90 of 91 people found the following review helpful
This is a gripping series of conversations between the three authors discussing various aspects of the psyche, the universe, the role of chaos theory in the dynamics of creation and the rediscovery of ancient wisdom. The authors, all three of whom stood at the cutting edge of their respective disciplines, challenge the reader about our current views of reality, morality and the nature of life. The sometimes breathtaking insights emerging from this will not fail to move the reader. The chapters on creativity, the imagination and chaos are amongst the most compelling, and deal with theories like the cosmic imagination as a higher dimensional magnet that pulls the evolutionary process to itself, the Omega Point, and imagination arising out of the womb of chaos. Other fascinating topics include indeterminism in nature, nature's organising fields as mathematical representations, and the encoding of information in crystals and in written language. The chapter "Light and Vision" is one of the most poetic, dealing as it does with physical light and the light of consciousness, the theory that one's thoughts are a measurable field emanating from the eyes, the similarities between electromagnetic and mental fields, the concept of a world soul, and morphogenetic fields as a medium of divine omniscience. Incorporeal intelligence and non-human entities are discussed - are the latter merely inhabitants of the psyche or do they have an independent existence? Scientists and inventors like Kekule, who received answers in dreams, are referenced here. The book concludes with a glossary, bibliography and biographical information about the authors. It is a stimulating text in which the power of the mythical imagination, scientific observation and innovative speculation combine to create a thought-provoking reading experience.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Chaos, Creativity and Cosmic Consciousness, by Rupert Sheldrake, Terence McKenna and Ralph Abraham, Park Street Press (Inner Traditions), Rochester, Vermont; 1992, 2001; 208 ff.
In this book we eavesdrop as it were on a discussion between the three authors – a discussion that had gone on since 1982 and, more intensively, in public and private discussions at the Esalen Institute, California, in 1989 and 1990. For readers, it could be regarded as a companion volume to the discussion by Ervin Laszlo, Stanislav Grof and Peter Russell published in 1999 as ‘The Consciousness Revolution’. Ralph Abraham is a professor of mathematics at the University of California, Santa Cruz; the late Terence McKenna was an explorer, philosopher and ethnologist; and Rupert Sheldrake is a biochemist and plant physiologist who studied, taught and carried out research respectively at Cambridge, England, at Harvard, and at the International Crops Research Institute in Hyderabad, India.
On page 1, Sheldrake confronts us with a fundamental scientific dilemma: Are there eternal and unchanging laws of the universe, or is every facet of the universe constantly changing, developing, evolving – including the ‘laws of physics’? What then was the role of the Big Bang, if such an event occurred? Are there unchanging universal templates as suggested by Plato, or is there continual ongoing creativity, as suggested by Henri Bergson?
Chapters Two and Three deal with how chaos – both in mathematical theory and in practice – can lead to definitive solutions, and how these ideas relate to human creativity and imagination. The latter chapter introduces us to C.H. Waddington’s concept of chreodes – grooves or runnels which our speakers speculate exist within the (hypothetical) morphogenetic fields. There is an interesting discussion about how the appearance of Jesus can be viewed as an example of either an ascending or descending developmental process.
The next chapter debates the idea of a World Soul (after Plotinus), related once again to the role of chaos, which is followed by a discussion of the nature of vision and our other senses. Sheldrake discusses his idea of the sensation of vision being outside of the body but rather located where we say the objects we see actually lie. Chapter Six will be controversial I’m sure and is highly speculative: it deals with non-human intelligences and discarnate beings, and ranges over crop circles and the battle between good and evil.
The final chapters deal with the unconscious, the collapse of faith in both religion and scientism, and the need for re-education of humanity in the sacralization of Earth if we are avoid the apocalypse and the extinction of humankind from the planet. The overall message is not gloomy but should serve as a warning for those in positions of power who still have greed and egotism as their main, if not their only, goals in their time on Earth.
The book concludes with a useful Glossary of some of the technical words and a short Bibliography but there is no Index.
Howard Jones is the author of The World as Spirit and Evolution of Consciousness