|Two Modes of Consciousness|
The most striking discovery in Robert Ornstein's The Psychology of Consciousness was the relationship between contemporary scientific results and the wisdom of ancient cultures concerning the duality of nature. This link reassured my searching mind of the bridge between science and spirit. Added emphasis appears in red, and my reactions are enclosed in a box: (Note 108)
The polarity and the integration of these two modes of consciousness, the complementary workings of the intellect and intuition, underlie our highest achievements. Some persons, however, habitually prefer one mode over the other, for example, our pedagogue at the beginning of this chapter. The exclusively verbal, logical scientist manifests a similar dominance, often forgetting, or even denying, that he or she possesses another side. . . .
This duality in human consciousness has long been recognized in other cultures. For instance, the Hopi Indians of the American Southwest distinguish the function of the two hands, one for writing, one for making music. The French words for law, that most linear and rational of human pursuits, is droit, which literally means "right." For the Mojave Indians, the left hand is the passive, maternal side of the person, the right, the active father. . . .
The complementarity of these two modes of consciousness is a central consideration of this book, as they are manifest within each person, between different persons, within different disciplines . . . , and in the organization of cultures. . . . Following Bogen, I present one such table, but only for purposes of suggestion and clarification in an intuitive sort of way, not as a final categorical statement of the conception. . . .
The Two Modes of Consciousness: A Tentative Dichotomy
Many different occupations and disciplines involve a concentration in one of the major modes of consciousness. Science and law are heavily involved in linearity, duration, and verbal logic. Crafts, the "mystical" disciplines, music, are more present-centered, aconceptual, intuitive. A complete human consciousness involves the polarity and integration of the two modes, as a complete day includes day and night. . . .
In The Art of Scientific Investigation, W.I.B. Beveridge stresses the need for the development of the intuitive side in scientists. He defines intuition in science as "a clarifying idea which comes suddenly to mind." Intuitive knowledge complements the normal, rational scientific knowledge, much as the paradigm change is the complement to the normal progress of scientific thought. . . .
In the writing of this book, I have had one vague idea after another at different times: on the beach, in the mountains, in discussion, even while writing. These intuitions are sparse images, . . . but they are never fully clear, and never satisfactory by themselves. . . . For me, it is only when the intellect has worked out a form for these glimpses that the intuition becomes of any use to others. It is the very linearity of a book that enables the writer to refine his own intuitions and clarify them, first to himself, and then, if possible, to the reader. . . .
The idea of the complementarity of two major modes of consciousness is hardly new. It antedates systems such as the I Ching and is found in many forms of philosophical, religious, and psychological endeavor. . . . What is new now is a recognition that these modes operate biologically as well as mentally and culturally. With a recognition of the biological basis of the dual specializations of consciousness, we may be able to redress the imbalance in science and in psychology.