Sunday, May 23, 2010

Rational Mysticism

As mentioned earlier I was disappointed with John Horgan's End of Science (he seems to have completely underestimated Thomas Kuhn's work on the Paradigm Shift) but I decided to give his book Rational Mysticism a chance (after all the material greatly interests me). Rational Mysticism is a survey work that starts with the Perennial insights of Huston Smith, the Post-Modernist critique of Steven Katz and the writings of Ken Wilber before addressing the arguments of Susan Blackmore, Andrew Newberg, Alexander Shulgin and others.
I enjoyed the first half of the book but was disappointed by the latter portion's emphasis on drug induced mystical sensations.

I tend to be critical of the whole Timothy Leary school of accessing deeper consciousness through drugs as a cop out and an unnecessary one at that. I am not convinced that the findings of this approach have any merit at all and would have liked Horgan to focus on more legitimate avenues of understanding consciousness that bridge the gap between science and theology. In short Horgan's work steps off the rational train and doesn't seem to return..its a pity as this book opened up with much promise but at the end did not deliver much.
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