A Secret History of Consciousness

Gary Lachman; Introduction by Colin Wilson

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An exciting contemporary thinker considers what consciousness is like and how it can be achieved. Traces the development of consciousness from the late nineteenth century onwards, including Ouspensky, Steiner, Bergson and Barfield.

234 x 156 mm
Lindisfarne Books
Philosophy of Human Life
280 pages
Publication date:
21 Aug 2003


-- What is consciousness like?
-- How can consciousness be achieved?

Gary Lachman argues that consciousness is not a result of neurons and molecules, but is actually responsible for them. Meaning, he proposes, is not imported from the outer world, but rather creates the world.
He shows that consciouness is a living, evolving presence whose development can be traced through different historical periods. Concentrating on the late nineteenth-century onwards, Lachman exposes the 'secret history' of consciousness through thinkers such as P. D. Ouspensky, Rudolf Steiner, and Colin Wilson, as well as more mainstream philosophers like Henri Bergson, William James, Owen Barfield and psychologist Andreas Mavromatis.
Two little known but important thinkers play a major role in Lachman’s argument: Jurij Moskvitin, who showed how our consciousness relates to the mechanisms of perception and to the external world; and Jean Gebster, who presented perhaps the most impressive case for the evolution of consciousness.
This is a far-reaching book from an exciting contemporary thinker.


'Sophisticated and impressive. Moving from meditations on prehistoric and Neanderthal consciousness to the 'irruptions of time' wrought on us by the pace of life and the 'simultaneities' of digital media and the Internet, Secret History of Consciousness packs a powerful punch. 9 out of 10 -- a white-water ride.'
-- Mike Jay, Fortean Times

'In this remarkable book, Lachman has approached the subject from many different angles [and] offers ideas from many thinkers, providing a rich mix. Well worth the effort, and a book to go back to again and again.'
-- Pamela Allsop, Light: A Review of Spiritual and Psychic Knowledge, Winter 2004

'What is lucidly and insightfully drawn together in this book is not so much a secret history as a neglected history. It can be read with profit both by those interested in the nature of consciousness and in the history of reflections upon its nature and characteristics. It is well referenced and has a helpful bibliography. This is a book which I would wish to refer to again.'
-- Kevin Tingay, Christian Parapsychologist, March 2004

'There is much of interest in this informative work.'
-- The Beacon, July 2004

'A useful and thought-provoking book, clearly and enthusiastically written and neatly contextualising many ideas. For those who have read deeply but not widely it will be an excellent overview and introduction to Steiner's antecedents and contemporaries.'
-- Pat Cheney, New View, Autumn 2003

'A marvellously exhilarating gallop through every important modern theory of consciousness, from Steiner to Maslow, from Bucke's "cosmic consciousness" to Gebser's "integral consciousness".'
-- Colin Wilson, author of The Occult and Mysteries

'Highly readable and interesting.'
-- Greenock Telegraph, 10 October 2003

'A must read for those seeking an escape from our contemporary culture's cul-de-sac.'
-- Daniel Pinchbeck, author of Breaking Open The Head

'Lachman challenges many contemporary theories by reinserting a sense of the spiritual back into the discussion … Profoundly erudite, yet easy to read, this book is a provocative mind-stretcher.'
-- Leonard Schlain, author of The Alphabet Versus the Goddess

'This book is itself a cultural correction to the overemphasis on the material aspect of life.'
-- David Lorimer, Scientific and Medical Network Review, Spring 2007


Gary Lachman is the former bass player and composer for Blondie, the guitarist for Iggy Pop, and leader of his own groups The Know and Fire Escape. He has written for the Times Literary Supplement, Literary Review and Mojo. He is the author of Turn Off Your Mind: The Mystic Sixties and the Dark Side of the Age of Aquarius (2000) and New York Rocker (2002). He lives in London.

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