Ecstatic Imagination, The: Psychedelic Experiences and the Psychoanalysis of Self-Actualization

SUNY Press
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The Ecstatic Imagination provides the first general theory of psychedelic experiences. Merkur refutes several theories that have been used to explain single categories of psychedelic experience, and offers instead a unitary theory that is applicable to all varieties. The book treats self-reports of psychedelic experiences as a wealth of neglected data which forms the basis to expand the psychoanalytic model of human imagination. An exhaustive phenomenology of the varieties of LSD, mescaline, and psilocybin experiences in Western and Native American cultures is joined together with psychoanalytic theories drawn from the classical, ego psychological, and object relations schools. Where existing theories prove inadequate to the discussion of data, original formulations are offered. The result is a rigorously psychoanalytic approach to the process of self-actualization.
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About the author

Dan Merkur is Research Reader in the Centre for the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto. He is also the author of Gnosis: An Esoteric Tradition of Mystical Visions and Unions, also published by SUNY Press; Becoming Half Hidden: Shamanism and Initiation Among the Inuit; and Powers Which We Do Not Know: The Gods and Spirits of the Inuit.

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Additional Information

Publisher
SUNY Press
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Pages
226
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ISBN
9781438412856
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Language
English
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Genres
Psychology / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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This book should be valuable in dealing with personality problems. It should help young people to understand themselves, and should be a resource to parents and teachers, and to all others who deal with children and youth. We must teach youth to face calmly the facts, the tasks and difficulties of actual, everyday life and to master them, for it is not a cold abstract theory or a world-forgetting ideal morality which we are called upon to transmit to the new generation. Which means, at the same time, that we must show how one can recognize, understand, and master ones own peculiarities, ones own tasks and difficulties. We must teach the art of growing up. That the practical way of overcoming personality problems is always at the same time also the ethical way may be a fact tremendously important from philosophical and religious points of view. For the present we cannot let it be a determining factor in our psychological problem. Young people are not able, as a rule, to make the right decision so long as they perceive moral rightness only on theoretical grounds. It is true, however, that they learn quickly and simply to take the usable way as soon as they have come to the conviction that here, in this concrete specific case, it is the only possible, practical way out In this book only facts and their connections have been set forth, and certain practical inferences have been pointed out. Everything else, the discussion of the premises and the development of the point of view philosophically., must be left to the reader. We can and must help young people understand their experiences and deduce the necessary conclusions. But their point of view their life philosophy, their religion, they, must work out for themselves. They cannot be absolved from this most difficult and most important task in life. We can assist in the preparation for it, but the final decision in this matter each person must make alone and for himself. Therefore, in this book the endeavour is made, over and again, to induce the reader to think for himself and to judge these psychological problems for himself. He shall seek his own point of view, call his own experiences into council, develop his own judgment, deepen it and correct it over and again until in this way he becomes mature, grows up, gains wisdom. In different countries on the continent, soon after the appearance of this book, it so happened that several teachers began to read it with, their classes. Quite a number of results, in the form of letters, articles and also applications for instance to various novels and plays, have been collected. It would be valuable for the psychology of adolescence, and also possibly of great interest for comparative folk psychology, if similar results from within the range of Anglo-Saxon culture might be received.
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