higher consciousness

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In 19th century philosophy, used by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (died 1831, höheres Bewußtsein), Petr Yakovlevich Chaadayev (died 1856, высшее сознание; literally, "highest consciousness").

The New Age sense appears in ca. 1970 in the publications of Sri Aurobindo and others (The psychology of the unfoldment of higher consciousness (title), Swami Omkarananda, Divine Light Zentrum, 1970).


higher consciousness (plural higher consciousnesses)

  1. (cognitive theory) a supposed mode of cognition beyond human self-awareness
But that the self-consciousness may be the modification of a higher form of being, perhaps of a higher consciousness, and this again of a yet higher, and so on in an infinite regressus (Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Biographia Literaria,1817, chapter 12)
  1. (Hegelianism) the notion of historical progress in the evolution of the human mind
  2. (New Age) a concept of mystical transcendence of human consciousness, especially in Hinduism-inspired New Age philosophy, Yoga and psychedelic drugs subculture