76 internautes sur 81 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Mark Edward Bachmann
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Readers of this book will have sharply diverging reactions to it, and I myself am of two minds. At her worst, Jean Houston can come across like a precocious and hyperactive college kid: flip, full of herself, flaunting exuberance, self-promoting, greedy for catharsis, disorderly ideas sprouting everywhere like psychedelic mushrooms. On the other hand, at her best, she's brilliant, scholarly, profoundly creative, wise, kind, and funny. On the balance, happily, I found the latter set of characteristics predominant here, although the less attractive side of her nature will be readily apparent to anyone unsympathetic to her style and her philosophy. This is an autobiography of sorts, although one in a style that only Jean Houston could conceive: utterly non-linear. What she actually gives us is series of anecdotes from all stages of her life, interspersed chaotically with a fireworks display of philosophical musing, human potential pep talks, New Age proselytizing, scientific speculation, and lectures on her original brand of mystical anthropology. Interestingly, she's the daughter of neither a scholar nor a mystic, but of an itinerant Hollywood gag writer, whom she loved dearly and who ran the family like an overbearing-but-lovable gypsy king. Numerous accounts of his lautish stunts pepper his daughter's book and bring comic relief. He was a direct descendent of Sam Houston, the flamboyant Texan general and politician, laying down a genetic strain that seems not at all improbable once you begin getting a sense of what Jean Houston is about. Of her retiring Sicilian-American mother, we learn very little. Dr. Houston's central animating idea, like that of her teacher and colleague Joseph Campbell, is that certain myths are universal among all peoples and all times, including our own, and they are the main drivers of psychological and spiritual essence of human existence. Exploring ourselves in light of these myths is key to fulfilling life - hence the book's title. Jean Houston takes this idea much further than Campbell did, and makes it the centerpiece of the teaching, lecturing, and mystical psychotherapy which has become both her life's calling and her business. This is compelling material and she presents it with eloquence and passion, despite the interference which her manic style at times brings to the narrative. I recommend "A Mythic Life", although it's not for everyone, and readers should be prepared for what they're getting.
64 internautes sur 78 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Nom de Guerre
- Publié sur Amazon.com
I have never taken the time to review a book before, but after seeing the reviews posted for this book, I feel like I owe it to others who may, like me, read the book description and think that this is something along the lines of Joseph Campbell's works. So first of all, the official book description, and the description inside the dust jacket, bear effectively no relationship to the actual book inside. The book is written in the style of, and acts as if it were, an autobiography. For a certain element of the public, mainly people who are very, VERY into the New Age Movement and people who don't care to think critically about what they're reading, this could pass as legitimate autobiography. To those who are very forgiving, perhaps it could be viewed as the author's self-aggrandized view of her life, even if it may have not actually played out the way she remembers. I'm pretty sure that it's just made-up fancy-talk parading as spiritualism.
For context, this is the person who guided Hillary Clinton, during her First Lady years, through deep trance meetings with the spirit of Eleanor Roosevelt. She claims to have multiple PhD's, but in an interview with Stone Phillips she admitted that she made a mistake about that. According to Columbia University, she never completed the claimed Doctoral Program. She did receive a PhD in Psychology from Cincinnati Union Institute (an "alternative education program") in 1973. The Institute actually became accredited 12 years later. She calls herself a "psychologist," but the New York State board says that she is not accredited, and is not allowed to use that title. These are some of her less wild claims. The book is full of wild claims about her life, including the time that she was intended to die in a car crash but she entered into an alternate time frame, similar to the "alternate temporal program" that she teaches, which allowed her to "switch timelines" from the future that she was intended to enter, where she would be killed. For the next day or so, she could feel the "ghost pains" of the wounds she was intended to receive and die from. If reading this doesn't make you pucker up a little, then you may like this book.
I tried very hard to give this book a chance. I have a soft spot for romantic dreamers and New Age types. I'm almost one myself. The point where it finally really upset me was reading about an encounter in which she happened to be at a talk being given by Jewish philosopher and theologian Martin Buber, during which Joseph Campbell, who happened to be in the audience, stood up and made a remark about the daily presence of God in the lives of Hindus. I remembered reading about the same encounter in one of Joseph Campbell's books. But in this book, Jean Houston, undergraduate, just happened to have found herself seated on the floor, unwittingly, at Mr. Campbell's feet because no chairs were available for her. Amazing! In fact, she loves dropping names in this book, and seems to be almost Forrest Gump-like in her ability to insert herself into notable situations.
My final statement about this book will be that it is full of the kind of meaningless but flowery talk that allows the gullible to think it is science, but keeps spiritualism outside of the circle of science, and prevents it from being taken seriously by anybody who thinks critically. Here is an example of the "new physics" that Ms. Houston spouts -- I'll quote the entire passage:
"Get rid of all the empty space in an atom and get down to its essential hard substances, and you haven't got much left. Take the remaining material substrata of the atomic structure of all living human beings, put them together, and what have you got? Matter the size and weight of a very heavy grain of rice."
While this sounds authoritative, and one can imagine a scientist performing calculations to arrive at this estimate, it makes absolutely zero sense. While it's true that most of the volume of matter is effectively empty space, that empty space has no mass. If you removed the empty space from my body, you'd have a very small lump of mass that still weighs 170 pounds, just as it did with all the empty space. In short, this book is full of nonsense, and while I'm in favor of keeping an open mind about things, I recall a quote from someone who said that it shouldn't be so open that your brain falls out. Trust me, you don't want to waste the hours of your precious life reading this garbage.