Owen Barfield and the Evolution of Consciousness

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Watkins Books

19-21 Cecil Ct · London

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Closest tube station: Leicester Square (2 mins walking)

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What is the meaning of the disenchantment of our age? Is the ego a clue to a way forward, not a hindrance? What might the next steps in the evolution of human consciousness look like?

These questions, and more, were explored by Owen Barfield. He was a member of the famous Oxford literary group, the Inklings, and the one whom C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien were said to have had the most innovative ideas. Barfield studied how the meaning of words changes over time, and saw that they were fossils of consciousness. The evolving human perception of ourselves, others, nature, the cosmos and the gods can therefore be traced and, moreover, its meaning understood. In this talk, drawing from his new book, Mark Vernon will outline Barfield’s ideas and what they tell us about ancient philosophy, mystical Christianity and our spiritual flourishing today.

Mark Vernon is a writer, broadcaster, psychotherapist and former Anglican priest. He contributes to programmes on the radio, writes and reviews for newspapers and magazines, gives talks and podcasts. His new book is A Secret History of Christianity: Jesus, the Last Inkling, and the Evolution of Consciousness. His previous books have covered themes including friendship and God, ancient Greek philosophy and wellbeing. He has a PhD in ancient Greek philosophy, and other degrees in physics and in theology, and works as a psychotherapist in private practice.