This groundbreaking volume examines our sometimes strained grasp of reality and sheds new light on three subject areas that continue to fascinate researchers, namely, religion, hypnosis, and psychopathology. In The Corruption of Reality, noted psychologist John F. Schumaker argues that, despite their superficial differences, religion, hypnosis, and psychopathology are all expressions of the unique human ability to modify and regulate reality in ways that serve the individual and society. In turn, these same behaviors can be traced to the the brain's remarkable capacity to process information along multiple pathways, thus allowing us to distort reality in strategic ways that enhance coping. This trance-related brain faculty, known as dissociation, is revealed as a crucial determinant of what we come to experience as human reality. Taking a broad multidisciplinary approach, Schumaker demonstrates that reality is usually orchestrated at the level of culture in the form of traditional religion, with religion having been a total way of life in premodern times. In order to function optimally, religions (with the exception of most Western ones) employ dissociative trance-induction techniques that take advantage of drugs, music, dance, and other sources of repetitive monotony. Many of these closely resemble hypnotic induction techniques as they exist in Western culture. They also operate similarly to the cognitive rituals that establish and maintain nonreligious abnormal behavior, better known as psychopathology or mental illness. In this last area, special attention is given to drug abuse, eating disorders, phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, and responses to trauma. Many of these disorders, Schumaker argues, are the direct result of the inability of Western culture, with its severely eroded religious systems, to function adequately in its role as regulator of reality. Schumaker proposes ways to revitalize our sick Western culture, including the controversial prospect of constructing a new religion incorporating our current knowledge about our peculiar relationship to ourselves and the world. Along these lines, he offers innovative solutions to such pressing global problems as over-population and ecological destruction. Rigorously argued yet written in a style accessible to all readers, The Corruption of Reality challenges traditional ideas and paves the way for a far-reaching unified theory of conscious and unconscious behavior.
Psychotherapy.-- Reality principle (Psychology)-- Reality.-
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