How to Go Out of Your Mind and Come Back Again: Joseph Campbell, Robert Anton Wilson and the Art and Science of Conscious Evolution
Tempel, K.P. van der
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This paper studies some of the main aspects of the so-called twentieth century counterculture, as displayed in the work of two of its most influential authors – the mythologist Joseph Campbell, and the philosopher of science Robert Anton Wilson. Step by step, a comparative approach reveals their common methodology for expanding one's consciousness. This method, the art and science of conscious evolution, is a guide, a way in and out of the mystical experience. To detail the nature of the mystical experience, and the ways in which it is useful to a scientific mindset, this paper describes the physical, psychological, and linguistic techniques that are embraced by the counterculture. These techniques are claimed not only to alter consciousness, by changing one's perception of the world and of oneself, but to help determine the course of evolution on a day to day, moment to moment basis. The argument that is presented in this paper is that counterculture perspectives are not only an eclectic mix of Eastern mystical philosophies of enlightenment, shamanism, ancient mythologies, and contemporary physical and psychological sciences - to name a few - but a viable modern approach to knowledge, culture, and community. The paper concludes by arguing for the adoption of this approach in a mainstream academic setting.