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An Introduction to Awareness [Paperback]

James M. Corrigan
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 13 2006 1419648896 978-1419648892
Can Reason entertain a reality different than that of the Materialism that pervades our thought today? Are we wrong about the form of the world that we are experiencing? Starting from the one incontrovertible truth – that we are present – the author proceeds to develop a view of Reality that encompasses all of human experience – not just those aspects currently acceptable to Materialism, and in the process shows how the physical and the spiritual are not two things, as we see them today.

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About the Author

Mr. Corrigan is currently a doctoral student in the philosophy department at Stony Brook University in New York. He has spent three decades designing and developing computer software for major Fortune 50 companies. His work on automated software development and his focus on the faculty of intuitive understanding at work in the design of complex systems has led him to forsake the ideas that human reasoning is a computational process and that the having of conscious experiences is the effect of purely physical processes. His current research interest is in recovering the common ancient wisdom found in both Eastern and Western philosophical traditions, and in removing the contextual assumptions found in both that keep us from reaching our own understanding today of who we are.

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5.0 out of 5 stars A New View of the Perennial Philosophy Feb. 5 2008
Format:Paperback
Of the many ancient and modern texts written on awareness, James M Corrigan's book is one of the most clearly written, carefully researched, and deeply felt published today. It is a gateway to the tremendous joy experienced in the presence of pure consciousness. This book points the way beyond intellectual reasoning to transcendent knowledge. For example, read his section "Where is mind" or "Contemplation", then close the book, sit quietly, and absorb the essence. .....as the poet Rumi wrote:
"Morning breeze brings news of beauty,
Slowly, please,
let the fresh fragrance stay.''
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A consciousness-shattering book Oct. 19 2010
Format:Paperback
In this consciousness-shattering book, Mr. Corrigan presents a model of reality that allows both the world and the spiritual capacity supporting it to be seen on equal terms. Compassion and life stand side by side together with an equal valuation of resources and capabilities, meaning that there are ways opened up such that all peoples will be able to comprehend the manner in which we can share the world as "one-awareness". The first step towards this might be entertained by suggesting the book "An Introduction to Awareness" be made compulsory reading for all science and technology students as well as prospective administrators the world over.

This book is truly an original contribution to the mode of thought associated with the analysis of the world view obtained by following the scientific method. The development of an ideal assessment of the material universe is correctly seen as a necessary prerequisite for dealing with both local and global problems from a scientific perspective. There is one main problem that arises as the result of current attempts to do just that on a universal scale and this involves the fact that the story currently being fed to the world concerning its state of being is a part-truth at best and at worst an outright lie.

The currently favored scientific and objective model, used the world-over by scientists and administrators, is merely a "physicalist" interpretation and leaves no room for compassion, an independent life-force or for that matter any trace of spirituality up and to consideration of the divine.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
I have read this book through a number of times since I first bought it back in November. I continue to read chapters of it, randomly, as I sometimes do with the Upanishads and the teachings of Dogen, among others. I have been captivated by the distinctly unique approach that the author has taken to a perennial problem: how does one speak about reality in a way that does not cheapen or discount some aspect of it. Corrigan goes to great pains to leave us with a world in which Science works, but also one where the non-dual wholeness of Reality is both accepted and presented as such. This is no small feat, as you can imagine. He presents a conceptual model of Reality as a monistic dyad of immanent and transcendent aspects that both arise from the same source, which he shows is non-individuated Awareness; but he points out that this conceptual model is just that, a model, and cautions the reader to not become lost in the concept itself, for reasons that he explains very clearly. Rather, he tells us to use it to change how we take the world to be, so that we can open ourselves to greater understanding.

There is a bit of a blurb on the back cover about Corrigan's career in systems development and that history shows in his skillful tackling of the arguments of those that say reality consists of just the physical universe absent any kind of metaphysical underpinnings.

The writing is tight and clearly presented. It's a pleasure to read. You have to pay attention to the arguments though. If it was simple to escape our normal understanding of reality then we would not need to read books about it. This one is for those who really want to develop an understanding and are willing to make the effort to do so.
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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A New Enlightenment Sept. 29 2007
By Ryan Davies - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
'An Introduction to Awareness' is very convincing as a kind of document of secular enlightenment. The basic simplicity of the notion at its heart is presented somewhat ironically in layers of extremely rigorous and verbose academic battle-gear. I imagine that this is the case because such a tract was written to withstand what is anticipated to be withering criticism/attack from the philosophical/academic community over potentially many decades or even centuries as the tiniest chink is sought that might invalidate the entire idea.

Despite its complex and demanding verbiage, the book is never less that rigorously precise in its descriptions of its many quietly radical insights. You'll find that it sits quite comfortably next to others like Sogyal Rinpoche's 'Tibetan Book of Living and Dying' and one can hop back and forth from the most advanced Buddhist thought to 'An Introduction to Awareness' and detect essentially no delta at all between them. The effect is somewhat strange, as the book feels like the kernel of enlightenment stripped of any and all mystical, mythical or historical context; which one has to concede any sort of genuine enlightenment probably should be!

Highly recommended for students of Buddhist philosophy, those exploring revolutionary systems of thought or for anyone interested in learning to see the world in a different light.
26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From Archaelogy to Metis: A Walk to Nonduality. May 15 2007
By Jerry Katz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
James Corrigan writes on his website, "I have not studied with any particular teacher, although I have researched, and continue to research, many different philosophical and spiritual systems. ... [I] went back to school to get a PhD at age 50 so that I could engage people on a philosophical level -- for that after all, is what I am talking about." Corrigan studies in the philosophy department at Stony Brook University in New York. His prior full time work was designing and developing computer software for Fortune 50 companies.

The purpose of this book is to turn the reader's view of reality toward the nondual. The author says, "There is a fundamental assumption behind this work: that our difficulties are all indirectly caused by the way we view ourselves and the world around us, and that this must change if we are to survive, prosper, and find happiness once again."

This book is a philosophical presentation of the teaching of nonduality. James Corrigan uses a refined language to describe Awareness, one that establishes a position of strength from which to make judgments about world and self. The terminology includes archaelogy (not archaeology), apodictic, animadversion, omnific, surjectivity (and subjectivity), and others. These terms are available in a glossary, a wise and very useful inclusion at the back of the book.

Even the term "is" is included in the glossary and discussed within the book in a way that demonstrates the author's sharpness of consideration:

"Thus the statement `Awareness is real' can be interpreted as meaning: That which is necessary and non-contingent is presence for that which arises from it. The pitfall in this way of thinking is, as always with Awareness, to find some implication of separate existence in the above statement for Awareness. The difficulty with the copulative verb `to be' points up a very significant problem in delving deeper into Awareness. Language and discursive reasoning are inapplicable beyond a certain point. It is fine to talk abstractly about the concept of awareness; it is an error to do so about the real Awareness."

Further description of this book can be given by showing how this terminology comes together:

"Our habitual dichotomization of the mind and the body does not hold in the surjective view of reality in which Awareness animadverts, bringing into being and giving rise to consciousness of, that which it animadverts upon. It doesn't matter if this focus is a thought or a rock." ... "Awareness animadverts the world, including the framework and structure of it, spatially and temporally." ... "It is disconcerting to hold that the phenomena upon which Awareness animadverts exist, but have no separate reality and are not founded upon some substratum apart from Awareness."

Not disconcerting to those with Understanding, but to those who have lost happiness, who see things materialistically or physicalistically, and create lives and communities of difficulty and essential poverty. Ultimately, this book addresses ethics and reformation of consciousness, and calls for understanding the wholeness of reality.

While this book is pure philosophy, Corrigan makes note of the limitations: "Philosophy has been little more than a propagandizing of positions for at least the last two thousand years because each philosopher had an end-point in mind when they began the construction of their system. That is the nature of reasoning itself. It is always goal-directed. Poetry is therefore a much better vehicle for the `Love of Wisdom' that philosophy purports to be. How then, do we find the truth?"

How do we find truth? Well, answers are found throughout the book. In words that are relevant to philosophy itself, Corrigan points to the discovery of truth: "...thinking is a type of phenomenon that arises due to the activity of Awareness and not due to some phenomenal aspect of the world -- that which Awareness gives rise to. That is, it is not something that supervenes upon some aspect of the world. Nor is there any foundation for positing something separate and apart from Awareness itself. If we assume the form of the world in which matter and mind are two separate and distinct classes of being, then we must deal with where and how Mind arises. If we do not make any such assumption, but instead attend to what it is that does occur 'in reality,' and what the source of these 'occurrences' are, then we have no such dualistic problem."

An Introduction to Awareness is a philosophical walk toward an understanding of nonduality. Energized by metis, this book will fully change the world view of one who feels contained within a dualistic reality.

Jerry Katz
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Journey Through Thought to Nonduality Oct. 29 2008
By Maria Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This beautiful book challenges the intellect to gaze upon itself from an unaccustomed place. The first time I read it, I saw it as a well-researched argument for a nondual "position", designed to withstand the criticism of a highly educated, materialistic community. The author uses logic to devour itself in a manner designed to point to the inadequacy of established philosophical dogma to explain what "is". He uses reason like a scalpel, accurately illustrating what happens as one follows a thought to its end. The reader must be careful and patient on this particular journey with James Corrigan, as he leaves no stone unturned.

Reading the book again, letting it unfold, I realized that it is also a direct view of an ongoing process which begins in the mind and comes to rest in the heart. Dissolving mental arguments by following them all the way through to their inevitable demise, one lands in a unifying place of vision and poetry, where connection and love become obvious-- leading, perhaps, to more compassionate, creative solutions to our collective problems by utilizing the mind as the fabulous tool it is, rather than as a divisive and egocentric taskmaster.

The book is a fine piece of intelligent art and a valuable trip worth taking, both for the exercise and the view!
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful and Original Dec 6 2009
By Thomas J. McFarlane - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Corrigan's book displays a rare combination of spiritual insight and philosophical inquiry. While there is no shortage of books of one type or the other, a book that combines them both is a precious gift indeed.

A full appreciation of Corrigan's work, however, does demand of the reader a similar combination, at least to some degree. The academic philosopher without any contemplative orientation may find the book's perspective unfamiliar. It is, after all, not merely an analytical presentation of a system of thought, but an interpretation derived from contemplative insight. The spiritually-oriented reader, on the other hand, may find the philosophical style challenging, e.g., when encountering phrases such as "animadversion of Omnific Awareness," "a conduit of apprehension that is introsuscepted directly," and "the apodictic nature of our experience of phenomenal consciousness."

Either type of reader, however, will be well-rewarded for taking the time to understand this unique work of a true contemplative philosopher. One will find it to be an exacting exploration of the immediacy of existence and an illuminating clarification of conceptual conundrums concealed in our deep, unquestioned habits of experience. Of particular value is its nondual perspective on the foundations of science and the origin of our shared field of experience. The significance of this is not to be underestimated, since it provides the key to a genuine basis for a new worldview in which modern science may be seen as compatible with contemplative realization and the ethical values rooted therein.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Difficult but rewarding May 31 2008
By D. Waite - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
James' background in designing complex computer systems makes him uniquely able to reflect upon modern Western philosophical notions about the nature of perception and thought and the awareness that apparently underlies these. He demonstrates, in a logical and unarguable manner, that the traditional ways in which we try to explain these phenomena must be mistaken and leads us instead to an understanding of the true, if startling, non-dual explanation. Written with careful intellectual rigor, this is not always an easy read but its subject is of paramount importance and the reader is amply rewarded for his efforts. This should be a landmark book in Western philosophical thought.

Dennis Waite, author of Back to the Truth: 5000 years of Advaita
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