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The Ecstatic Imagination: Psychedelic Experiences and the Psychoanalysis of Paperback – January 22, 1998
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"The study of mysticism in the twentieth century has moved back and forth from those who posit a basic unity to the mystical experience to those who emphasize diversity. Those who favor the latter position have been somewhat in ascendance since the work of Steven Katz. But valuable as it is as a critique, Katz's position of seemingly irreducible diversity really does not have much positive to give us in understanding what the mystical experience may have to offer. Dan Merkur's typology is a real step forward in that he suggests that there may be a coherent overall pattern to heightened or altered states of consciousness. I am not saying that Merkur's work is 'the last word' on the subject. Au contraire, it is the first word in what should prove to be a very fruitful line of inquiry."-- James Burnell Robinson, University of Northern Iowa"The book is well organized, clearly written, well researched, on a topic that is significant and interesting. The author reveals considerable insight into the subject matter." -- Steven Katz, State Technical Institute at Memphis
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.
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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.