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Rational Mysticism: Spirituality Meets Science in the Search for Enlightenment Paperback – March 22, 2004
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Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Horgan asks good questions and finds contradictions between the ideas and philosophies of those he interviews, sometimes taking one person's comments from a previous interview to contradict another's answer. Sometimes he stoops to ad hominen attacks. The title about Ken Wilber, 'The Weightlifting Boddhisattva' seems like a subtle attack of Wilber's character and authenticity if he has any. In another chapter he talks about how Michael Persinger loses all credibility when he finds out that he is carrying out research into psi phenomena. I'm a skeptic when it comes to psi myself, but to throw out Persinger's neurological studies just because he wants to test psychic phenomena seems akin to throwing out the baby with the bath water. Throughout the book he uses these popular and mainstream prejudices (UFOs come up later) to cast doubts on the ideas of everyone he interviews.
I was greatly disappointed at the end of the book where he makes the following comment: "Not until I met and fell in love with Suzi (wife) almost a year after the trip did my estrangement from life and from my own self finally subside. Mysticism did not save me; it was that from which I needed to be saved."
People pursue mysticism and religion for meaning. People can pursue relationships for the same reason. I have no problem with this.Read more ›
Rational Mysticism was especially meaningful to me because I long ago gave up on organized religion and put my faith in science. I occasionally try to return to religion, but quickly leave in exasperation. Now I understand that either path ends in mystery. We need to respect that mystery and appreciate the reality we have more.
You will meet some fascinating people in these pages, titantic egos, brilliant thinkers, crackpots. The introduction "Lena's Feather" was profoundly moving to me. Mr. Horgan's account of the ayahuasca ceremony is not to be missed. Finally the chapter "The Awe-Ful Truth" will leave you with much to think about.
Anyone who thinks on the "big questions" whether religious or rationalist should read this book.
Horgan's subjects--Huston Smith, Steven Katz, Bernard McGinn, Ken Wilber, Andrew Newberg, Michael Persinger, Susan Blackmore, James Austin, Albert Hofmann, Stanislov Grof, Terence McKenna, Alexander "Sasha" and Ann Shulgin--are all quite interesting people. Horgan seemed most sympathetic to Blackmore, Austin, Wilber, McKenna (personality-wise more than idea-wise), and the Shulgins. He was--correctly, I believe--skeptical of Persinger after finding his pro-psi views. My own view of Persinger is that he attempts to fit everything into his temporal lobe epilepsy/tectonic strain theory views, but has often been unskeptical about the data he's pushing into the theory; I've never understood why skeptics like Blackmore and Michael Shermer have thought him to be plausible. (I've authored a critical review of Persinger's Space-Time Transients and Unusual Events for including bogus debunked events as items to be explained by his theory, and The Arizona Skeptic published an extensive bibliography of critiques of his TST assembled by Chris Rutkowski of the University of Manitoba in the July 1992 issue).Read more ›
--The author admits his distaste for the self-responsible discipline of Zen Buddhism, and maybe that's why he seems so wrapped up in psychedelics as a cheap key to mystical awareness (although he admits drugs have an inescapable and very diabolical side. Well...... Garbage In, Garbage Out.).
--However, the author discusses an interesting question: are all mystical experiences alike? He seems to conclude they are not, and in my opinion he makes a reasonable case. Nearly all interviewees had substantially different interpretations of many important aspects of their experiences, and indeed, many had what seemed to be different experiences altogether (assuming, of course, their experiences were trustworthy ones). My own view of mysticism was enriched after reading this book because instead of seeming like some kind of amorphous monolithic entity, mystical experience seems richly diverse.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
In this book, Horgan beautifully details his quest to find the relationship between mystical experiences. God, Enlightenment, and the meaning of life. Read morePublished 28 days ago by A Halaw
Science Journalist John Horgan has also written books such as The End Of Science: Facing The Limits Of Knowledge In The Twilight Of The Scientific Age, The Undiscovered Mind: How... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Steven H Propp
It's somewhat interesting to hear stories from various modern contemplatives, but overall it's a disappointing wishy-washy tail of one man's journey from not understanding... Read morePublished 7 months ago by RationalHuman
Horgan gives a scientific look at varieties of mystical experience, without William James' naivete, but without rejecting "spirituality" in a humanistic sense.Published 13 months ago by S. J. Snyder
if i remember correctly, this book was interesting yet needed some editing to make it cleaner and less meanderingPublished 19 months ago by Laura Cummins
This book is a delight! It is truly wonderful how John Horgan explains his approach and executes a strong case!
I recommend this book to all seekers of the topic! Read more
I stumbled upon this book in the Library years ago. I think back on my studies on religion and Mysticism and I have to admit it all started for me with this book. Read morePublished on October 31, 2013 by Richard Corral
I liked this book. What I really appreciated were the series of perspectives offered by the various interviewees. Read morePublished on December 25, 2012 by Manu Mukasa
i normally do not have the time to write reviews, but really this book was so disappointing.
there were potentially many very intriguing topics, issues and different... Read more