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August 21 , 2007

In Search of the Spiritual

Gabriel Marcel, Psychoanalysis and the Sacred


Gabriel Marcel (1889-1973), the first French existentialist and phenomenologist, was a world-class Catholic philosopher, an accomplished playwright, drama critic and musician. He wrote brilliantly about many of the classic existential themes associated with Sartre, Heidegger, Jaspers and Buber, prior to the publication of their main works. Marcel regarded himself as a "homo viator," a spiritual wanderer: "If man is essentially a voyager, it is because he is en route . . . towards an end which one can say at once and contradictorily that he sees and does not see." As a self-described "philosopher of the threshold" and "an awakener," his stated goal was to shed some light on the nature of spiritual reality, those moments when one experiences an upsurge of the love of life. In this book, Paul Marcus joins the best of Marcellian and psychoanalytic insights to help the reader develop an inner sensibility that is more receptive, responsive and responsible to the transforming sacred presences that grace everyday life, such as are experienced in selfless love, hoping beyond hope, and maintaining faith in the goodness of the world despite its harsh challenges. Whether one is reading "Re-finding God during Chemo-therapy," "Maintaining Personal Dignity in the Face of the Mass Society," "On Fidelity and Betrayal in Love Relationships" or "The Kiss," Marcus, with the help of his two spiritual masters, Marcel and Freud, points the reader in the direction of a greater everyday sacred attunement to the eternal presences that life mysteriously reveals to those with a discerning eye and an open heart.
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