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God 4.0; On the Nature of Higher Consciousness and the Experience Called “God”
Robert Ornstein with Sally M. Ornstein
God 4.0 represents the culmination of Robert Ornstein’s lifetime of study and research to increase our understanding of human nature and the way we think, perceive, know, and thrive. It is the final work in the trilogy he considered to be the definitive works of his career, along with his groundbreaking books The Psychology of Consciousness and The Evolution of Consciousness. The three books together provide a fundamental reconsideration of ancient religious and spiritual traditions in light of advances in brain science and psychology, exploring the potential and relevance of this knowledge to contemporary needs and to our shared future.
What does it mean to go beyond our ordinary perception of reality? Why, throughout human history, has almost all of humanity had the concept of transcendence and connection to “the other” – to the “spirit world,” “to God,” or to “the One behind it all?”
Coalescing findings from the shamans of the Ice Age (God 1.0); to the first temples, priests and gods of the Neolithic era and Mesopotamia (God 2.0); to the prophets and the spiritual teachers of Judaism, Christianity and Islam (God 3.0), Ornstein’s new book explores how verbal descriptions of a nonverbal transcendental experience, always understood to be metaphorical, gradually became taken as literal truth.
In a stunning unification of modern science, religion and spirituality, the book presents a provocative new view of “God” centered on the quiescent faculty within each of our minds that, if developed, can help to dissolve religious, tribal and cultural biases and usher in a higher level of conscious connection — a new “spiritual literacy” — God 4.0.
“This landmark book shines new light on things we thought we understood.” — Charles Swencionis, Associate Professor of Psychology, Yeshiva University
“…a stunning tour de force of erudition, deftly summarizing forty thousand years of the human search for spiritual transcendence.” — Lisa Alther, novelist and author of four New York Times best sellers
“I had the great pleasure of interviewing…Ornstein in the 1990s. He was among the core group of thinkers at the forefront of what we now think of as the “consciousness movement” and had the rare gift of combining rigorous scientific methodology with the whimsy and humor of a Sufi storyteller. This, his final book, takes the exploration to a new level – to the very boundary where human consciousness touches the divine.” — Jeffrey Mishlove, PhD Host, New Thinking Allowed
“This book is the capstone to Robert Ornstein’s brilliant, ground-breaking half century of research into the dimensions, capacities, and purposes of human consciousness. A rewarding and fascinating book.” — Tony Hiss, author of Rescuing the Planet: Protecting Half the Land to Heal the Earth
“God 4.0 is a visionary fusion of true spirituality and neuroscience.” — Kenneth R. Pelletier, PhD, MD, Clinical Professor of Medicine, UCSF School of Medicine, Author of Change Your Genes, Change Your Life
“In ‘God 4.0’ Ornstein has combined the latest research to create a new spiritual literacy that offers an understanding of the transcendent nature of consciousness and allows us to truly see God. Humbling, profound and, ultimately, transformative.” — James R. Doty, M.D., Founder/Director, Stanford University Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, Senior Editor, Oxford Handbook of Compassion Science and NYT bestseller ‘Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon’s Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart’
The Psychology of Consciousness
In this new fourth edition of his revolutionary study, Robert Ornstein reexamines what is known about consciousness and why this understanding is so important at this time of enormous challenge, change and potential.
He begins with an exploration of how the human brain evolved as a complex system for limiting what we “pick up” from the vast external environment to just the information we need to survive. We fill in the gaps with “unconscious inferences” — assumptions, categorizations, expectations and habituations that allow us to operate in the world, but that limit our perception of what is, and what is possible.
Going beyond the theory that creative impulses originate in the right side of the brain and rational impulses in the left, he shows how a synthesis of these two functions can bring about “a more complete science of human consciousness with an extended conception of our own capabilities.”
Ornstein proposes that education at all levels should now include learning and teaching about our human nature — the nature of the person being taught. Offering far more than scholarly discourse, he enriches his presentation with thought-provoking illustrations and traditional teachings stories that bring the science to life, giving readers a first-hand taste of what such education might be like.
Only with the development of self-knowledge and the cultivation of a comprehensive, expanded consciousness, he says, will humanity be able to perceive and take the “selfless” steps necessary to solve our collective problems. This new edition comes at a time when on a global scale we need this type of thinking more than ever.
“An original and explosive book. It starts out by making psychology, the science of the mind, what’s it actually is—as exciting and suspenseful as a good mystery story.” — George B. Leonard
“The Psychology of Consciousness . . . should be read by all students of the mind, including psychiatrists and clinical psychologists . . .a fine text to introduce students to the new ideas that are transforming the study of the mind..” — Andrew Weil, Psychology Today
“[Ornstein’s] insights are startling, original and certain to change how we think about ourselves and others.” — Paul Eckman
“…one of the most witty and original psychologists writing today.” — Booklist
The Evolution of Consciousness
The Origins of the Way We Think
What is your mind? How is it that, like the proverbial fish in the ocean, we know so little about something that controls every aspect of our individual and collective lives?
Passionate, entertaining and provocative, The Evolution of Consciousness is a fundamental challenge to our assumptions about the human mind and how it works. Through a panoramic history of the mind’s evolution, Robert Ornstein shows that we are not rational, but adaptive. The mind evolved to help us survive—to avoid danger, procure food, and perpetuate the species—not to reason why.
Within us all is the potential to go beyond what Ornstein describes as the mind’s “squadron of Simpletons,” unconscious mind shifts geared to survival in a world long gone. To solve the collective problems of the modern world we need urgently to develop this innate faculty—a new level of understanding reality in which everyone can take part. It is humanity’s next step.
“Draws together such an abundance of exciting information from so many different sources that the reader is transported years ahead of current thinking and understanding. This breakthrough book sets the stage for a new era in science and in society, about where we come from and how we might remake our minds to overcome the perils we face. A tour de force!” —Stephen LaBerge, author of Lucid Dreaming.
“One of those rare books that are so profoundly exciting they raise the hairs on the back of your neck.” —James Burke, author of The Day the Universe Changed, and Connections
“Every few years one comes across a book that will change one’s thinking forever, and this is one such book…a most incredible work of synthesis and insight…This could be the first work of a new Bible, read again and again by those looking for a wise and intelligent future.” —Stuart Whitwell, Booklist
“As Ornstein shows, the successive adaptions of our ‘monkey brains’ help explain not only how we act today but also how we need to approach key problems in our increasingly technological society” —Thomas W. Malone, MIT
“Instructive and entertaining … If your reading experience mirrors mine, you will learn a lot about the brain and how we think. You will also be entertained, challenged, occasionally annoyed, but never bored.” —Richard M. Restak, The Washington Times.