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Consciousness Already There Waiting to be Uncovered: William James’s Mystical Suggestion as Corroborated by Himself and His Contemporaries

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Abstract:

'Is consciousness already there waiting to be uncovered and is it a veridical revelation of reality?' William James asked in one of his last published essays, 'A Suggestion About Mysticism'. The answer, he said, would not be known 'by this generation or the next'. By separating what James wanted to believe about commonsense reality, from what his 'dispassionate' insights and researches led him to believe, I show how James himself, in collaboration with a few friends, laid the groundwork for adopting his mystical suggestion as veridical. 'Consciousness already there waiting to be uncovered' not 'generated de novo in a vast number of places' but existing 'behind the scenes, coeval with the world' is consistent with James's 'neutral monism', his belief that Newtonian, objective, even-flowing time does not exist, and his belief that parapsychological and other transpersonal phenomena had 'broken down the limits of the admitted order of things'. Specific parallels between James's veridical revelation and the veridical revelation of his young contemporary Einstein, are also considered.

Keywords: Benjamin Paul Blood; E.D. Fawcett; Einstein; F.H. Myers; Krishnamurti; Leonora Piper; Mrs. Titus; Oliver Lodge; Parmenides; Santayana; Shadworth Hodgson; William James

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: New York Open Center, 22 E. 30th St., NY, NY 10016

Publication date: January 1, 2010

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