A handbook to consciousness as rich and complex as the topic it explores.
Alliende’s book interweaves science, anthropology, history, psychology, pharmacology, string theory and memoir in a tour-de-force examination of the existence and nature of consciousness. The universe, our planet, nature and everything else in existence consists of fractals, says the author, with each individual component containing the same core characteristics as the whole of existence. Alliende investigates and painstakingly demonstrates how the evolution of life, society, the developmental path of the human psyche, the chakra system and the author’s own life have all developed according to a similar pattern and structure. This ambitious and comprehensive work, which is both scientific and arcane (bordering on overwhelming; this is no quick, light read), reveals intensely personal information. The author harnesses his wide-ranging material with a framework based on Timothy Leary’s eight-circuit model, exploring consciousness and all its components, from the material plane of survival to the causal plane of spirit. The interwoven autobiography illustrates and makes accessible the theoretical sections of the text, while also providing a model for living in connection with the greater consciousness. Alliende is a transpersonal therapist who regularly practices and guides others through many of the consciousness-enhancing techniques he surveys (from meditation to gardening and other community-building concepts) and shares experiences about raves and hallucinogenic drugs. Exercises throughout the book encourage the reader to join him in moving from passive understanding to actively expanding awareness. Of these, the meditation techniques are particularly well-crafted and inviting, while other suggestions are more likely to spark thought than follow-through (“Go to a school and witness the teaching process”). Also thought-provoking is his suggestion that the Internet and social media link us all to a greater consciousness. That link, and increasing reliance on technology, he argues, could save the Earth—and our continued existence.
An academic and experiential guide that requires rereading for absorption.