond approximately fty members, the time and effort necessary to guarantee such cohesion in grooming networks becomes excessive, and other means of organization become necessary, for which purpose, he suggests, language might have taken over. Although it seems evident that language, once developed, accomplishes this task of social coordination, it occurs to me that their interesting suggestion is still aiming


Hubert Markl

much too low to explain what true language really adds to human mind and behavior, let me state once again: the evolution of a conscious mind depends strongly on the representation of past and present experiences, cause-effect associations, and the metarepresentation of ones intentions and feelings as well as those of communication partners. The protolinguistic primate mind thus was able to correlate gestural, mimicked, and vocal signals, both referentially with features of the environment as well as with such mental concepts. Then the correlation between such a well-prepared brain with a truly linguistic representational system must have produced more than merely communicative putty to hold together societal networks. However, these attributes also gradually expand the private world of consciousness, allowing for a subjective interactive theater of world models in which an individual can preenact and reenact games in order to adapt better to the complex social reality where it actually had to make sense in a public, shared conscious world. This enactment can also occur in possible virtual ctitious worlds that can be represented as thought shared by language. The capacity for consciousness and language thus becomes mutually interlinked in a self-reinforcing circle where the expanded common consciousness as represented by the linguistic construction of realities (both true and imagined) would necessarily feed back onto the capacity of the individual mind to grasp, memorize, and work within these world models by means of that individuals shared linguistic experience. Thus, even though the idea of replacing grooming with talking in expanding social groups may at rst glance seem a bit simplistic and certainly not adequate to explain what happened during that genetic and neurolinguistic jump from a protolinguistic brain to a brain fully competent for human language, there is certainly a tertium comparationis of deeper importance in this. Language is more than merely a means to transportand reason aboutworld models from private imagination into a public domain, an opening for innumerable ways to prepare for and especially to play social games, and an explanation and invention of events, as well as an instrument for cajoling and manipulating and threatening fellow human beings. It makes a signicant contribution to the community that uses it to create a shared mental unity, an unmistakable and immutable linguistic identity. Language as a Provider of Cultural Identity Language expands private conscious thoughts and feelings into common conscious thoughts and feelings, but at the same time it binds the users of a language together into a tightly knit special relationship for life, into which others who speak differently rbaroi of the Greekscan only interpose themselves with and strangelythat is, the ba much effort, and often not at all. Thus, language opens and closes the human mind. It opens the way to communication of an unlimited richness of content and it closes groups against each other, by erecting linguistic boundaries of discommunication

Language and the Evolution of the Human Mind


(Markl 1985), even in these days of life in a global village with approximate English as the creole of the Internet. It seems to me that we still have to wait for an answer explaining what happened when the human brainalready full of conscious protolinguistic mental abilities and expanded enough to handle the complexities of tness-optimizing politics in advanced gatherer and hunter societies, some tens or a hundred thousand years agoadded the language instinct (in Steven Pinkers terms) to the other genetic endowments of our species. There can be no doubt that the human mind, already having evolved over several million years as an amazingly competent organizer of social intelligence, took off with an expansion of consciousness uniting billions of people, deceased and alive, into a social superorganism with shared knowledge about the world, with the capacity to invent new utopian worlds, and with the potential to unite them beyond common belief into action. As much as we may be curious about what happened to bring about this linguistic jump of our neurogenetic system and what the real selective driving forces were behind it, one thing is clear enough: the view of the world can no longer be the same once separate views of linguistically coupled individuals of a social group are amalgamated. Language not only provides the means to represent the world as it is but at the same time makes it possible for group members to decide jointly how it should beand to implement such changes.
Notes An earlier version of this chapter was presented at the meeting of the Academia Europea in Barcelona 1996, and appeared in European Review, Vol. 5, pp. 121, 1997. The two notes were added by Mario Crocco. 1. The word hominid refers to members of the family of humans, Hominidae, which consists of all species on our side of the last common ancestor of humans and living apes. 2. In the years following the lecture that underlies this chapter, new ideas and fossil ndings have considerably enriched its background without as yet requiring that its perspective be altered. Scholars maintain that the divergence of the Homo line from that of the great apes may have taken place as early as nine million years ago. Notwithstanding any knowledge about inbreeding constraints, it was surprising to learn that a single generalized form was supplanted by a mosaic of hominid forms ve to six million years ago, not, as previously thought, a mere two to three million years ago. References Bacon, Francis (1974), The Advancement of Learning, Oxford: Clarendon Press. Bickerton, Derek (1990), Language and Species, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.


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Bradbury, Jack W., and Sandra L. Vehrencamp (1998), Principles of Animal Communication, Sunderland: Sinauer Associates. Byrne, Richard (1995), The Thinking Ape: Evolutionary Origins of Intelligence, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Byrne, Richard, and Andrew Whiten, eds. (1988), Machiavellian Intelligence, Oxford: Clarendon Press. Chalmers, David (1996), The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Chance, M., and A. Richard, eds. (1988), Social Fabrics of the Mind, Hove and London: Lawrence Erlbaum. Cheney, Dorothy L., and R. M. Seyfarth (1990), How Monkeys See the World, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Crook, John H. (1980), The Evolution of Human Consciousness, Oxford: Clarendon Press. Dennett, Daniel C. (1991), Consciousness Explained, London: Allen Lane/Penguin. (1995), Darwins Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life, London: Allen Lane/ Penguin. de Waal, Frans B. M. (1989), Peacemaking among Primates, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Dunbar, Robin I. M. (1993), Coevolution of Neocortical Size, Group Size and Language in Humans, Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Vol. 16, pp. 681735. (1996), Grooming, Gossip and the Evolution of Language, London: Faber. Erasmus, Desiderius (1986), Praise of Folly/Moriae encomium, in Collected Works of Erasmus, Vol. 27, pp. 77153, trans. Betty Radice. Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von (1987), Faust, Part One, trans. David Luke, Oxford: Oxford Univer ne, Frankfurt: Deutscher Klassiker Verlag. sity Press. German text (1994), Ed.: Albrecht Scho Hamilton, William D. (1996), Narrow Roads of Gene Land, Vol. I, New York, NY: Freeman. Hauser, Marc D. (1996), The Evolution of Communication, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Humphrey, Nicholas (1992), A History of the Mind, London: Chatto & Windus. Jolly, Allison (1999), Lucys Legacy, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Kummer, Hans, V. Dasser, and P. Hoyningen-Huene (1990), Exploring Primate Social Cognition: Some Critical Remarks, Behaviour, Vol. 112, pp. 8498. , Carl von (17581759), Systema naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, Linne genera, species, cum charateribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis, 10th revised ed., Holmiae: Impensis L. Salvii.

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Markl, Hubert S. (1985), Manipulation, Modulation, Information, Cognition: Some of the Rid lldobler and M. Lindauer, eds., Experimental Behavioral Ecology dles of Communication, in B. Ho and Sociobiology, pp. 163194, Stuttgart: Fischer Verlag. Maynard Smith, John (1982), Evolution and the Theory of Games, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Pinker, Steven (1994), The Language Instinct, London: Allen Lane/Penguin. Premack, David (1986), Gavagai!, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Snow, Charles P. (1964), The Two Cultures and a Second Look, Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press. Whiten, Andrew, and Richard Byrne, eds. (1997), Machiavellian Intelligence II: Extensions and Evaluations, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Consciousness Cannot Be Explained in Terms of Specic Neuronal

Types and Circumscribed Neuronal Networks

Mircea Steriade

Can specic neuronal types generate consciousness? Elementary forms of consciousness consist of perceptual experiences, and subjective states are a critical ingredient in the notion of consciousness. The mechanisms behind the emergence of subjectivity are hidden, and recordings of identied neuronal types cannot be systematically made in humans. On the other hand, animals can perform complex behavioral tasks but do not possess the virtue of expressing their subjective states. Subjective experiences constitute just a rst step in the complexity of consciousness. The question then arises: How can consciousness be studied experimentally, at the neuronal level? The only studies toward investigating subjective states in humans, to answer the question of spatiotemporal neuronal congurations that elicit (or are correlated with) conscious awareness, used electrical stimulation of the cerebral cortex, with parameters that could have also set into action a series of subcortical structures. The multitude of systems implicated in brain awakening, memory, and affectivity, to name just a few of the components of consciousness, are such that information about the coherent activity of all these neurons is hardly possible, to say the least. Because pointing to circumscribed neuronal loops implicated in consciousness, such as thalamocortical circuits, was not enough, some authors suggested that there is a peculiar set of neurons located in deep cortical layers, which re high-frequency bursts of action potentials and are endowed with properties of awareness. It was also thought that it is only a question of time before specic molecular markers would be found in such neuronal elements. However, no speculation about the role of specic neuronal types, with distinct ring patterns, applies to consciousness because the intrinsic properties of bursting neurons are overwhelmed by synaptic activities, as happens upon natural awakening when consciousness arises. The issue is that the ring patterns of cortical neuronal types are not inexible, but change with the level of membrane potential and during epochs rich in synaptic activity, as is the case during states of consciousness. The impossibility of having simultaneous access to various neuronal types belonging to all structures that organize conscious processes in a concerted way, identied in terms of input-output organization as well as chemical codes (excitatory or inhibitory), and the changing ring patterns of cortical neurons as a function of behavioral states of vigilance, cast doubt on overenthusiastic scenarios that are not realistic as to the possibility of giving rise to experimental designs and may have undesirable implications for the epistemology of consciousness.


Mircea Steriade

Introduction The title of this chapter already indicates my position in a eld that has excited so many distinguished minds during the past decade. For theoreticians, the problems of consciousness and brain operations are treated with a passion worthy of issues related to life and death (see Searle 1997). However, only a few active neuroscientists (those who record electrical activities of neurons, look through microscopes, or use magnetic resonance machines) devote any attention to the global state of consciousness at the end of their papers, and then only to embellish crude facts, such as recordings of brain electrical activities. This does not mean that consciousness, as a whole, is generated outside the brain, nor does it imply that elementary components cannot be studied at the single neuron level. In other words, consciousness is best researched as a variable of brain activity. For example, different forms of memory have been investigated using neuronal recordings in the frontal lobe of macaques (Fuster 1996; Goldman-Rakic 1996); attentive behavior by eliminating irrelevant activity has been studied with cellular recordings in the cerebral cortex and thalamus of nonhuman primates (Desimone and Duncan 1995; Robinson and Cowie 1997); fear and emotional processes have been related to neuronal activities recorded from amygdala nuclei (Aggleton 1992; LeDoux 1996); the complex brainstem neuronal circuitry that gives rise to thalamocortical processes implicated in dreaming mentation has been identied during this sleep stage of cats (Steriade and McCarley 1990); and the sites of brainstem and thalamic lesions that produce loss of wakeful conscious states in humans have been described (Plum 1991; Steriade 1997). These relations between neuronal activities and behavioral states merely refer to some fragments that build up states of consciousness, but none of the above-mentioned studies were aimed at revealing the role of specic neuronal types or denite brain circuits in the generation of the global state of consciousness that includes, of necessity, subjective experiences. Let us then rst try to see how consciousness can be operationally dened, the only way to investigate its neuronal basis. Difculties in Dening Consciousness To assess whether consciousness can be studied at the neuronal level, one must clearly dene the phenomenon. The difculties in dening consciousness are such that Crick (1994) preferred to avoid a precise denition of consciousness and, because of the difculty of analyzing consciousness as a global entity, he focused on what he considered easier to investigate: visual awareness. This tactic is close to the idea that looking at a part may contribute to an understanding of how the whole works (Churchland 1996). As to self-awareness, which is probably what denes the human conscious state, Crick left it out. Whether visual experiences are easier to study and to what extent the tactic

Consciousness Cannot Be Explained


of dissecting parts of the device may be applied to the study of the global entity of consciousness are discussed below. Many writers take for granted that everyone knows what consciousness is, but we know as long as we are not asked to dene it. Some think that consciousness cannot arise without a background of arousability but, although it is conventionally thought that consciousness is what abandons us every evening and reappears the next morning when one wakes up, peculiar types of mentation with illogical thought and bizarre feelings occur not only during what is usually called dreaming sleep (with rapid eye movement, REMs), but also in deep stages of slow-wave sleep (Foulkes 1967; Hobson, Pace-Schott, and Stickgold 2000). For the sake of simplicity, I will conne the discussion to wakeful consciousness. Classically, the notion covers mental images, thoughts, desire, emotion, and the like ( James 1950): all contents of experience of which we are aware. Among the necessary and sufcient elements of primary and high-order consciousness, the primary consciousness consists of different types of sensations and a system for memory and learning, while high-order consciousness emerges from the former, develops with a concept of self, and culminates in a linguistic system (Edelman 1989). High-order consciousness, as it appears in humans, might be investigated using macroscopic electrophysiological recordings and/or neuroimaging techniques that grossly localize the events within the brain (Van Turrenout, Hagoort, and Brown 1998) without reaching the neuronal level. Other authors place the emphasis on emotions and feeling (Damasio 1999). The crucial issue is that even the basic elements of the rst-order consciousness, namely perceptual experiences, imply subjective states that are a critical ingredient in the notion of consciousness, but everyone agrees that the mechanisms behind the emergence of subjectivity are hidden (Damasio and Damasio 1996). Knowing that recordings of identied neuronal types cannot be systematically made in humans while, on the other hand, animals can perform behavioral tasks but do not possess the virtue of expressing their subjective states, how can high-order consciousness be studied experimentally, at the neuronal level? That such conscious experience is intrinsically subjective (Nichols and Newsome 1999) is to my mind the major obstacle toward the understanding of, for example, how action potentials in the geniculocortical pathway (the cerebral projection conveying the visual information) would give rise to a subjective visual experiencewhich is just a rst step in the complexity of consciousness. I would say not only ignoramus, but also ignorabimus. Attempts at Revealing the Neuronal Basis of Consciousness The skepticism expressed above is due to the fact that multiple neuronal loops are implicated in consciousness, and that their cellular components are difcult (better said, hardly possible) to investigate simultaneously during conscious processes. To my


Mircea Steriade

knowledge, only Libet (1966, 1998) attempted to investigate subjective states in humans by electrical stimulation of the cerebral cortex to answer the question of spatiotemporal neuronal congurations that effectively elicit (or are correlated with) conscious awareness. Libet cautioned that his studies addressed the simplest elements of conscious experience. Those investigations used the reaction time of a motor response of the subject, taken as an index of the degree of awareness. The threshold duration of electrical stimuli applied to the somatosensory cortex (those areas are ultimately targeted by axons that transfer information about touch, pressure, and deep articulations) to produce reports of introspective experience of purely somatic sensations was 0.5 second or more (Libet et al. 1964). Data suggested that the critical neuronal components for threshold sensation appear to lie in the more supercial layers of the postcentral gyrus, namely the areas of the cortical mantle behind the central sulcus. To explain the latency of 0.5 second, Libet referred to afterwaves in electrical responses, which oscillate for some hundreds of milliseconds, and suggested that these waves (oscillations of brain electrical activity) are modied with shifts in the state of vigilance and attention. In fact, the rhythmic alternation of afterimages in humans may be correlated with rhythmic activation and inhibition phases of visual cortical neurons in cats ( Jung 1961), and these fast oscillations are dependent on the state of vigilance in both animals and humans (Steriade 1968; Steriade, Amzica, and Contreras 1996; Herculano-Houzel et al. 1999). The 0.5 second required for the awareness of a sensory experience to emerge is different from the shorter reaction time needed for a motor response. This led to the speculation that when one makes quick motor reactions in everyday-life situations, these reactions are not mediated at conscious levels (Libet 1966). More recently, Libet (1998) conrmed the delay of 0.5 second for neuronal activities to achieve adequacy of contents to awareness, and he concluded that what is needed to ascertain are correlative relationships between neuronal processes and conscious experiences, accessed by the introspective reports of the subject. He suggested that, to test the hypothesis that local cortical areas contribute to, or generate, consciousness, isolated slabs from humans could be investigated but, because the spontaneous activity of such slabs is very poor, isolated slabs of cortex have to be awakened from the abnormal comatose state. How these heroic procedures would relate to consciousness is difcult to imagine. Moreover, as remarked by Mountcastle at the 1966 symposium when Libet presented his original data, the cortex has a very difcult job in weeding out the conscious perception from the abnormal train of events set in motion by the electrical stimulus. This is because a pulse train lasting 0.5 second would set into action so many neuronal processes, in the neocortex and related subcortical structures, that any inferences about the neuronal types and circuits involved would be highly improbable. Other neuroscientists and theoreticians proposed that thalamocortical systems generate consciousness (Crick 1994) or, more precisely, the connections between thalamic

Consciousness Cannot Be Explained


intralaminar nuclei and neocortical areas that project back to both thalamic reticular s and Pare 1991). The thalami are two (right and and cortically projecting nuclei (Llina left) large ovoid masses, deeply located in the brain, rostral to the upper brainstem, each consisting of about forty cellular aggregates called nuclei. The neurons of thalamic intralaminar nuclei receive afferents from the brainstem reticular formation (which is an awakening structure) and send projections to widespread cortical areas. s et al. (1994), thalamic relay nuclei transfer the content of In the hypothesis of Llina specic sensory signals that relate to the external world, while thalamic intralaminar (so-called nonspecic) nuclei would give rise to the context concerned with alertness. The role of human thalamic intralaminar nuclei in awakening and attentive processes was demonstrated by neuronal activation during complex tasks (Kinomura et al. 1996) and hypersomnolence following their lesions (Fac on, Steriade, and Wertheimer 1958). Besides thalamocortical systems, many other brain structures are decisively implicated in conscious processes, such as the brainstem reticular formation, posterior hypothalamus, and basal forebrain, which all underlie the arousing background required for attentive behavior and consciousness; perirhinal cortices and hippocampus that are implicated in memory; and amygdala nuclei, located deeply in the temporal lobe and coloring memory with affectivityto name only some of the cardinal structures whose neurons cannot be recorded simultaneously to provide a reasonable picture of the cellular basis of consciousness. The Hypothesis of Specic Neuronal Types Implicated in Consciousness Because the hypothesis of thalamocortical connections was not precise enough, some authors wondered whether the visual representation is largely conned to certain neurons in the deep cortical layers (Crick and Koch 1998), named layers V and VI, which comprise the innermost neuronal layers of the cerebral cortex. These authors further suggested that there are special sets of awareness neurons somewhere in the cortex (e.g., layer V bursting cells) and stated that it is only a question of time before specic molecular markers are found in those neuronal elements of consciousness (Koch 1998). They did not specify why these markers would occur only in layers VVI and not also IIIIV, why only bursting and not also regular-spiking neurons are implicated in consciousness, and what role can be attributed to fast-spiking inhibitory interneurons (neurons turning others more refractory to re action potentials) that are so important for discrimination processes in conscious states. The issue is that the ring patterns of cortical neuronal types are not inexible, but change with the level of membrane potential and during epochs rich in synaptic activity (Steriade 2001a), as is the case of wakeful consciousness. One of the most striking examples is the transformation of bursting cortical neurons into regular-spiking neurons. This occurs during the transition from slow-wave sleep to brain-activated states,


Mircea Steriade

Figure 8.1a Responses of intrinsically bursting (IB) neuron in isolated cortical slab from suprasylvian gyrus in vivo (cat under ketamine-xylazine anesthesia) to the same intensity of depolarizing current pulse (0.5 nA) at the resting Vm (70 mV) and under slight depolarization (0.2 nA, 63 mV). A typical burst is expanded at right (arrow) (modied from Timofeev et al. 2000).

such as wakefulness or REM sleep (see Steriade, Timofeev, and Grenier 2001, gure 3); during stimulation of brainstem reticular formation; or just by slightly depolarizing the neuron (gures 8.1ab), which is exactly what happens upon natural awakeningthe behavioral state during which consciousness is mainly generated. This transformation also concerns other cortical types (see details in Steriade 2001a). No speculation about the role of specic neuronal types, with distinct ring patterns, applies to consciousness because the intrinsic neuronal properties are overwhelmed by synaptic activities with shifts from slow-wave sleep to brain-active states, accompanied by changes in the membrane polarization. In particular, neocortical bursting cells from layer V are found in a great proportion (up to @40 percent) in isolated cortical slabs (Timofeev et al. 2000), whereas intracellular recordings show that they are in a negligible proportion (<5 percent) during the natural waking state, when perceptual experiences and high-order consciousness are supposed to occur. This huge difference in proportion seems only natural because of the transformation of their peculiar discharges into those of regular-spiking neurons, as gures 8.1a and 8.1b show. Moreover, although intrinsically bursting cells were rst described in deep layers of cortical slices maintained in vitro, especially layer V (Chagnac-Amitai, Luhmann, and Prince 1990; Connors and Amitai 1995), these neurons were also found in the supragranular layer ez, and Amzica 1993b) and in vitro (Nishimura et al. III, both in vivo (Steriade, Nun 2001). Confronted with these difculties in relating consciousness with specic neuronal types, located in distinct cortical layers or in circumscribed neuronal loops, thus leaving aside many other brain systems, and with the impossibility of having simultaneous

Consciousness Cannot Be Explained


Figure 8.1b Area 7 neuron in cat under urethane anesthesia, recorded in vivo. An IB cell (as identied by depolarizing current pulses) red spike bursts during the slow sleep oscillation and transformed this burst ring into tonic, single action potentials following brain activation produced by stimulation (horizontal bar, 1.8 s, 30 Hz) of the pedunculopontine tegmental (PPT) nucleus. Arrow points to an expanded detail showing a spike burst followed by single spikes (modied from Steriade, ez, 1993a). Amzica, and Nun

access to electrophysiologically identied neurons belonging to all structures that organize conscious processes in a concerted way, those interested in subtle mental states and high-order consciousness may continue to read Flaubert, Dostoyevsky, Proust, and Joyce, among others, while devoting their research time to neuroscience topics that can be dened more precisely within the connes of scientic methodology.
Note A detailed account of my views is in Steriade 2001a, and this chapter is largely taken from that monograph. References Aggleton, J. P., ed. (1992), The Amygdala: Neurobiological Aspects of Emotion, Memory, and Mental Dysfunction, New York, NY: Wiley-Liss. Chagnac-Amitai, Y., H. J. Luhmann, and D. A. Prince (1990), Burst Generating and Regular Spiking Layer 5 Pyramidal Neurons of Rat Neocortex Have Different Morphological Features, Journal of Comparative Neurology, Vol. 296, pp. 598613.


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s and P. S. Churchland, Churchland, P. S. (1996), Toward a Neurobiology of Mind, in R. Llina eds., The Mind-Brain Continuum, pp. 281303, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Connors, B. W., and Y. Amitai (1995), Functions of Local Circuits in Neocortex: Synchrony and Laminae, in M. J. Gutnick and I. Mody, eds., The Cortical Neuron, pp. 123140, New York: Oxford University Press. Crick, Francis (1994), The Astonishing Hypothesis, New York, NY: Charles Scribners Sons. Crick, Francis, and Christopher Koch (1998), Consciousness and Neuroscience, Cerebral Cortex, Vol. 8, pp. 97107. Damasio, A. R. (1999), The Feelings of What Happens: Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness, New York, NY: Harcourt, Brace & Co. s Damasio, A. R., and H. Damasio (1996), Making Images and Creating Subjectivity, in R. Llina and P. S. Churchland, eds., The Mind-Brain Continuum, pp. 1927, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Desimone, R., and J. Duncan (1995), Neural Mechanisms of Selective Attention, Annual Reviews of Neuroscience, Vol. 18, pp. 193222. Edelman, G. M. (1989), The Remembered Present: A Biological Theory of Consciousness, New York, NY: Basic Books. e engendre e par des Fac on, E., M. Steriade, and N. Wertheimer (1958), Hypersomnie prolonge sions bilate rales du syste ` me activateur me dial: le syndrome thrombotique de la bifurcation du le tronc basilaire, Revue Neurologique (Paris), Vol. 98, pp. 117133. Foulkes, D. (1967), Nonrapid Eye Movement Mentation, Experimental Neurology, Vol. 19, pp. 2838. Fuster, J. M. (1996), Network Memory, Trends in Neurosciences, Vol. 20, pp. 451459. Goldman-Rakic, P. S. (1996), Regional and Cellular Fractionation of Working Memory, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, Vol. 93, pp. 1347313480. Herculano-Houzel, S., M. H. J. Munk, S. Neuenschwander, and W. Singer (1999), Precisely Synchronized Oscillatory Firing Patterns Require Electroencephalographic Activation, Journal of Neuroscience, Vol. 19, pp. 39924010. Hobson, J. A., E. Pace-Schott, and R. Stickgold (2000), Dreaming and the Brain: Toward a Cognitive Neuroscience of Conscious States, Brain and Behavioral Sciences, Vol. 23, pp. 793842. James, W. (1890, 1950), The Principles of Psychology, New York, NY: Dover. Jung, R. (1961), Neuronal Integration in the Visual Cortex and Its Signicance for Visual Information, in W. A. Rosenblith, ed., Sensory Communication, pp. 627674, New York, NY: Wiley. s, and P. Roland (1996), Activation by Attention of the Human Kinomura, S., J. Larsson, B. Gulya Reticular Formation and Thalamic Intralaminar Nuclei, Science, Vol. 271, pp. 512515.

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Koch, C. (1998), The Neuroanatomy of Visual Consciousness, in H. H. Jasper, L. Descarries, V. F. Castelucci, and S. Rossignol, eds., Consciousness: At the Frontiers of Neuroscience (Advances in Neurology, Vol. 77), pp. 229241, Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott-Raven. LeDoux, J. E. (1996), The Emotional Brain, New York, NY: Simon and Schuster. Libet, Benjamin (1966), Brain Stimulation and the Threshold of Conscious Experience, in J. C. Eccles, ed., Brain and Conscious Experience, pp. 165176, New York, NY: Springer. (1998), Do the Models Offer Testable Proposals of Brain Functions for Conscious Experience?, in H. H. Jasper, L. Descarries, V. F. Castelucci, and S. Rossignol, eds., Consciousness: At the Frontiers of Neuroscience (Advances in Neurology, Vol. 77), pp. 213217, Philadelphia, PA: LippincottRaven. Libet, B., W. W. Alberts, E. W. Wright Jr., L. D. Delattre, G. Levin, and B. Feinstein (1964), Production of Threshold Levels of Conscious Sensation by Electrical Stimulation of Human Somatosensory Cortex, Journal of Neurophysiology, Vol. 27, pp. 546578. s, R. R., and D. Pare (1991), Of Dreaming and Wakefulness, Neuroscience, Vol. 44, pp. 521535. Llina s, R., U. Ribary, M. Joliot, and X. J. Wang (1994), Content and Context in Temporal ThalaLlina ki, R. Llina s, W. Singer, A. Berthoz, and Y. Christen, eds., Temporal mocortical Binding, in G. Buzsa Coding in the Brain, pp. 251272, Berlin: Springer. Nichols, M. J., and W. T. Newsome (1999), The Neurobiology of Cognition, Nature, Vol. 402 (Suppl.), pp. C35C38. Nishimura, Y., M. Asahi, K. Saitoh, H. Kitagawa, Y. Kumazawa, K. Itoh, M. Lin, T. Akamine, H. Shibuyam, T. Asahara, and T. Yamamoto (2001), Ionic Mechanisms Underlying Burst Firing of Layer III Sensorimotor Cortical Neurons of the Cat: An In Vitro Slice Study, Journal of Neurophysiology, Vol. 86, pp. 771781. Plum, F. (1991), Coma and Related Global Disturbances of the Human Conscious State, in A. Peters and E. G. Jones, eds., Cerebral Cortex (Vol. 9, Normal and Altered States of Function), pp. 359425, New York, NY: Plenum. Robinson, D. L., and R. J. Cowie (1997), The Primate Pulvinar: Structural, Functional, and Behavioral Components of Visual Salience, in Mircea Steriade, E. G. Jones, and D. A. McCormick, eds., Thalamus (Vol. 2, Experimental and Clinical Aspects), pp. 5392, Oxford: Elsevier. Searle, John R. (1997), The Mystery of Consciousness, New York, NY: A New York Review Book. Steriade, Mircea (1968), The Flash-Evoked Afterdischarge, Brain Research, Vol. 9, pp. 169212. (1997), Thalamic Substrates of Disturbances in States of Vigilance and Consciousness in Humans, in Mircea Steriade, E. G. Jones, and D. A. McCormick, eds., Thalamus (Vol. 2, Experimental and Clinical Aspects), pp. 721742, Oxford: Elsevier. (2001a), Impact of Network Activities on Neuronal Properties in Corticothalamic Systems, Journal of Neurophysiology, Vol. 86, pp. 139.


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(2001b), The Intact and Sliced Brain, Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. Steriade, Mircea, F. Amzica, and D. Contreras (1996), Synchronization of Fast (3040 Hz) Spontaneous Cortical Rhythms during Brain Activation, Journal of Neuroscience, Vol. 16, pp. 392417. ez (1993a), Cholinergic and Noradrenergic Modulation of Steriade, Mircea, F. Amzica, and A. Nun the Slow (@0.3 Hz) Oscillation in Neocortical Cells, Journal of Neurophysiology, Vol. 70, pp. 1384 1400. Steriade, Mircea, and R. W. McCarley (1990), Brainstem Control of Wakefulness and Sleep, New York, NY: Plenum. ez, and F. Amzica (1993b), A Novel Slow (<1 Hz) Oscillation of NeocortSteriade, Mircea, A. Nun ical Neurons in vivo: Depolarizing and Hyperpolarizing Components, Journal of Neuroscience, Vol. 13, pp. 32523265. Steriade, Mircea, I. Timofeev, and F. Grenier (2001), Natural Waking and Sleep States: A View from Inside Neocortical Neurons, Journal of Neurophysiology, Vol. 85, pp. 19691985. Timofeev, I., F. Grenier, M. Bazhenov, T. J. Sejnowski, and M. Steriade (2000), Origin of Slow Oscillations in Deafferented Cortical Slabs, Cerebral Cortex, Vol. 10, pp. 11851199. Van Turrenout, M., P. Hagoort, and C. M. Brown (1998), Brain Activity during Speaking: From Syntax to Phonology in 40 Milliseconds, Science, Vol. 280, pp. 572574.

Consciousness as a Relation between Material Bodies

Pavel B. Ivanov

This chapter outlines an integrative study of consciousness considering the material and the ideal as two aspects of the same reality. I suggest that consciousness arises as a form of reection superior to inanimate existence and life, and the conscious subject is the most universal form of mediating relations between material bodies. In this way, the ideal nature of consciousness becomes related to its material implementations. The development of the subject and consciousness are related to the process of reorganization of nature, transforming it into culture. Using tools and instruments in conscious activity results in the cultural expansion of the subject, so that consciousness becomes implemented not only in the human body, and the brain, but also in the variety of material things involved in human activity, which form the nonorganic body of each person. Social and cultural factors shape the conscious behavior of individuals through their nonorganic bodies, and the specicity of organic (and neural) processes in humans is thus determined by their cultural environment. The hierarchical organization of the subject reects the hierarchy of culture and the history of cultural development. The fundamental principles of studying consciousness follow from its ontological roots. Subjectivity cannot be observed directly, but it can be imprinted in material things and thus made observable as an object.

Introduction Since there is no general agreement on what consciousness is, or even about its very existence, the majority of researchers prefer to be pragmatic and deal with specic models incorporating the aspects of consciousness covered by their particular science. However, fundamental questions concerning the nature of consciousness arise with more vigor whenever the development of a research technique approaches the limits of its applicability. A unied view of consciousness is in order, providing a common frame for special sciences, and thus avoiding terminological confusion and methodological incompatibility.


Pavel B. Ivanov

The scientic study of consciousness is essentially analytic, since it separates consciousness from not consciousness, as opposing concepts. One needs philosophy to provide an integrative synthesis by demonstrating how different sciences refer to different aspects of the same phenomenon, and by indicating what is relevant in a given science and what lies outside its application. In this chapter, I will present an integrative philosophy of consciousness based, rst, on the acceptance of the universal character of nonmaterial relations between material bodies, and second, on the notion of hierarchy. In my approach, consciousness refers to one of the aspects of the worlds self-reproduction in the form of human activity; this reexive relation of the world to itself is considered to essentially differ from the forms of reection present in animals and inanimate bodies, though all the three forms are of the same kind, and hence can be ordered as the levels of a hierarchy. Since the development of consciousness reects the hierarchy of the world, human activity itself becomes hierarchical. This applies to both the hierarchy of the subject and the inner structures that can be discovered in it. The basic principles of studying these hierarchies are discussed. The chapter starts from the most general categories and proceeds toward applied issues. However, this is a philosophical study, and does not introduce any special scientic models; all references to such models are only illustrative. The chapter involves a formal derivation scheme that I call hierarchical logic (Ivanov 1984b; Hubey and Ivanov 2001). A summary of its basic principles is given in appendix 9.1. One cannot describe hierarchies without a special logical apparatus, since, as is well known, classical logic encounters serious difculties treating motion and development (Ilyenkov 1984), and numerous alternative logics appear as an attempt to cope with inherent contradictions in modern mathematics (Hubey 1998). A reader less experienced in formal derivations can consider my schemes as a mere graphic expression of the standard notation. Ontological Roots of Subjectivity The rst (negative) denition of consciousness is that consciousness is what distinguishes a human being from the animal or inanimate body. This denition, however tautological, conveys a clear idea of a specic feature in conscious beings that makes them essentially different from the rest of the world. Categories like the spirit or an idea are often used as the opposites of matter or the body to express this difference: consciousness is said to belong basically to the realm of the ideal, rather than that of the material. However, such a rigid distinction of the material and immaterial sides of the world lacks inner consistency and encounters conceptual problems. One historically known solution is provided by abstract monism, denying the existence of one of the opposites: either everything is called matter, in a kind of

Consciousness as a Relation between Material Bodies


metaphysical (naive, intuitive, strict, mechanistic, or natural-scientic) materialism, or inversely, everything is claimed to originate from some side of consciousness, like in innumerable idealistic teachings. There are also dualistic philosophies, which do not relate consciousness to the nonconscious world, but rather admit their independent existence. Such an eclectic approach cannot overcome the inherent incompleteness of the two types of abstract monism, since the opposites are combined in an abstract way, rather than synthesized, and they merely coexist as different ideas within the same thought. To bridge the abyss between the conscious and the nonconscious, one might admit that consciousness is yet another manifestation of something existent in nonconscious things, processes, and so on, different in quality but not in kind. In other words, consciousness does not emerge from nothingrather, it forms as a natural continuation of natural development, being yet another level of hierarchy. But is it possible to escape splitting the world into two nonintersecting realms, while asserting the qualitative difference of consciousness (or its counterparts in the nonconscious nature) from the other sides of the world? The answer is yes if any distinction is to refer to a specic level of hierarchy, or stage of development, becoming a unity on a higher level. Integrity of the World Any philosophy strives for integrity, unifying diverse special views. My hierarchical approach is explicitly based on the three-aspect principle of the integrity of the world: 1. Uniqueness: the world is all. There is only one world, and nothing can exist outside it. The very thought of another world puts it in the same world with the thinker. 2. Universality: the world is everything. The world is a universe for all its parts, and it comprises any possible distinction, thus consisting of innumerable partial subworlds. 3. Unity: the world is a whole. Any two things are somehow connected in the world, however different they may seem. Any thing is virtually equivalent to its environment, and the two complements comprize the whole world. In particular, the unity of the world means that phenomena akin to consciousness can be found in anything, and the presence of the analogs of conscious behavior in inanimate or biological systems makes their study useful for comprehending human consciousness as well. This also gives the key to comprehending the development of consciousness and subjectivity, since they become related to the rest of the world and must grow out of its syncretic uniformity. The World as Matter At any level, the world consists of many coexisting things that move and interact according to natural laws or regularities appropriate for that level. Any phenomenon


Pavel B. Ivanov

is nothing but a number of things interacting with each other in a denite way, which constitutes its material side. Every thing is material, but this does not mean that there is nothing in it except matter. An idea like that is incompatible with the very existence of different things. Such an exaggerated materialism does not distinguish properties of things from the things themselves. To relate consciousness to matter, I adopt a more exible approach: accepting that no spirit exists outside of material things and any explanation of consciousness must consider its material substrate, I admit that spirit cannot be reduced to matter, and one has to nd out in which respect they differ. The World as Reection The shapes and properties of material things, their motion and interaction, their developmentall those manifestations of things are different from their matter, though they could not exist without it. Every thing is characterized by its place in the whole of the world, and this is the ideal aspect of the thing. The material and the ideal are opposites in the sense of dialectical logic. Since the world is unique, it cannot communicate with anything else, and any relation of material things is a special case of the worlds universal relation to itself, which I will refer to as reection. The very existence of an individual thing implies its difference from the rest of the world, and hence some interrelation. This results in mutual reection in a narrower sense, representedness in each other. The world as a whole, and any of its parts, is reected in itself. This reexivity is as ubiquitous as materiality, and as important for the integrity of the world. The roots of consciousness are in reection as the ideal aspect of the world. This means that consciousness is not material, but can only exist as a relation between material bodies. The World as Substance Since matter and reection are two sides of the same world, they cannot exist without each other. Their unity in every thing is called reality. The very distinction between the material and the ideal is a reference to a denite level of reality, a specic way of unfolding the hierarchy of the whole. Any thing is made of other things, which constitute its matter, never losing either their ideal side or substantiality. However, the lower-level things are ideal in a different respect than the thing made of them. There is hierarchy in both matter and reection, and any reality is hierarchical. Involvement in high-level motion modies both matter and reection; they can represent each other, thus making their distinction relative. In other words, dominant relations of things get reected in their material structures, and the relations of things become optimized for their material, thus reecting it. From the

Consciousness as a Relation between Material Bodies


higher-level viewpoint, everything that is inside the things of that level is their matter, and thus what is ideal on the lower level becomes material in respect to the higherlevel motion. On the contrary, the material of lower-level things does not matter on the higher level since the same thing can be made of different components, and hence any lower-level materials refer to the form of the composite thing, its ideal aspect. Thus matter becomes ideal. The material and the ideal are reective categories (in Hegels sense), their distinction is only meaningful within a single level of hierarchy. This implies that, to grasp the reality of consciousness, one has to understand how its ideal nature is related to the material implementations. That is, certain properties of matter are indispensable for consciousness formation, and consciousness leaves material traces in the world. Levels of Reection In the hierarchical approach, consciousness must be related to other kinds of reection as other levels of the same hierarchy. I conjecture that the fundamental distinction between living creatures and inanimate things is similar to the distinction between conscious and nonconscious life, thus obtaining the following sequence of levels: 1. Existence is the most general form of ideality, which can be ascribed to anything in the world, including inanimate things. Something must rst exist, to have any specic features. The fundamental levels of existence are being, motion, and development. As existence, any entity syncretically reects the world, being a part of it; conversely, the thing is syncretically reected in the world, being virtually identical to its environmentboth are denable through each other. 2. Life is a special kind of existence characterized by distinction and opposition of an organism and its environment, including other organisms. The laws of nonorganic motion and development apply to living beings as well, but there are new regularities applicable only on this level. Here, an individual organism is essentially a part of the genus, and its relation to the world is mediated by living creatures of the same or a different kind. While similar indirect relations may be found in inanimate nature as random and optional, they constitute the basis of existence for a living organism, which cannot live without quite denite interactions with other organisms (metabolism). 3. Activity is the most universal kind of life, its social level. The conscious subject is an organism, but a very special kind of organism that can be included in the society of other similar beings, reproducing the ways of behavior developed in this society regardless of their immediate physiological signicance. This implies a new kind of reection, communication, which serves to transfer the modes of action from one member of the society to another. While a similar transfer of behavioral schemes appears in animals as a transitory feature, communication plays the dominant role in


Pavel B. Ivanov

the subject, so that every act is socially oriented, and represented in every individual as such, which is called consciousness. As a kind of life, consciousness is also related to inanimate existence. There is no unbridgeable abyss between conscious and nonconscious existence, and one could nd a continuum of intermediate levels between physical existence and life, as well as between conscious and nonconscious life. The material implementation of the conscious subject does not need to be unique, since a higher-level formation can be implemented in different combinations of lower-level elements. The form of implementation restricts the possible manifestations of consciousness. Inversely, being involved in conscious activity modies lower-level motion, producing forms that could never be stable without social support. Subjectivity as Universal Mediation Being a level of reection in general, consciousness is also a property of individual things, related to each other. I use the word thing or entity in a wide sense, referring to any kinds of singularity; similarly, relation (or link) will mean any association of one singularity with another. There can be no motion without something to move, no interaction without something to interact, and no reection without something to reect. In particular, any form of life is associated with a material body (albeit consisting of many organisms), and any kind of consciousness is represented by some social body, including one or more organic bodies and a number of inorganic things involved in conscious activity. Mediation as the Mechanism of Integration On the most general level, the world is the only entity (W ) reected into itself, which can be expressed with the scheme

or, in the linear form, W ! W . On every lower level, there are many distinct things, and the worlds self-reection appears as relatedness of one entity (X ) to another entity (X O), as expressed by the scheme X ! X O. However, not all entities can be connected directly, and, to relate entity X to entity X O, one may need to rst connect X to yet another entity M (mediator), which can then be linked to X O. The resulting indirect link X ! M ! X O can be mediated as well by M O other than M. Through the variety of all such links X is virtually related to X O, which is denoted as X ) X O. The transition

Consciousness as a Relation between Material Bodies


from a collection of mediated links to a higher-level (virtual) link will be referred to as lift-up (Aufhebung) of mediation. Invertedly, any virtual link X ) X O can be unfolded into a mediated link. That is, there exists a mediator M X; X O, representing (or implementing) the relation X ) X O, which becomes X ! M X; X 0 ! X O. Such implementation does not need to be unique, and the same link can be unfolded differently. Mediated links between mutually connected things produce a mediated cycle, so that rst X becomes related to X O via M, and then X O is linked back to X via a different mediator M O:

Equally, X and X O can be considered as mediating the connection of M to M O and back. In principle, neither choice is preferable. Still, in many cases there exist dedicated mediators, which at the top most level of hierarchy are more suited to serve as the representatives of interactionthat is, signals. Mediators M and M O are either of the same kind (like an electromagnetic eld mediating the interaction of charged particles), or the direct and inverse processes are mediated differently (as in catalytic reactions in chemistry, or biological cycles). In the former case, all interactions belong to the same level of hierarchy. In the latter case, if mediators M and M O are qualitatively different, one could treat one of them (say, M ) as belonging to the same level as X and X O, while the second mediator would be put outside the system X ! M ! X O, providing a kind of environment for it:

This separation naturally occurs due to the difference in the characteristic times of the processes inside the system and its interactions with the outer world. Hierarchy of Mediation Different types of mediation dominate on the levels of existence, life, and activity. The inanimate world only knows passive mediation: coexistence, intermediate states of motion, correlation, and so on. In mediated interaction, signal M is emitted by body X and absorbed by another body X O, which continue to exist as they were, with only their state of motion changed. In general, any inanimate thing can interact with any


Pavel B. Ivanov

other thing, and hence mediate interactions of other things. Such mediated connections between inanimate things are random, in the sense that they are not necessary for the existence of the things themselves. The animate nature is characterized by active mediation, with mediator M consuming thing X and producing thing X O, so that X does not exist any more after it has been consumed, and X O did not exist before it was produced by M. The very existence of a living thing (an organism) depends on its ways of consumption and production, and terminated metabolism means death. This is the level of necessity in mediation. On this level, mediations become essentially asymmetrical: the processes within an organism are often clearly distinct from its interaction with the environment. It is only on the level of activity that mediation becomes universal, so that any two things can be linked through the mediator of a new type, the subject. This universality of mediation differs from random mediation on the inanimate level, since it is necessary for the subject, and any subject is bound to bring things together, to remain a subject. However, it also differs from organic mediation, since it is no longer limited by a specic class of links, extending to the whole universe. Such an all-embracing necessity is called freedom. While inanimate mediators only link things in their immediate environment, and living creatures can effectuate only those transformations that are compatible with their physiology, the subject can link anything to anything, with no physical or physiological limitations. For instance, there is no physical reason for the polestar to inuence the movement of a ship, and no physiological reason for the human organism to react on the starry sky in any denite way; however, the course of the ship may be corrected through the observation of the stars by a conscious being. The subject can even link things in time: events separated by billions of years become related in consciousness. But the most important consequence of the universality of subjective mediation is the subjects ability to link not only material things but also any aspects of their existence, abstracted from the things themselves. Relations between things are linked to things, or other relations, and there is no limit to the complexity of abstract mediations. The subject is the only way to establish such links, and it is for this universal mediation that consciousness appears in the world. Consciousness as Social Self-Mediation As universal mediation, the subject also mediates relations between subjects, including the subjects relatedness to itself. This representedness of the subjects activity in the subject is known as consciousness, and it is due to the formation of the society as a higher-level subject. Inanimate things can be joined by mutual interactions into composite bodies, but they do not qualitatively change, only changing their state of motion; they continue to exist when ejected from the whole.

Consciousness as a Relation between Material Bodies


Living organisms also tend to cling together, forming higher-level organisms. However, their coexistence is more restrictive, since any organism requires a quite denite environment to live in. In every particular synergy of different organisms, the members of this communion have to adjust their structure and behavior, to serve the whole. Thus, the organs of the animal body, while remaining relatively independent organisms, are functionally dependent on each other, and evolve into the forms that cannot live outside the body. The ways of uniting conscious subjects in a higher-level subject exhibit much more diversity. Any group of individuals involved in the same activity form a collective subject existing while the underlying activity goes on. An individual removed from the group can still exist as a subject, like an electron emitted from the atom; however, like an organ extracted from the organism, the individual will be unable to function the same way, and the range of available activities will signicantly change. A person may behave differently in different groups, up to combining several personalities in the same individual. Consequently, consciousness cannot be a property of the human body, or part of it, being rather determined by the social role. The subject, linking any thing to any other, also links any thing to itself: X ! S ! X O. In other words, once the thing has been assimilated by the subject, it will contain the subject as a necessary component of its motion, thus becoming an object O, an entity in its relation to the subject. For the subject, the world unfolds itself as a hierarchy of objectsthat is, nature. This means that the subject mostly mediates the relations between objects, rather than mere things or their properties: O ! S ! O O. The subject is an object too, and hence a part of nature. However, this is a very special kind of object, namely, performing universal mediation. On such most general level of self-reproduction, the universal object is nature, the subject is called the spirit. Consciousness in the Hierarchy of Inner Activity On the inanimate level, one mediation does not assume another. A living creature can cause an environmental change as a side effect of its behavior, but such changes are not intended to be used by that organism in the future. The activity of the subject implies producing material changes that are intended to be used by the subject, not necessarily the producer. Such articial objects, produced by the subject for the subject, are called products, a synthesis of the object and the subject. Any product can exist as such only in repeated activity; taken apart from a denite culture, no thing can be considered a product of conscious activity. Every object is a product, since its denition implies relatedness to the subject. In particular, the subject as a specic object is a product too. Both objects and subjects are repeatedly reproduced in the two complementary ways: in the object cycle, the subject


Pavel B. Ivanov

transforms one object into another ( ! O ! S ! OO ! ); in the subject cycle, the subject changes through production and consumption of objects ( ! S ! O ! S O ! ). Nature develops due to conscious activity and thus makes the subject develop too. In the continuous train of activity, one could distinguish individual acts of reproduction, O ! S ! OO or S ! O ! SO. The former triad represents individual actions, while the latter describes communication acts, or transactions. Using hierarchical logic, one can unfold the scheme O ! S ! OO, observing that the inuence of object O on subject S (its assimilation by the subject) is mediated by an instrument I, and subject S inuences (produces) object OO using a tool I O : O ! I ! S ! I O ! O O. The instrument I converts the objective situation into the forms immediately usable by the subject: I o ! s. Similarly, every tool transforms the subjects modes of the tools usage into a change in the physical world: I O s O ! oO. In the resulting scheme O ! o ! s ! S ! s O ! oO ! OO, one can regroup the terms and obtain the scheme describing how the complexity of both the subject and the object grows in productive activity: O ! o ! s ! S ! s O ! oO ! O O. Objects manifest themselves in a very specic way, while involved in conscious activity, and tool/ instrument-mediated activity makes the subject expand, assimilating a part of the external world and developing a kind of nonorganic body (Marx and Engels 1955 1981, vol. 23, 188). Hierarchical Structures in the Subject The subject S experiences inuences of an object O and produces a product P : O ! S ! P . In this act, the same subject S manifests itself in two opposite ways, as a passive thing experiencing the inuence of O and an active substance inuencing P; the former reveals the subjects irritability S, and the latter the ability of operation R. In the simplest case, S and R are the different aspects of the same structure; such syncretic reactivity is expressed by the scheme O ! SR ! P, and it can also be found in inanimate bodies or primitive organisms. Later, the two sides of reactivity become effectuated by different material structures in S : O ! S ) R ! P. Now, the projection S of O into S acts as a stimulus, while the prototype R of P in S is a reaction; this is the standard scheme of a reex. In further development, the transformation of the stimulus into reaction becomes mediated by a special structure C in S : O ! S ! C ! R ! P , thus making the subject a complete system, with input S, output R, and internal state C (Mesarovich and Takahara 1975). In the chain of actions performed by the same subject O ! S ! P 12 ! S ! P 23 ! S ! P , with intermediate products P 12 and P 23 , one can represent every external act as mediated by an inner process in the subject: O ! S1 ! C1 ! R1 ! P 12 ! S2 ! C2 ! R2 ! P 23 ! S3 ! C3 ! R3 ! P

Consciousness as a Relation between Material Bodies


This scheme can be folded differently. Thus, if S1; 2; 3 , C1; 2; 3 , and R1; 2; 3 are of the same kind, they can be considered to be the levels of hierarchy in stimulus S, subjective state C, and reaction R, respectively: 80 1 0 1 0 19 C3 R3 > > < S3 = B C B C B C O ! @ S2 A ! @ C2 A ! @ R2 A ! P > > : ; S1 C1 R1 In this process, the object becomes hierarchical too, O fO1 ; O2 ; O3 g, and its relations with the subject occur simultaneously on multiple levels. In an alternative representation, the object O and product P remain the same but their relation is indirect, mediated by a hierarchical inner activity: S3 ! C3 ! R3 ! P " z}|{ S2 ! C2 ! R2 " z}|{ O ! S1 ! C1 ! R1 In this case, S2 will be qualitatively different from S1 , reecting the very process O ! S1 ! C1 ! R1 ! P 12 , rather then its result. The subjective side of the activity is thus preferentially developed, which is the mechanism of education in a given culture. These are the two components of any subjective development, structural growth due to development of the cultural environment and developing a more complex functionality through participation in existing activities (Ivanov 1994, 1995). Mental Processes In the cycle ! S ! O ! S O ! , one can lift up objective mediation and consider purely subjective development: ! S ! S O ! S OO ! Here, the subject seems to develop entirely through communication, or self-communication. This apparently objectless process is called inner activity, as complementary to outer, object-mediated activity. In inner activity, the subject plays the role of the product, becoming an object for itself. Inner activity exists on different levels of subjectivity, including psychological processes, relations of individuals in a group, interaction of social forces, and so on. As an interlevel process, it describes the development of individuals through the society (socialization). Lifting up objective mediation in the subjects inner structure S ! C ! R results in seemingly immediate transformation of the reaction into sensory input, R ! S, which is related to the ability of imagination (Koren 1984). This leads to inner cycles of the type


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similar to the usual feedback schemes in systems theory, with the output of the system tied to its input. Since this feedback originates from outer activities, the link R ! S is intrinsically culture dependent. From the outside, only the structures S and R are observable, and the subjects behavior looks like a higher-level reex: S ) R. Such virtual mapping of S to R, abstracted from inner mediation C, can be identied with a mental act. Combining the links R ! S and S ) R, one arrives at S and R reproducing themselves through each other: ! S ) R ! S ) R ! Such inner activity, developing the subjective image of the world S via explorative behavior R, is an obvious correlate of a cognitive process in classical psychology. Similarly, employing the cyclic nature of inner activity, one obtains two more mental acts: R ! S ! C is lifted up into R ) C (self-control), and C ! R ! S folds into C ) S (self-reection). Mental processes ! R ) C ! R ) C ! (volition) and ! C ) S ! C ) S ! (feeling) give the other two members of the standard psychological triad (Vekker 19741981). The three types of mental acts (S ) R, R ) C, and C ) S) form the secondary cycle of inner activity:

The relations between the inner structures of the subject are reversed in the secondary cycle. This is how they are often presented to the subject itself. Consciousness cannot be associated with neither the primary nor the secondary cycle. The primary process S ! C ! R occurs before any outer action, while the secondary act S ) R represents a folded action, logically following it. In this respect, the primary processes are characterized as subconscious, while the secondary links could be called superconscious. Consciousness synthesizes both paths in the same mental act, as occurring simultaneously. Such a scheme is essentially two-dimensional:

Combining it with the two similar schemes,

Consciousness as a Relation between Material Bodies


one obtains the tetrad of inner activity, a scheme representing the subject S as the unity of the subconscious, conscious, and superconscious levels:

This scheme is a compact expression of all the partial schemes considered in this subsection, as well as many other schemes not considered in this chapter. Epistemology of Consciousness In universal mediation, nothing can avoid being assimilated by the subject and then transformed into a product, a part of the world rebuilt by the subject. The subjects consciousness is not an exception. Therefore the subject can and must comprehend itself. However, studying consciousness essentially inuences its development. Changing the world, people change themselves. This essential reexivity must necessarily be reected in the methods of consciousness science. General Principles of Studying Consciousness The subject reects the world in a specic activity, reproducing objective phenomena in subjective forms (knowledge). While the subject can only know its own products, the very process of subject-mediated world transformation is objective, and the universality of the subject ensures that there is nothing in the world that could not be involved in the subjects activity. In particular, to comprehend consciousness, people must be able to imprint it on their products and thus make it observable as an external thing. Subjectivity cannot be observed directly, otherwise it would not possess the specically subjective quality. The only possible mechanism of self-reection is mediating subjective mediation with an outer activity, involving communication, and language in particular. However, language is not the only source of information about consciousness. Any product at all contains a subjective component. Therefore, revealing subjective mediation in cultural phenomena, including material culture, can bring knowledge about the mechanisms of consciousness and its forms. There are two principal directions of such a study: one


Pavel B. Ivanov

may either seek for the subjects inuence on objective processes, or, inversely, treat the subject as a specic property of the articial environment it creates. The rst direction might be called psychophysical (in a wide sense), while the second approach is characteristic of culturological research (Vygotsky 1986; Davydov 1984). An adequate description of consciousness will combine both approaches, correlated with each other. Studying consciousness cannot be restricted to any single science. Since every part of reality is bound to be transformed and assimilated by the subject, one can, in principle, obtain any kind of knowledge about consciousness from any thing. The same object can be viewed from different angles, including both subject-related and nonsubject aspects. For instance, a human being can be studied as either a material body moving according to certain mechanical laws, or a link between the most distant formations of the universe. These partial studies provide the necessary environment and background for understanding consciousness. The general approach to studying consciousness is to extract subject-determined or subject-oriented features in specic phenomena that will denitely have other aspects, irrelevant to subjectivity. Since research in a certain object area is an activity, one can abstract its subjective component and derive the general properties of consciousness from the structure of other sciences and their development. The same reexive approach could be applied to any activity other than scientic research (art, philosophy, or peoples everyday life). These are all the components of the integral knowledge about a rather specic object, the very essence of which is its mutability, and different paradigms should be combined for an adequate description of phenomena that are diverse by their nature. Organization of Experiments in Consciousness Studies The generic experimental method in consciousness studies is to initiate a hierarchical activity, with a ground-level effect recorded on a higher (reexive) level. The methods of study depend on the kind of probing activity. In the syncretic case, the subject can analyze its own actions and form an empirical model of consciousness. Such introspection is inherent in any activity at all, and every piece of knowledge about consciousness can be made observable that way. The transition from observation to active experimenting involves model activities with the motives controlled by the experimenter. In any particular implementation of this scheme, there are at least two subjects, not necessarily represented by different persons. The organization of the experiment must separate the roles of the subjects involved, to keep the observer on a higher level of activity during the experiment. Physical or physiological processes traditionally serve as indicators of subjective events. Though no subjective event can occur without such material changes, they do not directly represent it. Physiological (e.g., neural) processes are not immediately related to mental processes, and no observable behavior can be unambiguously inter-

Consciousness as a Relation between Material Bodies


preted as a manifestation of consciousness and subjectivity. The same behavioral patterns can be caused by quite different inuences, and distinguishing a conscious from a nonconscious act implies a careful analysis of the social and cultural context. The results of experimentation can be linked to the inner organization of consciousness and the unconscious employing such a fundamental feature of hierarchies as their refoldability. Any kind of outer behavior corresponds to an inner mechanism formed in the process of interiorization, folding activity into actions and operations. Conversely, every internal act is nothing but a folded activity, which could be drawn to the topmost level of the hierarchy under carefully designed experimental conditions. For instance, the psychophysical experiment of determining the subjective pitch of a tone explicates the internal representation of a simple tone as a standard statistical distributionif the same distribution is discovered in a different sensory modality, one can conjecture that this other activity must fold into operations and actions similar to those already known in pitch perception, and the same notions apply to different classes of higher-level phenomena (Ivanov 1995). Communication between the experimenter and the examinee modies their behavior and inuences their motivation structures. Consequently, the results are necessarily biased. Unlike in many other sciences, this interference cannot be made negligible, and the very relevance of the results to subjectivity depends on the examinees acting as a subject, and not a mere object. Thus, projective tests and psychoanalysis can provide valuable psychological information about the subject, but their application essentially depends on the personality of the analyst, and the more neutral the experimenters attitude toward the examinee, the more scarce and trivial the results are. Studying the hierarchical organization of the subject requires special experimental techniques. Hierarchies grow in the process of development; this means that the model activity has to be complex enough to allow personal development in the course of a single experimentfor example, organizing hierarchical activities to observe their mutually induced growth. The possible solutions would involve several interacting activities, and their interference organized in a controllable way. The analysis of the products of these activities allows reconstruction of a number of hierarchical structures, representing the hierarchy of the subject, in its specic manifestations (Koren 1984; Ivanov and Koren 1998). Since subjectivity is qualitatively different from inanimate existence and life, the interaction of a conscious being with the world will involve, along with the lower-level regularities, some specic inuences, making the changes in the world marked by the signs of conscious intervention, as distinguished from the natural background. Such subtle effects are often attributed to direct inuence of consciousness on the physical world, commonly known as extrasensory (or paranormal) experiences. In the hierarchical approach, the apparently direct inuence of consciousness on the world is related to multiply-folded activity forming virtual links that look like material


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effects of a mental act. Such phenomena cannot be entirely explained with natural laws, but they still remain manifestations of some less evident aspects of quite common processes. One possible explanation for unusual correlations seemingly observed in experiments on extrasensory perception comes from the notion of a collective effect, well known in physics and other areas of natural science, but much less frequently employed in the biosciences and the humanities. Two persons can act in synchrony simply because they are involved in the same activity, and they do not need to physically communicate, to maintain this correlation for a long time, since the very structure of the activity (as determined by the culture) implies quite denite role behavior. Similar correlations could be observed in nonconscious systems involved in human activities, as long as they behave differently from what would be expected in a natural environment, without the subjects interference. Theoretical Models in Consciousness Science Like any other science, the science of consciousness can use a variety of theoretical models, including descriptive, empirical and semiempirical, dynamical, statistical, and so on. However, since formal models necessarily abstract the object from its description, their applicability to studying the essentially reexive phenomena related to consciousness is much more limited than in any other domain. The formally obtained results must always be complemented with a clear outline of the cultural situation requiring that very type of behavior. Interpretation of theoretical constructs becomes an important part of theorizing. On the other hand, the reexivity of the subjects self-comprehension implies that practically any theoretical construct can describe some aspects of conscious activity. If there is nothing in the culture that would correspond to a formally obtained result, the subject can design it, creating a new sphere of material production or social relations following theoretical prescriptions. There are no good or bad theories; they can only be appropriately or inappropriately applied. In particular, theories describing nonconscious existence or life can be formally transferred to consciousness studies. The usage of such lower-level models is possible because subjectivity as universal mediation encapsulates all the other kinds of mediation, and the laws of physical motion must be represented in it as well as the laws of life. The converse is not true, and the lower levels do not imply any higher-level interference: elementary particles and atoms can move without any relation to life or consciousness, and, in general, live organisms exist prior to consciousness and can do without it. One does not need consciousness to explain quantum phenomena, crystal growth, or DNA replication, though all these processes can be consciously controlled. Transfer of theoretical models from one domain to another means reinterpretation of the basic notions. Thus, the apparatus of Newtonian mechanics could be used as a

Consciousness as a Relation between Material Bodies


scheme for the dynamics of motivation, which has nothing to do with the actual mechanical motion in physical space (Ivanov 1996). Similarly, using the elements of information theory or quantum mechanics in a theory of aesthetic perception does not reduce conscious behavior to mere information transfer or microscopic motion (Avdeev and Ivanov 1993; Ivanov 1998). One or another formalism is preferable depending on the modes of activity. Thus, if there is a spacelike parameter that can be measured continuously in time (or any other serial variable), classical mechanics is most likely to be applicable (Ivanov 1996), and a theory of the conscious control of body motion can be developed within analytical mechanics (Korenev 1977, 1981). On the contrary, for a scattering-like experiment, when a person becomes subjected to some standard external stimuli with the persons reactions recorded and their dependencies on the parameters of the stimuli investigated, quantum mechanics would be more appropriate (Ivliyev 1988). Models of physical or other nonconscious systems can reveal the essential features of subjectivity due to the presence of fundamental regularities common to all the levels of reection. There are physical and biological phenomena that could serve as prototypes of subjectivity, and any theory of conscious behavior will incorporate them. These are nonlinearity and collective effects. Nonlinearity can enter theory in different ways (Ivanov 2001). On the lowest level, weak nonlinearity is introduced by a constraint on the dynamics of a linear system (initial conditions, boundary conditions, sources and sinks, and so on). The next level is that of nonlinear dynamics, with the equations of motion either being explicitly nonlinear (strong nonlinearity), or containing variable parameters controlled by an external process (induced or parametric nonlinearity). Finally, one can consider nonlinearity as global correlation in local motion (self-consistency and self-organization). In a complex enough nonlinear system, there may be modes of motion, when most distant parts of the system move in synchrony, though their synchronization cannot be explained by direct interaction of the parts (collective motion). For instance, a standing wave between two rigid boundaries is characterized by correlated oscillation phases on the opposite boundaries, though the time of the propagation of perturbation from one boundary to another may be much greater than the period of oscillation. In richer systems, many partial waves can interfere in a complex manner, producing intricate patterns. Numerous examples could be drawn from physics, chemistry, and biology (Yeliseyev 1983). Very complex timbres of musical instruments provide an example from an area other than science. Social systems can, in certain respects, behave in a relatively simple way, to be describable by linear or weakly nonlinear models. However, the very existence of the society as an integral unit is based on reection, with nonlinearity on all the levels. Interference of social processes can produce relatively stable formations of different scope. Such collective effects are typical in nonlinear systems and can be called


Pavel B. Ivanov

individual subjects; by denition, the structure and behavior of such individuals depend on the social conditions they live in. The topmost element of the hierarchical structure (like the crest of the wave) dening the individual subject is most often, though not necessarily, centered on a representative of the biological species Homo sapiens. The projection of this hierarchy onto its elements is called consciousness. Consciousness in General Psychology The hierarchical organization of activity as cyclic reproduction of both the object and the subject in their mutual interaction and reection has been extensively studied in psychology, with numerous practical applications in psychological rehabilitation, psychotherapy, education, applied psychology, diagnostics, and consulting (Rubinstein 1989; Leontiev 1978; Koren 1995; Ivanov and Koren 1998). In this section, I present an overview of the basic ideas of the psychological theory of activity that was mainly developed in the former USSR since the 1920s. My approach makes it possible to synthesize this theory with the culturological approach by Lev Vygotsky (1983, 1986) that was originally considered the opposite of activity-oriented psychology (Rubinstein 1989). In this chapter, I follow my earlier publications (Ivanov 1994, 1995, 1998), adding more illustrations and details. Consciousness and the Unconscious In the psychological theory of activity, three basic levels are distinguished in the hierarchy of human behavior, namely, operation, action, and activity. Some relations between these levels are schematically shown in gure 9.1. For integrity, human behavior must contain all three levels, with consciousness formed in their interaction. In this hierarchy, consciousness is associated with action; the operations and the embracing activity constitute the realms of the subconscious and superconscious, respectively, as the two opposite kinds of the unconscious. The level of the subconscious provides the behavioral foundation for consciousness, while the superconscious is yet another expression of the sociality of consciousness. For instance, neural processes controlling the motion of ones hand are not conscious in themselves (subconscious), while aiming the hand at a denite goal is conscious. One can be unaware of the motives of that movement as long as ones attention is focused on its goal rather than the embracing activity. Since any hierarchy can be folded and unfolded in different ways, activities can fold into actions, and actions into operationsconversely, operations and actions can unfold into actions and activities respectively (Leontiev 1978). An activity becomes an action when it becomes a part of another activity, thus losing its self-motion. On the other hand, an action may become self-contained enough to develop into an activity.

Consciousness as a Relation between Material Bodies


Figure 9.1 The hierarchy of activity. Both behavioral and social determination are important for consciousness. A person is engaged in some social activity, implying certain conscious actions; the actions are constructed by the person using the currently available operations that are performed in an automated manner and do not require conscious control. The sense of an action is determined by its role in some activity, while the meaning of an action indicates how it can be operationally implemented.

Similarly, a frequently repeated action can achieve a level of automation sufcient to drift out of consciousness and become a subconsciously performed operation. Conversely, when a persons attention turns to the way of performing an operation (as in the case of an obstacle encountered), the operation becomes an action, which may sometimes cause a change in activity. Hence, the subconscious is essentially a folded consciousness, and the superconscious represents the subjective environment of consciousness, the zone of imminent development (Vygotsky 1986). While consciousness is associated with the focus of awareness, the superconscious can be pictured as the rest of the area, not covered by the focal spot, the subconscious being the interior of the spot (gure 9.2). In such a picture, consciousness will be represented by the thin line delimiting the subconscious from the superconscious, the boundary between them. The refolding of the subjects hierarchy (or the subjects development) could then be modeled by possibly changing the shape of the subjectthe boundary may get shrunk, expanded, or distorted, so that some areas of the subjects exterior would become its inside, while some inner points would merge with the environment.


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Figure 9.2 Consciousness as the boundary of the subject. The subconscious can be considered part of some cultural space that has been immersed in the subject, interiorized. The immediate cultural environment of the subject forms the superconscious layer. Consciousness is the interface between the two, the mechanism of personal expansion in a given culture.

Meaning and Sense The meaning of an action is the hierarchy of operations that can become its means, while its sense is determined by the actions position in the embracing activity (see gure 9.1). This understanding is consistent with our intuitive ideas: when one is asked about the meaning of something, this is usually a request for explication, unfolding the action implied into a specic operational structure; on the contrary, the questions about the sense of something imply a reference to the external circumstances reected in the action, its supreme justication. The same action can have quite a different sense when it is considered in a different social environment, and the same action can be implemented by quite different means. The meaning of an action is rather a historically formed range of possible operations. With the development of a society, the meaning of peoples actions may drastically change. The analogous relation between an activity and its possible unfoldings into action sequences is reected in the category of the activitys scope (gure 9.3). The possible behavioral trajectories actualizing the activity always lie within its scope. Psychological Sets Since any hierarchical structure can be folded, activities can inuence ones operations in an apparently direct manner (gure 9.1), which is known in psychology as set formation (Uznadze 1961). Obviously, removing the action as a behavioral link between operations and activities will push consciousness into the background, and people are often unaware of their sets.

Consciousness as a Relation between Material Bodies


Figure 9.3 The scope of activity. An activity assumes quite denite actions that may be compatible with it, the way an action is implemented in a sequence of operations.

Actions have a different sense when included in different activitiesbut the meaning of an action is also subject to the inuence of the embracing activity, restricting the range of operations to implement its actions (Ivanov 1994). Hence, one could distinguish the abstract meaning of an action determined by its general cultural compatibility with certain operations and its specic meaning within a particular activity. Beside clipping the actions meaning, activity can modify the formal properties of operations and relations between them. By the dominant inner structure, according to the scheme S ! C ! R, there are sensory, perceptive, and motor sets. In a sensory set, a persons sensations are ltered to encode an external signal with the typical motor schemes, which may lead to illusions in perception. In a perceptive set, the interpretation of sensations depends on the current forms of inner activity, which may result in inadequate reactions. Finally, in the context of the current activity, the subject is predisposed toward specic reactions, which may interfere with the conscious goals of the person, producing all kinds of mistakes. On the higher levels of the subject, the same triad of sets manifests itself as preference, mood, or attitude. The refoldability of hierarchies can rearrange relations between their levels, so that indirect links responsible for set formation become observable behavior. This requires materialization of the persons inner structures in an outer product, and thus communicating them to another person. Such techniques are widely used in psychotherapy to reveal sets and control them.


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Psychological Dimensions of Activity The relations between a number of categories describing the hierarchy of activity in general psychology are illustrated in gure 9.4. I distinguish the objective and subjective aspects in both reection of the world (including self-reection) and the subjects productivity; this leads to a two-dimensional model of human behavior on each level of activity. Thus, on the topmost level, the objective prerequisites of an activity are referred to as circumstances, while the subjective side of the same external inuence is called a motive. Motives are as external to the subject as circumstances, but, since they represent the subjects relation to other subjects (including the society as a collective subject), they are reected in the subject as if they were originating from the inside; this is a typical illusion of self-perception. Similarly, the objective outcome of activity is referred to as consequences, while the subjective component of the same outcome is called a purpose. An activity is a hierarchy of actions, and an action is a hierarchy of operations. An operation is the most elementary (folded) kind of act; subjectively, it is performed in no time, and corresponds to the abstraction of a point, hence representing the discrete side of human behavior. In contrast, activity represents behavioral continuity, being essentially a process with a denite direction but no marked beginning or end. An action occupies an intermediate position between these extremes, spreading in time from the beginning to the end. Any action has its specic reason and is directed to a denite goal; along with the idea of the Self, goals are the main components of the conscious representation of activity. Objectively, an action is situation dependent, and one can complete it to obtain a denite result. Any action actualizes some activity. The inverse process of associating an action with an activity is called motivation. The same action can be related to many concurrent activities, which may sometimes lead to a motivation conict. The objective dimension of an operation describes the transition from the current conditions (the operational context) to the operations effect; in the subjective dimension, an operation satises some need and is intended to produce a denite change in the world. Depending on the situation, an action can implement itself in different sequences of operations. Conversely, one explains an operation relating it to some action, which is called rationalization. The subjects purposes, goals, and intentions originate from some natural or cultural processes. It is the cyclic character of any activity that provokes the illusion of behavior entirely determined by the subjects will. The objective development of culture produces the circumstances demanding certain activity; the activity itself is objective too, and it is bound to cause some objective changes in the worldin the subject, the objective determination of the activity is reected as its motive, while the overall directedness of activity becomes a purpose, a class of acceptable outcomes (products of activity).

Consciousness as a Relation between Material Bodies


Figure 9.4 The dimensions of activity. An activity is initiated by some motive, follows some purpose, and may occasionally bring about some consequences. An action assumes some reason and is aimed at something; one can complete an action and obtain a result. An operation satises some need and is intended to have a denite effect. An activity is actualized in specic action sequences. Any action can refer to many activities, one of them being brought to the top of the hierarchy in the process of motivation. Similarly, an action unfolds itself in a specic operational implementation. An operation is always a means for some action, and the process of rationalization selects one of the many actions implying the same operation.


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Schemes of Activity Human activities are culturally related to each other, forming a hierarchy of qualitatively different activity types. The same activity can appear on different levels, depending on the social circumstances and the presence of other activities. For instance, in the folded form, sensation is represented by an inner structure S, which is transformed into a perceptive structure C, which, in turn, initiates folded (latent) reactions R. In this case S, C, and R denote mere operations within some other activity. However, sensation, perception, and representation can also develop into conscious actions, or fullscale activities (Ivanov 1995). One can also consider sensation, perception, and representation as the three consecutive stages of a higher-level activity (orientation) (Koren 1984). On this level one nds an analog of the triad S ! C ! R in the triad of activities: orientation ! comprehension ! realization. However, within other activities, this triad too can represent either a sequence of operations within an action, or a sequence of actions in an activity. On the highest level, there is the most general version of the same scheme: consumption ! assimilation ! production. These are the three aspects of any activity at all. Sensation can be considered a special case of consumption, and representation is a special case of production, with the product being a subjective structure. This indicates that the above hierarchy of activities forms a complete triad (see appendix 9.1). The levels of this hierarchy correspond to the levels of the subject that can be denoted as the individual, the personality, and the socium (Koren 1984). Since the same psychological dimensions are present in any activity of any level, one can consider individual, personal, and social motives, needs, or g