Secret Teachers at Reality Sandwich

My friends at the Reality Sandwich site have posted an excerpt from The Secret Teachers of the Western World. It’s the closing sections of the Introduction, where I present the main argument of the book, that the western esoteric tradition has been the victim of a “consciousness war” going on for the last four centuries, the protagonists of which are our two cerebral hemispheres.

This tradition – which we can also call the “western consciousness tradition”-  has never disappeared. It has only gone underground, and its work has been carried on by many individuals, the “secret teachers” of the book. These range from full-on esoteric figures like Madame Blavatsky and Gurdjieff, to more mainstream thinkers like William James, Henri Bergson, and Plato, the father of western philosophy. I chart the contributions these “secret teachers” and others have made to western consciousness, from the distant past of ancient Greece, to our contemporary “post-everything” world, and suggest that, although we are undoubtedly going through a time of crisis, there is no cause for despair. The very precipice we seem to be teetering on may trigger a profound and much needed shift in our consciousness and enable us, in the words of the poet W. B. Yeats, to “complete our partial mind.”

4 thoughts on “Secret Teachers at Reality Sandwich

  1. I’m just over halfway through your new book. I had expected it to be good. It is your magnum opus. I love metaphor and I cannot decide if it is a tapestry or a river of thoughts and ideas. The time element is important, but the recursive nature of these ideas go beyond the river.

    It’s a brilliant, bird’s eye look at the great ideas that have ran beneath the ground of human evolution and seem now to breaking through to the surface, as they have in the past. But as you, Colin Wilson, and others suggest we are perhaps looking at a period of an evolutionary jump in human consciousness.

    I have your book on my Kindle, but I’m going to buy a paper copy for myself as well as for a few people who may be ready for this.

    Your discussion of these people and their ideas is very down to earth and very accessible. After I reread this book, I’ll be rereading your other books with the greater context for those people that “The Secret Teachers of the Western World” provides. And I’ll plunge back into Gebser. There is much there and I am still working on “The Master and His Emissary” by McGilchrist.

    It’s early, but I don’t think our brain is a reducing valve for the universe – it’s two reducing valves – right first, left second. And Blake and others talk about our fall – I would contend it was and is a semi-conscious descent. I’ve never felt more ignorant in the face of great wisdom as I do right now.

    I can’t thank you enough for exposing me to these great people and ideas – and adding your own. I’ll be reviewing it on Amazon when I’m finished – hopefully to encourage others to explore this vast territory. I’m taking my time to absorb it.

    In short – you knocked it out of the park. I think I’ll grab a hotdog and go back to read. Keep up the excellent, and important work.


    1. John, it’s readers like you that help writers like me keep going. I am of course delighted that you are enjoying the book. I am looking forward to hearing more of your thoughts about it. It’s very encouraging to have an intelligent, perceptive and engaged reader, someone who I know I can exchange ideas with and profit by it. Keep up the good work! And have yourself a merry little Christmas…Gary

  2. After reading and re-reading The Secret Teachers of the Western World, I am still so surprised by how uninformed, deluded, and simply naive I have been in my over 55 years of decoding text. Gary, you have introduced me to people in our world history I never knew existed, people such as Clement of Alexandria, Justin Martyr, Origen, Plotinus, Ficino, Paracelsus…the list goes on. My formal education wasn’t as insightful as this book is to our secrets of living and dying.

    I am so much more informed thanks to your detailed references and I am easily making stronger, more coherent connections to our brave Western explorers, many of whom risked their welfare to find truth and goodness in what it means to be human.

    Thank you for teaching me to smarten up and question more.

    1. Paul, many thanks for these encouraging words. I’m glad you’ve got so much out my book and I hope it leads you on to explore more of our forgotten history. All the best, Gary

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