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The Psychology of Consciousness (Arkana)
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The Psychology of Consciousness (Arkana) [Mass Market Paperback]

Robert E. Ornstein (Author)
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews) Like (0)

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Book Description

November 1, 1995 Arkana
This is an exploration of the creative and rational aspects of human behaviour. In this revised edition, Robert Ornstein re-examines what is known about consciousness and answers this question through a consideration of intuition and reason.

Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics); 2 Rev Sub edition (November 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140195203
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140195200
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 4.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,061,021 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Contrary to purely psychology-centered books that miss a lot of the non-behavioral aspects of consciousness and to "spiritual" ones that explain everything based on one point of view, this one discuss both sides of the story. Consciousness is not just about the brain, or thoughts, or some spiritual way of seeing life, but it emcompasses everything, what we are and what we live.

Ornstein shows quite well that the scientific viewpoint is too limited and focused in purpose to broadly explain consciousness. By choosing to deal with the subjective aspects of consciousness, Ornstein provides a full account of the aspects of consciousness that are necessary to improve our understanding of it. To understand consciousness it is necessary to deal with aspects linked to culture, psychology, and education, but also to more experiential (some will say less scientific, more subjective, personal) aspects that cannot be communicated but are equally important to know what consciousness is about.

As pointed out by another reviewer, the second part that deals with non-scientific aspects of consciousness is not well organized. Furthermore, it is largely centered on the Sufi viewpoint. Other eastern philosophies and religions have a lot to say about consciousness and are not treated in this book. But this view of consciousness is mostly subjective and does not fit very well any organization, so i don't think this is a problem. The choice of the Sufi spiritual tradition does seem a good choice to me as Sufism is not really embedded in a particular culture (although some might argue it is grounded on Islam, this point is not relevant as Sufism goes beyond any conception of life or any religious tradition).

I think that this book does a fair job at linking scientific with non-scientific aspects of consciousness. This topic is certainly important for human kind to develop a less dogmatic view of what we are and why. Science is good to answer the "what" question, while religion, philosophy and spitirual practice tackle the "why" answer.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This little handbook reminds me how I make decisions. I was especially affected by the way that Dr. Ornstein put the saying, "It's not really 'I'll believe it when I see it.', but on the contrary, 'I'll see it when I believe it.'"
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book is a concise and inspiring introduction to what behaviorists left out of psychology, written by a pioneer in the scientific study of consciousness. Ornstein writes with humor and clarity, discussing with equal ease those questions of psychology that science can in principle answer, and also with those which require experiential, rather than experimental, answers. This is a classic, with much of continuing relevance 30 years after first publication.

Reviewers and readers alike should remember the words of Omar Khayyam quoted in this book: "I am a mirror, and who looks at me, whatever good or bad he speaks, he speaks of himself."

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