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Saints and Madmen: How Pioneering Psychiatrists Are Creating a New Science of the Soul [Paperback]

By Russell Shorto (Author)
Our Price $ 14.45  
Retail Value $ 17.00  
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Item Number 142866  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   272
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.95" Width: 5.06" Height: 0.74"
Weight:   0.69 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 1, 2000
Publisher   Holt Paperbacks
ISBN  0805059016  
EAN  9780805059014  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Outline ReviewMany people who experience psychotic episodes have extreme spiritual encounters: for one person, it may be a sense of a tree's spirit speaking its truth aloud; for others, it could be the sensation of energy beaming from their bodies and communicating with dolphins on a far-off coast. Modern psychiatry usually categorizes these visions as evidence of psychosis, to be treated with antipsychotic medication. But what if these visions were actually extensions of legitimate spiritual encounters or glimpses into the deeper dimensions of the soul?

Author Russell Shorto (Gospel Truth) dares to ask these questions. He even offers evidence of a new movement in psychiatry, in which established doctors are assuming a more holistic approach to psychotic episodes and taking the patient's soul into account. This is not a cavalier dismissal of all that can be gained from appropriate diagnoses of (and medications for) mental illness; rather, it is an impressively researched argument for opening up to the idea of spiritual visions. Citing extensive research and numerous case studies, Shorto helps readers consider the possibility that grandiose spiritual visions aren't necessarily symptoms of mental illness. --Gail Hudson

Product Description
Psychiatry, once famously opposed to religion, has done an about-face. Like the legendary explorers of a century ago, some psychiatrists have set off into what they see as the last frontier: the spiritual self. In this moving and impeccably researched narrative, Russell Shorto tells remarkable stories of people suffering from what once were deemed spiritual afflictions, then came to be seen as purely medical disorders, and now are being treated as both.

In the process, Shorto brings to bear issues from the cutting edge of consciousness studies. He explores the shared territory of psychosis and mysticism; the changing meaning of "self," "soul," "mind," and "brain"; the theory that psychotropic drugs have a spiritual dimension; the meaning of religious terrorism; and the possibility that addiction and depression are spiritual conditions.

In weaving his case studies into a single story, Shorto delivers a concise update on the science of the mind and the newest efforts to probe the deepest meaning of human existence.

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More About Russell Shorto

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Russell Shorto is the author of five books and is a contributing writer at the The New York Times Magazine. His books have been published in fourteen languages and have won numerous awards. From 2008 to 2013, he was the director of the John Adams Institute in Amsterdam.

Russell Shorto currently resides in Putnam Valley, in the state of New York.

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Health, Mind & Body > Psychology & Counseling > General   [14887  similar products]
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Title is very misleading...  Jul 6, 2005
I was a bit disappointed in this book. It gave examples of a very few clients with psychosis, nothing at all about saint's religious experiences and was basically a history about psychiatrists and psychologists focusing about the era of psychedelic drug usage. I thought it would be a comparison between psychosis and religious experience which it was not at all. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. It was written in a very scholarly manner and addressing neuropsychology in an area that is not well understood. Was it helpful? I don't think so.
While this book had the noblest of intentions, it dwelt too often on the politics of American Psychiatry and not enough on the actual Saints and Madmen. Where the author did cover accounts of psychotic/mystical experiences - he handled them extremely well - it is a pity he lost his focus.
A review by a Shaman  Sep 18, 1999
I found this book very interesting. Speaking as the world's first post-op transsexual Two-Spirit Shaman and Chi Gung master, I am drawn to this subject since it is who I am and what I do. In fact, I have been this way since a near-death incident at the age of 5 just as have so many others that are covered in this book. The book shows that throughout history there have been those who have experienced things on the edge of most people's reality. It's easy to scoff, but when you experience it yourself, you realize that there is a lot more out there than anyone imagines.

Lily of the Valley Carnie, author of Chi Gung: Chinese Healing, Energy, and Natural Magick

Thought provoking and informative  Sep 17, 1999
Mind stretching introduction to the field of spirituality and psychiatry. Entertaining case histories. Definitely worth the read for those interested in mind/body or spiritual healing.
A good attempt to cover a very timely topic.  Sep 16, 1999
I found Russell Shorto's Saints and Madmen very compelling in the beginning of the book when it presented actual case histories of people with mental illness and their spiritual experiences. The second part of the book seems to be a set-up for Mr. Shorto's final conclusions. I believe that the first part of the book shows that Russell Shorto is an excellent journalist. Unfortunately, he follows the footsteps of too many print and TV journalists of the the past twenty years or so who believe that being a good journalist also makes them good philosophers and experts on every topic. If you want a read philosophers on this topic, you would do well to read just about anything by Ken Wilber. John Nelson's Healing the Split is should have been discussed in Saints and Madmen, because it deals quite thoroughly with the same topic. However, had Wilber and Nelson been included, it may been more difficult for Shorto to come to the conclusions he proposes, because both Wilber and Nelson address some of the errors in reasoning the Russell Shorto seems to rely upon---primarily the pre/trans fallacy and flatland objectivism. Mr.Shorto concludes that simply because there are biological changes in the brain during a transcendent experience, mysticism is created by these chemical changes. That would be like saying the grooves in the phonograph record created Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. I do agree with Mr. Shorto's final words of advice, and I am now going to "lighten up and move on."

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