Laszlo, Ervin; Jean Houston & Larry Dossey – What is Consciousness?

  • consciousness. There is a world-view according to which the consciousness is a byproduct of brain (inside the human being) and senses (outside the human being). This perspective has as is central concern the matter. And it has many labels like: empiricism, materialism or physicalism. On the other hand, there is another world-view where much emphasis is on mind: in fact, the brain and the senses taken together are for the mind like the radio and the radio waves: if the radio (i.e. the brain & the senses) is broken or well tuned, the waves (i.e. the mind) are still there and sometimes could be heard and other times not. Even if this perspective has not yet a name, it could easily be speculated that the consciousness is something like a hologram. In a nutshell, these two world-views are sustained by Larry Dossey (chapter 2) and Ervin Laszlo (chapter 3), while in the first chapter (written by Jean Houston) there is a smooth sliding from one to another, and back, according to four steps, four levels: 1) sensory/ physical, 2) psychological, 3) mythical/ narrative and 4) spiritual/ unitive… I believe that inside this book could be found its seeds of critique, and I’ll give just two hints. The first hint is provided by Stanley Krippner in his “Foreword” where he is comparing the consciousness with the mythical elephant in the room full of china: the end of the order is so close for any movement of it. And this elephant is studied by some six blind wise men: each believes he holds the ultimate truth and the others are deluding themselves. The second hint is provided by William James cited in the second chapter of this book, “Consciousness is eternal, infinite and one – a summing up”: “We with our lives are like islands in the sea, or like trees in the forest. The maple and the pine may whisper to each other with their leaves… [but] the trees also commingle their roots in the darkness underground, and the islands also hang together through the ocean’s bottom

The map:


  • Laszlo, Ervin; Jean Houston & Larry Dossey (2016): “What is consciousness? Three sages look behind the veil”, SelectBooks, Inc.

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