Tale of the Two Engineers
Human intellect is not the problem… the intellect can be likened to the control panel of a diesel locomotive…each instrument within the control panel is limited to transmitting instructions to the various components of the larger machine (the locomotive) on what task or function to perform. The control panel is completely subservient to, and takes its instructions from the locomotive’s ‘engineer’. The human mind, in this example, is the engineer…it is capable of making decisions, judgement calls, establishing values, determining speed, direction, destination and other physical aspects of the journey, all of which are then routed through the intellect. Whether the locomotive winds up in the ditch or arrives safely at its destination, it is the engineer (and his decisions) who generally bear responsibility. So too is the human mind an organ of control, motive and intent. And if we can at least agree that the human super-mind has evolved to function exclusively in the shadowy and synthetic vacuum of imagination, concept, belief and linear fantasy then that same super-mind will likewise engineer the ‘actions’ of the locomotive (or in this case, the words, thoughts and deeds of the human organism) in accordance with the inherent properties of the ‘vacuum’.
The human intellect is, by design, benign and neutral until it is given a command by the engineer.
So, we have a diesel locomotive with its myriad components and machine parts, a control panel with its many instruments and an engineer who makes decisions and judgement calls. But this allegory, when applied to advanced modern humans, is missing one key element…a second ‘engineer’. This second engineer is known by various terms including; the heart, the soul, élan vital, anima, ‘life’ force, the Great Spirit, etc. It is located in that nebulous region known as the solar-plexus, a.k.a. the ‘feeling center’ or the ‘guts’. This center is the origin of our feelings, intimations, intuitions, consciousness, conscience, ethics, morality and the knowing of right from wrong. By far the most important attribute embodied within this feeling centre is ‘divinity’ itself and whatever one conceives or experiences that to be. Conversely, the first engineer (the human super-mind) is located in an equally nebulous region of genus homo’s super-brain.
(Note: The Jungian bent on this subject would suggest (quite plausibly) that both engineers are integral aspects of one dominant super structure… the human psyche).
The two engineers embedded within the human ‘being’ are each grounded in dichotomous realities. The thinking or hyper-ideological engineer (the mind) is grounded in imagination, concept, ideas and linear caprice. Because of its limitations this cerebral construct (the human super-mind) cannot function outside the restrictive boundaries of the synthetic fantasy world it has created. This fantasy world is based upon an absence of what is true, what is real and what is just (ethical). Any engineer attempting to function within such a synthetic framework will likewise issue directions and express itself via a process which is alienated from truth, reality and justice. This is the nature of the void that the human super-mind has manufactured over the past seven thousand years of western civilization.
The proof is in the pudding. One doesn’t have to go very far to find evidence to support these assertions. A mere seven-thousand years ago the world existed in complete harmony with itself. And yet today that same world is awash in greed, warmongering, consumerism, genocide, lust for material wealth, dog-eat-dog, environmental destruction, exclusive ownership and control of land and resources, religious and political corruption, profit motive, man’s inhumanity to man, progress-at-any-price and the ubiquitous T.M.T.Y.N. syndrome (taking more than you need). Seven-thousand years, in the broader context of biological evolution, is a mere ‘blink of an eye’. Clearly, the author and instigator of the destructive behaviors listed above is the advanced modern industrial-aged human super-mind.
Throughout the turbulent history of western civilization a drama of Shakespearean proportions has been playing itself out between these two powerful adversaries (engineers)… the super-mind and the heart. And although the drama may appear at times to be played out on a regional or global stage, it is within the individual human ‘being’ that the real dynamics of the conflict occur. From birth and through the formative years youngsters are mainly focused on learning as much as they can about the world around them and how to maneuver and survive their way through this physical, three-dimensional landscape. In their early years children are introduced to the rudimentary concepts of morality, ethics and knowing right from wrong but a deeper understanding of these abstract qualities occurs in the later teenage phase coinciding with the youth’s passage into the ‘age of reason’. Throughout the early formative years the intellect remains benign and neutral, functioning as a learning tool to process all the information coming in from the outside world.
It is during this formative stage of a person’s life that the two engineers begin to develop. From infancy onward youngsters are introduced to the precepts of a complex value system held and adhered to by the society they were born into. A systems-wide indoctrination to these modern, industrial-age values is delivered via a number of mediums including television and the internet, advertising, education, parents, religion, peer groups, movies, magazines, etc. This value-system is exclusively the domain of the first engineer, the super-mind. And this early period is also where young children begin to synthesize and entrench these values – which for modern western industrial societies, may include ownership and acquisition, consumerism, competition, wealth accumulation and a general obsession with ‘stuff’ – into their personal worldview. As mentioned in other related essays, the human super-mind is limited to the realm of ideas, imagination and linear fantasy, all of which are inextricably linked to the ‘outside’ temporal, material and very fleeting world of form and function.
The second engineer – the heart, core or center of consciousness – has nothing to do with any of the above. It deals solely with what’s happening on the ‘inside’ and functions within a completely unique set of parameters. Through the wonders of cellular memory modern humans have a built-in, inner line of communication to the ethics, values and moral principles which were practiced by our ancient ancestors over hundreds and even thousands of generations. After eons of exposure and influence this code of environmental and social ethics was written deeply into human DNA and has endured since long before the transition from simple hunter/gatherers to progressive, industrialized hyper-humans. And the cellular memory of this natural code of ethics and morality is what forms the basis and substance of the human ‘heart’ (not the pumping variety but the ethical ‘center’ of our being).
While the first engineer is limited to the physical, finite and tenuous affairs unfolding in the ‘outside’ world, the second engineer is grounded in the intrinsic qualities of infinite energy, truth, absolute reality and divinity…all of which exist exclusively in the present moment and in the human organism’s feeling center or ‘heart’.
The human journey is a platform upon which these Shakespearean protagonists (a.k.a. the two engineers) act out their ‘one hour upon the stage’. And although this drama unfolds exclusively within the individual human form, its outward expressions can affect and influence regional and sometimes global events. The ultimate quality and substance of one’s existence is determined by which one of the two engineers we listen to and act upon.
(Note: There is a story of the ‘two wolves’ currently making the rounds which alludes to the two ominous and conflicting forces embedded within the human psyche. Without getting into a long, drawn-out rehashing of the tale, towards the end one of the story’s main characters – a young child – asks the elder which one of the wolves will survive and triumph over the other? The elder replies ‘the one you feed’).
The advanced hyper-intellectual super-mind is a biological aberration, a certifiable ‘freak’ of nature. Due to the human brain’s explosive growth (350 cc to 1350 cc) over a very brief time-frame the resulting super-mind is the only organ (in the three and a half billion year history of biological evolution) that can arbitrarily manufacture and synthesize ideas. Being arbitrary and synthetic these ideas ultimately wind up contravening the laws of nature, being conjured and formulated within a vacuum estranged from and existing outside the boundaries of those laws and principles which are fundamental and universal. All organisms must abide by these laws and principles in order for there to be balance and harmony within the over all system. If an organism – any organism – contravenes or runs afoul of these laws and principles – nature’s laws and principles – they do so at their own peril.