Godhead: The Brain's Big Bang
Joe Griffin & Ivan Tyrrell
by Aubrey Davis
Godhead is the most important new book on the origin, structure, evolution and destiny of humanity and the universe I've read in years. It highlights the recent research and insights of our greatest scientific minds while shedding new light on the intuitions of the ancient mystic sages who anticipated them. It is a welcome antidote to the insidious and destructive meaninglessness that pervades contemporary culture. "Unless a higher meaning is found beyond the belief that survival and the selfish pursuit of pleasure are life's only aims, the tendency for each generation to leave the world in many respects a worse state than they found it will increase".
Neither dryly academic, syrupy religious, nor preachy indoctrinating, much of the book is grounded in research and common sense. Portions that appear bold, outlandish and speculative are supported in the writings of ancient sages; and could refer to dimensions of understanding we have yet to discover.
The authors introduce several key new organizing ideas with enormous explanatory power and far-reaching implications. For example, the brain's big bang refers to the point at which we became human: our sudden capacity to daydream and think conceptually. "...we became the first animal on Earth with the capacity to ponder over different realities, recreate our past mentally and think about what we might do in the present to influence the material world around us in the future." Emergence of this waking REM state enabled us to distance ourselves from the automatic, immediate, instinctual fight and flight response of the animal kingdom, and provided the basis for rationality. Appearing at exactly the same time, the ability to employ reason counterbalanced the power of daydreaming, kept us grounded and avoided psychosis. Complex language, culture, creativity, mystical insight were among the fruits of this bi-lateral evolution. However this came with a price: our susceptibility to psychosis and autistic spectrum disorders.
The authors also assert and martial evidence to show how the human species and consciousness have evolved to play an essential role within the unfolding universe. Consciousness is in a special relationship with matter. Both are key to the makeup and movement of the universe. What we do and how we think, bears directly upon the entire universe - and also on our ability (or lack of it) to directly perceive its inner workings. This could be the missing link in cosmic and quantum physics. Beyond belief, perhaps. To see how and why the authors think it this so, you'll have to read the book.
Reading Godhead was a white knuckle ride through one dazzling, thought-provoking idea after another. My beliefs, assumptions and understanding were repeatedly stretched and challenged; yet something rang true. I felt obliged to keep my mind open and try on ideas to see where they led. The book obliged me to see myself, humankind, our world and our universe with fresh eyes.
If you delight in mentally bracing journeys and BIG QUESTIONS, I can't recommend this book highly enough.”
From an American review
The marriage of science and mysticism!
At last, a book that finally brings science and mysticism together with an explanation that is more than just plausible. I'd read the first Human Givens book (which I loved) but 'Godhead' takes us far deeper into the realms of what might be called 'cosmic consciousness' and the next step for human evolution. It marries what we now know about physics with what the mystics have been experiencing for millennia.
The Big Bang explains what happened to our consciousness 40,000 years ago and that this process is still on-going; the info on pattern-matching, the REM state and the oscillating universe might take more than one reading to fully understand but this is a book that deserves more than one reading.
Having been a bit too 'left-brained' over the last few years (getting hoodwinked by Richard Dawkins and all that reductionist/atheist stuff that left me feeling spiritually empty), Godhead, although very challenging in places, is like a breath of fresh air; it feels like it has given me permission to embrace 'spirituality' (not that New Age stuff, but something that is grounded in sound scientific understanding and what the mystics have reported for thousands of years - and something which I personally have experienced but up until now had no explanation for). I feel my life has more meaning since reading it.
A must read for anyone interested in psychology, consciousness, evolution and real spirituality.
The Real Thing
by John Bell
There are many books that attempt to deal with God, spirituality, our origins, and the very nature of being human. Most dabble, and few reach the mark. This one is for real.
Its title, Godhead: The Brain's Big Bang, is a bold announcement of what lies ahead. The book very clearly lays out the appropriate meeting points of physics, psychology, anthropology, myth and religion, and how they weave together to explain our evolution and our potential future. As such, it's a practical tool for anyone who sincerely wishes to know how one 'ticks', and better understand his or her own purpose in this life.
It is indeed for the open-minded and will challenge many assumptions. Yet, it will also offer a window on how we can meet the many challenges facing us across the globe. The book's implications for new and effective roads are vast.
Be ready for a surprise.
A life changing experience
by Fergus De Rooy
I have been reading in this area for over a decade and I can say that this is the most open, informative and possibly important book I have read to date. The themes here don't get any more ambitious: life, the Universe and everything.
by Julian Penton
Use is made of texts from the fields of archaeology, anthropology, quantum mechanics, psychology, religion and the writings of mystics from several millennia. Each of these areas of human enquiry is drawn upon to make the case for what the authors describe as an up to date "myth" - formulated in a manner consistent with current ways of thinking - and designed to shine light on the nature of reality, as every previous effort of scientific understanding attempted. The end result is very much their own formulation and in total quite unlike anything that has come before (as far as I'm aware at least) - other than the intriguing utterances and poetry of mystics, whom it is claimed have always been referring to the very phenomena which Griffin and Tyrrell suggest explain the underpinnings of reality.
The scope of the material drawn upon in the service of their argument can be breathtaking. Particularly interesting is their respectful reading of the questions and reflections of some of the greatest scientific minds of the last hundred years - including John Wheeler, Albert Einstein, Paul Dirac, Julian Barbour and Robert Oppenheimer - alongside the use of biblical sources. Anyone familiar with previous of the authors' work will recognise the place given to the REM state as having a critical role to play in human development and stability. And the book's first section suggests - as others have too - that the flowering of human development began around forty thousand years ago: the brain's big bang of the book's title. It is suggested that this period saw the emergence of imagination - an example of the REM state working - which made possible a distancing from automatic, instinctual responses and that thereby formed the basis for rationality. The balance between these two states is suggested as possessing huge explanatory power for understanding creativity, pathologies such as psychosis and the nature of the autism spectrum - in fact a new organising idea.
Whilst much in the book presents as creative and reasoned speculation - albeit impressively supported in ways described above - the book ends with an assertion: that the suggested basis of all reality is in fact verifiable. Not by way of laboratory experiment or peer review but by personal experience. This is the science of mysticism but requiring very specific personal qualities and specialised, guided practices.
The book is accessibly written, even if requiring close attention in several places such are its ideas unfamiliar and consequences so thought provoking and potentially even life changing.
Why we do what we do
Godhead: the brain's big bang is well structured and challenging. Well thought through and probably world leading in its hypothesis. Cuts through the myths and presuppositions well.
Another excellent volume from the Human Givens stable.
A tour de force
by Michael Grevis
If Human Givens sparkles with insight, Godhead blazes with Imagination.
This long-awaited book is brilliant and brave, and must be the most rewarding book I've ever read. It really is a tour de force and astonishes with its dazzling originality in trying to answer all the big questions ever asked. (The final solution to the time question is a huge imaginative leap for me.) This work completes what William James began a century ago, and constitutes a huge wake-up call to humanity.
by Margaret Gibson
An astonishing book, rarely have I read one as rich or thought-provoking - it covers an amazing amount of history, archaeology, psychology, physics and even mysticism and pulls them all together in the most powerful and convincing way. I couldn't put it down and read it into the early hours of the morning, night after night.
But these amazing new ideas weren't the only things to grab me - what also struck me was the way that the ideas put forward in 'Godhead' clarified for me previously incomprehensible religious and mystical writings (from different faiths) - here at last is a way to understand what others have been trying to convey for centuries that is also compatible with modern scientific findings. And they give example after example, all apparently talking about the same thing. The idea that there has long been a continual stream of hidden knowledge about the true nature of existence and our purpose in the universe (which has been transmitted through the ages and in different cultures) is, of course, not new, but here the authors suggest that this stream goes back even further than we may have thought to prehistoric times.
An All-Encompassing Masterwork
By John Zada
This is a book of both extraordinary scope and profound insight. Drawing
together knowledge from psychology, ancient wisdom, poetry, literature,
and quantum physics, the authors put forward highly convincing models -
demonstrably consistent with science - about the nature of the universe
and how it operates.
Griffin and Tyrrell take aim at questions which genius minds have grappled with since the dawn of time, not least the enduring conundrum: why do we exist? In doing so they, may have solved some of the fundamental riddles which block the way forward for scientists working in physics and biology today, namely: What is the origin of the information that makes matter possible? How did life arise out of inanimate matter? And,what is consciousness?
Unlike some other works that approach the same, or similar questions, Godhead is neither mired in the indecipherable technical patois of specialist academics, nor blunted by the hollow mystical jargon that nowadays passes for genuine spirituality. Godhead's prose is sharp, sober, informed, flowing, elegant and accessible, leading the reader through its great edifice of knowledge whose passageways and galleries are all shown to be interlinked.
We learn that areas as seemingly distant as physics and psychology are in fact more connected than we could ever imagine. And this leads to one of the main pillars in Godhead's great hall of ideas: that the existence of the physical universe, of the cosmos itself, is directly related to consciousness. The quality of our thoughts, actions and attention, the book alleges, has a very real impact on the constantly changing state of the universe.
Because of Godhead's colossal, multidisciplinary reach, the book has something for everyone. Godhead has as much to offer the curious layperson as it does the most learned scientist. Not only will the reader's knowledge of the external universe be deepened and enriched, but also his or her INTERNAL universe - whose exploration, Godhead alleges, above all others, is the one fundamental task incumbent upon us all. Amazon UK
Fizzing with bright insights!
For these writers, consciousness is of universal importance, not an epiphenomenon, which I've always thought must be so, but their take on how consciousness evolved came as a revelation to me. They also show how mystical lore and modern physics mesh together in a clearer way than any other book I've come across. I found the poetry extracts seen through their eyes astonishingly beautiful and deeply moving. And their ideas about how evolution works, how modern humans arose, human behaviour in prehistoric times and the rise of ancient civilisations and religion are quite fascinating and is making me think a lot. I have concluded that despite their unfamiliarity, these ideas do ring true.
That relationships are important and our lives have a meaning and purpose is central to health and happiness and, as one would expect from psychologists, they also include advice and information about various topics that can help us all to cope better with living, such as; how we learn, relationships, creativity, hypnosis, and why we are so prone to mental illness. This makes for a very rich read. They have an upbeat, pithy writing style and I loved the wise, dry humour they use to throw light on the great mysteries of life.
I am a slow reader but it is a book I shall return to again and again. A superb read. I can't recommend it highly enough.