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Ways of Knowing
Record Type: Review   ID: 731

Inner Adventures: Thought, Intuition and Beyond

Smith, E. Lester

Smith is a Fellow of the Royal Society and a theosophist. At base, this book is about knowing and understanding. Smith writes: "One thing I have learned is that both nature and life are exceedingly complex. Neither can be constrained within relatively simple hypotheses or theories; these explain only part of the truth, and often another part of it remains in the hypothesis discarded in favor of the new one. But the whole truth lies beyond any mental processes and can only be apprehended in mystical understanding. However, this is only accessible, save sporadically, to those who have made considerable progress in spiritual living. It is reluctance to embrace this quest that nourishes materialism and reductionism" (p. xii). [Parapsychologists constantly combat the urge to reductionism--in their critics and in themselves. If what is required lies in mystical understanding, then it behooves parapsychologists to undertake the quest themselves. They cannot expect others to do so, but their action in this matter may lead others to do so.]

There are 16 chapters, each an independent essay on an aspect of the book's overall theme, arranged so that the first 13 lead up to the last three, which form a capsule view of the spiritual life. A variety of subjects are covered, and since space does not permit a complete description, the chapter titles will be listed in full: 1, "How We Think"; 2, "Brain Anatomy and Functions"; 3, "Brains and Computers"; 4, "Information Processing"; 5, "Coordinating Action"; 6, "The Mind-Brain Interface"; 7, "The Two Hemispheres"; 8, "Brain Rhythms"; 9, "The Seats of Memory"; 10, "Brain Thinking, Emotional Thinking, Mind Thinking"; 11, "Levels of Consciousness"; 12, "Dreaming and Other Separative States"; 13, "Holism, Monism, Dualism"; 14, "Intuition, Creative Thinking"; 15, "Disciplined Thinking, Biofeedback, Health, Yoga"; and 16, "Mystical Consciousness."

In an Epilogue, Smith suggests that the future of the human race is doomed unless we take a different path. He holds that such a path exists, and that it "is even now being disclosed by those who do admit, from faith or personal knowledge, that life is possible in nonphysical realms" (p. 219). [Parapsychologists, I believe, were the first to attempt to show that there is a nonphysical realm by using the methods of science, but unless they learn the rules of that realm they will be the last to understand it. In the best of all possible worlds which it is up to us to create they should continue to be the leaders.]

Publisher Information:Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1988. 233p. Bibl: 223-226; 8 figs; Ind: 227-233; 1 table
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