This is an attempted scientific study of illuminated individuals. Bucke provides three dozen very consistent examples of ‘cosmic consciousness. Richard Maurice Bucke. · Rating details · ratings · 28 reviews. This work is the magnum opus of Bucke’s career, a project that he researched and wrote. Cosmic Consciousness is a higher form of consciousness than that possessed by the ordinary man. This last.

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History of Psychiatry homepage. In AD, Richard Maurice Buckepsychiatrist, published “Cosmic Consciousness” a year before he died and revealed in great detail his etiology of insanity as purely evolutionary biology and viewed the insane and “mentally ill” as incurable evolutionary misfits, failures in “natural selection” with weak, deformed minds operating at mere animal level: The hopelessness of this class of cases as regards recovery is well understood by all alienists [psychiatrists], and it is not difficult to see why such insanities should and must be practically incurable, since their very existence denotes the absence of the elements necessary to form and maintain a normal human mind in the subjects in question Clinical observation teaches day by day that the above reasoning is solidly grounded.

Of course he justified his dark inward “survival of the fittest” motives of cutting out female ovaries with the recently discovered endocrine treatments for hypothyroidism and the current view that insanity was caused by secretions of the sex organs and masturbation.

He justified his practice of putting a wire cage over the penis or sewing a suture stitch directly onto the prepuce, to prevent further insanity caused by masturbation, but it was more likely that it was a method of birth control within the London Asylum. Like Haeckel, Bucke falsified his “clinical trials” as proof he had discovered the best treatment for insanity.

He was a racist who believed African Negroes and Australian Aboriginals operated on the animal level of mere “simple consciousness” which accounted for their much lower rate of insanity that Aryan nations who had developed the higher levels of “Self and Cosmic Consciousness”.

It seems impossible to believe that as a race these creatures are self conscious. Bucke felt that Negros and Aboriginals couldn’t go insane, because insanity involved the loss of higher thinking which they did not possess. For Bucke there were three stages of intellectual evolution within humans on earth: His book, Cosmic Consciousness was his personal inventory his 14 guru’s who represented this future race: He obviously viewed himself as the 15th When his idol, mentor and fellow humanist, Walt Whitman died, he proclaimed, ” The Christ is dead!

Richard Maurice Bucke – Wikipedia

He was also communist who looked forward to the classic Marxist “utopia” where religion would vanish when in the future every man will be his own god: Each soul will feel and know itself to be immortal “. Although the son of a church minister, he had very confused religious views that were a mix of atheism, humanism, Bahai, Buddhism, John Lennon, Shirley Maclaine while firmly parroting but disbelieving the Christian doctrine of conscious life after death. Speaking to his deceased son inhe echoes what his father taught him: I am sure I shall meet you and them “.

The material part of his dichotomous view of manwas that the intellect was physically located in cerebral-spinal nervous system and that the moral nature and emotions are physically located in the sympathetic nervous system. He was co-founder of the University of Western Ontario’s medical school.

Being widely respected and very influential, he is responsible for setting the type of care all Canadians have experienced including insulin shock injections up to and ECT to the present. In Canada, chemical psychiatry has been the dominant view ever since.

Bucke lobbied doctors in Ontario for support of his sterilization treatment for insanity. For the amount of actual influence he had, there wasn’t much science he had right, being trained as a humoral doctor comsciousness adopting the view of William Battie AD and Nicholas Robinson AD that insanity was caused by defective nerves and body secretions. His evolutionary view and biologic etiology of the human mind led him to view most cases of insanity as incurable.

Just as Darwin conceived his theory of biologic evolution on an incorrect understanding of the geology he observed at Tierra del Fuego, so too Bucke conceived his theory evolution of the mind upon Darwin. As a philosopher, Bucke’s views are widely accepted among today’s chemical psychiatristswho are restrained from harming people like Bucke did, only by law. Ccosmic hostile views against Christianity endure to this very day in the Canadian Mental health buke.

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Richard Maurice Bucke

Real appreciation of Richard Maurice Bucke’s letters to Walt Whitman requires some understanding of the circumstances under which they were written.

After Whitman’s series of strokes in June ofhe and Bucke both knew that he was dying—indeed, every few months Bucke would prepare to depart for Camden, positive that Whitman’s death was at hand. The illness, however, was lingering and protracted, and, as much as anything, Bucke’s motive in writing was simply to stay in touch.

His letters to Whitman frequently contain nothing more than trivia, but at times their blandness is deceptive. Bucke would often write an urgent and anxious letter to Horace Traubel and a leisurely and chatty one to Whitman on the same day. Some of his letters to Traubel indicate that all was not going smoothly within the group of Whitman disciples, but Bucke either avoided discussing these problems in his letters to Whitman or alluded to them only in passing, displaying the smooth bedside manner of the physician.

There is also another and more subtle reason for the general tone and content of the letters of Bucke to Whitman. Whitman did not enjoy writing or receiving ‘literary’ letters.

What he liked were glimpses of commonplace, ordinary life. A comparison of Bucke’s letters consciousjess his friend Harry Buxton Forman—full of literary and philosophic speculations—with those he wrote to Whitman shows that Bucke suited his style to Whitman’s taste.

Bucke’s most immediate service to Whitman, however, was that of a physician. He told him that he needed a full-time male nurse, helped Traubel start a fund to pay for one, and even sent Edward Wilkins from London, Ontario, to Camden to serve in that capacity.

He arranged for Sir William Osler to examine Whitman and to recommend consciousjess for him in the Camden-Philadelphia area. From time to time, Bucke would send Whitman a prescription, conssciousness a digestive aid, but what was perhaps most important was that he turned a sympathetic, yet professional, ear to the poet’s minute and sustained descriptions of his physical ailments.

Bucke, a book collector, was intensely interested in every aspect of Whitman bibliography, and many letters to Whitman discuss various items which he wished for his collection. Although Whitman was no bibliophile, he gladly supplied Bucke with manuscripts and printed materials, realizing that a comprehensive collection of his work buckee taking shape.

The greatest value of these letters, however, lies in the indirect narrative they provide of Bucke’s attempt to lay the foundations for a new religion. For Bucke, Whitman was. Bucke felt that he was one of the few who appreciated this astounding fact and was concerned with the orderly transfer of authority and doctrine from dying master to living disciples.

It was necessary to establish the identity of the true band of believers and to determine the structure of power within that group, and it is especially interesting to note how, in the process of Bucke’s efforts, some of Whitman’s older disciples, like John Burroughs, were gradually eased out of places of importance in the poet’s inner circle.

It was also necessary for Bucke to convert the unbelieving, and in some respects his trip to England the year before Whitman died could be called an apostolic journey. However, without some understanding of Bucke’s childhood experiences or of the peculiar philosophic system he attempted to work out, much of this devotion to Whitman may appear to be no more than unbridled and flamboyant enthusiasm.

When Bucke was a year old, the family emigrated to Upper Canada and settled ocnsciousness a farm near London, Ontario. Bucke, who had a reading knowledge of seven languages, brought his library of several thousand volumes to Canada, and it was among these books that the Bucke children educated themselves. Even as a child Bucke was curious about the after-life and other spiritual matters. He later recalled that ‘on one occasion when about ten years old he earnestly longed to die that the secrets of the beyond, if there were any beyond, might be revealed to him’.

He claimed that ‘He never, even as a child, accepted the doctrines of the Christian church; but, as soon as old enough to dwell at all on such themes, conceived that Jesus was a man—great and good no doubt, but a man.

That no one would ever be condemned to everlasting pain. That if a conscious God existed he was the supreme master and meant well in the end to all; but that, this visible life here being ended, it was doubtful, or more than doubtful, whether conscious identity would be preserved. At the age of sixteen, Bucke left Ontario and headed for the West, eventually reaching California. In the next five years his adventures included fighting off, with a few companions, a band of Shoshone Indians, marching for miles with only a little flour mixed with water to eat, freezing one foot so badly that he had to have it amputated, and coming close to discovering the fabulous Comstock lode.


He was graduated as a doctor of medicine in His thesis, ‘The Correlation of the Vital and Physical Forces’, showing his early interest in the relationship of the spiritual and the physical, won the Governor’s Prize and was published.

Bucke then left Canada for two years of study in England and France. A portion of his diary, for the years tohas survived6 and provides a record of his day-to-day reading, which was both systematic and extensive. Along with medical books he read philosophy and literature.

He read Auguste Comte almost daily, but his most detailed diary notations concern fiction and poetry. Although he read the classics systematically, he reserved his commentaries for contemporary literature.

One of his favorite novels was Charles Kingsley’s highly romantic Westward, Ho!. His entry for 5 May reads:. When Bucke left England the Forman brothers continued to keep him up to date on the literary news. Bucke set up medical practice in Sarnia, Ontario, in Januaryand matters seemed to be going well at first. Early in March, however, he bycke received two letters and a telegram from California friends urging him to return because a lawsuit was being brought against a mining company there and he was needed as a witness at the trial.

He practiced cosmmic little medicine but, with this income to support him, devoted most of his time to reading and to learning German.

Cosmic Consciousness, Richard Maurice Bucke, AD

From time to time he mused about becoming a writer he had written some verse as a student but came to realize that his role was to appreciate rather than to create.

On 1 Julyhe made the following entry:. Music and singing in the parlor in the evening—Someone sang an old song that Fanny P.

Bucke’s most notable accomplishment in California was learning to read and to speak German. He hired a German tutor and took a room in the home of a German family to practice the language.

In later years, Bucke put his mastery of German in the service of Whitman. After returning to Sarnia, Bucke revived his medical practice and, inmarried. He settled into the routine of the small-town doctor, and the only point of interest in his diary entries in this period is his casual attitude toward Christianity.

The following is his entry for Christmas Day of When Bucke attended church, he attended grudgingly. On 15 Februaryhe noted: To church in morning for first time in four or five weeks and was disjusted at myself for going today but one must give in a little on such points—’.

Bucke stopped making regular diary entries on 4 March My life also now that I am fairly married and settled down to work is so monotonous that what I said of it one day answers for every other day—and there is therefor [sic] no object in keeping a daily record of my doings,—’.

There are only two more entries in the diary, one on 6 March and the other on 19 October It was during this period of his life that Bucke first heard of Walt Whitman. In ‘Memories of Walt Whitman’ he recalls this incident and the profound effect it had on him:. I recall as if it were yesterday the first time I ever heard pronounced the name of the author of ‘Leaves of Grass.

A friend of mine, who then lived in Montreal, the Mineralogist to the Geological Survey of Canada, a first-class chemist, geologist and scientist generally, T.

Sterry Hunt, was visiting me in Sarnia, where I then lived and practiced. In documenting the early stages of Bucke’s discipleship, the letters between him and the Forman brothers are extremely useful. You will probably have got a copy and taken it home and looked into it, but have you soaked through the crust into the heart of it? Have you seen that here is the modern poet?

Especially the American poet, and the only one so far, the founder of American literature as Goethe was of German literature? In fact if I am not mistaken we have here correct revelation–For this is A man as he reveals himself—. Your mention of Walt Whitman opens up a subject of steadily growing enthusiasm with me.

I have read him a little from a friend’s copy, and a good deal from my own copy of Rossetti’s edition.