THE FUTURE OF THE BODY by Michael Murphy


Explorations Into the Future Evolution of Human Nature
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 An impressively researched, authoritative, and absolutely mind-boggling survey of ``the transformative capacities of human nature.'' As to be expected from a co-founder of California's Esalen Institute, the emphasis here is very much on mind-body phenomena, with the focus on individuals who apparently have extended the usual reach of human possibility--saints, mystics, psychics, artists, geniuses, etc. Drawing on an astonishing array of eyewitness accounts, scientific studies, biographies, letters, monographs, etc., Murphy rigorously organizes his vast material into three categories: ``Possibilities for Extraordinary Life''; ``Transformative Practices''; and ``Evidence for Human Transformative Capacity.'' In the last category, for example, he discusses and documents placebo effects, spiritual healing, hypnosis, ``somatic'' disciplines such as the Alexander Technique and the Feldenkrais Method, yogic powers, the charismas of saints, etc. All this fascinating if sometimes sensational information does serve a purpose, of course--to illuminate the author's ``central observations and proposals,'' e.g., that ``the evidence for extraordinary human attributes strongly supports some sort of penentheism....the doctrine that Divinity is both immanent and transcendent to the universe.'' Whatever one thinks of Murphy's conclusions, even a casual dipping into his text, which will no doubt become a primary source for future mind-body investigation, will reveal a world of inspiring wonders.

Pub Date: May 11th, 1992
ISBN: 0-87477-686-4
Page count: 784pp
Publisher: TarcherPerigee
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1992