What is the ultimate mashup of science and belief/religion?
May 23, 2012 12:10 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a book that is essentially a mashup of behavioral economics, social psychology, neuroscience, wisdom/bible literature, and mythology.

I have found a few that come close. Newberg's books look good, though focused on neuroscience and belief. I've got the Principles of Neurotheology on order, though. Joseph Campbell's books handle the mythology stuff, of course. I guess I'm looking for what would be essentially a collaboration of Newberg, Eagleman, Robert Cialdini, Thomas Merton or Thomas Kelly, Meister Eckhart, and Dan Ariely. I see that this is a very male list of authors. I'd be grateful for feminist voices in these fields as well. And if there was a sprinkling of Jaron Lanier and/or Clay Shirky in there, that'd be okay too.

I would obviously welcome a bullseye to this request, but I will also be grateful for any sort of a "further reading" list.
posted by Slacker Manager to Science & Nature (13 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind sounds right up your alley.
posted by griphus at 12:20 PM on May 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks, griphus. Just ordered from the library!
posted by Slacker Manager at 12:25 PM on May 23, 2012

To me it sounds a little like William Irwin Thompson, whose best book is Coming into Being: Artifacts and Texts in the Evolution of Consciousness, although he's more literary/cultural critic with reference to certain strains of current neuroscience, etc.
posted by goethean at 12:30 PM on May 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

Not science-y at all, but I believe Ishmael touches on all of those topics in interesting ways.
posted by aparrish at 12:40 PM on May 23, 2012

The SAGE Center for the Study of the Mind at UCSB is devoted to this exact intersection of disciplines. Browse through their list of Distinguished Fellows for some ideas and inspiration.
posted by euphorb at 12:56 PM on May 23, 2012

Drop everything, everything, even if it's a laptop or a live baby or a transplant kidney in an operating room, and read Confidence Games, by Mark C. Taylor.

From the Amazon description: "Bringing John Calvin, G. W. F. Hegel, and Adam Smith to Wall Street by way of Las Vegas, Taylor first explores the historical and psychological origins of money, the importance of religious beliefs and practices for the emergence of markets, and the unexpected role of religion and art in the classical understanding of economics. He then moves to an account of economic developments during the past four decades, exploring the dawn of our new information age, the growing virtuality of money and markets, and the complexity of the networks by which monetary value is now negotiated."

Good book.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:57 PM on May 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

Maybe you'd enjoy some cognitive psych perspectives on the origin and utility of religious belief?

Religion Explained (if you can get past the self-aggrandizing title)

In Gods We Trust: The Evolutionary Landscape of Religion

The Mind's Own Physician: A Scientific Dialogue with the Dalai Lama on the Healing Power of Meditation (this comes out of a series of conferences called Mind and Life that brought together respected cognitive psychology researchers with the Dalai Lama and other Buddhist thinkers)

(Disclaimer: I haven't actually read the last two, but can vouch that the related research is super interesting)
posted by introcosm at 1:25 PM on May 23, 2012

Two that come to mind are Thus Spake Zarathustra by Nietzche, and The True Believer by Eric Hoffer. Maybe.
posted by General Malaise at 1:30 PM on May 23, 2012

Cyclonopedia might be up your alley, it's 'theoretical fiction' for lack of a better term for the genre, but it seems to hit all of the notes you're looking for.
posted by TTIKTDA at 2:40 PM on May 23, 2012

I'm not familiar with most the authors you're citing, so these may be wide of the mark, but these are two thoughtful, well-researched books that I thoroughly enjoyed that take interdisciplinary and multifaceted approaches to their subject matter:

The Happiness Myth by Jennifer Michael Hecht/

Head Trip: Adventures on the Wheel of Consciousness by Jeff Warren.
posted by BrashTech at 7:15 PM on May 23, 2012

It's probably not quite what you're looking for, but maybe Robert Anton Wilson's Quantum Psychology or Prometheus Rising might be of interest?
posted by MuChao at 7:15 PM on May 23, 2012

2nding The Happiness Myth.

Also, "How The Mind Works", "The Blank Slate" and "The Better Angels Of Our Nature", by Steven Pinker. They are very rewarding.

Finally, The Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan.
posted by devious truculent and unreliable at 5:24 AM on May 24, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks, all. This'll keep me busy!
posted by Slacker Manager at 9:06 AM on May 25, 2012

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