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by Richard Maurice Bucke
This is an attempted scientific study of illuminated individuals. Bucke provides three dozen very consistent examples of 'cosmic consciousness.' Some of these are the usual suspects, and others are contemporary case-histories which Bucke collected. Bucke proposed that these enlightened figures are evolutionary jumps, the precedecessor of a more advanced species.
Bucke developed a theory involving three stages in the development of consciousness: the simple consciousness of animals; the self-consciousness of the mass of humanity (encompassing reason, imagination, etc.); and cosmic consciousness - an emerging faculty and the next stage of human development.