I get a great many requests for recommendations for books and papers that either debate or provide support for the topics that I discuss on this blog and in my books and articles. That is why I've been constructing some reading lists at Amazon.com and linking them to this website.
A friend recently commented that she was surprised that the book and CD series, Healing, Meaning and Purpose that was created for a general audience, contains over 800 books and websites. My response to that was that I think that my readers and listeners are all grown ups who should be able to check everything that any author says!
The days of authors or speakers waving their hands about and making airy statements are finally coming to an end. If an author tells you that "science" proves what they are saying, they must show that they understand the topic themselves. I just saw yet another paper in which the writer said, "Quantum mechanics proves what I'm saying, but let's not get into that." Well, that's just the point: let us indeed get into that to see if what you are saying holds water!
Which brings me to a book that I've just read and reviewed. It is entitled Irreducible Mind: Toward a Psychology for the 21st Century and it is an extraordinary achievement. For the last century, the vast majority psychologists, psychiatrists and neuroscientists have believed that thoughts, emotions and consciousness are the product of physical processes in the brain. And , of course, the brain is heavily involved in many mental phenomena. The question has always been if neurological activity is sufficient to explain the whole of human experience.
This new book presents the most comprehensive and critical analysis of phenomena normally ignored by psychology, including mystical experiences, the placebo response, stigmata and hypnotic suggestion, memories that survive physical death, near death experiences, automatic writing, out-of-body experiences, apparitions, deathbed visions and many more.
It comes to the inescapable conclusion that the mind is not generated by the brain but is instead limited and constrained by it. There is no hand waving, and no "science has shown that..." Instead everything is laid out in front of you. There are a hundred pages of citations and references. Despite that, it is an easy and enjoyable read.
I have no personal connection with the book, but the next time that someone says that there's no proof for any of these phenomena, and that emotions, cognitions and consciousness are just byproducts of biochemical processes in the brain, refer them to this book.
And if Santa brought you any gift cards that you haven't used yet, you might want to have a look at the book for yourself.