AVALANCHE: Heretical Reflections on the Dark and the Light by

AVALANCHE: Heretical Reflections on the Dark and the Light

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From the M.D.-turned-spiritual-guru (to Michael Crichton, among others), author of Joy's Way (1979, not reviewed)--a one-of-a-kind view of the role of evil in human affairs. Joy's ""avalanche"" started with a nightmare in which he found himself locked in his car while Evil incarnate glowered at him from the back seat. As a result of that dream, says Joy, all the illusions of his previous ten years of spiritual work came tumbling down. Realizing that the shadow self cannot be denied, he set about creating a holistic theory of spirituality in which the presence of evil is as valid, both in the individual and in society, as that of beauty and good. Illegally climbing Egypt's pyramids before sunrise, camping out in sacred spots around the world, and baring his prejudices and fears to a (no doubt bemused) native guide or two, Joy concludes at last that the evil we most abhor is precisely the evil that resides most temptingly in ourselves, and that rather than combat it we should accept it as an integral, indestructible part of our life force. Suggesting by way of example that we Americans ousted Nixon from presidential office because of our collective unconscious desire to deceive and betray, Joy expresses profound sympathy for the sacrificed President. Claiming that war is necessary to ensure new growth, he tells those who resist the nuclear-arms buildup to examine their own unconscious desires instead of pointing a finger elsewhere. Apparently, in Joy's scheme of things, the extinction of animal species, the pollution of the earth, and the continued outbreak of war all have a valid place in this best of all possible worlds. The fault--if there is one--lies with the accusers. Intellectually sloppy at best, seriously demoralizing at worst.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1990
Publisher: Ballantine