Lives in Spirit: Precursors and Dilemmas of a Secular Western Mysticism

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SUNY Press, Aug 1, 2003 - Body, Mind & Spirit - 357 pages
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Lives in Spirit explores the dynamic conflicts that both energized and distorted the spiritual development of key precursor figures of a contemporary secular or “this-worldly” mysticism. With its historical roots in the early Gnostics and Plotinus, this characteristically Western spirituality re-emerges with the secularization and loss of traditional religious belief of modernity. The lives, works, and direct experiences of Nietzsche, Emerson, Thoreau, Jung, Heidegger, Gurdjieff, Crowley, and contemporary feminist mysticism are considered in terms of transpersonal psychology (Almaas), the sociology of mysticism (Weber and Troeltsch), and contemporary psychoanalysis (Winnicott, Bion, Kohut). Spiritual or essential experience is seen as an inherent form of human intelligence, which while potentially and even increasingly impacted by personal dynamics and social crisis, is not reducible to them.
 

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Contents

Psychological and Cultural Bases
9
A H Almaas and the Synthesis of Spiritual
35
The Sociology of InnerWorldly Mysticism in
57
The Historical Roots of InnerWorldly Mysticism
79
Mystical Dualism and
101
A Radical Prophetical Duaism114
114
Transpersonal Anticipations and Conflicts
123
The Woods of Concord as Mirror of the Soul154
154
Roots of a Contemporary ThisWorldly Spirituality
223
Gurdjieffs Anticipations of ObjectRelations Theory232
232
ObjectRelational Dilemmas in Gurdjieffs Life
238
Gurdjieff and Almaas247
247
Astral Travel and the Invention of
259
The Horrific Childhood of Aleister Crowley270
270
Crowley and the Dilemmas of Contemporary
276
Transpersonal Psychology New Age Spirituality
301

Kierkegaards Knight
162
Some Political Ambiguities in the Development
171
Heideggers Nazism
199
Vulnerabilities of Character211
211
Notes
319
References
327
Index
353
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About the author (2003)

Harry T. Hunt is Professor in the Department of Psychology at Brock University. He is the author of On the Nature of Consciousness: Cognitive, Phenomenological, and Transpersonal Perspectives and The Multiplicity of Dreams: Memory, Imagination, and Consciousness.

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