A Secret History of Consciousness

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SteinerBooks, 2003 - Body, Mind & Spirit - 314 pages
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For the last four centuries, science has tried to account for everything in terms of atoms and molecules and the physical laws they adhere to. Recently, this effort was extended to try to include the inner world of human beings. Gary Lachman argues that this view of consciousness is misguided and unfounded. He points to another approach to the study and exploration of consciousness that erupted into public awareness in the late 1800s. In this secret history of consciousness, consciousness is seen not as a result of neurons and molecules, but as responsible for them; meaning is not imported from the outer world, but rather creates it. In this view, consciousness is a living, evolving presence whose development can be traced through different historical periods, and which evolves along a path to a broader, more expansive state. What that consciousness may be like and how it may be achieved is a major concern of this book .Lachman concentrates on the period since the late 1800s, when Madame Blavatsky first brought the secret history out into the open. As this history unfolds, we encounter the ideas of many modern thinkers, from esotericists like P. D. Ouspensky, Rudolf Steiner, and Colin Wilson to more mainstream philosophers like Henri Bergson, William James, Owen Barfield and the psychologist Andreas Mavromatis. Two little known but important thinkers play a major role in his synthesis Jurij Moskvitin, who showed how our consciousness relates to the mechanisms of perception and to the external world, and Jean Gebser, who presented perhaps the most impressive case for the evolution of consciousness. An important contribution to the study of consciousness ... a must-read. Contents:
  • Foreword by Colin Wilson
  • Introduction: Consciousness Explained
  • The Search for Cosmic Consciousness
  • Esoteric Evolution
  • The Archaeology of Consciousness
  • Participatory Epistemology
  • The Presence of Origin
  • Last Words: Playing for Time
  • Selected Bibliography
A marvelously exhilarating gallop through every important modern theory of consciousness, from Steiner to Maslow, from Bucke s cosmic consciousness to Gebser s integral consciousness. Colin Wilson, author of "The Outsider" and "Access to Inner Worlds"
Opens up vast vistas of possibility, suggesting that what we experience as the earth may, in itself, be inseparable from our state of mind, and that the evolution of human consciousness may be as fundamental a process as our development through genetics. A must-read for those seeking an escape from our contemporary culture s cul-de-sac. Daniel Pinchbeck, author of "Breaking Open the Head"
Thinking outside the box, Lachman challenges many contemporary theories by reinserting a sense of the spiritual back into the discussion. Profoundly erudite, yet easy to read, this book is a provocative mind-stretcher. Leonard Shlain author of "Art & Physics, Alphabet versus the Goddess," and "Sex, Time & Power.""
 

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Contents

R M Bucke and the Future of Humanity
3
William James and the Anesthetic Revelation
16
Henri Bergson and the Elan Vital
20
The Superman
27
A R Orage and the New Age
31
Ouspenskys Fourth Dimension
38
Esoteric Evolution
53
The Bishop and the Bulldog
55
Participatory Epistemology
151
The Shock of Metaphor
153
The Participating Mind
161
The Tapestry of Nature
169
Thinking about Thinking
179
The Black Hole of Consciousness
187
Other Times and Places
194
Faculty X
207

Enter the Madame
58
Doctor Steiner I Presume?
67
From Goethean Science to the Wisdom of the Human Being
71
Cosmic Evolution
80
Hypnagogia
85
The Archaeology of Consciousness
95
The Invisible Mind
97
Cracking the Egg
103
The Lost World
110
Noncerebral Consciousness
126
The Split
137
The Presence of Origin
215
The Ascent of Mount Ventoux
217
Structures of Consciousness
232
The MentalRational Structure
248
The Integral Structure
256
Playing for Time
269
Notes
277
Selected Bibliography
309
Acknowledgments
315
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About the author (2003)

Gary Lachman is the former bass player and composer for Blondie, the guitarist for Iggy Pop, and leader of his own groups The Know and Fire Escape. He has written for the Times Literary Supplement, Literary Review and Mojo. He is the author of Turn Off Your Mind: The Mystic Sixties and the Dark Side of the Age of Aquarius (2000) and New York Rocker (2002). He lives in London.

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