- Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: Quest Books (January 1, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0835608506
- ISBN-13: 978-0835608503
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.5 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,815,123 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Fundamentalist Mind: How Polarized Thinking Imperils Us All Paperback – January 1, 2007
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About the Author
Phil Cousineau is a bestselling author, editor, photographer, award-winning documentary filmmaker, adventure travel leader, and independant scholar who lectures around the world on a wide range of topics from mythology, mentorship, and soul. His books include The Art of Pilgrimage, Soul Moments, Riddle Me This, and The Soul Aflame. A protege of the late Joseph Campbell, Cousineau is also the author of The Hero's Journey: Joseph Campbell on His Life and Work. He lives in San Francisco, California.
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For one thing, he overstates scientific opposition in the 18th Century to the idea that rocks could fall from the sky, when in fact Baron D'Holbach, the Enlightentment's most prominent scientific materialist, speculates in his book "The System of Nature" (1770) that comets could have struck Earth in the past. The scientific world view of the time accepted comets as bodies whose orbits could bring them close to Earth's orbit, where they also apparently shed matter as they passed around the sun; so the idea that smaller, hard-to-observe, rock-like bodies, possibly cast off from comets, could also orbit the sun and fall to Earth occasionally did not pose a fundamental challenge to the existing "paradigm."
This and Larsen's other examples of originally controversial scientific ideas also undercut his thesis about scientific "fundamentalism." Science, unlike religions, has effective error-correcting mechanisms. Therefore today we no longer see scientific "fundamentalists" who deny that rocks can fall from the sky, that microorganisms can cause disease, that the human liver has four lobes because Galen says it has five, etc. The scientific community can definitively modify its model of reality when the evidence warrants the change, in other words.
Religions, by contrast, can continue to generate the same kinds of fundamentalist beliefs over and over again. Some Christians in the 21st Century promote beliefs in creationism, the end times and witchcraft similar to the beliefs Christians held hundreds of years ago. Their scriptures don't supply them with a mechanism to break out of this loop because we have no independent way of knowing whether such a god exists and how to communicate with it to get the facts straight.
Larsen's book also reveals other biases. For example, apparently it never occurs to Larsen that fundamentalism might have as much, or even more, legitimacy as an expression of "spirituality" as his over-educated, Joseph Campbell-inspired woo. If the fundamentalist god really exists, and it really wants its followers to behave in such rigid ways, then Larsen has a problem on his hands.
Larsen's brief discussion of Chinese "energy medicine" also made me laugh. Yes, the traditional mainland Chinese, with their rotting teeth, iodide deficiencies, tuberculosis, parasitic worms, influenza-breeding livestock populations, etc., sure know a lot about staying healthy by keeping their "Qi" balanced.
It strikes through all the fear and speculation around this important subject, and clearly reveals the nature and danger of the "mind process" that imperils the entire world