Rebecca's Reviews > Glimpses of the Devil: A Psychiatrist's Personal Accounts of Possession, Exorcism, and Redemption

Glimpses of the Devil by M. Scott Peck
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's review
Sep 07, 2011

really liked it
Read from August 11 to 15, 2012

I'll admit that I have a fascination with scholarly books on exorcism and abnormal psych. I like to read them from the skeptic's or the scholar's point of view, because they're going to approach and document the entire process differently than someone who approaches it from a purely religious standpoint. I appreciate that he started out from the position that he was trying to prove that there wasn't a devil and there is no such thing as possession, and became convinced otherwise. I think he talked a lot about science but relied a lot on his emotions and experiences, but then, in a field as scientifically reviled as demonology (or whatever you'd like to call it), I guess there aren't a lot of text books he could reference.

When it comes to a field as--borderline--as possession, I prefer to echo Hamlet: there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy. A concept of some sort of possession has been a part of cultures and religions throughout human history. I'm sure most of it was mental illness or just an excuse for evil behavior, but we may have out-smarted ourselves by denying it completely. If it exists I am sure that 99% of the cases that are "diagnosed" are in fact something else, and I think especially the religious community is too quick to diagnosis possession to explain "the banality of evil." Peck makes an attempt to strike the middle ground between "demons, demons everywhere, demons moved my cheese!" and "there is no such thing." Is he right? I can't say. Is he worth a read and some consideration? Why not? At least having the conversation doesn't hurt anyone, and this seems like a good enough place to start.

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