An Introduction to Awareness Paperback – Oct 13 2006
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About the Author
James M. Corrigan, MA, ABD, is an Educator, Philosopher, Author, Poet, and Environmentalist. After three decades as a software designer and consultant, he returned to university to pursue a doctorate in philosophy driven by his insights into the nature of consciousness and the source of human creativity that came to imbue his two decades of research into the problem of automating software development. He argues that our assumptions about consciousness being an emergent or supervenient phenomenon are wrong, and points to Awareness as the unifying nature of all physical manifestation that is free, spontaneously creative and which is the deeply affective wholeness of reality.
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
"Morning breeze brings news of beauty,
let the fresh fragrance stay.''
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
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.
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.
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!
Dennis Waite, author of Back to the Truth: 5000 years of Advaita