I listened to a podcast recently (I believe it was an episode of the Occulture podcast) and they were talking about this book and Rudolf Steiner. I decided to read it and see what it was all about.
A misleading title
First of all, the book is called “Developing Supersensible Perception” but the content does not really cover the acquisition of these powers. It is mostly a theoretical volume than a practical one, with no exercises or practices outlined. It could be considered an attempt at explaining scientifically the existence of a universe beyond our known universe, existing outside of time and space, limited by the smallest dimensions in our physical universe, the Planck length and Planck time.
In summary, this book contains some scientific basis to defend the existence of other universes, and explain their identity and the way they interact with our universe. It is not a practical guide in any way, so I find the title is misleading.
Chapter 1. Five Approaches to Supersensible Perception
Rudolf Steiner and higher worlds. Interacting with other-worldly hierarchies. The Akashic records, opening one’s inner eye. The higher self and the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Five ways to develop the higher self: Acquisition by birth, acquisition by drugs, acquisition by prayer, acquisition by psychophysical exercises, acquisition by meditation.
Chapter 2. Activating and Cultivating Supersensible Perception
Three categories of thinking: Imaginative, active, and intuitive. Three ways of learning: Through the inner activity, through a teacher, through an image or book.
Chapter 3. The Four Domains of the Human Being
The physical, etheric, astral, and ego domains. Physics of the four domains. Steiner, Proclus, Patanjali. The astral resides within the blood circulatory system and the etheric within the nervous system, in a 90-degree angle geometry.
Chapter 4. Conditions for Supersensible Perception
The importance of the environment. Inner seclusion. “When you attain to the region of tears, then know that your mind has left the prison of this world“.
Chapter 5. My Journey from Physics to Metaphysics
Author’s experiences with LSD. A light in the forest. Floating Bodhisattvas of China. Tuning the mind to high-pitched frequencies. Reading the Yoga sutras, ayahuasca, and tuning by healing nanobots.
Chapter 6. Indian Tantra and Supersensible Perception
Tantra shastra, mantra, yantra, chakra, samadhi and kundalini. Yoga as the “union of the individual self with the transcendent Self”. Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi. The Mysterious Kundalini by Vasant Rele.
Chapter 7. The Cosmology of Consciousness.
Max Planck, Planck length and time. Holoflux theory of consciousness. Implicate and explicate order. The Ouroboros. David Chalmers and the hard problem of consciousness. Archibald Wheeler and information theory as the basis of existence. Susan Pocket and consciousness as the electromagnetic field itself. Karl Pribram, the Fourier transform. Space-time domain and frequency domain. Existence of a feedback loop between the two domains. Cosmology and the implicate order.
From here on, the book takes a detour and becomes a very dense, hard-to-follow salad of names, theories, and mathematical constants and equations. Being that the title of the book is “Developing Supersensible Perception” and not “Theories about the nature of Consciousness”, I found the latest chapters very hard to follow and I simply skimmed through them without caring too much about the details of what was written. Here’s an example page that illustrates the problem with the second half of the book:
There are no practical exercises, there’s really no explanation as to how one should proceed about developing this supersensible perception, other than perhaps the idea of silencing the mind which can be extracted from some of the quotes by Patanjali or Steiner. For me, only the first four chapters of the book are useful. The rest of the chapters should be moved to a separate book, and the title should probably be changed to “Introduction to Supersensible Perception”.
My Personal Rating: 4/10
This book is an answer to the question “what are some scientific theories or arguments that I can use to defend the claim that there exists a separate universe, from which spirits come, or which could explain the phenomenon of consciousness?” I don’t think I will read it again, because the particular details of how consciousness integrates with our current scientific models really don’t interest me, I was looking for more practical guidance on these subjects, not scientific speculation.