Consciousness and Transcendence: Art, Religion and Human Existence with Loomis Mayer
- Thu, Mar 21
Run Time: 90 min.
Have you ever marveled, as did the philosopher Blaise Pascal, why you are you and not someone else? Objective facts can explain why there is a person standing where you’re standing but not why you are experiencing that particular personhood. Although subjective consciousness appears to arise from natural processes, Loomis Mayer recognizes its mysteries without feeling any need to embrace supernatural beliefs. Various notions of “cosmic consciousness” and “unity with the Absolute” have always been popular in both East and West. But how can there be true relation with each other, and with the Absolute (however one conceives it) if there is total unity?
With the emergence of human consciousness comes an awareness of self, the other, and the beyond, and ultimately an intuition of infinity and eternity-of transcendence. This awareness gives rise to longings for connection, as described in Martin Buber’s classic I and Thou, and for meaningful “being” as opposed to gratuitous raw existence, as described in Jean-Paul Sartre’s novel Nausea. This longing is at the heart of the human need for art and religion. Although he embraces Darwinian evolution, Mayer argues against the thesis, advanced by some prominent writers, that the arts, in particular, emerged directly and primarily from the evolutionary process.
Consciousness and Transcendence is the result of a lifelong interest in existentialist philosophy, the role of myth (including religious myth), the arts, and subjective consciousness. Copies of the book will be available for sale.
Loomis Mayer is retired from a career in publishing. He studies portrait painting at the Katonah Art Center and has had several exhibits of his drawings and paintings. He and his wife, Cary Andrews, live in Croton-on-Hudson.