"Imagine there is no clock; imagine there is no time past, time present, time future. We and the universe are patterns of change. We are becoming and in that becoming we must encompass everything that has ever been. The original background radiation of the big bang, all the atoms, all the evolution of life is encompassed and enfolded by us." So writes psychophysiologist Roy Laurens in a book that superimposes Einstein's concepts of time and space on Sir John Eccles and Roger Sperry's theories about the mind's relationship to the brain. Add to that Laurens' personal ideas about the human spirit and soul, and you have a book that is sure to be, at the very least, controversial.
Taking the position that within every human being two minds exist, one rational and linguistic, the other imaginative and holistic, Laurens suggests that through a series of personal experiments in this self-help book, the reader can distinguish between these two minds and embark upon a larger experience in life.
Laurens believes that the two minds exist independently of the brain, and, in fact, control the brain. The rational mind, which neither feels nor expresses emotion, is often in conflict with the "time-enfolded" mind. It is this "other" mind that is in tune with the universe, with all of time and space--and which comprehends our deepest needs. It is Laurens' opinion that getting in touch with this nurturing right-brain mind, which is linked to emotional and physical health, can enhance our ability to lead successful lives.
The Saybrook Publishing Co. has released "Fully Alive" as a companion volume to another book it has just published: "Nobel Prize Conversations," by Sir John Eccles, Roger Sperry, Ilya Prigogine and Brian Josephson. Laurens' job is made all the more difficult by this association, for our expectations are raised by his proximity to these acclaimed scientists. "Fully Alive" is an awkward companion to its eloquent counterpart.
It is worth noting in this publishing connection that Roy Laurens is the pseudonym for Pat Howell, founder of Saybrook Publishing Co., and that he claims to have received his doctorate in psychophysiology in 1981 from . . . the Saybrook Institute. The Institute, a San Francisco graduate school, says that it does not now offer a degree in psychophysiology. Perhaps Rollo May and Norman Cousins, when they wrote the jacket blurbs for "Fully Alive," were not aware that they were applauding a work written by their own publisher.
What kind of work, finally, is it? It contains no bibliography, no indication of where Laurens did his research or with whom. Laurens' ideas spring like jack rabbits through a field of possibilities and sometimes it's no small trick to follow his logic. Even so, intriguing questions are raised and the personal experiments suggested in this book are imaginative and quite effective. If Laurens had called them subjective instead of scientific , this reader would have been more comfortable with his conclusions.
Essentially, this is a spiritual book, one concerned with the "transcendent healing path of love, compassion and joy." Since there are no laboratory tests that can verify or fault Laurens' personal conclusions, it is up to the individual reader to assess the truth or the imperfections that lie within its pages.