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Radical Nature [Paperback]

Quincey Christian De
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Book Description

Feb. 23 2010
An exploration of consciousness in all matter--from quantum to cosmos

• Outlines theories of consciousness in ancient and modern philosophy from before Plato to Alfred North Whitehead

• Reveals the importance of understanding mind-in-matter for our relationships with the environment, with other people, even with ourselves

Are rocks conscious? Do animals or plants have souls? Can trees feel pleasure or pain? Where in the great unfolding of life did consciousness first appear? How we answer such questions can dramatically affect the way we live our lives, how we treat the world of nature, and even how we relate to our own bodies.

In this new edition of the award-winning Radical Nature, Christian de Quincey explores the “hard problem” of philosophy--how mind and matter are related--and proposes a radical and surprising answer: that matter itself tingles with consciousness at the deepest level. It’s there in the cells of every living creature, even in molecules and atoms. Tracing the lineage of this idea through Western philosophy and science, he shows that it has a very noble history--from before Plato to Alfred North Whitehead. He reveals that the way to God is through nature and that understanding how body and soul fit together has surprising consequences for our relationships with our environment, with other people, and even with ourselves.

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Review

Radical Nature is thoughtful and filled with facts that clearly refute materialism and the modern scientific outlook on life. He [Christian de Quincey] deftly outlines the paradox of consciousness, including its conceptions in history back to the ancient Greeks.” (Lesley Crossingham, New Dawn Magazine, May 2011)

“One of the most important books on consciousness and cosmology to appear in decades. Anyone interested in questions about soul and nature, about the relationship between consciousness and the world of matter, about meaning in the universe, needs to read it.” (Brian Swimme, Ph.D., cosmologist, coauthor of The Universe Story, and author of The Universe Is a Gr)

“Christian de Quincey is a thoughtful and well-informed writer whose articles in the Noetic Sciences Review and elsewhere represent some of the best writing in this field. Radical Nature provides a comprehensive overview to modern debates about the nature of consciousness. It will appeal to thoughtful readers.” (Rupert Sheldrake, Ph.D., author of Morphic Resonance)

Radical Nature exposes the biggest con job in the history of human thought--that matter and nature are dead, mindless, unfeeling, and disconnected from ourselves. De Quincey gives us an image that is as hopeful and fulfilling as the old view was empty and depressing. Never have we needed such a view as now.” (Larry Dossey, M.D., author of Healing Beyond the Body and Reinventing Medicine)

Radical Nature is a unique book that gets right down to the essence of the challenges facing any science of consciousness. Essential reading for anyone interested in consciousness studies.” (Peter Russell, author of The Global Brain and From Science to God)

“Christian de Quincey illuminates a cosmological sense of consciousness with this accessible, pioneering work. His writing sparkles and the ideas sing.” (Charlene Spretnak, author of States of Grace)

Radical Nature is a powerful corrective to the prevalent dualisms encoded in our culture and consciousness. De Quincey articulates another way of knowing and appreciating the world that rearranges our universe in quite remarkable ways. These well-researched and thought-provoking explorations are a philosophical road map for bridging the gap between spirit and matter.” (Suzi Gablik, author of Conversations before the End of Time)

“Christian de Quincey is that rare thing: someone equally at home in analytical philosophy and in the spirit of the New Age. No one knows better how to criticize the materialist position from the inside. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Radical Nature. If anything can shake the current scientific complacency about the mindlessness of matter, this will.” (Nicholas Humphrey, Ph.D., author of A History of the Mind and Leaps of Faith)

“Aboriginal peoples of the world (wherever they’re still found intact) know that consciousness goes ‘all the way down.’ They perceive this as directly and as intuitively as we perceive the humor in a joke. For this reason, it’s not really something we can ‘discover’ any more than we ‘discovered’ America. Nonetheless, for us latecomers (for whom the concept is a stranger), Christian de Quincey has provided a delightfully accessible foundation for its rediscovery.” (Daniel Quinn, author of Ishmael)

“A brilliant and much-needed book. De Quincey has produced a deep work that is both intellectually satisfying and spiritually reunitive.” (Joseph Prabhu, Ph.D., professor of philosophy, California State University)

Radical Nature is a serious, philosophical-scientific treatise that addresses the greatest philosophical issue of all times and throws light on it. The concept of matter as inert and ‘dead’ was indeed an exception in the long history of intellectual thought, but it came to be equated with self-evident truth in the modern mind. De Quincey shows that this is an aberration--that the universe is far more complex, vital, and ‘interesting’ than standard materialistic science envisages. It is time to return to the concept that there is consciousness in nature, as de Quincey says, ‘all the way down.’ The rediscovery of this perennial insight lends both fresh meaning to our individual existence and a fresh impetus to changing our attitude to nature from exploitation to participation.” (Ervin Laszlo, Ph.D., author of WorldShift 2012 and Science and the Akashic Field)

“A breakthrough in understanding humanity’s place in the community of beings. De Quincey brings together a depth of philosophical expertise with a compassionate understanding of our history. He charts a worldview that is fully in accord with the latest scientific discoveries of the role of mind in the cosmos.” (Chris Clarke, theoretical physicist, University of Southampton )

About the Author

Christian de Quincey, Ph.D., is a professor of philosophy and consciousness studies at John F. Kennedy University, dean of consciousness studies at the University of Philosophical Research, founder of The Wisdom Academy, and an international speaker on consciousness, cosmology, and spirituality. He is the author of Radical Knowing, Consciousness from Zombies to Angels, and a novel, Deep Spirit. He lives in California.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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4.0 out of 5 stars Avoids Panexperientialism for Comfort April 8 2011
Format:Paperback
Christian de Quincey, Managing Editor of the IONS (Institute of Noetic Sciences) Review and advocate for a unified view of consciousness, cosmology, and spirituality should be well-known to the readers of this journal. He has placed his endorsement of panexperientialism -- the view that physical nature experiences -- in opposition to the perspectives of Colin McGinn (1994), Nick Humphrey (2000a), and Ken Wilber (2000b) in three JCS articles (much of which is repeated here). Panexperientialism is a bracing notion, one in which human consciousness arises from the natural life of the universe without the explanatory gap of traditional materialism or the need for any sort of supernatural miracle.

For me, it is 'a consummation devoutly to be wished'. Scientists, too, should feel a great sense of relief that they no longer have to suffer the frustration of seeking the cause of subjective experience amidst objective reality because subjective experience has been here all the time! De Quincey states forthrightly that his purpose is less to argue than 'to tell a new cosmology story aimed at healing the split between mind and body, between consciousness and the physical world' (p. xii). So what we are dealing with here is not traditional philosophy at all, but therapy. Since the case for panexperientialism cannot be revealed experimentally or logically, de Quincey's therapy will proceed by going beyond such and appealing directly to the 'paradox of experience' itself.

This all sounds agreeable to me so I gird my loins for this adventure into raw experience (even though de Quincey has proven himself so excellent at intellection that his restatement of Humphrey's A History of the Mind was recommended by Humphrey himself (2000) as the best summary available).
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars BIG topic but repeats & avoids April 8 2011
By Gregory Nixon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Christian de Quincey, Managing Editor of the IONS (Institute of Noetic Sciences) Review and advocate for a unified view of consciousness, cosmology, and spirituality should be well-known to the readers of this journal. He has placed his endorsement of panexperientialism -- the view that physical nature experiences -- in opposition to the perspectives of Colin McGinn (1994), Nick Humphrey (2000a), and Ken Wilber (2000b) in three JCS articles (much of which is repeated here). Panexperientialism is a bracing notion, one in which human consciousness arises from the natural life of the universe without the explanatory gap of traditional materialism or the need for any sort of supernatural miracle.

For me, it is 'a consummation devoutly to be wished'. Scientists, too, should feel a great sense of relief that they no longer have to suffer the frustration of seeking the cause of subjective experience amidst objective reality because subjective experience has been here all the time! De Quincey states forthrightly that his purpose is less to argue than 'to tell a new cosmology story aimed at healing the split between mind and body, between consciousness and the physical world' (p. xii). So what we are dealing with here is not traditional philosophy at all, but therapy. Since the case for panexperientialism cannot be revealed experimentally or logically, de Quincey's therapy will proceed by going beyond such and appealing directly to the 'paradox of experience' itself.

This all sounds agreeable to me so I gird my loins for this adventure into raw experience (even though de Quincey has proven himself so excellent at intellection that his restatement of Humphrey's A History of the Mind was recommended by Humphrey himself (2000) as the best summary available). But here all de Quincey tells me is that when intellect faces paradox, 'we must bow in silence before the mystery -- and participate with it on its own ineffable terms' (p. 22).

Unfortunately, de Quincey postpones such 'bowing' and does the usual thing with relativity, quantum physics, and chaos theory, the three twentieth century sciences that have undermined mechanism. We next get a summary of the philosophical mind-body problem (even though we know he's already solved it) and the history of panpsychist thinking. I was still awaiting my direct revelation when I found there were two meanings to 'consciousness': one `psychological' that distinguishes between conscious and unconscious (or preconscious) experience, the other 'philosophical' that equates consciousness with experience 'all the way down'. Ignoring the fact that many psychologists and philosophers would disagree with this prescription, it seemed to me de Quincey might be folding his tents and preparing to leave the panexperientialist encampment. (And this has be borne out in his later publications when he rejects the term.)

The important point about panexperientialism is that it recognizes that conscious experience is a particular quality or mode of universal experiencing in which the mindful apprehension of both world and of physical experience is present. To fall back on the archaic term panpsychism is to open the door to the Mind of -- or beyond -- Nature, which is top-down, shamelessly religious faith, not the sort of pantheistic panexperientialism I had come to expect from de Quincey. In this way, de Quincey differentiates his views from the panexperientialism of his colleague David Ray Griffin who apparently coined the term (in Cobb & Griffin, 1977).

This panpsychist-panexperientialist question left me in a panic. Who am I to believe now? Will my direct experience of 'radical nature' be conscious or unconscious? It is a good thing that *Radical Nature* is only the first volume in a proposed trilogy that will be followed by *Radical Knowing* and *Radical Science*. I eagerly anticipate the next two as surely they will cure my pandemic confusion. (This was written after the first edition.)

References

Cobb, J.B., Jr. & Griffin, D.R., eds. (1977). *Mind in Nature: Essays on the Interface of Science and Philosophy* (Washington, DC: University Press of America).

de Quincey , C. (1994), 'Consciousness all the way down? -- An analysis of McGinn's critique of panexperientialism', *Journal of Consciousness Studies* 1 (2), pp. 217-29.

de Quincey, C. (2000a), 'Conceiving the inconceivable: Fishing for consciousness with a net of miracles', *Journal of Consciousness Studies* 7 (4), pp. 67-81.

de Quincey, C. (2000b), 'The promise of integralism: A Critical appreciation of Ken Wilber's Integral Psychology', *Journal of Consciousness Studies* 7 (11-12), pp. 177-208.

Humphrey, N. (2000), 'In reply,' *Journal of Consciousness Studies* 7 (4), pp. 98-112.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Invitation to global responsibility Jan. 17 2012
By a. cirronis (L.A, CA) - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Inspired by the love for nature and a justified concern for today's global crisis, Christian de Quincey invites us to look at the impact our beliefs have on the world we live in. How the stories, especially about our place in the cosmos, have created a separation between humans and the rest of nature. These stories have convinced us that consciousness belongs only to humans (with the exception of a few other highly evolved brains who might be lucky enough to posses a mind, such as whales and chimpanzees). The rest of the cosmos is otherwise viewed as void of consciousness and mind. Because of this, we feel special, and both science and religion are ready to confirm it. We think we are special because we have consciousness; because we have a soul.
It is precisely this sense of superiority towards other living creatures and the rest of nature that creates the root-cause of our endangered world. The crises we are facing--from global warming to the vanishing rainforests, and the presence of nuclear and biological weapons--are a real and disturbing threat to the Earth and the habitat we've inherited. These crises are the expression of an unbalanced relationship between humans and the rest of nature--the result of the dominant story of materialism and the split between consciousness and the physical world. The state of today's world confirms this theory indeed. We've given ourselves the right to prioritize our wellbeing and desires over nature and other leaving creatures.
Radical Nature begins by portraying a dying world as a result of the actions of egocentric and murderous humans. Thankfully, this sad but truthful story is not meant to leave us feeling hopeless nor helpless. Instead, de Quincey reevaluates the assumptions of science, religion, and philosophy--which prevent us from evolving into a harmonious co-existence with nature and the world around us.
In Radical Nature, de Quincey offers a new and broader view of each:
A new view of nature--where matter tingles with sparks of spirit, where consciousness is in everything and, therefore, we share it with the rest of nature and thus we become an integral part of it.
A new view of science--that explores consciousness as well as matter, subjects as well as objects, and is open to different ways of knowing beyond the senses and reason.
A new view of religion--where God is not "supernatural," but where spirit is present throughout nature, and where priests are replaced by shamans who guide us to communicate with spirit and nature.
This might be, as de Quincey describes it, just "a likely story," but certainly it is one worth taking into consideration since we are not just creating disharmony for ourselves but for every species that inhabits this planet.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it! Aug. 25 2012
By Nothing - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is one of may all time favorite books. I've read it over on many occasions and have so many underlines and highlights it's almost time to for a new copy. Does an admirable job providing an overview of the mind body dilemma and explaining a panexperientialist solution. It does this in a clear and easy to understand manner. It's also an entertaining read and a real page turner. Definitely not something you have to force yourself to trudge through to finish. The second book in this trilogy is also worth reading but didn't totally live up to my expectations based on how amazing this first book was. I'm looking forward to the release of the third.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking April 24 2013
By David White - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I liked the ideas behind this much more than the in-depth defense of several other people's theories, which I thought were a bit excessive. Still, I found the main argument of this book very thought-provoking.
0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Service Dec 16 2011
By Sunita - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book arrived on time. It is just like a new book. I am happy with my order and will recommend ordering books from them.
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