Daniil Andreev. «The Rose of the World»
Book II. On the Metahistorical and Transphysical Methods of Knowledge

II. Chapter 3. Points of Departure — Being and Consciousness

What I have said supplies us with a new point of view on the centuries-long debate over the primacy of being or consciousness.

«Consciousness determines being» was the formula of the idealistic schools. During the next, secular stage of culture, the formula was turned on its head, but its content remained untouched. It was the same juxtaposition of two components, and so the new formula inherited the simplism of its predecessor. The question is much more complex than those formulas. At the same time, it is simpler than the ungainly edifices of premises and conclusions constructed in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries for the extraction of such modest gains.

“Being determines consciousness.” «Consciousness determines being.» Whose being? Whose consciousness? Of a specific individual? Of humanity? Of the world? Of living, conscious matter? Everything is so jumbled, so imprecise.

The consciousness of specific individuals (for simplicity's sake, we will speak only of humans) is not determined by any one consciousness or by being in general but by a set of factors. These factors are:

(a) the individual's own physical being;

(b) the individual's natural and cultural environment;

(c) the consciousness of a large number of people, both living and dead, for by their efforts these consciousnesses determine, to a significant extent, the cultural milieu in which the individuals live and that affect their being and consciousness;

(d) the consciousness of x number of other beings who influence the natural environment and transform it;

(e) the being and consciousness of the hierarchies that create worlds;

(f) the supraconscious individuality inherent in the monad of the individual;

(g) the being-consciousness of the One God, in whom being and consciousness are one, rather than different, conflicting categories.

If the question refers not to individuals and their being and consciousness but to the Universe (or, to be more exact, the emergence of consciousness in the organic matter of worlds in the Universe), then, clearly, as the Universe is determined by the nature of the One God, the conflict between being and consciousness vanishes, for the above-mentioned reason. As the Universe is determined by the work of God-created monads, the question concerning the emergence of consciousness after some period of unconscious existence becomes irrelevant. For if there were no God-created monads with their consciousness and being, then no matter, neither organic nor inorganic, could come into being either.

We could today afford to chuckle over the simplism of the classical formulas if one of them had not become the philosophical dogma of political despotism and caused untold harm, stifling the independent thought of a host of people and barring spirituality from access to their consciousness. The other formula, just as flawed, is, nevertheless, not as dangerous for the very reason that it is more spiritual. But that does not at all excuse the older religions and their philosophizing, their waste of so many centuries on intellectual speculation without coming a step closer to understanding the relationship between being and consciousness.

to the next part: 2.3. Points of Departure The Variomaterial Composition of Humans
to the previous part: 2.3. Points of Departure About the Freedom of Will
to the beginning: «The Rose of the World». Table of contents
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