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Soulmaking: Uncommon Paths to Self-understanding Paperback – Apr 1998

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Product details

  • Paperback: 204 pages
  • Publisher: Hampton Roads Publishing Co; Rev. Ed edition (April 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1571740783
  • ISBN-13: 978-1571740786
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 13.9 x 1.5 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,128,868 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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First Sentence
When I was a graduate student at Columbia University, I had a strange dream. Read the first page
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Soulmaking - Practical Philosophy 7 Aug. 1999
By - Published on
Format: Paperback
With Soulmaking, GROSSO at first sight seems to offer an exotic approach towards the enigma of soul, which is far from being solved to date, as he stresses repeatedly. The term "soulmaking" is not the invention of a modern author trying to catch the reader with a smart book title. The poet JOHN KEATS used this term to describe the process which CARL GUSTAV JUNG, whose ideas GROSSO obviously admires a great deal, later called "Individuation". KEATS explained "soulmaking" as quoted by the author on page 31: "There may be intelligences or sparks of divinity in millions - but they are not Souls till they acquire identities, till each one is personally itself." According to GROSSO, both active and passive experience is the essence of soulmaking, especially but not exclusively in the course of self-reflection, philosophy, arts and paranormal or exceptional human experiences (EHE) which can force us to take a look over the fence of our inherited materialistic world view - as happened to the author more than once, as he tells us confidently in the many anecdotes of his private and professional life. As RAYMOND MOODY puts it in his short foreword, "This book is a good read". GROSSO succeeded in gripping me with his witty and lively writing style and the frankness with which his anecdotes are presented. Leaving the safe terrain of merely reproducing facts, the author has the courage to share some of the most intimate incidents of his life with the reader, who will feel personally invited to take part in the author's adventure of soulmaking. If GROSSO can be blamed for anything, it is not for fear of the public's reactions. Although they are not a main theme of this book, psychedelic experiences are addressed as possibilities to learn about the creative powers of the unconscious, which serve as a "Soul-Magnifying Glass", as suggested by the title of the respective chapter. However, the author is well aware of the reverse side of the coin: "Although scholars have studied sacred plants in shamanism and ancient religions, the history of drugs and the soul has yet to be written. (...) The complexion of things has changed nowadays. The demonic side of drugs seems to have taken over. The worst nightmares about drug abuse are coming true." (p. 71) The interface of psychedelic experience and the nature of a hypothetical afterlife may become clear by going back to the philological roots of the term itself: "In Greek it ('psychedelic') means soul clarifying. It occurs in a Platonic dialogue (...) where it is used to describe what happens to souls at death. Death, said Socrates, clarifies the soul; it reveals the hidden corruption, the secret deeds of unjust men who in life hid behind rank and prestige; it also reveals the beauties and virtues of just souls. Death, in short, is the ultimate 'psychedelic'." (p. 73) Now, what about the author's personal view of Life after Death? This is indeed the question which led the author to start the journey of his own soulmaking: Is death "the final stumbling block to soulmaking? The main point of this book is that to answer such questions, we should look to experience, not to 'the authorities'." (p. 163) After all, GROSSO remains cautious: "Given my own experiences - and I know I'm not alone on this score - I can say there are no grounds for being cocksure about what death is." (ibid.). It is not difficult, however, to discover GROSSO's optimism in this respect by finding him occasionally pointing to the evidence gathered from other sources to date. As far as his puzzling personal experiences are concerned - which may too readily be labelled as "paranormal" (precognitive dreaming, veridical out-of-the-body-experiences, haunting, etc.) by some readers - one might expect that the accounts are followed by the narrator's interpretations or even claims of what "really" lies behind the respective incident. The critical reader will be delighted to find that just the opposite is the case. The philosopher GROSSO never seems content with final explanations and does not get tired of reflecting arguments for and against his own suspicions, always reminding the reader that solving metaphysical problems is not necessarily the aim and purpose of soulmaking, we should rather deal with them in a honest, open-minded and self-critical way. Soulmaking is a fine autobiographical and thus personal contribution by MICHAEL GROSSO, who seems to be well aware of his responsibility as a writer on such a controversial and difficult subject. (This review is published in the debut issue of the HUMAN NATURE magazine, Sept. 1999)
Brilliant! 16 April 2014
By M. C. Grone - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An excellent, inspirational read!
An open-minded exploration of how we develop our methods of thinking and for our belief systems
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