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The Future of the Body: Explorations Into the Further Evolution Of Human Nature Paperback – April 21, 1993


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 785 pages
  • Publisher: Tarcher; Reprint edition (April 21, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0874777305
  • ISBN-13: 978-0874777307
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #180,640 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Esalen cofounder Murphy has produced a massive tome that could become a bible of the New Age movement. His main thesis is that each of us harbors latent metanormal capacities rooted in biological evolution: ESP, clairvoyance, extraordinary movement abilities, uncanny somatic awareness and self-regulation, superabundant vitality and universal love, among others. Our genetic inheritance, he argues, predisposes us toward developing these powers, which can be mediated by Christian grace, the Tao or the workings of Buddha Mind, and also can be developed through specific practices. These include psychotherapy, fitness training, martial arts, meditation, biofeedback and prayer. Murphy's claims for extraordinary human potential are annotated with references to 3000 sources, ranging from physiological studies of meditators to reports of near-death experiences. In closing he scans the impulse toward wholeness in ancient and modern cultures and warns of the mental imbalance that misuse of transformation discipline can cause. An exciting synthesis. Author tour.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Murphy, a cofounder of the Esalen Institute, believes that all human beings possess the capacity for extraordinary development, and that at least part of this capacity can be intentionally developed through what he calls transformative practices. He uses much of the text to provide examples of metanormal functioning in literature, religion, science, and psychology from many cultures and historical eras. The sheer magnitude of examples lends weight to his theory of the possibility of mind-body unity as a universally available phenomenon. In a brief final section, he suggests ways that individuals may begin searching for their own wholeness. This book will definitely appeal to a wide audience. Notes, appendixes, and a bibliography not seen, so the book's scholarly value cannot be assessed. Recommended for most libraries.
- Lucy Patrick, Florida State Univ. Lib., Tallahassee
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

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This huge book keeps on giving in a practical easy to comprehend manor.
seeker
If our perceptions can be less filtered by half-conscious or unconscious psychological processes, we can be transformed.
Rachel W
I recommend it to people who want to open their minds to ever expanding human potentials.
Gudjon Bergmann

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 52 people found the following review helpful By frostansuz@aol.com on September 5, 2000
Format: Paperback
Michael Murphy is the co-founder of Esalen Institute, a gorgeous little retreat in Northern California, part spa, part think tank, that was a key incubator of the "New Age" movement. He's also author of some compelling books including the amazing "Golf in the Kingdom." He has spent a great deal of time over the years studying the possibilities of human transformation - of our becoming more alive and conscious and happy and tuned in to the true vibes of universe. In this book he tells us pretty much everything he's learned. It turns out to be quite a lot.
It's a 785-page tome. The bibliography lists something like 2000 books and articles. He provides a rich and detailed history about human efforts toward transformation and transcendence over the centuries, and includes capsule summaries of many technologies used today in pursuit of that elusive goal, including bodywork (Alexander work, Feldenkrais, etc.) and new philosophical/psychological/spiritual approaches such as psychosynthesis. He examines spiritual healing. He delves into mesmerism, hypnosis, the martial arts and the contemplative practices of modern-day monks. He talks about erotic love, sports and stigmata. He's nothing if not wide-ranging. Murphy's basic belief is that we humans have vast "uncharted powers" in our bodies, psyches and spirits beyond what we think we have, and that these can be cultivated to our benefit. He is a true believer in the possibilies of the New Age; he thinks that we may be on the verge of a significant leap in evolution, and that if we diligently pursue some of the disciplines described here, we will hasten the process. He writes, "I remain convinced that as a species - and as individuals - we either grow or die.
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful By seeker on July 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
The Future of the Body, has been on my book shelf for years, I picked it up often for a practical explanation of all things unexplainable. Everything from Astral Projection to the Zone. This huge book keeps on giving in a practical easy to comprehend manor. A must for folks working in the spiritual arts, metaphysics, or healing arts. I felt the author to have researched and recorded some of the best information on subjects hard to research, such as Kundalini, channeling, levitation, etc. A wonderful book. Thanks.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Rachel W on July 21, 2011
Format: Paperback
The thesis of the book: We only live part of the life we are given. We are unaware of the subliminal depths and capabilities each of us possesses in our physical, mental, and spiritual spheres. But today, anthropology and comparative religious studies reveal to us what is possible, and psychology and medical science venture and explore these human functioning. With the well-researched documentation of what have been achieved, we can come to see that self-realization is genuinely possible. By exploring and developing the broader spectrum of our body and mind, using transformative modalities, we can tap into our latent, unrealized potentials, and live an extraordinary life. As Rainer Maria Rilke puts it (quoted by Michael Murphy, pg. 1), "We must assume our existence as broadly as we can; everything, even the unheard-of, must be possible in it. This is at bottom the only courage that is demanded of us: to have courage for the most strange, the most inexplicable."

We are only limited because "all of our capacities, whether normal or metanormal, somatic or extrasomatic, are subject to the limitations and distortions produced by our inherited and socially-conditioned nature" (92). If our perceptions can be less filtered by half-conscious or unconscious psychological processes, we can be transformed.

So, exactly how do we transform ourselves for the better? In the end, he proposed an integral approach which include many practices of the body (e.g. various somatic and athletic disciplines), mind (e.g. various psychotherapies) and spirit (e.g. meditation, yoga) to sharpen our perceptions and cognitions, somatic awareness, communication abilities, vitality and movements, love, pleasure and creativity - so that we can be all that we can be.

I find it an incredible book.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Gudjon Bergmann on September 11, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a must ready for anyone interested in increasing their human potential. Murphy cites countless studies done on the human body, ranging from the normal to the paranormal. In my case, as a writer and long time yoga teacher this book has been invaluable for quoting to my students. I recommend it to people who want to open their minds to ever expanding human potentials.
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Laura De Giorgio on May 1, 2003
Format: Paperback
I gave this book 5 stars because it is very extensive in its scope - it is not, however, the final word on this topic, there is more - I guess there is always more and there are always even more amazing stories. The book explores different phenomena, some rather rare and unusual, as in the following excerpt:
"Thurston quoted a sister Margherita Cortonesi:
"On one occasion, among others, when [Sister Veronica] being in a trance state was reciting her Office alternately with some invisible being, she was observed gradually to stretch out until the length of her throat seemed to be out of all proportion in such a way that she was altogether much taller than usual. We, noticing this strange occurrence, looked to see if she was raised from the ground, but this, so far as our eyes could tell, was not the case. So, to make sure, we took a yard-measure and measured her height, and afterwards when she had come to herself we measured her again, and she was at least a span (ten inches or more) shorter. This we have seen with our own eyes, all of us nuns who were in the chapel."
In 1629, a Donna Hortenzia Ghini stated under oath that:
"Sister Lisabetta Pancrazi, formerly a nun in the same convent, told me that on one occasion, seeing that the said Sister Veronica when in ecstasy seemed taller than in her normal state, took a yard-measure and measured her height, and that after the said Sister Veronica came to herself she measured her again with the said yard-measure, and she found that she was half an arm's length shorter.
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