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Dan Merkur is Research Reader in the Centre for the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto. He is also the author of Gnosis: An Esoteric Tradition of Mystical Visions and Unions, also published by SUNY Press; Becoming Half Hidden: Shamanism and Initiation Among the Inuit; and Powers Which We Do Not Know: The Gods and Spirits of the Inuit.
I thought this book was extraordinarily insightful; a rare and well-written addition to the psychedelic and psychoanalysis literature. I particularly enjoyed his discussion of the developmental psychology of spiritual adepts. A scholarly gem.
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Let me start by saying that I believe that psychedelics can aid in the expansion of consciousness when used correctly. Let me also admit that I did not, could not finish this book. It was written in as dry a language as I have encountered (and considering I am an engineer who has to read extremely dry technical manuals, this is not an observation to be taken lightly). I dont know if Mr. Merkur is unable to write well or, as I suspect, he feels that by assuming this dry removed tone his work will seem more scienitic and objective. In either case, his presentation falls short. He makes some good points, if only one can stay awake long enough to read them. It seems ironic that anything written like this should feature the words "ecstatic" and "imagination" on the cover. -Thomas Seay