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The Elephant and the Blind: The Experience of Pure Consciousness: Philosophy, Science, and 500+ Experiential  Reports

The Elephant and the Blind: The Experience of Pure Consciousness: Philosophy, Science, and 500+ Experiential Reports

Current price: $80.00
Publication Date: February 6th, 2024
Publisher:
The MIT Press
ISBN:
9780262547109
Pages:
648
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Description

An engaging and insightful journey into human consciousness.

What if our goal had not been to land on Mars, but in pure consciousness? The experience of pure consciousness—what does it look like? What is the essence of human consciousness? In The Elephant and the Blind, influential philosopher Thomas Metzinger, one of the world's leading researchers on consciousness, brings together more than 500 experiential reports to offer the world's first comprehensive account of states of pure consciousness. Drawing on a large psychometric study of meditators in 57 countries, Metzinger focuses on “pure awareness” in meditation—the simplest form of experience there is—to illuminate the most fundamental aspects of how consciousness, the brain, and illusions of self all interact.

Starting with an exploration of existential ease and ending on Bewusstseinskultur, a culture of consciousness, Metzinger explores the increasingly non-egoic experiences of silence, wakefulness, and clarity, of bodiless body-experience, ego-dissolution, and nondual awareness. From there, he assembles a big picture—the elephant in the parable, from which the book’s title comes—of what it would take to arrive at a minimal model explanation for conscious experience and create a genuine culture of consciousness. Freeing pure awareness from new-age gurus and old religions, The Elephant and the Blind combines personal reports of pure consciousness with incisive analysis to address the whole consciousness community, from neuroscientists to artists, and its accessibility echoes the author’s career-long commitment to widening access to philosophy itself.

About the Author

Thomas Metzinger was Full Professor of Theoretical Philosophy at the Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz. He is the author of The Ego Tunnel and Being No One (MIT Press), the coeditor of Open MIND, and the editor of Neural Correlates of Consciousness (both MIT Press).