A Secret History of Consciousness

Overview

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 ...
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A Secret History of Consciousness

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Overview

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.

Author Biography:Gary Lachman is the former bass player and composer for Blondie, the guitarist for Iggy Pop and the leader of his own groups The Know and Fire Escape. He has written for the Times Literary Supplement and the Literary Review. 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).

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Editorial Reviews

Colin Wilson
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.'
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781584200116
  • Publisher: SteinerBooks, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/28/2003
  • Pages: 314
  • Sales rank: 671,706
  • Product dimensions: 6.04 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 1.07 (d)

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