Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Cosmic Consciousness

I recommend the book Cosmic Consciousness by Richard Bucke.
(Public domain versions of the book, files on the left.)

It is over 110 years old, published in 1901! And yet it is clearly talking about awakening/enlightenment.
It is written in pretty academic language, and perhaps not the easiest book in the world to read, but it does have some wonderful insights which I have not come across before. One of them is the delineation of the great stages of the growing consciousness of the Universe, something like:

  1. Pure matter/energy, no consciousness, only existence. 
  2. Organic life at low level. Hardly any consciousness, but living matter. 
  3. Life with consciousness, bigger animals. 
  4. Life with consciousness and intelligence, and self-consciousness. Man. 
  5. Cosmic consciousness. The next step. 
The roots of the tree of life being deep sunk in the organic world, its trunk is made up as follows: Beginning at the earth level we have first of all the lowest forms of life unconscious and insensate. These in their turn give birth to forms endowed with sensation and later to forms endowed with Simple Consciousness. From the last, when the right time comes, springs self consciousness and (as already said) in direct ascent from that Cosmic Consciousness.

I love high perspectives like this. It is so rarely attempted.
Bucke also tells about his own Cosmic Light experience, and goes through an interesting list of famous people who awakened, and gives his best evidence as to what points to them being enlightened.

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