A Study on the Evolution of the Human Mind, by Richard Bucke:
Bucke borrowed the term “cosmic consciousness” from Edward Carpenter, who had traveled and studied religion in the East. Bucke’s friend, Carpenter, had derived the term “cosmic consciousness” from the Eastern term “universal consciousness.” In his description of his personal experience, Bucke combined his recollection with thoughts of another of his friends, Caleb Pink (“C.P.”)—and others—and recorded his experience in a poetic style.
The ultimate state of consciousness is a quest that I have been on my entire life which involved spiritual, sexual, physical, psychological, mental and emotional transcendence. In September of 2006 I created this presentation on Richard Bucke and Cosmic Consciousness.
Simple consciousness of animals and primeval man consists of these two basic functions:
1. Percept – sense impression
2. Recept – combination of percepts
Which lead to the formation of self consciousness when the following function occurs:
3. Concept (Language) – the naming higher recepts
The intellect of the self conscious mind where most people stand today is a very complex mixture of percepts, recepts and concepts.
In the exalted personality with exceptionally developed faculties of cognition:
4. The Supra Conceptual intellect of conceptual intuitions further evolves into cosmic consciousness.
The Perceptual Mind is made up of percepts or sense impressions
The Receptual Mind of simple consciousness
The Conceptual or Self Conscious Mind
INTUITION: The Intuitional Mind whose highest element is not a percept, recept or concept but an intuition-this is the mind in which sensation, simple consciousness and self consciousness are supplemented and crowned with cosmic consciousness.
The evolution of the individual is necessarily the evolution of the race in abridged form. We are witnessing a continued revolution in enlightenment beginning with Gautama attaining Buddha hood and myself attaining cosmic androgynous transcendence.
The philosophy of the birth of cosmic consciousness in the individual is very similar to that of the birth of self consciousness. The mind becomes overcrowded (as it were) with concepts and these are constantly becoming larger, more numerous and more complex; one day (the conditions all being favorable) the fusion, or what might be called the chemical union, of several of them and of certain moral elements takes place-the result is an intuition and the establishment of the intuitional mind, or, in other words, cosmic consciousness.
The scheme by which the mind is built up is uniform from beginning to end-a recept is made up of many precepts-a concept of many or several recepts and percepts and an intuition is made of many concepts, recepts and percepts together with other elements belonging to and drawn from the moral nature. The cosmic vision or the cosmic intuition from which what may be called the new mind takes its name is thus seen to be simply the complex and union of all prior thought and experience-just as self consciousness is the complex and union of all thought and experience prior to it.
The intellect is that part of the mind which knows as the moral nature is the part that feels. Each particular act of the intellect is instantaneous, whereas the acts (or rather the states) of the moral nature are more or less continuous. Language corresponds to the intellect and is therefore capable of expressing it perfectly and directly, on the other hand the functions of the moral nature are not connected with language and are only capable of indirect and imperfect expression by its agency. Music has its roots in moral nature.
Instincts are ancient, self-consciousness is old, but moral nature is if of comparatively recent origin.
The primeval, infantile, savage, lower mind is wanting or lacking in personal force, courage, faith, sympathy and affection; and is more easily excited to terror or anger than is the civilized or higher mind. The lower mind lacks peace, contentment and happiness and is prone to rage and hatred. The higher mind possesses faith, courage personal force, sympathy, affection, happiness and is less prone to fear of things known and unknown. The civilized, higher mind is not prone to anger and hatred, that is, unhappiness.
THE FACULTIES OF COSMIC CONSCIOUSNESS
Evolutionary excellence produces the individual with the exceptional physique, (androgynous), beauty of build and carriage, attractive features, exceptional health & sweetness of temper, and exceptional personal magnetism and communication skills.
NIRVANA: The faculty of cosmic consciousness itself has many names. Gautama called it Nirvana because of the extinction of certain lower mental faculties (such as the sense of sin, fear of death, desire of wealth, etc.) which is directly incident upon its birth. This subjugation of the old personality along with the birth of the new is, in fact, almost equivalent to the annihilation of the old and the creation of a new self. Jesus called the new condition the Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of Heaven, because of the peace and happiness which belong to it and which are perhaps its most characteristic features. Paul called it Christ and speaks of himself as a man in Christ and of them that are in Christ. He also calls it the Spirit and the Spirit of God.
After Paul had entered Cosmic Consciousness he knew that Jesus had possessed the cosmic sense and that he was living (as it were) the life of Jesus-that another individuality, another self, lived in him. This second self he called Christ (the divinely send deliverer), identifying it not so much with the man Jesus (the ordinary self conscious man) and Messiah (the herald and exemplar of the new, higher race). The duplex personality of men having cosmic consciousness will appear many times as we proceed and will be seen to be a constant and prominent phenomenon. Mohammed called the cosmic sense Gabriel. Dante called it Beatrice (Making Happy). Balzac called the new man a Specialist and the new condition Specialism. Whitman called cosmic consciousness My Soul, but spoke of it as if it were another person.
All cases of Cosmic Consciousness are not on the same plane, just as all ordinary men in self consciousness are not on the same plane. The degree and range of individual Cosmic Consciousness is far greater than that of ordinary men in self consciousness or savages in simple consciousness. Given a world peopled with men having Cosmic Consciousness, they would vary both in the way of greater and less intellectual ability, and greater and less moral and spiritual evolution, and also in the way of variety of character, more than would the inhabitants of a planet on the plane of Self Consciousness. Within the plane of Cosmic Consciousness one man shall be a god while another shall be not so far above ordinary humanity. But as the Self Conscious man (however degraded) is in fact almost infinitely above the animal with merely simple consciousness, so any man permanently endowed with the Cosmic Sense would be almost infinitely higher and nobler than any man who is Self Conscious merely. And so not only so, but the man who has had the Cosmic Sense for even a few moments only will probably never again descend to the spiritual level of the merely self conscious man, but twenty, thirty or forty years afterwards he will still feel within him the purifying, strengthening, and exalting effect of that divine illumination, and many of those about him will recognize that his spiritual stature is above that of the average man.
There have been minor, or lesser cases of Cosmic Consciousness which have appeared and been forgotten, and there are those that never fade from memory: Gautama, Jesus, Paul, Plotinus, Mohammed, Dante, Las Casas, John Yepes, Francis Bacon, Jacob Behemen, Spinoza, William Blake, Balzac, Edward Carpenter, Walt Whitman.
In order that a man may enter into Cosmic Consciousness he must belong to the top layer of the world of Self Consciousness. He need not have an extraordinary intellect (this faculty is rated far above its real value) though he must not be deficient either. He must have a good physique, good health, but above all he must have an exalted moral nature, strong sympathies, a warm heart, courage, strong and earnest religious feeling.
THE EXPERIENCE OF COSMIC CONSCIOUSNESS
1. SUBJECTIVE LIGHT
The white light experience of suddenly and without warning being immersed in a flame or cloud, or that the mind is filled with such a light, flame or cloud.
2. MORAL ELEVATION
At the same instant, the sense of being bathed in an emotion of joy, assurance, triumph, salvation, or rather, the feeling that the scheme upon which the world is built is itself sufficient and no salvation is necessary. Ecstasy far beyond anything that belongs merely to the self conscious life. Never to live and dwell in the old point of view of pleasure and pain, love and hate, joy and sorrow, peace and war, life and death. Leaves of Grass: “I will never again mention love or death inside a house.”
3. INTELLECTUAL ILLUMINATION
Simultaneously or instantly following the above sense and emotional experiences there comes to the person an intellectual illumination outlining the drift and meaning of the cosmos. The oneness of eternity, founded on the principle of love and that the happiness of man is a certainty. Especially a conception of THE WHOLE which makes the old attempts to grasp the above seem petty and ridiculous. This awakening is not so much reported to the illuminated mind as BEHELD by it. Cosmic intelligence sees the root of all mysteries whence issue all contrasts and discordant principles, hardness and softness, severity and mildness, sweet and bitter, love and sorrow, heaven and hell.
4. SENSE OF IMMORTALITY
Along with moral elevation and intellectual illumination comes a sense of immortality, a certainty of distinct individuality, possessed by each one, which comes with and belongs to self consciousness.
5. FEAR OF DEATH VANISHES
With illumination the fear of death vanishes.
6. LOSS OF SENSE OF SIN
There is no longer sin in the world from which to escape.
7. INSTANTANEOUSNESS OF AWAKENING
The instantaneous of the illumination is one of its most striking features.
8. AGE OF ILLUMINATION
The previous age and character of the man who enters into the new life is an important element of the case because the younger it happens the more spiritually evolved he becomes.
9. PERSONAL MAGNETISM
The added charm to the personality of the person who attains cosmic consciousness is important.
10. WHEN THE COSMIC SENSE IS ACTUALLY PRESENT OTHERS CAN SEE IT IN THE ILLUMINATED MAN
Although Cosmic Consciousness gradually passes away a change takes place in the appearance of the subject of illumination as a transfiguration into his divinity occurs.
The passage from self to cosmic consciousness is a phenomenon strictly parallel to the passage from simple to self consciousness with the addition of the two elements of added consciousness and added faculty.
When simple consciousness enters into self consciousness a person becomes aware of being a separate self existing apart from the world and the oncoming of new faculty instructs him without any new experience or process of learning leading to the accumulation of learning and initiating action.
When self consciousness enters into cosmic consciousness a person knows without learning (from the mere fact of illumination), that is, he becomes intuitive. He intuitively knows that the universe is a living presence with the essence and tendency of infinite goodness, that individual existence is continuous beyond death. He takes on enormously greater capacity both for learning and initiating.
Truly illuminated ones do not sell and teach this because you cannot do it for other people. The facts are not difficult to understand, the facts are just more infinite than mere language can convey.
Cosmic Consciousness does not make a man omniscient or infallible. These men are like children who have just reached a new phase of consciousness and have not had time or opportunity to exploit or master this. True they have reached a higher mental level; but on that level there can and will be comparative wisdom and comparative foolishness, just as there is on the levels of either simple consciousness or self consciousness. There is as much room for growth in the man of cosmic consciousness, as there is for the man of self consciousness to grow to cosmic consciousness. The question is, what will I do with my cosmic consciousness? Use it wisely or regress once again to the level of self consciousness by sinking down to a lower level letting my higher cosmic consciousness rub off on ordinary men? Or, sink even lower by letting my higher cosmic consciousness rub off on the savage minds of those in AA, street culture, bars, stoner hangouts, prostitutes, promiscuous sluts of all genders, what-ev-er.
Certain men are in the possession of a new and extraordinary development of mental faculties peculiar to themselves and non-existent (or at least undeclared) in ordinary people. These men see, know and feel spiritual facts and experience psychical phenomena which are of most vital import to the world at large.
The literary instinct (or expression of any kind) is not necessarily highly developed in the Cosmic Conscious mind, but is a faculty apart. This is why the Cosmic Conscious mind does not stand out as a separate class from men with self conscious mind only. The average self conscious mind can appreciate the faculties of other self conscious minds much easier, and with more certainty than he can the Cosmic Conscious mind. In spite of this obvious fact it remains true that self conscious man has placed the highest crowns upon the heads of men like Gautama, Jesus and Mohammed who have had the divine faculty of Cosmic Consciousness.