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An Introduction to Awareness Paperback – October 13, 2006

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From the Back Cover

Can Reason entertain a reality different than that of the Materialism that pervades our thought today?  Are we wrong about the nature of the world and the life that we are experiencing?

Starting from the one incontrovertible truth - that we are present - the author develops a view of Reality that encompasses all of human experience and in the process shows how what we call physical reality  and what we call spiritual reality are not two things, as we see them today - that there is only one Reality and it is non-dual Awareness.

"It can be seen that the simplest alternative is the one that accepts the reality of Awareness as the ground of all Being.  It entails no speculative substances, is validated simply by the existence of the world and needs no other evidence to support it.  The more complicated alternative is the one that holds today - that of a separate physical world, incorporating all the open-ended questions about how we have any knowledge of this external world, how that world arises, and why there are whole fields of experience that somehow cannot be fit into that view."

"All great truths begin as blasphemies."
-- George Bernard Shaw

About the Author

The philosopher James Corrigan spent three decades designing and developing computer software for major Fortune 50 companies. His work on automated software development and his focus on the faculty of intuitive understanding at work in the design of complex systems led him to forsake the idea that reasoning is a computational process and that conscious experience is an effect of physical mechanisms. His systematic treatment of Reality, explaining its non-dual nature, is focused on showing the perniciousness of the idea of physical reality and the mechanical view of Nature that it entails. He shows that our basic assumptions about awareness are fundamentally wrong and points to how this necessarily undermines the doctrines of Materialism.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 212 pages
  • Publisher: BookSurge Publishing (September 16, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1419648896
  • ISBN-13: 978-1419648892
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #579,312 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

How can Reality be `One' when it is patently obvious that we are all separate beings? Can Reason entertain a reality different than that of the Materialism that pervades our thoughts?

Our belief in a world external to ourselves, filled with things and people that are not us, is an overwhelming fact of our existence. But similarly, our absolute certainty that there is more to reality than just this physical world is a spiritual fact that bears more truth than any other in our lives. We seek to explain this spiritual nature as some metaphysical reality, accepting the constraint of Science that will not allow for any usurpation of the actuality of the physical universe. And we flounder trying. Once we allow our thoughts to be forced into some metaphysical realm, we find ourselves stripped of that single most important validation of spiritual truth - the undeniable presence at the heart of our existence. This is the spiritual truth that we seek, and it is not to be found in the physical reality of Science. The physical reality of Science is to be found in it!

"An Introduction to Awareness" is a philosophical journey that takes the reader into the heart of this pure presence of nondual reality - a reality in which the spiritual is not metaphysical, but actual, in which physical reality is 'a machine in the ghost'. This pure presence that we cannot deny is the awareness that lies at the heart of our experiences and thoughts. This irrefutable truth can be used as a starting point in a processual analysis of awareness, and of our ideas about existence and self, leading to a clear understanding of the nondual nature of reality as the pure presence of non-individuated Awareness.

Awareness is not our consciousness of the world; instead, Awareness is the phenomenal world. This seems to be counterintuitive because of the way we presume awareness operates. We see it as being like seeing, or hearing, or any of our other senses, somehow mirrored by the organs within our bodies. We take it to be a kind of sensing or percipiency. Thus some thing must be aware, sensing the world, like a brain which somehow `sees' what the eyes see and `hears' what the ears hear. It is easier to place this 'something' in the physical body - even if we cannot locate it with any assurance, explain how it works, or why it arises - than it is to say that Awareness is the existence of the world. Deriving the world from Awareness is much harder for us to contemplate. Some try to get free of the idea of consciousness being locked-up in our heads by erroneously proposing that the universe itself is aware, as if the universe was an individual being. Others reduce awareness to some phantom-like add-on to our neurological processes. As you will discover reading through this book, Awareness is not a 'sensing' of anything, it is a 'doing' of everything. It is this activity of Awareness that we call "being" that gives rise to consciousness of ourselves and the phenomenal world.

Rather than leading to a solipsistic account of reality in which we are lost in our own inner idealistic world separate from each other, this book shows through its analysis of consciousness that it is an error on our part to conceive of Awareness as being individuated. The understanding of reality that is presented in this book is neither a materialist, nor an idealist understanding, as both things and thoughts are phenomenal in nature and arise spontaneously from non-individuated Awareness.

But this is only the beginning of the story. Moving beyond this basic depiction of reality, "An Introduction to Awareness" forges a link between the pure Presence within experience, which is our true essence, and the phenomenal world of being. Thus the scientific and spiritual realms are brought together, perfectly balanced, each supported in a way that respects its validity, without denying the other.

It is not an easy thing to change how one understands the world. It is, in fact, a very difficult thing to do. Conceptual thought is part of the nature of being human, yet we forget that concepts are merely models of reality and not real themselves. So we can be misled by concepts, as we are misled by the apparent independent reality of things in the world. But it is possible for each one of us to have the necessary insight to overcome these errors. This book shows how to change how you view the world and your thoughts about it in order to realize the wholeness of Reality, while still retaining the skillful means that the modern world has given us. It teaches you how to use concepts in a way that does not endanger true understanding so that individual spiritual practices can be freed of our erroneous conceptual ideas.

James M. Corrigan, MA, ABD, is an Educator, Philosopher, Author, Poet, and Environmentalist. After three decades as a software designer and consultant, he returned to university to pursue a doctorate in philosophy driven by his insights into the nature of consciousness and the source of human creativity that came to imbue his two decades of research into the problem of automating software development. He argues that our assumptions about consciousness being an emergent or supervenient phenomenon are wrong, and points to Awareness as the unifying nature of all physical manifestation that is free, spontaneously creative and which is the deeply affective wholeness of reality.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Ryan Davies on September 29, 2007
Format: Paperback
'An Introduction to Awareness' is very convincing as a kind of document of secular enlightenment. The basic simplicity of the notion at its heart is presented somewhat ironically in layers of extremely rigorous and verbose academic battle-gear. I imagine that this is the case because such a tract was written to withstand what is anticipated to be withering criticism/attack from the philosophical/academic community over potentially many decades or even centuries as the tiniest chink is sought that might invalidate the entire idea.

Despite its complex and demanding verbiage, the book is never less that rigorously precise in its descriptions of its many quietly radical insights. You'll find that it sits quite comfortably next to others like Sogyal Rinpoche's 'Tibetan Book of Living and Dying' and one can hop back and forth from the most advanced Buddhist thought to 'An Introduction to Awareness' and detect essentially no delta at all between them. The effect is somewhat strange, as the book feels like the kernel of enlightenment stripped of any and all mystical, mythical or historical context; which one has to concede any sort of genuine enlightenment probably should be!

Highly recommended for students of Buddhist philosophy, those exploring revolutionary systems of thought or for anyone interested in learning to see the world in a different light.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Jerry Katz on May 15, 2007
Format: Paperback
James Corrigan writes on his website, "I have not studied with any particular teacher, although I have researched, and continue to research, many different philosophical and spiritual systems. ... [I] went back to school to get a PhD at age 50 so that I could engage people on a philosophical level -- for that after all, is what I am talking about." Corrigan studies in the philosophy department at Stony Brook University in New York. His prior full time work was designing and developing computer software for Fortune 50 companies.

The purpose of this book is to turn the reader's view of reality toward the nondual. The author says, "There is a fundamental assumption behind this work: that our difficulties are all indirectly caused by the way we view ourselves and the world around us, and that this must change if we are to survive, prosper, and find happiness once again."

This book is a philosophical presentation of the teaching of nonduality. James Corrigan uses a refined language to describe Awareness, one that establishes a position of strength from which to make judgments about world and self. The terminology includes archaelogy (not archaeology), apodictic, animadversion, omnific, surjectivity (and subjectivity), and others. These terms are available in a glossary, a wise and very useful inclusion at the back of the book.

Even the term "is" is included in the glossary and discussed within the book in a way that demonstrates the author's sharpness of consideration:

"Thus the statement `Awareness is real' can be interpreted as meaning: That which is necessary and non-contingent is presence for that which arises from it.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Maria Smith on October 29, 2008
Format: Paperback
This beautiful book challenges the intellect to gaze upon itself from an unaccustomed place. The first time I read it, I saw it as a well-researched argument for a nondual "position", designed to withstand the criticism of a highly educated, materialistic community. The author uses logic to devour itself in a manner designed to point to the inadequacy of established philosophical dogma to explain what "is". He uses reason like a scalpel, accurately illustrating what happens as one follows a thought to its end. The reader must be careful and patient on this particular journey with James Corrigan, as he leaves no stone unturned.

Reading the book again, letting it unfold, I realized that it is also a direct view of an ongoing process which begins in the mind and comes to rest in the heart. Dissolving mental arguments by following them all the way through to their inevitable demise, one lands in a unifying place of vision and poetry, where connection and love become obvious-- leading, perhaps, to more compassionate, creative solutions to our collective problems by utilizing the mind as the fabulous tool it is, rather than as a divisive and egocentric taskmaster.

The book is a fine piece of intelligent art and a valuable trip worth taking, both for the exercise and the view!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Thomas J. McFarlane on December 6, 2009
Format: Paperback
Corrigan's book displays a rare combination of spiritual insight and philosophical inquiry. While there is no shortage of books of one type or the other, a book that combines them both is a precious gift indeed.

A full appreciation of Corrigan's work, however, does demand of the reader a similar combination, at least to some degree. The academic philosopher without any contemplative orientation may find the book's perspective unfamiliar. It is, after all, not merely an analytical presentation of a system of thought, but an interpretation derived from contemplative insight. The spiritually-oriented reader, on the other hand, may find the philosophical style challenging, e.g., when encountering phrases such as "animadversion of Omnific Awareness," "a conduit of apprehension that is introsuscepted directly," and "the apodictic nature of our experience of phenomenal consciousness."

Either type of reader, however, will be well-rewarded for taking the time to understand this unique work of a true contemplative philosopher. One will find it to be an exacting exploration of the immediacy of existence and an illuminating clarification of conceptual conundrums concealed in our deep, unquestioned habits of experience. Of particular value is its nondual perspective on the foundations of science and the origin of our shared field of experience. The significance of this is not to be underestimated, since it provides the key to a genuine basis for a new worldview in which modern science may be seen as compatible with contemplative realization and the ethical values rooted therein.
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