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Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief

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Why have people from different cultures and eras formulated myths and stories with similar structures? What does this similarity tell us about the mind, morality, and structure of the world itself? From the author of 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos comes a provocative hypothesis that explores the connection between what modern neuropsychology tells us about the brain and what rituals, myths, and religious stories have long narrated. A cutting-edge work that brings together neuropsychology, cognitive science, and Freudian and Jungian approaches to mythology and narrative, Maps of Meaning presents a rich theory that makes the wisdom and meaning of myth accessible to the critical modern mind.

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Why would people in different places and times formulate myths and stories with similar symbols and meanings? Are groups of people with different religious or ideological beliefs doomed to eternal conflict? Are the claims of science and religion truly irreconcilable? What might be done to decrease the individual propensity for group-fostered cruelty? Maps of Meaning addresses these questions with a provocative new hypothesis that explores the connection between what modern neuropsychology tells us about the brain and what rituals, myths and religious stories have long narrated. Peterson's ambitious interdisciplinary odyssey draws insights from the worlds of religion, cognitive science and Jungian approaches to mythology and narrative. Maps of Meaning offers a critical guide to the riches of archaic and modern thought and invaluable insights into human motivation and cognition.

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Jordan Peterson's book is a brilliant enlargement of our understanding of human motivation. He follows a path that has been recommended by many scientist-scholars in the past - but one that is, in practice, so extraordinarily demanding that it is hardly ever done well. Peterson synthesizes research and scholarly literatures ranging from neuroscience to archaeology. He aligns the finds of those literatures with the writings of such authors as Jung, Nietzsche, Dostoevsky, and Solzhenitsyn. There is loving detail in this book - reflection, thoughtfulness, careful study, a passionate desire to understand. This is a beautiful work. (Sheldon H. White, Chair, Department of Psychology, Harvard University).

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