Reflections on the Development of Consciousness
The Sower and the Seed explores the origins of consciousness from a mytho-psychological angle. The concept of immanence, a vast intelligence within the evolutionary process, provides the underlying philosophy of the book, presented as a creative-destructive spirit that manifests higher orders of complexity (such as life, intelligence, self-consciousness) and then dissolves them. The book explores the human psyche as immersed in nature and the realm of the Great Mother, showing how the themes of fertility and power, applicable to all life forms, saturate the history of humanity - most evidently in the period stretching from 40,000 years ago up to modern civilizations. The book examines in particular the transition to patriarchal religious consciousness, in which a violent separation from the world of nature took place.
The Sower and the Seed also explores Hebrew, Egyptian, and Greek creation myths as commentaries on the origins of consciousness, and shows how the transition to consciousness from the unconscious (the birth of humanity) is inherently problematic, since it creates a separation from the realm of nature and instinct. This rise of consciousness out of nature and its fall or separation into a separated egoic state is its central dilemma.
Alan Mulhern also analyses the Enlightenment and scientific revolution. As he suggests, this was essential for capitalism to emerge and required a specific change in consciousness, provided for by Protestantism. However, capitalism was destined to undermine all religions and replace them with a thoroughly materialist philosophy. As well as being a profoundly creative system the author shows that industrialization is equally destructive, and that indeed a death potential in consciousness is activated within it (witnessed for example in the proliferation of enough weaponry to wipe out most of life on earth). It is suggested that humanity will undergo species-trauma in the near future and that remaining populations will face either fundamental reform or extinction. Capitalism presents many changes in consciousness during the different stages of its development, including the latest digital age where human consciousness is being fused with artificial intelligence.
The book concludes by showing that no matter what happens collectively, the path for individual progress and even enlightenment is open to each individual. This final section, 'The Quest', presents a series of illustrations, poems, and commentaries that show the search of the individual on the path of higher consciousness. The metaphor of the pilgrimage is used and shows essential psychological as well spiritual steps on such a journey.