Cosmic Consciousness

Cosmic Consciousness

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by Richard Maurice Bucke
     
 

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Cosmic Consciousness: A Study in the Evolution of the Human Mind is Richard Bucke's theory that our mental states are evolving and that to date we have experienced three stages in the development of consciousness: the 'simple consciousness' of animals, the 'self-consciousness' of the vast majority of humans (reason, self awareness, imagination, etc.), and in some

Overview

Cosmic Consciousness: A Study in the Evolution of the Human Mind is Richard Bucke's theory that our mental states are evolving and that to date we have experienced three stages in the development of consciousness: the 'simple consciousness' of animals, the 'self-consciousness' of the vast majority of humans (reason, self awareness, imagination, etc.), and in some cases 'cosmic consciousness'; a mystical state of being beyond 'self consciousness' and the next stage of human development.

Bucke hypothesized that 'cosmic consciousness' is slowly beginning to appear in humans and will eventually spread widely throughout the human race. He posited that certain notable individuals throughout history have demonstrated that they have attained 'cosmic consciousness'.

In the book he cites examples such as Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, Dante, St Paul, Francis Bacon, William Blake, and his close friend Walt Whitman.

Whitman, an American poet and journalist described cosmic consciousness as 'ineffable light, light rare, untellable, light beyond all signs, descriptions and languages.'

At the age of thirty-five Bucke found himself in this elevated mental state and he describes (in the third person) the manifestations leading up to it;

'1. The person, suddenly, without warning, has a sense of being immersed in a flame, or rose-colored cloud, or perhaps rather a sense that the mind is itself filled with such a cloud of haze.
2. At the same instant he is, as it were, bathed in an emotion of joy, assurance, triumph, salvation.

3. Simultaneously or instantly following the above sense and emotional experiences there comes to the person an intellectual illumination quite impossible to describe. Like a flash there is presented to his consciousness a clear conception (a vision) in outline of the meaning and drift of the universe. He does not come to believe merely; but he sees and knows that the cosmos, which to the self conscious mind seems made up of dead matter, is in fact far otherwise—is in very truth a living presence. He sees that instead of men being, as it were, patches of life scattered through an infinite sea of non-living substance, they are in reality specks of relative death in an infinite ocean of life.

He sees that the life which is in man is eternal, as all life is eternal; that the soul of man is as immortal as God is; that
the universe is so built and ordered that without any peradventure all things work together for the good of each and all; that the foundation principle of the world is what we call love, and that the happiness of every individual is in the long run absolutely certain.'

He goes on to say,

'The person who passes through this experience will learn in the few minutes, or even moments, of its continuance more than in months or years of study, and he will learn much that no study ever taught or can teach.'

After reading Bucke's writings, P. D. Ouspensky, the respected Russian Philosopher echoed his comments in his book Tertium Organum;

'Cosmic Consciousness is a third form, which is as far above Self Consciousness as is that above Simple Consciousness. The prime characteristic Cosmic Consciousness is, as its name implies, a consciousness of the cosmos, that is, of the life and order of the universe. Along with the consciousness of the cosmos there occurs an intellectual enlightenment or illumination which alone would place the individual on a new plane of existence—would make him almost a member of a new species.'

Product Details

ISBN-13:
2940013593657
Publisher:
White Crow Productions Ltd
Publication date:
11/11/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
476
Sales rank:
130,208
File size:
2 MB

Meet the Author

Richard Maurice Bucke was born March 18, 1837, in Methwold, a village on the edge of the Norfolk fens, in England. When he was one year old, his father moved to Canada and Richard was subsequently educated at London Grammar School. He studied medicine at McGill University, graduating in 1862.

He continued his studies in England and France, before returning to Canada in 1864 to take up medical practice. In 1876 he became medical superintendent of the insane asylum in Hamilton, Ontario, and in 1878 was medical superintendent of the insane asylum in London, Ontario.

Bucke passed away after slipping on a step on February 19, 1902, in London, Ontario.

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Cosmic Consciousness 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This study is from the early days of the psychiatric profession when its practitioners could still write seriously of spiritual and mystical matters without being ostracised or ridiculed as 'unscientific.' Briefly, the author personally experienced a sudden episode of enlightenment and rapture that, while it was only of brief duration, changed his outlook on life forever. He spent the rest of his life, he was in his mid-thirties at the time, trying to figure out what had happened to him, and if there were any others. What he found was that such sudden occurances of enlightenment, these epiphanies, had been occuring to mystics, philosophers, writers, and artists all through recorded history. Not only that, but they were occuring with increased frequency as time went on. Bucke concluded that this marked an evolutionary trend. Carried out to its logical conclusion, he postulated that one day 'cosmic consciousness' as he termed it, would be as common in the human race as self consciousness currently is. He based this on the manner in which the ancestors of man slowly climbed from the simple consciousness of animals to an almost universal state of self consciousness.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a rare book, a gem! Wisdom that dates back over 100 years on the mistery of the amazing power of the mind and its different levels. It is a must read. This book along with "Man, the unknown" is an amazing read that will take you into a different dimension of thinking, a world unknown as it explains the amazing power of your mind. These books are rare and will not be available for long! So secure your copy now.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Bucke is a wonderful crackpot, and this is just one of many things he accomplished. This was the 'serious' book that Whitman's literary executor wrote as a diversion of his day job directing an insane asylum. Among his other intellectual persuits include the Shakespeare-Bacon controversy. Oddly, he died slipping on his veranda.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Worthless 7-28-2012