Higher consciousness is the consciousness of a god or "the part of the human mind that is capable of transcending animal instincts". The concept was significantly developed in German Idealism, and is a central notion in contemporary popular spirituality. However, it has ancient roots, dating back to the Bhagavad Gita and Indian Vedas.
- If you inhibit thought (and persevere) you come at length to a region of consciousness below or behind thought... and a realization of an altogether vaster self than that to which we are accustomed. And since the ordinary consciousness, with which we are concerned in ordinary life, is before all things founded on the little local self . . . it follows that to pass out of that is to die to the ordinary self and the ordinary world. It is not to die in the ordinary sense, but in another, it is to wake up and find that the " I , " one's real, most intimate self, pervades the universe and all other beings. So great, so splendid, is this experience, that it may be said that all minor questions and doubts fall away in the face of it; and certain it is that in thousands and thousands of cases, the fact of its having come even once to an individual has completely revolutionized his subsequent life and outlook on the world.
- In place of great thinkers physics turned to number crunching and atom smashing, which remains its chief occupation, now on a billion-dollar scale. There were exceptions like John von Neumann, John Archibald Wheeler, and David Bohm, who continued the search for a link between mind and matter. Respected but sidelined in favor of bigger particle accelerators and telescopes, all of these thinkers now enjoy a latter-day revenge, so to speak. Having exhausted the models of reality that discounted and ignored consciousness, forward-looking physicists now realize that mind must be accounted for, which seems like a simple realization except that it was clouded behind a screen, the biggest factor being naïve realism. Satisfied with the common-sense view of reality in their everyday life, physicists were happy to think of mind as “not my job.”
A huge hurdle remains, however, which is the enormous seduction of physical explanations. What is science without them? What is life if we get rid of relying on the five senses? These aren’t rhetorical questions. Life would be transformed if we abandoned the lure of the physical world and the mistaken data of the five senses. The human mind is uniquely able to go beyond appearances, and when we do, the destination is always consciousness.
- There’s no need to call it “higher” consciousness. A better term is “total” consciousness, the ground state of everything in existence. Account for consciousness and you explain everything. No models are needed. The everyday mind is the arena of consciousness. Stick with it, experience it deeply, and be self-aware. Only then will reality be fully comprehended, absent any model at all.
- Growing up, we experienced minor paradigm shifts — in sights into the principles of geometry, for instance, or a game, or a sudden broadening of our political or religious beliefs. Each insight enlarged the context, brought a fresh way of perceiving connections. The opening up of a new paradigm is humbling and exhilarating; we were not so much wrong as partial, as if we had been seeing with a single eye. It is not more knowledge, but a new knowing.
- Penetrating to the roots of fears and doubts, we can change radically. Individuals are beginning to sustain social concern and action in ways never accomplished by outer influences: persuasion, propaganda, patriotism, religious injunctions, threats, preachments of brotherhood...
On an individual level, we discover a self that does not compete. It is as curious as a child, delighted with testing its changing powers. And it is fiercely autonomous. It seeks self knowledge, not gain, knowing it will never probe its own furthest reaches. As one recovered alcoholic put it, "The only person I need to be is myself. I can be really good at that. In fact, I can never fail if I am simply me and let you be you." Redefining the self defuses competition....
If there is rebirth, what dies? The actor, perhaps. And illusions—that one is a victim, or right, or independent, or capable of obtaining all the answers. Illusionectomy can be a painful operation, but there are profound rewards. "You shall know the truth," says a character in Brunner's Shockwave Rider, "and the truth shall make you you."
- Marilyn Ferguson in The Aquarian Conspiracy (1980)
- Exercises and experiments are designed for direct experience from a new perspective. For only that which is deeply felt can change us. Rational arguments alone cannot penetrate the layers of fear and conditioning that comprise our crippling belief systems. The Aquarian Conspiracy creates opportunities wherever possible for people to experience shifts of consciousness. Hearts as well as minds must change. Communication must be not only wide but deep. Agreement can be communicated in many ways, sometimes even in silence, as Roszak pointed out to a large gathering in Vancouver in 1977 at the World Symposium on Humanity: [Roszak's quote is below]
- Marilyn Ferguson in The Aquarian Conspiracy (1980)
- In our time a secret manifesto is being written. Its language is a longing we read in one another's eyes. It is the longing to know our authentic vocation in the world, to find the work and the way of being that belong to each of u s . . . I speak of the Manifesto of the Person, the declaration of our sovereign right to self-discovery. I cannot say if those who have answered its summons are indeed millions, but I know that its influence moves significantly among us, a subterranean current of our history, that awakens in all those it touches an intoxicating sense of how deep the roots of the self reach, and what strange sources of energy they embrace....
- Theodore Roszak quoted in The Aquarian Conspiracy, by Marilyn Ferguson, (1980)