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Consciousness Explained Better [Kindle Edition]

Allan Combs
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Consciousness Explained Better is a clear explanation of consciousness in its many facets and forms. The book offers the first thoroughgoing exploration of consciousness grounded in Ken Wilber’s understanding of its many aspects and developmental structures, all of which combine to create the kaleidoscopic yet lucid experience that is the essence of each of the moments of our lives. In this book, consciousness is explored from many points of view: its historical evolution, its growth in the individual, its mystical dimensions, and the meaning of enlightenment.

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"Allan Combs has written the finest book on consciousness in modern times, bar none. I give it my very highest recommendation." --Ken Wilber, The Integral Vision

"This compact volume brings forward the yearning, the brilliance, the awe, and the outrageous audacity of our search to understand consciousness... in language that speaks to the heart as well as the head." --From the Foreword by Jenny Wade, author of Changes of Mind and Transcendent Sex

"Allan Combs brings new firepower to consciousness studies, joining Ken Wilber and others who are integrating contemporary research in neuroscience, evolutionary psychology, and other fields with the lore of the sacred traditions. This book is like Luke Skywalker's torpedo headed straight into the Death Star of reductive materialism." --Michael Murphy, founder of the Esalen Institute, and author of The Future of the Body

"Combs has a master teacher's gift of making abstruse concepts highly accessible. I especially enjoyed reading James re-played to me. It reminded me of András Schiff's rendering of Beethoven sonatas." --Jonathan Bricklin, James scholar and author of Sciousness

About the Author

Allan Combs teaches at the University of North Carolina, Asheville, and The Saybrook Institute in San Francisco. He is the author of over fifty articles, chapters, and books on consciousness and the brain. His recent books include Synchronicity: Science, Myth, and the Trickster with Mark Holland. He is the cofounder of The Society for Chaos Theory in Psychology and belongs to the 100-member Club of Budapest.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1293 KB
  • Print Length: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Paragon House (July 28, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003XRE4YA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #684,289 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
76 of 80 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Deepening mind January 13, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Consciousness is not a simple thing to understand, but in "Consciousness Explained Better", Allan Combs has done a fine job of simplifying the integral view of mind. The integral view posits that consciousness is multi-faceted, multi-layered, cannot be easily reduced and explained, and changes according to the perspective of the perceiver. Largely following the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber, Allan Combs does not argue that consciousness is relativistic and culturally defined, however. There are universal states and streams in the evolution of consciousness.

The title "Consciousness Explained Better" is a reference to Daniel Dennett's 1992 book, "Consciousness Explained", which took a more mainstream scientific view of consciousness. Readers looking for a critique of Dennett will be disappointed. Combs makes just one short reference to Dennett in the introduction, describing Dennett's book as "over 500 pages of tortuous symbolic reasoning" (p. xvii).

Combs prefers to approach the subject with "quite a different spirit", more in the style of William James and Mark Baldwin, attempting to "recapture afresh the mystery, excitement, and wealth of its study..." (pp.xvii-xviii). The second purpose of "Consciousness Explained Better" is to serve as an introduction to the thinking of Ken Wilber, whom Comb's describes as a personal friend.

Combs' angle is unashamedly mystical, in that mind is not merely viewed as epiphenomena, emerging from the material stuff of brains. Rather it is an integral part of cosmos itself. Like Wilber, Combs' develops a map of approaches to consciousness (following Wilber's Four Quadrant model) comprising the empirical, social, cultural and subjective aspects of mind (although more complex than these terms can convey here).
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32 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Allan Combs has done it again! October 12, 2009
With at least two other category leading titles under his belt (Synchronicity and Radiance of Being), Professor Combs has done it again. Synchronicity is probably the best book written on the subject. Radiance ranks among the most important and influential books I've read. This work is similar to Radiance in that it covers a broad swatch of material relating to human potential and developmental psychology, and powerfully integrates it into a revealing roadmap as they relate to consciousness. **Highly recommended**
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Integral Explained Better! January 28, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Even though this book does a great job in explaining consciousness from an Integral perspective, it is even better as a summary of Ken Wilber's and Allan Combs's latest thinking.
Wilber's last major book, Integral Spirituality, was published in 2006. In it he introduced the Wilber-Combs Lattice and the eight zones, which are crucial additions to the Integral model. But unless you are a hardcode Wilber Fan, Integral Spirituality is not easily accessible and quite convoluted. Consciousness Explained Better on the other hand covers the same territory--including the four quadrants, lines and levels of development, states, and types--but does so on 148 easy to read pages. Allan Combs is a professor and has a way of explaining complex matters in clear and simple language, without ever being simplistic. In a tour de force, he draws from a wide range of seminal thinkers, spanning from the Greek Philosophers to modern day researchers from the East and West, and includes art as an element that is neglected by Wilber.
If you are looking for the best introduction to Consciousness AND the latest in Integral thought, Consciousness Explained Better is without an alternative. If asked which book I recommend to get familiar with Ken Wilber's work, Consciousness Explained Better is my first pick.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good work on consciousness January 25, 2013
By Marty
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I very much enjoyed this work. I have read several books by Ken wilber & wanted another perspective on his work. & when i saw combs was the same person who helped develop the structures & states lattice i knew i had to get this work, for the sheer brilliancy of it in making so clear the nature of consciousness in its vertical & horizontal aspects, which is in this work & explained in detail as well of course. But first of all i want to say combs is a very good writer & explains complex things clearly. Any way this book hits most of wilbers main concepts such as the AQAL framework, that is explaining a all quadrant, all level view. Then of course as wilber he explains the importance of states, Lines, & types as well. He starts the work by explaining some interesting ideas of whiteheads & James (& others) in relation to consciousness being like a constant flowering, each moment emerging from the last, every one connected.He speaks about the basic developmental stages of children, then of adults. He gives a very good explanation of the developmental lines. The chapter on states & stages is excellent, & gives some very unique insights into the nature of both of them, & works in some interesting ideas from chaos theory, also his explanation of the different ways to bring about & prolong states such as 'loading stabilization', 'negative feedback stabilization', & so forth were very interesting & use full. Of course he goes into the higher states & stages, the spiritual aspects that consciousness can reach in its higher peaks, using mostly Sri Aurobindos & Wilbers names & explanations for these things. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
wonderful book and excellent service, thanks, rachel porias
Published 3 months ago by Rachel Porias
3.0 out of 5 stars No, it wasn't...
There was some interesting factual information here, but no real help in elucidating what consciousness actually is, or how it originates.
Published 13 months ago by stephen brandt
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended
Supposing you wanted to read a book that dealt with the Big questions of evolution, consciousness, and such. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Armand Diaz
4.0 out of 5 stars Explains filters of Perception, not Consciousness---
I would recommend this book as a good explanation for perceiving reality based on the different filters based on ages from birth toward Adulthood, based on education, and the time... Read more
Published 19 months ago by HenryC
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book.
This is a great explanation and exploration of consciousness. As an integral thinker and adventurer, I really enjoyed this read. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Love Monkey
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't like it
I don't like how Comb wound up Dennett's in the introduction: not with arguments, but only by means of side defamations. That's why I'm not going to read this "better" book.
Published on August 27, 2011 by Alfredo Tifi
2.0 out of 5 stars The problem of consciousness explained away
I bought this book in the belief that it contained an interesting, new angle on the mind-body problem. Read more
Published on July 30, 2011 by Ashtar Command
3.0 out of 5 stars For me, another miss
Hmm... Ok again we have a book that "suggests" (by its title) it makes a serious dent in the mind body problem. Read more
Published on January 20, 2011 by Nicholas Mirro
3.0 out of 5 stars Allan combs Wilber
Daniel Dennett's book, "Consciousness Explained," should have been entitled Consciousness Fudged. Using that lame benchmark, the title of Consciousness Explained Better is fine. Read more
Published on September 16, 2010 by Religious Studies Prof
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