30 Nov 2012

Exploring the Crack in the Cosmic Egg by Joseph Chilton Pearce | SearchWithin Book Review

Exploring the Crack in the Cosmic Egg by Joseph Chilton Pearce | SearchWithin Book Review


According to Pearce, the primary process is the substratum on which our ego-consciousness is based. The full human being can exist alternately in ego-consciousness or in the realm of the ever wondrous primary process. The ego-consciousness is individualized while, to a great degree, we all share in the primary process mode of consciousness. This aspect of our consciousness knows many things of which we are not normally aware, but can learn to be. It is the realm of mystic experience, ESP, and many puzzling abilities. In the primary process we have assurance of our "being," and death becomes meaningless because we participate in something that is more than individual. In ego-consciousness, we are constantly goaded and plagued by the fear of death that always disguises itself under one wrap or another. These disguises may be the need for social acceptance, business success, or even that we "smell bad" or need "brighter teeth."


Pearce tries to "strip away the hope that binds us to culture." Culture and ego-consciousness operate on this hope. There is always the hope and ambition that business success, a new car, new home, or better relations with other people will quench forever our vague anxieties. The truth is that nothing is sufficient. Nothing within culture and ego-consciousness can eradicate anxiety and the fear of death. These apprehensions are inherent in the very nature of the ego and of culture. Pearce says that while culture and ego-consciousness are necessary, they form only half of our full being. In our other mode of consciousness—the primary process—is found the solution to the anxiety of existence.


We have the primary process thinking originally as infants, since we do not differentiate between the subject and the object at that stage. I also find that people from Africa tend to use primary process thinking as a large part of their culture, and for making social adjustments that take into account the needs of others.

  • Margaret Pereira Western material culture must seem quite bland by comparison [to African forms of culture].
  • Margaret Pereira Not that I'm suggesting making comparisons because I don't believe a comparison would be possible. But it still has implications for an adjustment from one culture to another.
  • Jennifer Frances Armstrong Hugely, hugely bland. It's not that Western rationality is bad in and of itself. Living in a society that strictly separates "emotion" from "reason" can have some advantages, as in the lack of witchcraft accusations, etc. But the disadvantages are also palpable, in that people do not intuitively make adjustments to each other, there is less imagination in accommodation, and people don't react to changes in weather patterns as if these spoke personally to them.  The idea that there are evil forces afoot also has to do with primary process thinking (which Margaret and I discussed a bit earlier). We can feel threatened by situations that seem out of our control, and then our imaginations invent unreal causes. Primary process thinking is not all a walk in the park.

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