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Consciousness Explained Better: Towards an Integral Understanding of the Multifaceted Nature of Consciousness (Omega Books) Paperback – September 1, 2009
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Consciousness Explained Better represents thousands of years of humanity's struggle to understand consciousness from a wide variety of perspectives. It is an up-to-date digest of the search in bite-sized chapters. Allan Combs has managed to encapsulate and synthesize vast bodies of thought and research without dilution.
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
Top customer reviews
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.
Nope. Nothing of the sort. He first casts a dismissive and derisive remark at Dennett, has a couple worthwhile paragraphs explaining the very valid idea that "consciousness" as such doesn't exist and is sort of a shorthand that we tend to use which obfuscates the reality of our stream of experience (which, btw, Dennett would basically agree with), and then spends the rest of the book sloppily smearing the ideas of Piaget's stages of child development together with exhausting over-adoration for Ken Wilbur, confused conflation of personal and cultural consciousness, miscellaneous barely-relevant anecdotes (some admittedly even constructed), and hand-wavy notions of "higher states of consciousness" without any eye towards explaining what they might be, how they might really work, etc, and ending with a tedious explication of Wilbur's zones which ultimately DO NOT EXPLAIN ANYTHING, and at best provide a categorization of perspectives of thought, and all he can manage to demonstrate applicability for are in the context of art history. I only made it to the end because it was pretty short. :/
Another great book that covers this subject from a nuerological approach: "Who's in Charge" by Michael Gazzanica.
Most recent customer reviews
And it does BETTER than most because of so many references and ridiculous tables.Read more