Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Cosmic Consciousness

A consciousness of the cosmos, knowing the life and order of the universe. It is considered a higher, yet, at present, a rare and exceptional peak in human evolution which the race is expected to reach in a distant future.

"The definitive book on the subject is considered to be 'Cosmic Consciousness', by Dr. Richard Maurice Bucke, published in 1901. Still in print today, this book has become a classic of mysticism, exerting worldwide influence nearly a century after his death. It is a truly unique book which looks at mystical experience from the point of view of psychology.

"Bucke created his own psychology to cover what he saw as all the states of consciousness that are possible from the perceptual consciousness of lower animals to the illumined cosmic consciousness of the religious sage or mystic. He did not live to see this book's success, and it has still not yet made its impact on psychology or psychiatry, Bucke's disciplines, because of the extreme materialistic turn of these two subjects in the twentieth century. Psychology and its sister, psychiatry, have hardly begun to assimilate the archetypal psychology of Carl Gustav Jung, let alone the spiritual psychology of Richard Maurice Bucke. Bucke's psychology is a whole domain of consciousness deeper than Jung's (although it skips over many facts that Jung brought out), and leaves Freud far behind, even though Bucke lived and died before the time of Freud or Jung. Dr. Bucke was a century ahead of his time.

"This volume was the logical sequel to his earlier books. In it Bucke posited a third type of consciousness among humans. There is, first, the simple consciousness of existence and, second, a higher level of self-consciousness. Bucke added a third and profoundly higher level, 'cosmic consciousness', which he believed to have been attained by only a few dozen individuals by 1901. These include Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, Dante, Whitman, Francis Bacon, Blake, as well as Bucke himself. He believed that the occurrence of this special form of consciousness was increasing and attainable, eventually, by all. Whether this may turn out to be the case, only the future can tell.

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