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.
'Sophisticated and impressive. Moving from meditations on prehistoric and Neanderthal consciousness to the 'irruptions of time' wrought on us by the pace of life and the 'simultaneities' of digital media and the Internet, Secret History of Consciousness packs a powerful punch. 9 out of 10 -- a white-water ride.'
-- Mike Jay, Fortean Times
'In this remarkable book, Lachman has approached the subject from many different angles [and] offers ideas from many thinkers, providing a rich mix. Well worth the effort, and a book to go back to again and again.'
-- Pamela Allsop, Light: A Review of Spiritual and Psychic Knowledge, Winter 2004
'What is lucidly and insightfully drawn together in this book is not so much a secret history as a neglected history. It can be read with profit both by those interested in the nature of consciousness and in the history of reflections upon its nature and characteristics. It is well referenced and has a helpful bibliography. This is a book which I would wish to refer to again.'
-- Kevin Tingay, Christian Parapsychologist, March 2004
'There is much of interest in this informative work.'
-- The Beacon, July 2004
'A useful and thought-provoking book, clearly and enthusiastically written and neatly contextualising many ideas. For those who have read deeply but not widely it will be an excellent overview and introduction to Steiner's antecedents and contemporaries.'
-- Pat Cheney, New View, Autumn 2003
'A marvellously 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 Occult and Mysteries
'Highly readable and interesting.'
-- Greenock Telegraph, 10 October 2003
'A must read for those seeking an escape from our contemporary culture's cul-de-sac.'
-- Daniel Pinchbeck, author of Breaking Open The Head
'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 Schlain, author of The Alphabet Versus the Goddess
'This book is itself a cultural correction to the overemphasis on the material aspect of life.'
-- David Lorimer, Scientific and Medical Network Review, Spring 2007
Number Of Pages: 280
Published: July 2003
Publisher: SteinerBooks, Inc
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.6
Weight (kg): 0.5