• A Secret History of Consciousness

  • By: Gary Lachman
  • Narrated by: Russell Newton
  • Length: 11 hrs and 40 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (35 ratings)

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A Secret History of Consciousness

By: Gary Lachman
Narrated by: Russell Newton
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Publisher's Summary

For the last four centuries, science has tried to account for everything in terms of atoms and molecules and the physical laws they adhere to. Recently, this effort was extended to try to include the inner world of human beings. Gary Lachman argues that this view of consciousness is misguided and unfounded. He points to another approach to the study and exploration of consciousness that erupted into public awareness in the late 1800s. 

In A Secret History of Consciousness, consciousness is seen not as a result of neurons and molecules, but as responsible for them - meaning, it is not imported from the outer world, but rather creates it. In this view, consciousness is a living, evolving presence, the development of which can be traced through different historical periods, and which evolves along a path to a broader, more expansive state. What that consciousness may be like and how it may be achieved is a major concern of this book.

Lachman concentrates on the period since the late 1800s, when Madame Blavatsky first brought the secret history out into the open. As this history unfolds, we encounter the ideas of many modern thinkers, from esotericists like P. D. Ouspensky, Rudolf Steiner, and Colin Wilson to more mainstream philosophers like Henri Bergson, William James, Owen Barfield, and the psychologist Andreas Mavromatis. 

Two little known but important thinkers play a major role in his synthesis: Jurij Moskvitin, who showed how our consciousness relates to the mechanisms of perception and to the external world and Jean Gebser, who presented, perhaps, the most impressive case for the evolution of consciousness. 

An important contribution to the study of consciousness and a a must-listen. 

The chapters in the audiobook include:

  • Foreword by Colin Wilson 
  • Introduction: Consciousness Explained 
  • The Search for Cosmic Consciousness 
  • Esoteric Evolution 
  • The Archaeology of Consciousness 
  • Participatory Epistemology 
  • The Presence of Origin 
  • Last Words: Playing for Time 
  • Selected Bibliography 

“A marvelously exhilarating gallop through every important modern theory of consciousness, from Steiner to Maslow, from Bucke’s ‘cosmic consciousness’ to Gebser’s ‘integral consciousness'." (Colin Wilson, author of The Outsider and Access to Inner Worlds)

“Opens up vast vistas of possibility, suggesting that what we experience as the earth may, in itself, be inseparable from our state of mind, and that the evolution of human consciousness may be as fundamental a process as our development through genetics. A must-read for those seeking an escape from our contemporary culture’s cul-de-sac.” (Daniel Pinchbeck, author of Breaking Open the Head)

“Thinking outside the box, Lachman challenges many contemporary theories by reinserting a sense of the spiritual back into the discussion. Profoundly erudite, yet easy to read, this book is a provocative mind-stretcher.” (Leonard Shlain, author of Art & Physics, Alphabet versus the Goddess, and Sex, Time & Power)

©2003 Lindisfarne Books (P)2019 SpokenTome.media

What listeners say about A Secret History of Consciousness

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The worst audio and narration on Audible

the headline says it all. the author is terrific, but the audio prevents any enjoyment.

4 people found this helpful

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great book, lackluster reading

Gary Lachman does some great scholarship, but sadly, Russell Newton couldn't be bothered to learn how to pronounce the names of any of the people in the book.

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  • MB
  • 07-27-20

Fascinating and accessible exploration of human consciousness.

This is a fascinating and accessible exploration of human consciousness. Lachman successful introduces the reader to a wide variety of thinkers, concepts and other books on the subject matter and weaves a compelling narrative that stimulates the reader/listener to delve further into their own consciousness.

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Complete Paradigm Shift For Me

I see my place within the world of mankind completely meaningful now. The book literally changed me forever.

One example: the explanation of the eye's blind spot and the relation of how our mind's have blind spots. Beautifully done.

I listened to the book twice. Second time sunk in deeper. This is difficult reading if you've never studied philosophy, which I had not, but Wow! What a complete and total game change for me and the rest of my life while here.

Thank you, Mr. Leachman. This is the first book I've read of yours, now I'm off to read another one of yours.

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Fascinating & Edifying

Lachman is a brilliant thinker and clear, informative and educational writer. He has synthesized some of the more esoteric philosophers and presents not just their brief notes but innovative and nuanced consideration of their works and their places in history. The narrator has a good voice and pace but in what I found very frustrating and a poor reflection of Lachman's work, he mispronounces almost all of the key thinkers names from Camus to Derrida to Teilhard de Chardin as well as key concepts like aperspectival. I hope listeners will not follow suit!

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  • Moses Buicke
  • 09-15-20

Truly amazing!

An incredible exploration of so many fascinating ideas tracing the nature of conciousness through history.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-19-22

Excellent subject, awful narration

I'm so fascinated by everything covered by this book, but I lost count of the number of times I almost had to return it due to the slow, monotonous narration and poor pronunciation. The narrator has a good voice suited maybe to certain non fiction novels, but not a subject as chunky as this, unless using it as a sleep aid.

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  • HJ
  • 03-08-22

A fascinating journey

Lots of digestible summaries from many great philosophers, esotericists and investigators of that which is unknowable. A wonderful dive into the mysteries of consciousness, with many intriguing insights.

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  • lance baker
  • 04-25-20

fantastic!

A brilliant journey of consciousness!
Gary has certainly covered this topic in an immensely detailed way.

You will enjoy, and it will surely make you ponder.