Spirit, Mind, and Brain: A Psychoanalytic Examination of Spirituality and Religion

Author(s) : Mortimer Ostow

Spirit, Mind, and Brain: A Psychoanalytic Examination of Spirituality and Religion

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Mortimer Ostow proposes an explanation of spiritual experience and religious motivation that is rooted in the analysis of early childhood emotional attachments. This novel approach, which can be tested, relies on psychological and neurobiological evidence but is respectful of the human need for spiritual value. Ostow draws on personal case histories and other sources to determine what is real and what is fantasy in spiritual experience. He also considers the origins of this experience in the mother-child dyad, forms of religious worship, the evolutionary value of religion, and the perversion of religion into the demonic. Brilliantly argued, "Spirit, Mind, and Brain" brings the disciplines of religion, behavioral neuroscience, and philosophy to bear on a groundbreaking new method for understanding religious ritual and belief.

About the Author(s)

Ostow Mortimer was a psychiatrist and neuroscientist who specialised in the study of anti-Semitism and religious and racial fanaticism. He maintained a private practice in Manhattan, and his works include Myth and Madness: The Psychodynamics of Anti-Semitism, Drugs in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy and The Psychology of Melancholy. His studies of terrorism, and his theories on the Psychological causes of fanaticism are arguably more relevant than ever in the post-9/11 age.

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