BRAIN AND BELIEF by John J. McGraw

BRAIN AND BELIEF

An Exploration of the Human Soul

KIRKUS REVIEW

Exploration of the intricate relationship between man, the corporeal body and the soul.

Ranging from the prehistoric cave paintings at Chauvet and Lascaux in France, through the philosophical musings of Plato, to the postmodernist analysis of our existentialist struggle with our inescapable mortality, McGraw offers a thought-provoking journey through time. He examines the various interpretations of the human soul contained in world mythology and canonical doctrines in religious thought, both from the orthodox perspective and alternative viewpoints, such as Christianity and the beliefs of the Gnostics. He documents that psychoactive chemical compounds contained in certain wild mushrooms and other synthesized drugs–which mimic the properties of neurotransmitters in the brain–are responsible for altered states and exaltation during sacred rituals dating from pre-lingual times. He concludes his exploration by stating that only by accepting and incorporating our contingent and unpredictable mortality within our value system can we live a complete and productive life, without relying on the promise of an afterlife to justify our existence. Rightfully, he also recognizes the value of philosophies such as Buddhism, Stoicism and Epicurean thought in teaching us to live in the moment.

A stimulating narrative woven from various disciplines and diverse sources, and an accessible pathway to the complex intersection of science, philosophy, psychology and religion.

Pub Date: June 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-9747645-0-7
Page count: 416pp
Publisher: Aegis Press
Program: Kirkus Indie
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