The Creation of Consciousness

Chapter 2: The Meaning of Consciousness

Here are some of the summaries and personal responses from members of the Association of Learners


Consciousness is difficult to define because it is the substance of which definitions are made. In the world of meaning consciousness is to awareness and knowledge as a neutrino is to an element in nuclear physics. Consciousness is the basic building block of creation.

Expanding oneís consciousness is the most valuable activity one can pursue according to experts in the field of psychology and psychiatry. Jung saw consciousness as a functioning matrix between the ego and the psyche which was strengthened and expanded by the ego making elements of the psyche conscious. Therefore consciousness implies duality the knower and the known.


The ego must separate its identification with a psychic element in order to "bring it to consciousness". In effect saying, "That is not me". Moving the ego out of identification can relieve suffering. Great suffering to an individual can be caused when the ego identifies with an unconscious complex. When the ego separates, this increases consciousness and allows the ego to tame the beast. The arts give humanity a controlled way of expressing the psyche. Analyzing dreams and active imagination allow the ego another mechanism for seeing the complexes and separating.

Being Known

One way of experiencing being the complex or psychic element is in the process of psychotherapy. This is delicate operation for the psychotherapist because the patient may become dependent on the therapist rather than the Inner Self who knows ALL. The symbolic experience of being known by God may be represented in dreams and the arts as The Eye of God (the Mexicans have the beautifully strung diamond of threads called the Ojo de Dios, The Eye of God). Other symbolic progressions representing the process of being known are snakes and fish eyes either turning into the Eye of God or coming from it. The experience of being known or being seen by the Eye of God is a terrifying one because this disrupts the unconscious elementís autonomy.

The completed process is knowing with, the union of knowing and being known. It is the mutual knowing that is the goal. God sees His creation through humans, humanity sees God in creation.

Personal Response

The experience of knowing some of the figures in my own unconscious has been fun, frightening, divine and disgusting. Through my experiments in Active Imagination and dreams I know some inner friends and enemies. Cassandra is a beautiful inner goddess whom I saw wearing a cube of jewels in imagination. I recognize her now in the clothes and jewelry I wear sometimes and the wisdom that I impart to people. Fran appeared to me in a healing dream. She is down to earth and older. She wears southwestern clothes, is deeply tanned and wears bangle bracelets. Not much upsets Fran because she is matter of fact when she speaks. She helped me overcome the fear of what other people think. Bogo appeared in Active Imagination. He is a primitive man who cares deeply about me. He took me to his camp then roasted a pig in a circle of stones and then poured pigís blood (a magical fluid) down my throat to heal my inner wounds. Then he took me over to his lean-to to rest and heal.

My enemies appeared in dreams as well as Active Imagination. My inner father, Mr. Dilmore (my maiden name), appeared to me as Ted Kennedy in a dream. I saw him first as a powerful and imposing figure and then realized he was half crazed ripping up little pieces of paper. I say to myself, "this is organic brain syndrome from all the alcohol." I tell him itís time for bed and guide him to his room. This was just the beginning of several encounters with Mr. Dilmoreís complex. Separating from him is a major accomplishment in this work. I identified him as me prior to learning that the psyche is real and separate. This affected my career, my self-esteem, my eating, my sex life and my relationships. Now when he intrudes and I recognize him, I have power over him and banish him until he grows up or healthier. The other major enemy is David Koreshís Mother, my motherís dark side. This is the being that held over my head for years that if I did not do good I was going to hell. I was under the influence of these unconscious complexes until I separated then I understood the influences they had over my thoughts and behavior. I had to separate my identification with those complexes before I distinguished what I felt and thought.

I have also explored the experience of "Being Known." In Active Imagination I entered a temple and kneeled at an altar and acknowledged all my sins before God. I did this meditation for two years on the weekends. I prayed to make amends to everyone I had hurt by pretending I was having a near death experience with a Being of Light who would help me see the results of my actions. Powerful healing came from doing this. Relationships I ruined were repaired, sexual problems I felt tremendous guilt about were dealt with in therapy, money I owed was repaid. I allowed all my conscious sins to be known.

Another experience I had of being known came in the most terrifying dream of my life. I experienced murdering people, brutalizing a baby, burying someone I had murdered in my basement. This was an epic dream of me doing every horrible thing one could imagine. I had a similar dream but not as long where I murdered someone, hid the body and then a friend came over, turned on my VCR and the whole murder scene was recorded on the videotape she was watching. The terror of these dreams stayed with me for days and even writing them now is making me shake.

Knowing With

When I engage in "knowing with" I am aware that I am observing something for God to enjoy at the same time I experience something God created. Seeing a peacock spread his tail feathers always does this to me. In my dreams I see what God has created that is still unconscious to me but I also see what is still unconscious to God because neither of us has made it conscious, only I can do that by knowing and showing it to God. He witnesses through my eyes. I had a peak experience of this once while I was driving home from work and passing a local pizza parlor, believe it or not. Suddenly I became aware that everything I saw was being seen through my eyes by the One who was "making all this up" and the realization came to me that everything is a type of illusion of awareness through human senses. Obviously this is a difficult experience to put into words. But I was the knower and the known in that moment.

I have had all the experiences of knowing, being known and knowing with. I understand better the significance of the experiences in terms of the individuation process through remembering, categorizing and analyzing my prior experiences. This is a foundation for further work and recognition I can do in my process of individuation. ("Student 1")


The root meaning of the word "consciousness" is "knowing with" or "seeing with." The word "with" assumes there is an other. This definition of consciousness involves a relationship. Knowing is only possible when there is relationship—when diffuse experience is split into opposites or into subject and object.

Our existence begins in an unconscious state. As the ego grows there is realization of what it is to be the knower, subject. With each new bit of awareness, we have separated out subject from object. As consciousness is expanded, the ego becomes aware of an inner other, the Self. Reciprocal relations between Self and ego occur. The Self is associated with the God image. In fact, in the course of cultural development, changes in human consciousness have been reflected in the God image of each era.

Jung indicated that the ultimate value and purpose of human life is the creation of consciousness. He said, "Manís task become conscious of the contents that press upward from the unconscious." He believed that man is the mirror through which God may see Himself.

Through expanded consciousness, the goals of science and religion can finally be united. As we link Self (our connectedness to God, i.e., religion) to ego (associated with pursuit of knowledge) we elevate consciousness.

Personal Response

When I first began to meditate, an eye would appear on my mindís screen as I relaxed into an "alpha state. This eye had great detail. I was always able to identify a meditative readiness. With the appearance of the eye. In the corner of this magnificent eye was a tear. My mysterious eye signified to me a readiness to begin imaging or predicting whichever was my intent. In this chapter, an Eye of God is discussed and said to be "the symbolic expression of the egoís experience of being the known object" to the archetypal Self. Could it be that as I gave my inner Self attention (through meditation) a relationship was beginning? I note on p. 43 it is stated that "paying attention to the unconscious brings it to life."

Currently the eye is often a side view and more importantly, the tear is gone. Is a side view indicative of a watcher (Self) who prefers not to be noticed watching or have I not given it the importance due? Perhaps the tear has disappeared because at long last there is joy within that a spiritual path has been discovered. In any case, after learning more about the Eye, I shall respectfully honor mine.

On p. 51, the eye is said to also be a symbol of "the destruction of all in the ego not appropriately related to the Self" and "if the archetypal image of the Eye of God has been activated, it means that one is going through an ordeal analogous to that of Job." This certainly is not the case with me. Since beginning meditating (and noting the Eye), life has become fuller and more wonderful. In the last 14 years, I have not been aware of any sense of ordeal or frustration.

I find it difficult to include the potential negative traits in the Self/God image archetype. I prefer to think of Self as the perfect pattern of who one can be. However, the author states that the Self archetype contains all, and manifests as one exercises choice. This is indeed a burden! The onus is thus on each human to go beyond what has been made conscious historically. Further, one must always choose the Good, Unique and New if we are to expand Godís consciousness and benefit the universe. Will I live long enough to go beyond the ordinary, to invent something unique? Surely God has already become aware of what Iíve brought to consciousness——thereís nothing new here!

There is a subtle feeling as one reads this chapter that we are at the mercy of the Self and its goals. I would rather emphasize that as one progresses on a spiritual path, the aims most personally and universally beneficial will emerge and the conscious ego need only attune to those aims. ("Student 2")


The meaning, derivation and implications of the concept of consciousness are the themes of chapter 2. Edinger begins by noting Jungís distinction between consciousness (the relation of psychic contents to the ego) and psyche (the totality of all psychic contents).

Then he turns to the etymology of "conscious," from the Latin roots cum ("with") and scire ("to know"). Hence "conscious" is "the experience of knowing together with an other." The Romans understood the term as relational, and Edinger sees the achievement of increasing consciousness as something in the context of twoness: active imagination or meditation (inner dialogue between ego and complexes, or ego and Self); language, art, drama; dreams and fantasies (interaction between inner characters). Connectedness or coniunctio is at the heart of being conscious, as Logos and Eros are unified.

Edinger recognizes the resistance that unconscious contents have to being known. This is why becoming more conscious is a struggle, and the process is known as the "heroís journey." He provides a variety of examples from Western and Eastern mythologies that address the threat unconscious contents face from the "eye of God."

Edinger then turns to the dual responsibility of the ego: to be the knowing subject of the Self and to be the known object of the Self. He also throws out a suggestion that stands Western materialism on its head: Secularism has frequently claimed that God is merely a projection of human minds. What about the possibility that humans are projections of a transpersonal Other?

While orthodox religions wax eloquent about human dependence on God, Edinger cites Jungís startling ideas about Godís need for humans: For God to experience consciousness, it is necessary for the human ego to transmit consciousness to Him/Her. Hence the purpose of human life, i.e. to create consciousness.

Striving for consciousness is becoming the new answer to the perennial question of the meaning of life. As we evolve a worldview based on this new myth, we will witness the reconciliation of religion (Self-oriented) and science (ego-oriented). (Mehrten)



To be conscious is to be aware, through the agency of an ego, of existence as a self in relation to "not self," or "other." This takes place in the arena of the psyche. It is accomplished by a splitting of psychic content and subsequent reflection of one part to another. Where no such splitting or diff-erentiation occurs in relation to an ego, there exists the condition of unconsciousness. Examination of the words "consciousness" and "conscience" reveals that they imply seeing or knowing with an "other," whereas "science" involves knowing, period.

We can only experience the world through opposites, can only "see" something when we step out of it and back from it. Therefore, cognition splits psychic content into subject and object and we experience ourselves as "knowing subjects," "known objects," and those who "know with." A symbol for the act of knowing by becoming separate is the mirror, which reflects the object (image) to the subject (gazer), so that subject can see itself. In our role as knowing subjects, we use as our mirrors art, culture, language, dreams, fantasy, and so forth.

In our role as known objects, we often find ourselves under the scrutiny of someone else's "knowing ego." This can be a fearful experience, because when our identity is understood or "grasped"-- when our secrets or unconscious portions are exposed to an All Seeing Eye-- we may feel as though our core being is invaded, plundered, or murdered by the soul-eater or dragon of nightmares. In some cases, being known causes subjugation or dependency on the knower who, by knowing, assumes power. However, it is not that knower, but the inner knower (God; transcendent Self) that is desirable as a reflector of higher self to the ego-self. Fear of being known (destroyed) is universal, showing up in historical, mythological drawings of the sometimes wrathful Eye of God. There is relation between that and the eye of Horus, eyes of Shiva, clairvoyant "third eye;" the cobra on the Egyptian pharaoh's headdress, images of fish eyes or multiple eyes, and other symbols wherein a person (subject) feels like the known object of an "other." The Eye stands for wrath when it looks outward to expose the ego; it stands for wisdom when it looks inward to reveal the Self.

The Self, or agent of higher cognition and divinity, is compounded of the opposites, subject and object, in the pestle of the ego. The result is a matured consciousness that "knows with" an other, and is simultaneously knower and known. Self begins to materialize when the ego (knowing subject) realizes it is also the known object of a higher other-- the transcendent Self-- and when it develops a relationship with that higher other. "Withness" is a function of Eros/feeling/love, while "knowing" is a function of Logos/mind. Therefore, consciousness turns out to be a union of mind and feeling [a product of light and love]. One can "know with" another, as in an earthly relationship, or with Self. This is often demonstrated in relations with "outer God." Job's relationship with Yahweh, for example, is seen by Jung as an account whereby Job, by his wisdom and superior moral behavior, actually elevates Yehwah, as his (God's) own agent of consciousness. Jung felt that "man is the mirror which God holds up before him," and that "knowing" is a reciprocal action that improves and expands the known. Consciousness and unconsciousness affect each other. The purpose of human life is the creation of consciousness. In fact, the world's "new religion" will be a linking of love and logic, spirituality and science. (Cornett)



The ego must remain autonomous in the creation of consciousness, otherwise it risks falling into an identification with the archetypes (inflation), resulting in disintegration of the ego and personal psychosis. (Collectively-speaking, identification with the archetypes results in the disintegration and demoralization of society.) The following is an account of what an autonomous ego implies.

The main point is that the unconscious is not to be experienced directly, but indirectly, as through a mirror image. This is because the unconscious is composed of undifferentiated psychic content --- raw being --- a sensory world that must be raised to a "safe distance" level of objectivity so that the sheer force of this raw being does not oppress the ego. Culture (language, art, drama, learning) hold the mirror-image up to nature and allow the psyche to develop, whereas dreams and fantasies do the same for the individual.

The process of knowledge (turning an unconscious content into an object of knowledge while maintaining an autonomous ego) entails three distinctive phases involving the ego: (1) knowing, (2) being known, and (3) knowing with. "Knowing" involves climbing out of the status of raw being into the status of knowing subject through growth of the ego (phase 1). "Being known" means that the ego becomes aware that it is also the object of knowledge of a transpersonal subject --- the Self (God or God-image) (phase 2). "Knowing with" (phase 3) implies the ability to participate in a knowing process simultaneously as subject and object, the knower and known, which is possible only in a relationship to an object that can also be a subject --- for example, a relationship with an outer other (a person) or an inner other (Self). Consciousness is the relation between ego and Self when each is both knowing subject and known object. Thus, to know God (Self) and to be known by Him are the same thing. Man is the mirror God holds up before Him to apprehend His being. This is the particular relationship between God and man, and it is the process that is the basis of the creation of consciousness. (Viennu)