Books on the evolution of human consciousness
and our ways of viewing the worlds in which we live
N. The last temptation.
This book got Kazanzakis excommunicated from the Catholic
church, but the church ended up the poorer in my view. A wonderful
account of the life of Christ as though he were an ordinary
person struggling with ordinary things albeit with extraordinary
energy, determination and insight. This is far closer to how
the path is than the ‘son of god’ myth –
we are all children of god but we have to come to realise
this by our own cultivation the path. This is a story of one
such life by an awakened being. Highly recommended. Also Zorba
the Greek by the same author.
Koestler, A. (1968). The sleepwalkers: a history of man's
changing vision of the universe, Penguin.
An inspiring account of how we humans have developed and changed
our view of the world and the universe we live in over the
ages. We are in an ongoing process of ‘unfolding’
view after view. No view can ever be final and closed no matter
how much certainty we may invest in it - including of course
our contemporary paradigms or accepted ways of viewing and
Kuhn, T. S. (1970). The structure of scientific revolutions.
Chicago, University of Chicago.
Demolishes the logical empiricist view of science as an objective
progression toward the truth. An inspiring and challenging
discussion of the way we see those things and evaluative processes
we all take to be 'real' in terms of paradigms which are socially
constructed and maintained. These paradigms are, of course,
subject to upheaval when a more enabling paradigm comes along,
as indeed is the new paradigm itself.
Leakey, R. (1977). Origins: what new discoveries reveal
about the emergence of our species and its possible future.
New York, Dutton.
Goes into evolution in a way which departs from Darwin’s
survival of the fittest idea in that he emphasises cooperation
as a major factor in survival and evolution. Inspiring archaeology.
Sagan, C. (1977). The dragons of Eden: speculations on
the evolution of human intelligence. London, Coronet.
Excellent book on the evolution of the human brain and how
we humans perceive, organise and create. Good on scientific
detail and yet very well presented for the general reader.
Watson, L. The Romeo error.
Challenges our ideas about life and death from a biological
standpoint, again well presented for the general reader.
Zukav, G. (1979). The dancing Wu Li masters: an overview
of the new physics, Fontana - Flamingo. Account of modern
physics and implications for what we are used to call ‘reality’
- in particular, challenges our habit of splitting the world
into ‘subject’ and ‘object’ - the
consciousness of the observer inevitably interrelates with
and influences what is observed. Along with The Tao of physics,
this is the classic work and is very accessible. More recent
references in a similar vein can be found on the website
for the film ‘What the bleep do we know’ (whatthebleep.com)
and also at www.noetic.org.