Monday, October 26, 2015

Can Dust Go to Heaven?

I have had the pleasure of being involved in a church book study group to look into the most recent Sam Harris book "Waking Up:  A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion".   As a result of this study, I've spent a lot of the past week considering consciousness.

In our discussion group, we got into conversation about the language around consciousness.   We particularly looked at the word "unconscious".  One of the other participants suggested that what we mean when we say "unconsciousness" is not really the opposite of consciousness, but an "unaware consciousness".  The absence of consciousness, we named aconsciousness.

Using that definition, unconsciousness was much more strongly related to what some call the subconscious than it was to the words apparent implication:  the absence of consciousness.

Someone questioned a comment from the Franciscan Friar (Roman Catholic) Richard Rohr who made a claim that the foundation of consciousness (the seat of the soul) comes from and returns to a collective unconsciousness, which I took to mean not an absence of consciousness, but rather the unaware variety of consciousness.

But then I started to wonder.  The Catholics say "You are dust an and unto dust you shall return."  One might make the presupposition that they do not consider dust to have consciousness the way Buddhists consider ants to have consciousness.  I don't even think the most pious of Buddhists would consider dust to be conscious. 

So, the question remains, is consciousness existentially something different than aconsciousness, or does it all totally flow together. 

Can dust go to heaven?

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