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 Cosmic Consciousness First Words - 1V - 2 


His Conversation with C.P threw a flood of light upon the true meaning of what he had himself experienced. Looking then upon the world of man, he saw the significance of the subjective light in the case of Paul and in that of Mohammed. The secret of Whitman's transcendent greatness was revealed to him. Certain conversations with J.H.J. and with J.B helped him not a little. Personal intercourse with Edward Carpenter, T.S.R., C.M.C. and M.C.L. assisted greatly in the broadening and clearing up of his speculations, in the extension and co-ordination of his thought.
 
But much time and labor were still required before the germinal concept could be satisfactorily elaborated and matured, the idea, namely that there exists a family sprung from, living among, but scarcely forming a part of ordinary humanity, whose members are spread abroad throughout the advanced races  of mankind and through the last forty centuries of the world's history. The trait that distinguishes these people from other men is this: Their spiritual eyes have been opened and they have seen. The better known members of this group who, were they collected together, could be accommodated all at one time in a modern drawing-room, have created all the modern religions, beginning with. Taoism and Buddhism, and speaking generally, have created, through religion and literature, modern civilization.
 
Now that they have contributed any large numerical proportion of the books which have inspired the large number of all that have been written in modern times. These men dominate the last twenty-five, especially the last five, centuries as stars of the first magnitude dominate the midnight sky. A man identified as a member of this family by the fact that at a certain age he has passed through a new birth is demonstrated by the subjective light and other phenomena.The object of the present volume is to teach others what little the writer himself has been able to learn of the spiritual status of this new race.
 
Cosmic Consciousness V
It remains to say a few words upon the psychological origin of what is called in this book Cosmic Consciousness, which must not be looked upon as being in any case supernatural or supranormal - as anything more or less than a natural growth. It remains to say a few words upon the psychological origin of what is called in this book Cosmic Consciousness, which must not be looked upon as being in any case supernatural or supranormal - as anything more or less than a natural growth. Although in the birth of Cosmic Consciousness the moral nature plays an important part, it will be better for many reasons to confine our attention at present to the evolution, of the intellect.
 
In this evolution there are four distinct steps. The first of them was taken when upon the primary quality of excitability sensation was established. At this point began the acquisition and more or less perfect registration of sense impressions - that is, of percepts. A percept is of course a sense of impression - a sound is heard or an object seen and the impression made is a percept.
 

If we could go back far enough we should find among our ancestors a creature whose whole intellect  was made up simply of these percepts. But this creature (whatever name it ought to bear) had in it what may be called an eligibility of growth, and what happened with it was something like this: Individually and from generation to generation it accumulated these perceps, the constant repetition of which, calling for further  and further registration, led, in the struggle for existence and, under the law of natur selection, to an accumulation of cells in the central sense ganglia; the multiplication  of cells made further registration possible; that, again, made further growth of the ganglia necessary, and so on.
 
At last a condition was reached in which it became possible for our ancestor to combine groups of these percepd into what we to-day call a recept. This progress is very similar to that of composite photography. Similar percepts (as of a tree) are registered one over the other until ( the nerve centre having become competenyt to the task) they are generalized into, as it were, one percept; but that compound percept is neither more nor less than a recept-a something that has been received.
 
Now the work of accumulation begins again on a higher plane: the sensory organs keep steadily at work manufacturing percepts; the receptual centres keep steadily at work manufacturing more and yet more recepts from the old and the new perceps; the capacities of the central ganglia are constantly taxed to do the necessary registration of percepts, the necessary elaboration of these into recepts and the necessary registration of recepts; then as the ganglia by use and selection are improved they constantly manufacture from percepts and from the initial simple, recepts, more and more complex, that is, higher and higher recepts.
 
At last, after many thousands of generations have lived and died, comes a time when the mind of the animal we are considering has reached the highest possible point of purely receptual intelligence; the accumulation of percepts and of recepts has gone on until no greater stores of impressions can be laid up and no further elaboration of these can be accomplished on the plane of receptual intelligence.
 
Then another break is made and the higher recepts are replaced by concepts . The relation of concept to recept is somewhat similar to the relation of algebra to arithmetic. A recept is, as I have said, a composite image of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of percepts; it is itself an image abstracted from many images; but a concept is that same composite image- that same recept-named, ticketed, and as it were, dismissed. A concept is in fact neither more nor less than a named recept- the name, that is, the sign (as in algebra), standing henceforth for the thing itself, that is, for the recept.
 
Now it is as clear as day to any one who eill give the least thought to the subject, that the revolution by which concepts are substituted for recepts increases the efficiency of the brain for thought as much as the introduction of machinery increased the capacity of the race for work- or as much as the use of algebra increases the power of the mind in mathematical calculations. To replace a great cumbersome recept by a simple sign was almost like replacing actual goods- as wheat, fabrics and hardware-by entries in the ledger.
 
Reference: Cosmic Consciousness: A Study in the Evolution of the Human Mind: Richard Maurice Bucke 

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