THE NATURE OF HUMAN CONSCIOUSNESS: A Book of Readings by Robert E. -- Ed. Ornstein


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This registers the belated impact of soft, open, ""counter"" trends in our culture -- interest in mysticism and the occult, the intuitive and sensuous modes of knowing, the unity of body and mind -- on academic psychology, still a formidable bastion of severe and narrow rationalism/ materialism, Much of the material here will be a rehash to aficionados of these trends, and much has been better dealt with elsewhere, e.g., the truth about ESP in Lyall Watson's Supernature. It is the juxtaposition here that is provocative: of Arthur Deikman's paper on two modes of consciousness -- active and receptive -- with papers on what may be a corresponding specialization of the two hemispheres of the brain; with texts on mystical techniques for achieving the ""receptive"" mode; with papers on the physiological correlates of the meditation state; with Gestalt therapy's emphasis on an expanded present; with Jung's essay on ""synchronicity""; with essays on the possible effects of gravity, circadian rhythms, and air ions on human consciousness. All contribute to ""an extended concept of man"" (and of mental health) -- man a whole being, entangled with his environment, attuned to it more finely than Western culture has recognized, and apprehending it both analytically and intuitively. One has the feeling academic psychologists have been a little slow to get the message; however, a broader readership will find this a good introduction to the new synthesis (cf. Gerald Jonas' Visceral Learning, KR, p. 627), a bringing together of ideas that have long been joined in more unfettered, maverick minds.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1973
Publisher: Viking