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Record Type: Review   ID: 406

The Roots of Consciousness: The Classic Encyclopedia of Consciousness Studies (rev. and expanded)

Mishlove, Jeffrey

 This historical and contemporary overview of the history, folklore, and science of consciousness, with the emphasis on parapsychological phenomena or states or practices conducive to it is written from a sophisticated view of the scientist as a human who can only be objective to a point. All scientists, as humans, are influenced (and even biased) by subjective personal and cultural factors of which they are not even aware. Few scientists are yet objective enough to be aware of this, but Mishlove is. He therefore consciously uses his own experience as well as those of others in presenting the material. His aim "is simply to provide an entry into the language, concepts and assumptions implicit in a sophisticated world view that allows for the possibility of psychic functioning. I am more interested in readers understanding and appreciating this world view than in accepting or following it as ‘the truth’" (p. 20). The second stated aim is to "discover a cultural unity underlying the diverse dogmas, religions, and political systems on our planet" (p. 21). Section One is on The History of Consciousness Exploration and covers shamanistic traditions and Ancient Mesopotamia, India, China, Greece, Rome, and Hebrews/Early Christians, Hermeticism, and Islamic, Medieval, Renaissance, and Enlightenment Explorations of Consciousness. The second section is on the Folklore of Consciousness Exploration and covers Astrology, Astral Projection and Out-of-Body Experiences, Healing Spiritual Anatomy, Communication with Higher Intelligence, Other Worlds, Life Within Death—Death Within Life, Unusual Powers of Mind Over Matter, Psionics—Practical Application of Psychic Awareness, and Concluding Thoughts About Folklore. Section Three is on The Scientific Exploration of Consciousness and reviews parapsychological research into ESP, Psychokinesis, Practical Applications of Psi (gambling and healing), and proper scientific controls for ESP experimentation. The last section, Theories of Consciousness, covers The Biological Perspective, The Ecology of Consciousness, Challenges to the Biological Identity Model, Consciousness and the New Physics, and The Reflexive Universe. An essay by Saul-Paul Sirag entitled Consciousness—A Hyperspace View, is presented in an appendix. This is surely one of the best panoramic views of the concept of psi from earliest times to date covering historical and scientific data, theories, practices, persons (often with pictures), and terminology. No doubt it could always be improved upon, but in these days of excessive overspecialization, we should all be grateful to Jeffrey Mishlove for taking this grand initial step.
Publisher Information:Tulsa, OK: Council Oak Books, 1993. 416p. Chap. notes: 367-398; 160 figs; 145 illus; Index: 400-415; 1 table
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