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Franklin Merrell-Wolff's Experience and Philosophy: A Personal Record of Transformation and a Discussion of Transcendental Consciousness Paperback – January 25, 1994

4.2 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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About the Author

After graduate work at Harvard, Franklin Merrell-Wolff accepted a position as professor of mathematics at Stanford. A few months later, he abandoned a promising academic career in order to facilitate his quest for a third way of knowing--a way apart from sense perception and conceptual cognition. "I found myself in sight of the limits to which our present egoistic consciousness has reached, and also had found adumbrations of another kind of consciousness where alone, it seemed, solution of the antinomies of the subject-object consciousness could be found."
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 460 pages
  • Publisher: State University of New York Press (January 25, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0791419649
  • ISBN-13: 978-0791419649
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #215,076 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I found "The Philosophy of Consciousness Without an Object," one of the two books making up this volume, by chance a few years ago. Dr. Wolff is like pure gold. He provides independent confirmation and explication of mystical experience outside of religious traditions.
To existing reviews I just want to add that one of the deep joys of this book is Dr. Wolff himself, as transmitted by his language. Extremely literate, deeply kind, considerate, powerful, courageous, patient, thorough, Dr. Wolff is beautiful to read. This book contains the truth, in sentences that are so precise that they are like mathematical equations, and so vast in scope that they are themselves like books.
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Format: Paperback
It is quite rare to come across a book on "mysticism"--the perennial philosophy, that is--which is written by a person who is not only speaking from a very advanced level of direct Realization but, at the same time, is a very well-trained and highly skilled philosopher. This is such a book. After years of wide study, deep thought and serious practice in the world's wisdom traditions, including formal training in both Eastern and Western philosophy and religion, this book still blew my mind from cover to cover. It will help to clarify significant points in your understanding, even if you are an advanced jnana yogi or a professional philosopher.
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Format: Paperback
The experience of enlightenment, or of an unitive awareness beyond subject-object dualisms has often been basic for mysticisms in all traditions. It has also been vigorously debated by philosophers with a general consensus reached during the Enlightenment that reason or logic was the unique quality of consciousness. Even today reductionisms attempt to limit consciousness to some energetic metaphor. Merrell-Wolff's experience is all the more important for he comes out of a rigorous mathematical and philosophical background. When confronted with this nondualistic consciousness and its transformative effects, Merrell-Wolff was hard put to explain it. Taking on Kant's mirror dependencies of consciousness, being contingent upon perception and conception, Merrell-Wolff formulated important accounts all based experientially upon his own illuminate nondual consciousness. His most important work, and least known is Introceptualism where he sets out a formal epistemology and metaphysics for this basic transcendent consciousness. He also modifies some of his earlier statements, attempting to clarify his account of mysticism as well as placing his idealism into juxtaposition to modernist naturalism, realism, idealism and pragmatism. These books reflect a life time effort to formulate an adequate philosophy that can include such radical nondual consciousness as a present reality and possibility. Somewhat reclusive during his long life, he refused to guide or instruct others in what he felt was a natural condition of human consciousness when left to its own nature. In many ways these books provide a place where critical philosophy is strictly mystical. Highly recommended
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Format: Paperback
This book is one of the most facinating accounts of mans potential for spiritual tranformation. It was written during the actual experience. Most eastern accounts of illumination are written after the fact. This account is different as the author gives you a personal account during and after each deeping state of conciousness. Not only this but from a "western mind" viewpoint of the experience. Not vailed in symbolism as most eastern writers. The totality of the experience left him with new insight into the human mystery and a renewed meaning to life. He can be added to the list of Richard Bucks book: "Cosmic Conciousness" as one who achieved spontaneous illumination. I recommend Merrell-Wolff's book for anyone seriously on the "path" to spiritual enlightenment
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By A Customer on May 12, 2001
Format: Paperback
Franklin Merrell-Wolff's memoir of and reflections upon his experience of "Realization" is one of the most engaging and intelligent accounts ever written. His path was that of the jnani and the philosopher, and his lucid critical thinking is a rarity in this sort of literature. But this story is far from dry, and the mysticism is genuine and deep. This book got me through a series of "spiritual" crises in the mid-80s and has come around several times since, and is richer and more suggestive on each reading, as few books are. There is a subtle chemistry to "mystical" writers; one person's revelation is another person's tedium. Merrell-Wolff's work has a particular ineffable quality, a flavor that appeals to me immensely. He was an inspiration to Richard Moss, whose works are also highly to be recommended to those pursuing the path that disappears into God's country.
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Format: Paperback
Just think, Franklin Merrell-Wolff was a properly trained philosopher scientist and a gifted mathematician, like Bertrand Russell, but instead of tut-tuting at mysticism or using the intellectual tyranny of logic to cancel out the experience, like Russell did; Merrell-Wolff read heavily on mysticism and found enlightenment.

There are other similarities between the two thinkers. Bertrand Russell once said that he found solace and certainty in higher mathematics. Franklin Merrel-Wolff says the same thing. In fact, Merrel-Wolff says that this certainty was his inspiration for looking further and finding the Other. If only Bertrand Russell had a more open mind. Who knows? There is a lesson here.

A word of warning. Like logical atomism, the writings of Franklin Merrell-Wolff are not meant for the uninitiated, though if you stick with it, as I did, and do your homework, the lessons will stay with you forever; trust me. Franklin Merrel-Wolff is not a snake-oil salesman, and neither is he selling you a fast-track to enlightenment, like Huxley did. Instead, Franklin Merrell-Wolff's goes to great lengths in explaining the difficulty of understanding, and there is trust in this sort of complexity I guess. I think that I have gained a glimmer of something by reading this guy and I think you will too.

Being the real deal then, it is any wonder that we find Franklin Merrel-Wolff difficult at times? He isn't difficult because of his style, its just that words cannot describe the thing, words will never ever take you there, except for the lies of gurus and Deepak Chopra type salesmen, words are not the terrirory. Why are words useless? Well imagine trying to describe what ice cream tastes like to someone who has never tasted ice cream. This is why words fail.
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