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  • ''...among those historic individuals whom he saw as definitely having attained cosmic consciousness, bucke* included gautama the buddha (c. 563–c. 483 b.c.e.), jesus christ (c. 6 b.c.e.–c. 30 c.e.), paul (d. 62–68 c.e.), plotinus (205–270 c.e.), muhammed (c. 570–632 c.e.), dante (1265–1321), francis bacon (1561–1626), jakob behmen (1575–1624), william blake (1757–1827), and his own idol, walt whitman (1819–1892). it is apparent from the above listing that bucke saw such illumination occurring more often to men than to women. in added chapters, he named a number of other individuals whom he considered lesser, imperfect, or doubtful recipients of cosmic consciousness—men such as moses (fourteenth–thirteenth century b.c.e.), gideon, isaiah (eighth century b.c.e.), socrates (c. 470–399 b.c.e.), spinoza (1632–1677), emanuel swedenborg (1688–1772), ralph waldo emerson (1803–1882), henry david thoreau (1817–1862), and ramakrishna paramahansa (1836–1886)
    bucke's primary thesis is that during the centuries of humankind's evolutionary development as a species there have been three forms of consciousness. first, there was simple consciousness, our instinctual awareness. next came a self-consciousness, a self-awareness that allowed human beings to realize themselves as distinct individuals. and now, developing among the human species, are those individuals possessed of cosmic consciousness, a new faculty of consciousness, that will lead humankind to the pinnacle of human evolution.''