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The Ecstatic Imagination: Psychedelic Experiences and the Psychoanalysis of Self-Actualization [Hardcover]

by Daniel Merkur
2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)


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Book Description

February 1998 0791436055 978-0791436059
The Ecstatic Imagination provides the first general theory of psychedelic experiences. Merkur refutes several theories that have been used to explain single categories of psychedelic experience, and offers instead a unitary theory that is applicable to all varieties. The book treats self-reports of psychedelic experiences as a wealth of neglected data which forms the basis to expand the psychoanalytic model of human imagination. An exhaustive phenomenology of the varieties of LSD, mescaline, and psilocybin experiences in Western and Native American cultures is joined together with psychoanalytic theories drawn from the classical, ego psychological, and object relations schools. Where existing theories prove inadequate to the discussion of data, original formulations are offered. The result is a rigorously psychoanalytic approach to the process of self-actualization.

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About the Author

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.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 226 pages
  • Publisher: State Univ of New York Pr (February 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0791436055
  • ISBN-13: 978-0791436059
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.2 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,898,955 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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10 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good Subject, But The Writing Needs Improvement May 24, 2001
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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
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