ALTERNATE REALITIES by Lawrence LeShan

ALTERNATE REALITIES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

That ""new paradigm,"" the notion that we participate actively in the creation of ""reality,"" has recently been stated and restated from every possible perspective, and while this redundancy may be unavoidable, it can bring groans at the prospect of yet another Castaneda-ish, Tartish title. Groan not. Lawrence LeShan is doing some thing different here: bringing a set of sharp and indispensable tools to a topic too often shrouded in romantic vagueness. LeShan's tools are drawn from the exactitudes of philosophy--from Kant, Wittgenstein, and Cassirer--but they are carefully and clearly translated for the layman, so much so that one occasionally feels like a kindergartner addressed by an oversolicitous teacher, but ends up grateful for the repetitions, the concrete exercises and examples. LeShan says we actually structure reality according to different, self-consistent, mutually incomprehensible modes, such as the sensory (that of common sense, biological survival, and classical science), the clairvoyant (the ""seamless web""of mysticism, ESP and relativity physics), the transpsychic (in which prayer and ethics make sense), the mythic (that of art, dream, and play). We all shift among these spontaneously, unconsciously, and each nourishes different human purposes and needs; the problem (and possibly the root of war and neurosis) is that each mode labels itself ""the only."" We must learn to value and use them all. LeShan has demystified and mapped what had seemed an awesome wilderness, and for this, bless him; unfortunately, in a cornball beginning and end, he turns an intellectual revelation into a Human Potential commodity (see subtitle), another hoe for ""gardening"" the self.

Pub Date: Oct. 8th, 1976
Publisher: Evans