Bennett’s views are outlandish, no doubt, but he raises an issue that won’t go away: is mind evolution in man the same as life evolution in general? Bennett’s outrageous speculations nonetheless force the question. His system is divided into three levels, the mechanical, the life, and the cosmic levels. Man’s consciousness (what he calls sensitivity or life energy) is on the threshold of self-consciousness, the first level of cosmic interaction. (The terms are reversed in Bennett, consciousness means self-consciousness).
There is no way I know of you can proceed to verify or prove these ideas, but they have a mysterious potential plausibility that, stripped of speculative nonsense or the extravagance too present in Bennett, goes a long way to explain many things. That man’s mind is interacting with a domain beyond life via the vehicle of self-consciousness is an idea that is worth considering, without becoming a convert to it. Much that is garbled in standard accounts of human evolution suddenly might make sense if we adopt this perspective.
Much confusion arises in cosmology because we don’t make this distinction: the universe looks dead, by and large, but that is no impediment to the presence of ‘consciousness’ which is beyond life.
In any case, never become ‘convinced’ of these views. They are already so vitiated by Gurdjieff cult idiocy (although Bennett’s version is entirely alone and off by itself in a corner, unread) as to be toxic. But a few glimpses of what Bennett is driving at contributes at least a very good question to the enigma of human evolution, so badly treated by Darwinian incomprehension.
Note in passing: this issue arose very early in Bucke’s sense of ‘cosmic consciousness’ contrasted with consciousness. Bucke’s version is as confused as the rest, but it points to the similar thought in Bennett.
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