Supernormal: Science, Yoga, and the Evidence for Extraordinary Psychic Abilities

Dean Radin. Crown/Deepak Chopra, $14 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-0-307-98690-0
Does being a skilled yogi give one superpowers—and if so, how can we prove it? In this latest, Radin (The Conscious Universe) holds the ancient practices and theories of yoga up to the discerning lens of modern science. He maps yoga’s migration from East to West, its evolution from past to present, and he examines the practice’s ur-text: a 2,000-year-old manuscript known as the Yoga Sutras. Where, then, does science fit in? While Radin, a senior scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, is frequently critical of the discipline, he nevertheless argues that an array of tests may be able to lend credence to siddhis (“psychic phenomena” like telepathy and precognition) and some of yoga’s other more mysterious claims. But this is not a read for the unread: Radin’s discussion assumes a considerable knowledge base, and it’s unclear whom he’s writing for: devout yogis or skeptical scientists? Or both? (Radin’s goal may be to collapse these distinctions: in his conclusion, he argues for a worldview that melds the ancient with the modern, the scientific with the yogic.) Though unfocused and opaque at times, this is nevertheless an admirable attempt to bridge the gap between the scientific and the spiritual realm by focusing on a common desire for self- and societal improvement. Illus. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/17/2013
Release date: 07/16/2013
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