In Processing Reality: Finding Meaning in Death, Psychedelics, and Sobriety, John Buchanan details his search for a paradigm capable of integrating the diverse kinds of data arising out of the scientific endeavor, our philosophical heritage, and insights from extraordinary experience, as well as recognizing fully the value and importance of nature and everyday life.
The author traces both his personal and his academic journey to discover a worldview adequate to all the experiences and ideas from his studies in psychology, philosophy, and religion, as well his encounters with alcohol and drugs, psychedelics and non ordinary states, and addiction and recovery. Using some pivotal experiences—including psychedelic ones—to illuminate the most important questions and revelations that arose in his life, Buchanan attempts to make more accessible the sometimes difficult, often novel, and always fascinating ideas and theories found in process thought and transpersonal psychology.
In particular, Processing Reality acts as an in-depth introduction to Stanislav Grof's transpersonal psychology and Alfred North Whitehead's "philosophy of organism." It is argued that these two revolutionary theories, working together, form the basis for a postmodern paradigm capable of unifying science, religion, and human existence in a way that recognizes the achievements of the modern world, while rescuing spiritual values and vital dimensions of human experience and the natural world that have been lost or obscured along the way. With Whitehead's process philosophy providing a uniting worldview, and Grof's transpersonal psychology fleshing out the spiritual dimensions of Whitehead's thought, as well as offering experiential access to these spiritual depths, this reenchanted worldview is poised to help us address the crises that are facing our society and our planet.
John Buchanan is a psychologist, philosopher, and interdisciplinary thinker who hasbeen most crucially concerned with the question: What is Reality? This search was galvanized by several powerful experiences during his youth in Wisconsin, including his father's sudden death and some formidable psychedelic journeys.
John spent many years at colleges and universities and in workshops looking for answers to existential questions around meaning and purpose; psychological questions around self-actualization and accessing the unconscious; philosophical questions concerning the nature of perception, the problem of mind-body interaction, and the nature of reality; and cosmological and theological questions about the spiritual realities and depth meanings of our universe.