Mind Over Mind explores the phenomenon of spirit possession from both anthropological and psychological perspectives. Spirit possession is ritually important in many cultures from India to Brazil to Madagascar, but has tended to be narrowly regarded from modern American and European perspectives as a psychopathological problem of multiple personality disorder. This book proposes an integration of anthropological and psychological approaches, concluding with a new analytical framework for understanding spirit possession and resolving the controversy surrounding the 'reality' of possession. The issues raised are thus essential to both the anthropology of religion and the psychology of altered states of consciousness. At the same time, Mind over Mind confronts the most challenging philosophical issues of human consciousness and human identity, which can not be properly formulated without the insights of social and cultural anthropology. At the most general level, this study argues for the unequivocal importance of an interdisciplinary approach to spirit possession and for the integral significance of anthropology for the other human sciences.
Morton Klass was professor of anthropology at Barnard College, Columbia University. He received his Ph.D. in anthropology from Columbia in 1959, and did field work in Trinidad and in India. His books include East Indians in Trinidad: A Study of Cultural Persistence (1961), From Field to Factory: Community Structure and Industrialization in West Bengal (1978), Caste: The Emergence of the South Asian Social System (1980), Singing with Sai Baba: The Politics of Revitalization in Trinidad (1991), and Ordered Universes: Approaches to the Anthropology of Religion(1995). He died in 2001, as he was completing the manuscript of Mind over Mind.
1 Foreword 2 Preface 3 1 Unanswered Questions and Unbridgeable Chasms 4 2 Culture as against "Culture" 5 3 The Spirits Are Willing 6 4 "Not for Us to Judge" 7 5 Consciousness and Dissociation: Paradigms Lost 8 6 Dissociative Disorders and the Human Mind 9 7 Dissociation and Spirit Possession