Blowing the Western Mind

by John E. Mack, M.D.

We hear the expression “consensus reality” used more and more often to distinguish the conventional Western/Newtonian/Cartesian world view from other possible philosophies or frameworks of thought. The frequent bracketing of these words in writing and conversation implies that there is one accepted version of reality that includes a social agreement about what the mind may or may not legitimately countenance, if its owner wishes to remain within mainstream discourse. Yet there is also a connotation of questioning or doubt in the use of the modifying adjective “consensus,” even a certain defensiveness. It is as if the speaker, who may generally accept the prevailing paradigm, does not completely agree that what we have been acculturated to believe is, in fact, the only reality.

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