Book Review: Hidden Communion

Hidden Communion:  An Exploration Of Non-Verbal Communication Between The Unconscious Minds Of Therapist And Patient, by Joost A.M. Meerloo

Published in 1964, this short book of less than 200 pages manages to capture parapsychology in a decisive moment.  One can see in this book the pseudoscientific basis of much of New Age thought and the foundation of so much contemporary writing about treatment for anxiety and related issues [1].  This is not to say that the book is a very good one, as it is not, nor that its insistent claims about being scientific or much less true are accurate, because they are not, but they are evidence of the legitimacy that parapsychology seeks.  The author seeks to conflate anything involving human intuition or actions involving the spiritual world into a biological theory of telepathy, which the author continually claims has been supported by scientific investigation.  This is the sort of book that would be most convincing to those who already agree with the author and his perspective, namely that our ideas of having a cohesive identity are imaginary and that we are all a crowd of different personae with masks, continually being influenced by the outside world and hence not even original or creative or “ourselves” at all.  And the author somehow thinks this is a good thing, for some reason.

The book is a bit of a bait and switch, and the author is very slow to reveal what it is that he is actually writing about and promoting.  Fortunately, the book is short enough that the author has to get to his point about the telepathy that occurs in therapy and his misguided beliefs about identity.  This book would be a good deal longer if the author laid out his case honestly, but it would require him to seek to prove his statements rather than assume them to be true, and he does not have the evidence to back up his continual bogus truth-claims.  Even so, we see that the author wants to place his own worldview as being in between misguided and outdated traditional beliefs and a naive credulity in anything.  In other words, he wants to be seen as objective.  Yet this objectivity is undercut by his hostility to biblical morality and the biblical worldview, his friendliness to heathen views of ecstasy through the use of drugs and alcohol and sexual immorality, his fondness for Eastern religion, and his own discussion of his experiences in World War II in occupied Holland.  This is not even to begin on discussing the imaginary nature of the author’s wholesale adoption of Freudian psychology with all of its ridiculous and bogus claims.  In short, the author’s perspective is a mess, and he engages in a substantial amount of intellectual dishonesty in order to present himself as a credible scholar.

If this book is of little value from the point of view of worthwhile scientific evidence, what value does it have?  Its value is in showing the ambitions of those who promote pseudoscentific ideas like telepathy or Freudian or Jungian psychology to scientific validity, as if the demonstration that there was such a thing as a nonphysical connection people would prove the specific contentions of the author.  The author’s writing shows parapsychology at a decisive moment when it would become part of the foundation of contemporary New Age philosophy, and how much of psychiatry would happily ally itself with any religious thinking that would allow it to promote Eastern religion and personal immorality among the wider population.  Even more of interest, the author’s writing demonstrates that a major aspect of sensitivity comes from having experienced trauma as well as broken relationships, and that this sensitivity is the same sort of sensitivity that results from intoxication of one kind or another, suggesting a common spiritual link between abuse and intoxication that allows for one to be sensitive to the promptings of God or the influence of demonic spirits.  And so the hearts and minds of troubled and tormented souls become the battleground between good and evil.

[1] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2016/07/09/book-review-coping-with-anxiety/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2016/03/15/book-review-the-compassionate-mind-guide-to-overcoming-anxiety/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2016/07/09/book-review-coping-with-anxiety/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2016/07/08/book-review-anxiety-and-avoidance/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2017/01/21/book-review-childhood-disrupted/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2016/08/02/book-review-understanding-trauma/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2016/03/15/book-review-it-wasnt-your-fault/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2016/02/09/book-review-bearing-the-unbearable/

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About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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