David Lorimer. Survival? Body, Mind and Death in the Light of Psychic Experience. Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1984.

In the first part of this book Lorimer surveys the various philosophical and theological attitudes to survival; in the second he examines the evidence for survival presented by the experiences of Swedenborg, apparitions, out-of-the body and near-death experiences, and alleged communications via mediums.

The reader who expects a detailed philosophical study or an objective survey of the evidence of psychic research concerning survival will be disappointed, for Lorimer writes as a 'true-believer' in the occult revelations of Rudolph Steiner. In the course of his review, much of modern science, philosophy and theology is brushed aside in favour of that gentleman's speculations about astral and etheric bodies, vibrations, etc.; coupled with a gnostic vision of spirit trapped in a world of matter.

It is clear that Lorimer has grasped neither the extent of empirical evidence for psycho-physical unity, nor the cogency of theological and philosophical objections to a view of man which was developed by thinkers such as Plato, who elevated their own abstract reasoning above practical, material activities - which were the preserve of lesser beings such as women and slaves.

On the blurb we are informed that Lorimer 'suggests' death may be considered as a welcome release of consciousness from the space-time limitations of the physical body'. We are presented with a vision of the afterlife curiously reminiscent of The Waltons or Little House on the Prairie - a dangerously seductive opiate for the cannon fodder, whether suicide bomber, kamikazi pilot, or helpless victim of the big bomb. -- Peter Rogerson. From Magonia 21, December 1985.

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