Exegesis Volume 2 Issue #19

Exegesis Digest Sat, 5 Apr 1997


Date: Wed, 2 Apr 1997 02:26:37 +0000
From: Francis G. Kostella
Subject: level of consciousness

This thread has seemingly died out, but I've wanted to revisit it for a few days.

In Issue #3 (Mar 8) Neil wrote:

> "It is impossible to ascertain the level of consciousness
> of an individual from the birth-chart alone."

I find myself agreeing with Mary Downing, but for slightly different reasons. First, "level of consciousness" is one of those catch phrases which is never clearly defined. The idea of "levels" implies some sort of hierarchy of consciousness, and usually also implies that being at a higher level is somehow desirable (there are a number of spiritual traditions that do not see the game as being a quest for "higher consciousness"). To expand on the idea of it's use as a put-down, it seems more specifically to be a moral judgment hiding in code. That is, I can call you a an unrepentant bastard while pretending that it has something to do solely with spirituality and not my emotions. My own observations have been that when we start using "level of consciousness" we're missing something. For example, I find that I tend to judge strong Air types poorly, assigning them a "low level of consciousness" at first, and after knowing them for a few years, having them graduate to more "advanced" status (like that old Twain quote about how his father go so much smarter as Twain grew from 16 to 25). The main problem is not that we're making moral judgments, which is nearly impossible to avoid, but that we're pretending that they are not moral judgments.

Perhaps a better approach is to ask how well one is integrating, or adjusting and coping with the main avenues in their life: relationships, family, career, etc. (assuming an adult), and go from there (we already have the houses, which despite their seemingly arbitrary derivation, supposedly cover the gamut of human experience), rather than trying to ascertain the "level of consciousness" (for what purpose? to "raise" it? why?). Jesus beat the moneylenders, Chaung Tzu wept and wailed when his wife died, hardly the ideals either were teaching, such "low consciousness level" behavior! Years ago I worked with an old man who moved here out of the segregated south, his grandparents were slaves, he was mostly unschooled and could only work jobs that most of us would consider much too menial for our station. His speech was alien to my ears and I wasn't sure what to make of him, I wouldn't have given him a second glance on the street. I think my judgment of his consciousness would not have been flattering, yet I probably learned more about life from this man than anyone since. In some sense he was a scoundrel, in another he was a true master. Now I can't imagine trying to fix his "level of consciousness" as he was much too complex to fit that mold. I don't see that "level of consciousness" captures anything important.

The other issue I have with "level of consciousness" is that when I hear that phrase I know that its brother, karma, will not be far behind. Don't mistake me, I think karma is fine, and seems to me to be a very close to fundamental truth and at the root of a lot of religions and spiritual traditions. What I take issue with is the tendency for people to make pronouncements about other people's karma. That's very dangerous, I think. Karma is a very subtle thing. When we meddle with other people' karma, we're actually meddling with our own, and it can turn around and bite! (I've got the scars to prove it!) First, what if you're wrong? Second, what if you're right? Why is it your duty to reveal mystery? Perhaps it is, but it is still dangerous, it was hidden for a reason. Third, why is it that folks never talk about the corollary, the law of grace? Grace always transcends karma, there's a way around karma, but it can't be faked. It seems that if I tell you about the machine without telling you about the purpose of the machine I am at fault. Better to keep quiet in the first place.

I think we can leave "levels of consciousness" out of astrology as it adds nothing, and approach karma very, very cautiously.if at all.

my two cents,



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