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Altered States/Dissociation
Record Type: Review   ID: 891

The Mind Possessed: A Physiology of Possession, Mysticism and Faith Healing

Sargant, William

 A British psychiatrist examines the mechanism underlying ritual possession, mysticism, and faith healing which enables them to work. Pounding music, wild dancing, hell-fire preaching, and psychedelic drugs can, when purposefully applied, so strain the nervous system that normal judgment is impaired and the person involved becomes highly suggestible. In such an altered state extraordinary experiences and feats may occur. Sargant points out that such things as mystical ecstasy, faith healing, snake-and-poison-immunity, etc. should not be interpreted as evidence of supernatural factor but to the nature of human beings. He concludes: "We need faith and yet . . . we must suspect it" (p. 199).
Publisher Information:Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1974. 212p. Bibliography: 200-203; Chapter references; 31 illustrations; Index: 205-212
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