Paper I submitted for my Atlantic University TP5100 Course – October 18, 2020
Levels 1 and 2 in Ken Wilber’s Up from Eden cover an incredible amount of time in his theory of consciousness evolution. He calls Level 1, pre-sapien human,” and it covered roughly three to six million years ago (Wilber, p. 28). Stan Grof notes that at this stage, Wilber posits that consciousness “is characterized by lack of real differentiation between inner experience and external reality” and that it’s “limited to the uroboric drive for unity that focuses on simple, instinctual functions, such as food.” The sense we get is that human consciousness at this point is not much different than a wild animal, whose primary concern is where to get the next meal.
In Wilber’s Level 2, humans make great strides in consciousness, although they haven’t evolved past the cavemen. Specifically, this stage coincides with the Neanderthals, approximately 200,000 to 50,000 years ago, and the Cro-Magnons, who were around roughly 50,000 to 10,000 years ago (Wilber, p. 28). At this point, Wilber notes, the “self…now separate from the natural world” is determined to defend this now increasingly separate self (Wilber, p. 357). Wilber adds that the thinking at this point was “magical,” as there is no distinction between inner and outer realities (Wilber, p. 357). However, with a sense of self comes a fear of death, and time is “the simple, passing present” (Wilber, p. 377).
Edgar Cayce’s theory about early humanity is much richer and differs significantly from Wilber’s. Cayce starts with spirit as the substance or source where life began. He taught that even before the presence of humans or animals, “in the beginning, there was a sea of spirit and it filled all of space” (Edgar Cayce Foundation, 1971). More importantly, in Cayce’s theory, the spirit was God (Edgar Cayce Foundation, 1971).
Consciousness, therefore, existed before anything else, and it was Divine. It did not evolve and was planned from the beginning. It was part of God’s plan, who “desired self-expression and…companionship,” was a “law of diversity, which supplied endless patterns” for all of the animate and inanimate forms in creation (Edgar Cayce Foundation, 1971).
Every aspect of God’s creation, including human souls, carried a design within “for its evolution – both physical and spiritual,” and all was apart “of God and an expression of God’s thought” (Edgar Cayce Foundation, 1971). God also gave each soul the greatest gift possible, which was free will, and “did nothing to curb it” (Edgar Cayce Foundation, 1971).
Made in the image and likeness of God, these individual souls with the ability to create as they saw fit began doing just that. Certain souls became “aggressive” with their power, mingled with stardust and other materials, and to become a part of creation, these souls adopted a physical form. God created the earth and endowed it with its own set of laws and evolutionary plans. Souls then began mixing with earth’s plants, seas, and then animals.
In a surprising reading, Cayce notes that some souls who mingled with animals became trapped in these forms. He notes that a special temple was established to remove animal appendages. He says “In the Temple of Sacrifice …there is the falling away of those influences in which man had come by his projection of self into matter that there might be the satisfying of desires of flesh as in animal associations and matter relating one to another; which feeding upon itself, as flesh upon flesh, bringeth corruption in the very souls of men.” (Temple of Sacrifice, n.d.). This association with animals created a mixture or hybrid of different types of combinations of animals and humans, which can be seen through much of the ancient artwork, such as a human trunk and head with a cow’s body and hooves (Ancient Mysteries, 2005).
A race of ape-men became the best avenue for souls to experience consciousness on earth, and the souls began by hovering over these creatures and helping to direct their evolution (Edgar Cayce Foundation, 1971). As Hugh Lynn Cayce notes, “It was man, not God, who brought into existence the physical bodies in which the soul now lodges while on earth; it was man who gradually limited himself to the three-dimensional consciousness which is his present point of perception” (Cayce, H.L, 1932).
A primary difference in these two theories is the starting point for each. Cayce posits that as individual sparks of the Divine, each soul was conscious from the beginning. On the other hand, Wilber starts with the body or material form and then consciousness evolves and awakens from there. Cayce’s view is much more expansive as a soul’s experience on the physical plane, and in a human form is only one of an infinite number of experiences it can enjoy. It can experience a planet, star, lake, animal, or any other form that exists in God’s creation, and it has the free will to do so.
In Wilber’s model, it’s a straight line without any ability to jump species, planets, and dimensions. While Wilber wasn’t opposed to including spirituality in his theories, particularly in some of his later writing, what he presents in Up from Eden lacks any Divine influence references. He presents a rationalistic, materialistic theory that sees consciousness evolving essentially without any other mysterious evolutionary forces, which closely mirror Darwin’s and modern scientist’s theory of human evolution.
On the other hand, Cayce acknowledges that consciousness is an element of God and that while each soul is endowed with free will, by “whatever route, the soul will return to God.” I believe this to be the case, as do many great philosophers and saints throughout history.
For this reason, I accept more of Cayce’s theory of the evolution of consciousness than Wilber’s. I understand that God is the author of all and that each of us has a Divine spark within.
Traditional religions and spiritualities, both East and West, speak of this inner voice. And while I haven’t had past-life regressions that date as far back as 100,000 years of more, I’ve read numerous accounts from others.
I raised the issue in recent posts about the recent discoveries of “ancient” civilizations dating back in some cases 100’s of thousands of years ago that have levels of consciousness – if you judge it by the structures they built – that rival our own. Cayce himself speaks of life from other dimensions and experiences on Atlantis. I believe him since he’s been right about so much else, including the healings of the hopeless medical cases. In for a penny, in for a pound, as the old saying goes!
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Cayce, E. (n.d.), “The temple of sacrifice: removal of animal appendages,” Atlantic University TS 503. Retrieved from https://moodle.atlanticuniv.edu/pluginfile.php?file=%2F55209%2Fmod_resource%2Fcontent%2F1%2FTS%20503%20Appendix%20B.PDF
Cayce, H.L. (1932, December), “The coming of man,” Bulletin of the Association for Research and Enlightenment, pp. 1-2. Retrieved from https://moodle.atlanticuniv.edu/pluginfile.php?file=%2F55208%2Fmod_resource%2Fcontent%2F1%2FTS%20503%20Appendix%20A.PDF.
Edgar Cayce Foundation (1971), “Edgar Cayce on human origins.” Retrieved from https://www.near-death.com/paranormal/edgar-cayce/human-origins.html
Editor ( 2005, September), “Weird times: ancient human/animal mix,” Ancient Mysteries, p. 1, 2 & 4). Retrieved from https://moodle.atlanticuniv.edu/pluginfile.php?file=%2F55211%2Fmod_resource%2Fcontent%2F1%2F2005_09_AM.pdf.
Grof, S. (1981), “Wilber, Ken. Up from Eden: a transpersonal view of evolution,” The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 13(2), pp. 1-2. Retrieved from http://www.integralworld.net/rev/rev_ufe_grof.html
Wilber, K. (1981), Up from Eden, New York, NY: Doubleday