For Gergen to suggest that A middle-ground party could somehow unite our country on issues like abortion, gay marriage, and the war in Iraq is naive at best. For that to happen, we would have to experience some sort of cataclysmic event that shifts our collective consciousness to a common goal and away from these issues rendering them superfluous to the task at hand. That's not likely.
Gergen editorializes that if the Republicans and Democrats continue to merely jockey for power, then a third political party should be created. Actually, there should be two new parties. A single new party will be marginalized by the political status quo, but two new parties can open a meaningful debate.
I believe a new political party is almost a necessity now. The two-party system has placed our government at a virtual standstill by putting petty politics first and concerns of the country second, and there is no likelihood that it will change. The new party could appropriately be called the American Party and welcome the center of both parties, letting those on the extreme stay where they are. Several well-known, trusted, and active patriots, also dismayed with the current state of affairs, hopefully would start it. The public is so fed up, I bet they would support it in droves.
Thank you for "Is there room for the Soul?" [October 23]. Having recently revisited several of Plato's works (I read the Apology in the original Greek in college), I remain unconvinced that we can empirically know the workings of the brain much less the soul. Article author Jay Tolson condenses our attempts to understand, from Plato to cognitive theorist Daniel Dennett, in good order. His final sentence was the most encouraging and at the same time controversial, suggesting that religion learn from science and science from religion. Given the Platonic argument of opposite springing from opposite, any chance of understanding self and spirit can occur only if we remove the hard-core fundamentalist from both science and religion.
H. G. HAMBY
I was very disappointed that after slogging through ponderous prose, I found the article reaches the unoriginal conclusion that science and religion can coexist.
HOSEA L. MARTIN
It is interesting to note that these new debates about consciousness are also impacting the practice of psychotherapy, the art and science of healing the soul. Since the 1970s, somatic psychology or body-mind psychotherapy has been emerging as a specialty discipline designed precisely to remedy the persistent dualism between talking therapy and therapeutic bodywork. The new integrated modalities, now being developed, combine verbal and somatic interventions and would seem to be the wave of the future.
BARNABY BARRATT, PH.D.
Somatic Psychology Program
Santa Barbara Graduate Institute
Santa Barbara, Calif.
The same reductionistic scientists who tell us that the soul is not real would also tell us that free will is an illusion. We can prove the contrary by raising a finger and either wiggling it or not. Why can't we see that intensive study of material reality does not imply there is no nonmaterial reality? G. K. Chesterton put it well: "When people say that science has shaken their faith in immortality, what do they mean? Did they think that immortality was a gas?"