This P.D.E. is concerned with the spreading fears of the end of the world as we near the end of the second millennium (CE). As fears of a disaster mount, more people are beginning to take concrete action based only on their fear of the end of the world.
This P.D.E. is concerned with the spreading fears of the end of the world as we near the end of the second millennium (CE). As fears of a disaster mount, more people are beginning to take concrete action based only on their fear of the end of the world. These fears are expressed in two forms that are split from each other today: that the end of the world is a literal objective event taking place "out there" or it is a hysterical, subjective event taking place "in here," within the individual. The first form has already led to action in the world that is destructive to life and culture while the second form has increased the range of people who are labeled "pathological" to the point that the social fabric is tearing. If both forms of fear continue to govern our actions in the world or towards others, a catastrophe of major proportions is highly likely.
In order to offer another alternative, this P.D.E. presents the hypothesis that the end of the world can be experienced as an objective reality within the subjective life of an individual. This hypothesis is an attempt to resolve the split between an "inner" interpretation or an "outer" one by presenting the possibility that individuals may personally experience the objective reality of the end of the world. If successful this attempt can lead to another kind of action in the world that is not based on fear but on the fruits of a personal encounter with the objective reality of the end of the world.
To develop and test this hypothesis, data was drawn from my own journals as I went through a personal experience of the end of the world over a period of twenty years. This data was subjected to a form of heuristic research which culminates in a creative synthesis. The conclusion of the research is that if the end of the world can be experienced as a phenomenon that can be personally encountered, then concrete action in the world will more likely be based on love than on fear, thus offering an embodied vision of the future to others that carries hope.
In this chapter I will discuss my study of the phenomenon of the end of the world as a crisis in consciousness in terms of the purpose of my research and its place in social, political and cultural trends and in scholarship . I will introduce the relevance of my own professional and personal experience to this study and finally, I will make a statement of the research question.
The theme of the end of the world is universal and enduring. If we accept Campbell's irony that myth is the other man's religion, then we can say that religions all over the world and throughout history have included the end of the world as a major aspect of their considerations, as expressed in their sacred stories. The myth of the end of the world is associated with initiatory rites and healing practices in traditional societies as well. All these accounts are well documented and are studied within disciplines such as religious studies, eschatology, mythology and anthropology (see Appendix A). They have provided us with a rich and seemingly inexhaustible mother lode from which to expand and deepen our understanding of our ancestors and the world in which they and we live(d). For example, Noah and the Flood has been used simplistically to reinforce current beliefs about the sinfulness of humankind and the wrath of God and the same story has been used to support sophisticated arguments of a general human trend to understand and work with the nature of time (see my Area of New Learning 2). The study of myth seems to be a study of open systems for there seems to be no end of what we can learn from them.
The theme of the end of the world is not only important to eschatologists and mythologists but to historians as well. The myth of the end of the world has had profound effects on human actions. At critical points in history, the myth has penetrated into human reality with devastating consequences to individuals and societies. Catastrophic or portentous events in history seem to get assimilated to the myth of the end of the world and people take action on the basis of their belief that the world is ending. Once events have been assimilated to the myth, human action seems to run a course that makes the myth in effect enter history and become a chronicled event. Such events are a subject of study in the disciplines of history and literature.In my Area of New Learning 3, I studied the period of time in the West around the end of the first millennium. I found that this time, like ours was filled with portents and forbodings concerning the end of the world. And, like our times, there seemed to be two conflicting "narratives" describing the end of the first millennium. The "official narrative" described the great achievements in politics and culture and became the recognized history of Medieval Europe while the "unofficial narrative" consisted of chronicles of horror in which individuals, groups and cultures suffered and died as the myth of the end of the world began to determine the actions of those in poweri.e the Popes and the Kings .Today as we near the year 2000 AD, we are finding another emergence of the myth of the end of the world into human history. As in medieval times, this emergence is being accompanied by an "official narrative" that focusses on the promise of the 21st. century the great cultural achievements to come while at the same time, we have prophecies of doom and catastrophe, couched in language that is expressive of our modern popular culture (the "unofficial narrative"). For example there is a tremendous scientific interest in comets and their ability to suddenly alter the course of history. Comets have long held mythological import as harbingers of cosmic transformation . In the field of mathematics, chaos theory and its non-linear dynamical model of the world is showing the possibility of a solar system or a climatic system that may go chaotic, for the 'simple' reason that chaos is built into the system . Through environmental research, we are exposed to theories of the end of the world through flood (melting of the glaciers) or fire (nuclear holocaust), both of which are ancient themes belonging to the mythology of the end of the world . Ufology while perhaps not a legitimate academic discipline is a form of cultural studies that offers rich amplifications to the modern emergence of the theme of the end of the world .
One of the most important disciplines that has emerged in modern times to address the problem of the end of the world is depth psychology which discovered that mythological material appears "in" the collective unconscious. Furthermore, people who undergo profound psychological transformations which often release new levels in creativity and a greater range of possibility in the personality reveal themes that can be explicitly linked to the myth of the end of the world . There are studies to link such personal transformations with ancient initiatory practices . Recent Western interest in the ancient spiritual practice of Kundalini Yoga offers rich support to the discoveries of depth psychology through its studies of individuals who undergo spiritual transformation through a spontaneous awakening of Kundalini energy .The seriousness of the emergence of the myth of the end of the world into human history cannot be overestimated. People do take irreversible action based on their fear of the end of the world. More and more frequently we hear of groups of people taking their own lives or that of others, based on their eschatological beliefs. Right-wing militia or other separatist groups are founding communities and movements based on these same beliefs . Science, that bastion of rationality is also sounding the alarm. At present, for example there is serious scientific discussion about setting up a space program by which we may avoid the catastrophe of a meteor or a comet hitting the earth. I recently heard a theory in which the author suggested that our space program is based on Nature's intuition of the coming destruction of the Sun. Accordingly, we were created as a species that could respond to this emergency by organizing an escape from earth . I am reminded of Noah and his Ark. Biology is drawing our attention to catastrophes that changed the course of evolution in our ancient past . Even in the relatively recent field of high technology, there is a blossoming culture of the fin de siecle in the Y2K problem. A design flaw that will become active on January 1, 2000 is sending shudders through the world with fears that range from technological failures to complete social catastrophe. Even now, groups are organizing their lives to escape the calamity that will befall us .
Similarly the recent field of seismology is lending its findings to the growing hysteria. Increasingly sophisticated instruments assure us that sometime in the next 10,000 years the big one will hit California sending the State into the ocean. Where science fails in its bid for certainty concerning just when this earthquake will hit, a growing industry of prophets assure us that it will hit in the year 2000 AD, this being the designated year of the end of the world for growing numbers of people.The end of the world or the end of the millennium has gripped the popular imagination in many ways. The Entertainment industry is replete with visions of the final days and the name "End of the Millennium" is gracing the cover of an increasing range of books, from recipe books, to poetry to prophecies. There seems to be very little logical consistency in the mania. I saw a fundamentalist group prophesying the apocalypse and at the same time making an appeal for donations for their Churchwhy would they need donations if there is no future to be had?
One of the developments that makes our situation unique in history is the tremendous advances in technology that have led to a breakdown of boundaries between cultures and nations. Our present prophecies of doom are no longer restricted to a local geographical area. Unlike any other time in the past we have been given access to a vision of the planet, from outside, thanks to space travel. It is a vision of no boundaries . Thus the imagined range of the effects of the belief in the end of the world has stretched to include the whole planet. For example, when we believed that the end of the world might come through the effects of planetary pollution, we began a world wide effort at enormous cost to clean up the environment.Though the magnitude and range of our concerns about the end of the world have increased dramatically, one aspect remains the same as it always has been: we primarily react out of fear! A famous example of this hysteria occurred in 1938 with Orson Welles' radio broadcast of H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds, which tells the story of an invasion from Mars. He was stunned to learn that his broadcast was taken literally creating a wave of hysteria throughout the U.S. This occurred one year before the outbreak of World War II.
Fear remains the primary basis for action when the myth of the end of the world enters the world stage. In this sense we are no different from our ancestors. But the need to find another basis for action in connection with our eschatological beliefs is surely the desideratum of our times, for technology and science have put into our hands the ability to end all life on earth. Fear as the engine for action can make this come to pass as surely as it did in the past on a smaller scale when cultures were wiped out. For example, in Japan recently a radical group immersed in an apocalyptic belief system placed poisonous gas in a subway tunnel in Tokyo. And this was merely a test run for their murderous intent which had a genocidal magnitude.
The myth of the end of the world, like all myths can have a profound effect on human action, for better or for worse. Human action infused with mythic realities both creates new forms of culture and destroys old forms, taking human life in the course of its impersonal movements at scales ranging from the individual up to entire civilizations. I can think of examples as diverse as the traditional Hawaiians who launched their new war craft over the living bodies of captured slaves or Hitler's genocidal campaign both of which were infused with myth. Campbell describes the effects of human action in the world when it is infused with mythological inspiration:
Thus it was that when a couple of dilettantes with creative imagination brought this sensational product of philological research (i.e. the discovery of a common root to the Indo-European languages) out of the studies of the scholars, where thought leads to further thought, into the field of political life, where thought leads to action and one thought is enough, a potentially very dangerous situation was created. The first step in this direction was taken in 1839, when a French aristocrat, Courtet de l'Isle, proposed a theory of politics on the basis of what he conceived to be the new science. . . . The tendency was developed in Count Arthur de Gobineau's four volume . . . and required, finally, only the celebrated work of Wagner's English son-in-law, Houston Stewart Chamberlain, The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century (1890-1891), to supply the background for Alfred Rosenberg's Der Mythus des 20. Jahrhunderts (1930) and break the planet into flames.
Clearly, mythology is no toy for children. Nor is it a matter of archaic, merely scholarly concern, of no moment to modern men of action. For its symbols (whether in the tangible form of images or in the abstract form of ideas) touch and release the deepest centers of motivation, moving literate and illiterate alike, moving mobs, moving civilizations.
Indeed, our history may be seen as kind of record of the emergence of myth into human affairs . Simply from the point of view of human history, it would seem imperative to understand and to learn how to relate to this undeniable reality of myth breaking into the human sphere.But there is even a more pressing reason for doing so today. While ritual enactment of, or possession by the myth of the end of the world often involved human sacrifice, scapegoating of individuals or groups, or even the demolition of entire civilizations, we have reached a watershed moment in history that raises the stakes well beyond destruction of civilizations to the level of planetary disaster. This moment is characterized by two intersecting realities: one is the reemergence of the myth of the end of the world onto the human stage and the other is an attainment of technological mastery unparalleled in history.
The growth of technology, particularly miniaturization has placed tremendous power in the hands of individuals. Where once there was some system of checks and balances through politics, as in the Cold War, now there seems to be none. Recent world events (1998) such as terrorist bombings of American Embassies or Iran's biological weapons which were used against the Kurds, show how the small and the few can combine to wreak havoc. When this technological capacity is coupled with fears of the end of the world the results are devastating. We do now have the ability to destroy vast areas of the world and this fact excites our fears of the end of the world which can then in turn precipitate action that may be irreversible.
Up until the 19th and 20th centuries, we have lacked an adequate means of understanding the event of the myth of the end of the world entering into human affairs. The event has been noticed, of course and addressed, since ancient times. But we have lacked the kind of understanding that can align us with the event when it happens in such a way that it may move to completion without the devastation to individuals and societies that so marks our history. In my view the three theories that are now available to us and which are essential to us in understanding this event are:
I will introduce my version of these theories a little later on but in order to place my research within scholarship, I will say a little about what has resulted from these theories that may aid our understanding of the problem.
These theories are all interwoven to give us the understanding that human subjectivity emerged only gradually from a condition of consciousness that may be called universal and which surrounded and immersed subjectivity. It is extraordinarily difficult to even speak from the kind of consciousness our ancestors had without infusing the description with our modern form of consciousness, thereby confusing the resultsour attempts to understand the past and other cultures in the present are filled with this unfortunate bias. But we can now speak about former kinds of consciousness in theoretical terms because of the kind of subjective consciousness we now have. So we can say that a gradual emergence of subjectivity has occurred until a relative autonomy in subjective consciousness was reached, at least in the West, which is the purview of my program. This relative freedom has been given many names but many authors recognize that it reached its peak with what is known as the Cartesian splita condition in which subjective consciousness is split from the world which is felt to have no consciousness but is simply inert matter that can therefore be quantified.
This development in consciousness produced a split psychic system, yet it also gave us a sense of subjectivity with an accompanying positive evaluation of individuals, individual's rights and so on. Subjectivity mattered. So that, in comparison with traditional art for example, the artist's personal name was important to the art work. Or more generally, the products of individual genius became highly valued and protecting the rights of individuals became codified in law. To sacrifice individuals under the pressure of a mythic enactment began to be a troubling matter, although as history tells us, there were and are plenty of occasions where this continued. But now we evaluate such occurrences with a morality that uses words such as "atrocity." An important recent example of this shift from valuing the mythic rite to valuing the individual rights is that of female circumcision in Africa. From being a mythic necessity it has become an atrocity a disfigurement, a maiming.Subsequent to this split consciousness came the discovery of the unconscious system . Put simply this theory says that there is another partially autonomous aspect that can and does affect our actions in the world and which in some sense is "in" us as much as our subjectivity. Where Cartesian subjectivity thought "I am alone in the house," it now discovers that "there is an Other in the same house that is 'me', too in some sense." Theories of the unconscious diverge according the meaning that is placed on "me." For example, ego-psychology treats the unconscious as essentially a way to make the subjective ego more whole whereas self-psychology explores the roots of the unconscious down to the soul of the world , .But the model of the unconscious that I am using here springs from Jung's notion of the collective unconscious . This notion rests on Kantian philosophy which speaks of structures within the human being that "order" our sensual data from the world, changing sensation to perception. In other words Kantian epistemology states that when we perceive the world there is always something of ourselves in the perceived object and we therefore cannot perceive directly the world as such. Our world is always a perceived one, in actual experience . Jung's collective unconscious is his name for the "ordering factor" in our psyches. The "collective" aspect indicates that the ordering principle is not only determined in content by subjective experience but by "archetypes" that are a priori to personal experience and in fact inform personal experience.
Myths order the cosmos and Jung demonstrated that myths originate in the collective unconscious. This formulation distinguishes world events from perceived experience. So that while we may logically deduce there is an earthquake, we may in actual experience perceive the end of the world and act accordingly. But Jung's formulation allows a distinction between literal an symbolic action in the world. Thus it opens up the possibility of discourse concerning the nature and content of the image of the end of the world we are perceiving and distinguishing that image from the event that may have excited it into the field of perception. Such a discourse forces consciousness to examine itself as a contributing factor to the phenomena that is being perceived. This theoretical contribution is historically new to the study of he problem of the end of the world and is called philosophically esse in anima.
Phenomenology was born of the need to heal the split between the individual and the world. Husserl recognized, along with others that the world of science and the world of ordinary lived experience are split from each other. He made an philosophical move that sounds simple but is profound in terms of realities and worlds. He noted that consciousness has intention. This means that when consciousness perceives an object then something of consciousness is in the object and in terms of lived life it can never be otherwise . And what we perceive IS THE WORLD, as far as actual experience is concerned. Thus the world is always inter subjective and the split is healed to the extent we live out of this fact.
This theory allows the formulation of the end of the world as phenomenon that can give clues to the nature of the consciousness that is doing the perceiving. This theory therefore also opens the possibility of a discourse that distinguishes literal from symbolic action in the world. In my own studies here, I am hoping to weave these three theories together in order to place my research and contribution concerning problem of the end of the world within available scholarship .
I believe it will be a contribution to the problem to express it as a crisis in consciousness, a crisis that belongs to the evolution of consciousness in the West. This crisis involves an overcoming of the split that separates subjective awareness from the world which is therefore denied interiority. Our current perception of the end of the world is in general a perception of a phenomenon. That is, there is something of us in the perception of world events that we are calling apocalyptic, catastrophic etc. This "something" is a transformation occurring "in" the collective unconscious.
I need the theory of the evolution of consciousness in order to say that the myth of the end of the world is entering human history through the individual, whose subjectivity (what we commonly call "the ego," is perceiving that fact. I need the theory of the collective unconscious to say that events in the world are constellating the myth of the end of the world as a "content" "in" the collective unconscious of human beings, distinguishable conceptually and even experientially from "outer" events. I need phenomenology in order to talk about the end of the world as a phenomenon which in terms of lived experience IS the world we live in and so when the phenomenon changes or transforms, subjectivity experiences such change as the end the world. It is real, actual and phenomenal.
With the assistance of such formulations I can explore how the end of the world as a phenomenon impacts individuals and explore how individuals may go through such a transformation without falling into the trap of literalism, i.e. taking their own images as " sheer outer fact"a particularly pernicious move that Barfield rightly calls "idolatry" .
Thus I hope my research may make a contribution to scholarship by claiming that the end of the world is real, actual and objective, just as it has always been felt. Yet, with our advances in theory concerning the human being, as I outlines above, we do not have to conclude that the end of the world is real and actual AS AN EXTERNAL OBJECTIVE FACTa formulation that follows directly from the Cartesian split. We can now say that it is real and actual AS AN ESSENTIAL OBJECTIVE FACT . In this way we stay true to individuals' actual experience without falling into the subject-object split of the Cartesian Paradigm.
My P.D.E. is based on a period of my life spanning about twenty years (1979-1997) in which I underwent a kind of initiatory ordeal involving Kundalini-type energies. Every aspect of my life was changed utterly, down to the most concrete details. At first I was overtaken by symptoms and accompanying these symptoms were dreams and visions in which strange symbols appeared. These symbols bore no discernible relationship to anything I had known or experienced before. My symptoms had no medical basis but were so severe at times that I was unable to move for hours at a time. They had the quality of a fire running through my body but it was only later that I was able to associate the symptoms and the symbols with the Kundalini system developed in India over thousands of years.
For a considerable time, my attention was focused almost exclusively on reducing or controlling the fiery energies and restoring some measure of familiar comfort in my personal life. These efforts failed and I was forced to subordinate my exclusive self-interests to a possible deeper hidden meaning of what I was going through.
That there was a deeper meaning became clear through the spontaneous production of symbols that were quite alien to anything I had known about at that time. One of the greatest peculiarities lay in the symbols' relationship to me. Many of my dreams did not show me only as an observer, as in perhaps a mystical experience in which the human being is granted a vision of divinity that remains outside him or herself. Rather my dreams showed a process in which two different worlds were interpenetrating and catching me up in participation with that interpenetration. In one such a dream:
. . . a scene at a beach. A vision of a parallel universe interpenetrating ours like a transparent envelope. I could just step into it.. . .
I travel to a strange world which increasingly seems to be based on earth's reality, though distorted. As time goes by it gets more and more like earth. I meet a beautiful woman who I feel has a duty to kill me. We talk about Kali and in the end she seems to join me in an escape. (Journal entry)
One of the most enduring effects of such experiences was on the very structure of language itself, since language and reality are so closely intertwined. How could I begin to describe such a phenomenon? It's one thing to describe it as a picture outside of myself, with me as an observer. We have a language for that, which treats images as objects and is based on a fundamental split between subject and object, spirit and matter. But how was I to describe the experience objectively while participating from within another living subject, that was alien to and bigger than my ego and surrounding me. I had to conclude that I did not yet have the language to do so.
Another profound effect of such dreams lay in my experience of the most fundamental categories of the ego: Time and Space. I had experiences in which past present and future no longer seemed to proceed in a linear fashion, unidirectionally and space was no longer Euclidean. Instead the future seemed to interpenetrate with the past and present in a most bewildering way that led to moments of seeing the future before it appeared, and distance sometimes collapsed or folded leading to telepathy and shared "moments" with others that can only be called synchronous.
Transformation in language and in the very categories of Space and Time! I was being presented with raw experiences in the form of primal images that could not yet be communicated in language to others, and which seemed to center on the foundations of the structure of the human ego - that unique complex that connects the psyche to what we call outer reality. When these foundations undergo changes, the ego experiences the end of the worldand this is really sosince the foundations to the structure of the ego go beyond mere subjectivity to the objective phenomenal world as I explained earlier.
In 1995, a moment occurred which was a turning point for me. The moment lasted 5-6 months and has had enduring effects on my life to this day. I experienced a spontaneous outpouring of poetry, accompanied by feelings of complete surrender. The poems were authored beyond my ego. My role was to write them down as they came. There was no crafting, no editing. They came through whole. The ideas expressed in them, the form in which they came were totally new to me. This process was accompanied by a series of thunder and lightning dreams. Though I have no way of assessing the value of these poems as art, I knew that their immediate value lay in teaching me about the process in which language and the world is born. That period of time was a realization of my dreams over many years.
The actual content of the poems as well as their structure point to the formation of a language that brings forth a world in which interpenetration between subjects may be experienced and described. They also point to the destruction of a world in which subject and object or inner and outer are distinguished by opposition. I had been prepared for this discovery by my dreams and visions for all these years and so I was personally taken through an initiatory process involving the end of the world.
My journey has taken nearly twenty years.
The three theories that I have explored above shed new light on human nature and on the relationship between human beings and the world. Thus, they offer fresh perspective on the problem of the end of the world, in terms of undergoing the end of the world and in terms of broadening the range of possible outcomes. In the light of my own initiatory experiences over the years, my research is broadly concerned with the degree to which my own experience of the end of the world is supported by these theories and to what degree does the outcome of my own ordeal resonate with the expected outcomes predicted by these theories which are:
That the event may be understood as a transformation occurring "in" the collective unconscious and is a phenomenon, which implies that it is the lived world and which therefore attains the reality and actuality of "the world" as experienced by us. But as there is an aspect of us that is involved in the phenomenon, then as the world is transformed so are we and a new form of consciousness is the result with its new phenomenal forms together which constitute the new world of lived experience.
Our subjectivity or the ego is of necessity caught up in this transformation, this participation apparently being intended according to the theory of the evolution of consciousness . The effects of the end of the life of a person depends utterly on the degree to which subjectivity has developed its relationship with the collective unconscious, as clinical pathology tells us. One measure of the development of this relationship is the degree to which the images that appear to the ego, of the end of the world, are collective or personal in nature. The implication here is that the more collective the images, then the more literal the action in the world and the less individual, as in mass hysteria; the more personal the images of the end of the world, the more individual and personal the action in the world will be .
The purpose of such participation of the ego in this transformation is two-fold. One is to draw the ego into a process of incarnation, so that the new form of consciousness may enter the world in a particular time and place, such categories being provide by the ego. The other is so that the ego may create new cultural forms via art that show the effects of the ego's participation in the transformation .
To test the degree of resonance with these theories and expected outcomes I have designed my research according to the heuristic method (see Appendix B).
My research question therefore is:
What is the experience of the end of the world?
To make a note about the validity of my research, I can say with confidence that there is no danger in my case of assimilating new data to known theory. That is, I did not begin my research with the premises, the validity of which I am testing. My data emerged before I was aware of the theories that I am testing and my descriptions of my own experiences emerged from the data itselfthey are not explanations based on a previously assumed theory. My methodology therefore is faithful to the phenomenological method.
My program hopes to make a contribution to studies of the problem of the end of the world by showing what outcomes become available if the end of the world is understood as a phenomenon that suggests a crisis in what may be known as the Western style of consciousness. By restricting myself to a study of Western consciousness which is typified by a split between self and world and whose greatest cultural achievement is science, I hope to avoid presumptions about other forms of consciousness that exist in the world and which do not in themselves seem to involve such a crisis as is apparent in the West. Yet, because of the present world influence of Western consciousness and its representative of science, no one is left untouched by its effects. Thus, how the West manages its own crisis, as manifested in rising fears of the end of the world has enormous effects on the lives of people of all races throughout the world.
My literature review therefore is restricted to the Western intellectual tradition, particularly the ways it looks at its own roots of knowledgephilology and depth psychology being the most important to my program, both emerging at the same time in the 19th C.
My sources include the King County Library System with links to University library systems throughout the USA; the TUI search engine and the Internet which enabled me to access University resources directly; Amazon.com which is a huge book resource on the web; various Jung Institutes and their catalogues throughout the USA; several well known publishers in the field of depth psychologySpring, Inner City Books, Chiron, Bollingen, etc.; many journals and periodicals such as Eranos, Journal of Analytical Psychology, Psychological Perspectives etc.; and I was able to draw from popular culture which seems increasingly immersed in the themes of the end of the worldnewspapers, tabloids, movies, etc. A complete bibliography may be found at the end of this book.
Particularly fruitful source words that I used were: eschatology, millennium, fin de siecle, end of world, myth, prophesy, UFO, catastrophe. I will note here that I asked one source to send me notice of any publications to do with the millennium and as time went on, the number of books on the theme accelerated: the theme of the end of the world has developed a growing market as we near the year 2000 AD! .
What follows is my review of literature that forms the scholarly background to my own research into the problem of the end of the world from the perspective of the Western intellectual tradition.
In my studies, I am proposing that we have a basis for action available to us today in response to the problem of the end of the world, which places us in a unique position in history. My program and P.D.E. are an exploration of this basis, springing from the pioneering work of others throughout the centuries of cultural development in the West. This development concerns what we now call consciousness and its relationship to the world. A shift seems to have occurred culturally when we began to experience ourselves as having an inner life, an interiority where events that were formerly experienced as "outside" could now be felt as experiences "inside.". This shift has been studied extensively by Owen Barfield in his philological studies of historical texts. For example, he studies the parables of Jesus hermeneutically to demonstrate how the "god without" came to be experienced by his disciples as the "god within."