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Book: An Experiment with Time, J.W. Dunne

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ISBN: 1-57174-234-4 : Softcover.
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Classics in Consciousness
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Preface by Russell Targ

An Experiment With Time
by J.W. Dunne

       The general reader will find that this book demands from him no previous knowledge of science, mathematics, philosophy, or psychology. It is considerably easier to understand that are, say, the rules of Contract Bridge.

       The 'Infinite Regress', I may explain to the uninitiated, is a curious logical development which appears immediately one begins to study 'self-consciousness' or 'will' or 'time'. A self-conscious person is one 'who knows that he knows'; a willer is one who, after all the motives which determine choice have been taken into account, can choose between those motives; and time is ¯ but this book is about that.

       The usual philosophic method of dealing with any regress is to dismiss it, with the utmost promptitude, as something 'full of contradictions and obscurities.' Now, at the outset of my own perplexing experiences, I supposed that this attitude was justified. But the glaring regress in the notion of 'time' was a thing which had intrigued me since I was a child of nine (I had asked my nurse about it).

       At the end, I found myself confronted with the astonishing facts that the regressions of 'consciousness,' 'will' and 'time' were perfectly logical, perfectly valid, and the true foundations of all epistemology.

       The book contains the first analysis of the Time Regress ever completed. Incidentally, it contains the first scientific argument for human immortality. This, I may say, was entirely unexpected. Indeed, for a large part of the time that I was working, I believed that I was taking away man's last hope of survival in a greater world.

From the Introduction, J.W. Dunne, March 15, 1934

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