Hey forceOfHabit, thanks for taking the time to read and respond.
You are, of course, completely right that “undifferentiated consciousness” has nothing to do with any kind of national identity. If it came off that I was suggesting spirituality to be a uniquely American project, then I should’ve written more clearly. That’d be silly. It was just my particular focus.
I took up the American angle quite intentionally, though. I have a background in economics, so my perspective tends to carry with it a shade of public policy and social institutions, tending to create a domestic view on addressing culture. My focus on “American” has a lot to do with my opinion that America is leading the charge, globally, in rampant materialism, and throwing the baby of spirituality out with the bathwater of religion.
Especially in the last section, the “American Project” I refer to is trying to link to the Emersonian one of casting off all vestiges of dependence and valuing the exploration of one’s own experience. Though this begins (and ends) with the individual (irrespective of nationality), it is also largely a cultural effort. And as Americans, we have much greater control over our own culture than we do that of Germany’s, for example. Sure, there is a ‘global’ culture emerging with internet and so on; there are endless perspectives to take on this. I could address the entire human race on this topic. I just feel more qualified to speak to Americans than I do anyone else regarding their culture. I was simply writing as an American, directing myself at Americans (though probably, subconsciously, myself). This isn’t to say I consider anything I’m saying an exclusively American thing. Just a case study. Nowhere did I imply (hopefully) spiritually as an American thing as opposed to anyone else’s. It’s a human thing, of course — or Universal. Who knows.
I’m curious about your anthropocentric comment, and would love for you to explain a little more. I’m under no illusions that humans occupy a ‘special’ place in the Universe. But I’m also under no illusions that writing can be addressed to anyone other than humans. When speaking of “pure, undifferentiated consciousness”, or feats of ego dissolution, I don’t think these can sensibly be addressed to anything other than sentient beings. And squirrels make a dull audience. I’m not aware of any other category of life interested in consciousness other than humans. Would love to hear what you meant.
Again, thanks for engaging. Fresh perspectives always help to clarify whatever atrocities I may have inadvertently written. This is all rough draft stuff.