Lecture on the evolution of consciousness and Owen Barfield

It’s been noted that the human experience of life has changed over time, and that during an “axial age”, in the middle of the first millennium BCE, a consciousness that is akin to our own first began to emerge. It’s why, in the west, we feel that philosophy began with figures like Socrates who lived then.

So what are the features of this consciousness, what preceded it, and how has it evolved in the centuries since, particularly in the modern period during which it may have been shifting again?

This lecture I recently gave at the Weekend University uses the ideas of Owen Barfield to explore how the human experience has changed over time, and how this can account for the birth of philosophy, as we tend to think of it, and the emergence of psychotherapy in the 20th century.

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