The Neurobiology of the Gods: How Brain Physiology Shapes the Recurrent Imagery of Myth and Dreams

1st Edition

Erik D. Goodwyn

Routledge
Published December 15, 2011
Reference - 272 Pages
ISBN 9780415673006 - CAT# Y119244

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Summary

Where does science end and religion begin? Can "spiritual" images and feelings be understood on a neurobiological level without dismissing their power and mystery?

In this book, psychiatrist Erik Goodwyn addresses these questions by reviewing decades of research, putting together a compelling argument that the emotional imagery of myth and dreams can be traced to our deep brain physiology, and importantly, how a sensitive look at this data reveals why mythic or religious symbols are indeed more "godlike" than we might have imagined. 

The Neurobiology of the Gods weaves together Jungian depth psychology with research in evolutionary psychology, neuroanatomy, cognitive science, neuroscience, anthropology, mental imagery, dream research, and metaphor theory into a comprehensive model of how our brains contribute to the recurrent images of dreams, myth, religion and even hallucinations. Divided into three sections, this book provides:

  • definitions and foundations
  • an examination of individual symbols
  • conclusive thoughts on how brain physiology shapes the recurring images that we experience.

Goodwyn shows how common dream, myth and religious experiences can be meaningful and purposeful without discarding scientific rigor. The Neurobiology of the Gods will therefore be essential reading for Jungian analysts and psychologists as well as those with an interest in philosophy, anthropology and the interface between science and religion.

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