Reflexive Universe: Evolution of Consciousness

9780385286763: Reflexive Universe: Evolution of Consciousness

Integrating the findings of modern science with ancient wisdom, this seminal work offers a paradigm for resolving the schism between spirit and matter. Arthur Young's Theory of Process provides a model for the evolution of consciousness out of light (the quantum of action), offering hope for an age in search of value and meaning. This is a facsimile of the original 1976 Delacorte edition, with typographic corrections in the text and a new introduction by Huston Smith.

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About the Author:

Arthur Middleton Young (1905-1995) was the son of Eliza Coxe and the Philadelphia landscape painter Charles Morris Young. Born in Paris, he attended Haverford School and then earned a degree in mathematics from Princeton. Always intrigued by the challenges of invention, in 1929 he selected the development of the helicopter as his first career goal. For twelve years he worked alone, using small models to test his ideas, until Bell Aircraft Company invited him to build full-scale experimental helicopters of his design. On March 8, 1946, his "Bell Model 47" received the first commercial helicopter license ever issued. By this time, he was embarking on a more philosophical quest. After the shock of seeing nuclear weapons used in World War II, he decided that science was in need of a comprehensive paradigm or "unified theory" which would bring to light the moral and spiritual implications of new scientific knowledge, and help guide its use. To this end, he established the Foundation for the Study of Consciousness in 1952 in Philadelphia, sponsoring parapsychological research and publishing an interdisciplinary journal. In 1973, the Institute for the Study of Consciousness was founded in Berkeley, California. Here, he worked with his students, and hosted symposia until his death on May 30, 1995. Arthur Young's "theory of process" cosmology is presented in his seminal books, THE REFLEXIVE UNIVERSE and THE GEOMETRY OF MEANING, published by Delacorte Press in 1976. In 1984, his helicopter, the Bell 47D1, "an object whose delicate beauty is inseparable from its efficiency," was placed on exhibit as part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

"Science as usually interpreted does not provide for consciousness. Accordingly, there has arisen a conflict between science and religious thought, a conflict which is frequently dismissed because, it is said, science is not concerned with final issues. Such an interpretation of science has invaded other areas. This is particularly true of the social and human sciences, such as psychology. Here it is difficult to understand how we can have a valid science of man, if that science does not recognize final causes, since for man final causes are of the greatest significance. They are, in fact, the touchstone of his behavior. They inspire his works, his goals, his reponsibilities to his fellows.

"We have a situation in which science, modestly disclaiming any knowledge of the ultimate issues and sticking to its requirement of particles operated on by forces, has become the model. This model has in turn become the ideal of the psychologists who, dismissing all subtlety of the psyche as 'metaphysical,' create their image of man as a biological machine which can have no mind that is not brain, and no psyche that is not explicable as chemical activity, simply because, in their view, the laws of physics do not recognize any other fundamental ingredients on which to draw. This being so, we can no longer forgo an invasion of the inner sanctum of science to see if it is indeed true that the universe contains nothing but billiard balls (particles, drives, response mechanisms, etc.)."

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