8/21/2005

Book: Rational Mysticism: Dispatches from the Border Between Science and Spirituality

John Horgan, author of the best-selling The End of Science, chronicles the
most advanced research into the mechanics—and meaning—of mystical
experiences. How do trances, visions, prayer, satori, and other mystical
experiences "work"? What induces and defines them? Is there a scientific
explanation for religious mysteries and transcendent meditation? John
Horgan investigates a wide range of fields — chemistry, neuroscience,
psychology, anthropology, theology, and more — to narrow the gap between
reason and mystical phenomena. As both a seeker and an award-winning
journalist, Horgan consulted a wide range of experts, including theologian
Huston Smith, spiritual heir to Joseph Campbell; Andrew Newberg, the
scientist whose quest for the "God module" was the focus of a Newsweek
cover story; Ken Wilber, prominent transpersonal psychologist; Alexander
Shulgin, legendary psychedelic drug chemist; and Susan Blackmore,
Oxford-educated psychologist, parapsychology debunker, and Zen
practitioner. Horgan explores the striking similarities between "mystical
technologies" like sensory deprivation, prayer, fasting, trance, dancing,
meditation, and drug trips. He participates in experiments that seek the
neurological underpinnings of mystical experiences. And, finally, he
recounts his own search for enlightenment — adventurous, poignant, and
sometimes surprisingly comic. Horgan"s conclusions resonate with the
controversial climax of The End of Science, because, as he argues, the
most enlightened mystics and the most enlightened scientists end up in the
same place — confronting the imponderable depth of the universe.

Amazon.com: Books: Rational Mysticism: Dispatches from the Border Between Science and Spirituality

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