According to Seth, those CUs that would eventually become human consciousness as we know it existed during pre-history in a kind of pseudo-form which Seth called a dream body. The dream body, in turn, operated in what might be best thought of as a dream world, also formed by consciousness.
Seth called these pre-humans “Sleepwalkers” and their main concentration was still in the dream world, even though they were beginning to experiment with physical reality. The Sleepwalkers had bodies, some of which looked like ours, but they operated perfectly and effortlessly, were not diseased or defective in any way, and had some abilities that surpassed ours.
This state was one in which pre-humans could try out different ideas, create environments, interact with various species, and learn how they would work together. If things didn’t go the way they planned, they could try something else, without the physical consequences.
The Sleepwalkers did not age anywhere near as quickly as we do and did not need to procreate; gender was not important and these beings had what we would call both male and female qualities. In Seth’s recounting,
While men [and women] had their dream bodies alone they enjoyed a remarkable freedom . . . for their bodies did not have to be fed or clothed. They did not have to operate under the laws of gravity . . . They did not yet identify themselves to any great degree as being themselves separate from either the environment or other creatures. (Dreams, ‘Evolution,’ and Value Fulfillment, Volume 2, p. 222)
During the time of the Sleepwalkers, matter was impermanent; Seth said it pulsed in and out of existence. “What you really had in the beginning were images without form, slowly adopting form, blinking on and off, then stabilizing into forms that were as yet not completely physical. These then took on all of the characteristics that you now consider formed physical matter.” (Dreams, “Evolution,” and Value Fulfillment, Volume 1, p. 179)
Sequentially following the Sleepwalkers in evolution, were other pre-humans which Seth called “Ancient Dreamers.” According to Seth, the developmental changes between these two stages took place over eons.
The Ancient Dreamers slept long hours . . . awakening, so to speak, to exercise their bodies, obtain sustenance, and later, to mate . . . Dreaming imaginations played rambunctiously with all the probabilities entailed in this new venture: imaging the various forms of language and communication possible, spinning great dream tales of future civilizations replete with their own built-in histories–building, because they were now allied with time, mental edifices that automatically created pasts as well as futures. (Dreams, ‘Evolution,’ and Value Fulfillment, Volume 1, p. 192)
The changes taking place provided the Ancient Dreamer with a physical body consciousness to help it operate automatically in the physical world. The kind of functions the body consciousness performed were, for example, letting the body know how to run without having to think about which muscles to flex or how respiration should be altered. At this time, the basic structures of a “self” were being formed. Seth says, the knowledge to create these structures comes from an inner self dwelling in a psychic dimension, but simultaneously requires a new body consciousness that is aware of information coming from its inner self without losing its focus in the outer world.
Per Seth’s story, an outer ego consciousness is the third component of this three-part structure, and its duty is to clearly focus in physical reality. Explaining this balancing act in an analogy, Seth says,
Up to that time the self was like a psychological rubber band, snapping inward and outward with great force and vitality, but without any kind of rigid-enough psychological framework to maintain a physical stance. The inner self still related to dream reality, while the body’s orientation and the body consciousness attained, as was intended, a great sense of physical adventure, curiosity, speculation, wonder–and so once again the inner self put a portion of its consciousness in a different parcel, so to speak. As once it had formed the body consciousness, now it formed a physically attuned consciousness, a self whose desires and intents would be oriented in a way that, alone, the inner self could not be. (Dreams, ‘Evolution,’ and Value Fulfillment, Volume 1, p. 224)
When Seth speaks about ego consciousness fully awakening into physical reality, he attributes it to something he calls “natural aggression.” In its truest sense, aggression, at least according to Seth, is the “power of energy directed into material action.” (The Nature of Personal Reality, Amber-Allen, 1974/1994, . 137) It was later in this stage of evolution, Seth says that aggression became distorted. The males, he claims, began to equate ego consciousness with the need to physically manipulate and control the environment and “took physical aggression and force as his prerogative.” (The Unknown Reality, Volume 1, p. 112)
This need for control happened because, when humans stabilized in physicality and were no longer feeling connected to the dream world, the separation was almost shattering.
“He sees himself in a leap of comprehension, as existing for the first time not only apart from the environment, but apart from all of Earth’s other creatures. (Dreams, ‘Evolution,’ and Value Fulfillment, Volume 1, p. 224)
Interestingly, according to Seth, this is the period that the Garden of Eden story comes from.
According to Seth, this early human could recall feelings of the dream reality and understood that he/she had somehow been severed from that comfort zone. Actions now took place within a linear time scheme, and that meant having to choose between one action and another; the decisions could mean life or death. There were real ramifications to all of their choices. Early humans figured out which kinds of actions resulted in feeling good and which did not. They eventually translated these into ideas of good and evil.
To develop a sense of specialization in physical reality, ego consciousness had to somewhat forget the great cooperative venture it had entered into on earth. Natural guilt was adopted to serve a similar function to animal instinct. It was an evolutionary development that caused a person to feel guilty for any violation done to another person, another species, or to the environment. But as time went by, the understanding of natural guilt morphed into something very different–an artificial kind of guilt imposed from outside onto oneself.
In the last part of this series on cooperation versus competition, we’ll follow evolution from first recorded history until our times, covering the ages of religion and science. And we’ll get a glimpse of what Seth says is in our probable future.