Godhead: The brain's big bang

The explosive origin of creativity, mysticism and mental illness

by Joe Griffin and Ivan Tyrrell

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Hardback (480pp)

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In Godhead: The brain's big bang, Joe Griffin and Ivan Tyrrell reveal why science and mysticism are two essential aspects of human functioning and how both are linked to the human vulnerability to mental illness. In doing so they provide new reasons for why those who think human life is essentially meaningless are utterly wrong.

The innate human need for meaning is a given and, through the lens of evolution, cultural history, poetry and a wealth of new insights, the authors draw psychology, science and mysticism together into the same river of human experience and answer questions at the heart of humankind's deepest yearning: to understand ourselves. The following are just some of the questions covered:

  • Why is it that we are capable of creating societies that foster the highest pinnacles of extraordinary individual and collective creative achievement, yet so often let our cultures degenerate and brutally collapse?
  • Why did mental illness not evolve out of the human race?
  • What is consciousness?
  • How did consciousness arise from inanimate matter?
  • What is the 'nothing' that physicists say existed before 'something' first appeared?
  • Where did the quantum information come from that made our vast universe and all life forms in it possible?
  • Can the claims about the nature of reality made by mystics throughout the ages be reconciled with our best scientific insights?
  • What is mysticism for?
  • Is evil necessary?
  • Is serving others important?
  • Are 'God' and 'Godhead' still useful terms?
  • What is 'destiny'?
  • Can one live one's life so as to consciously evolve?
  • Can individual consciousness survive death?

In their answers to these questions you will encounter breakthrough ideas about the origin of information in the universe, the nature of consciousness, time, autism, caetextia, psychosis, imagination, hypnosis, prehistoric cave art, stone circles, ancient Egypt, Gnosticism, Sufism, the esoteric origin of science and the nature of relationships, love and human destiny.

Godhead: The Brain's Big Bang is a worthy successor to their previous best seller, Human Givens: A new approach to emotional health and clear thinking. Directly and indirectly that book enriched millions of lives. This new one could do the same.

  • Format: Hardback (480pp)
  • ISBN: 1-899398-27-9

About the author(s)

Joe GriffinJoe Griffin is a social psychologist with graduate and postgraduate degrees from the LSE. He has had many years experience both in psychotherapeutic practice and in training psychotherapists.

Scientific reviewers around the world have described his research on dreaming with such phrases as, “The bridge between neurophysiology and psychology... rigorously scientific... an important milestone... moves our understanding on significantly... a watershed in our exploration of the evolution of mental processes... a major key to the nature of all psychic states.” He is co-author with Ivan Tyrrell of five landmark monographs about advances in psychological interventions for emotional disturbances and numerous best-selling books, including How to lift depression...fast, Freedom from Addiction and Why we dream: the definitive answer.

Joe has two daughters and lives with his wife, Liz, in a small medieval town by the river Barrow in rural Ireland.

Ivan TyrrellIvan Tyrrell's interest in psychology stems from a childhood experience of undergoing surgery under hypnosis. For twenty years he studied the comparative effectiveness of psychotherapy and counselling models, linking this to what science is discovering about the brain and mind/body/mood connections. As Editorial Director of the Human Givens Journal he has collaborated on many major articles with a variety of distinguished clinicians, writers and other individuals with a focus on psychology, social issues and mental health.

Ivan worked for many years as a psychotherapist and lecturer and is now director of Human Givens College. He founded the Human Givens Institute. He has one son and three daughters and lives with his wife, Véronique, in the Cotswold countryside.

Media reviews

"An All-Encompassing Masterwork: This is a book of both extraordinary scope and profound insight. Drawing together knowledge from psychology, ancient wisdom, poetry, literature, and quantum physics, the authors put forward highly convincing models - demonstrably consistent with science - about the nature of the universe and how it operates.

Griffin and Tyrrell take aim at questions which genius minds have grappled with since the dawn of time, not least the enduring conundrum: why do we exist? In doing so they, may have solved some of the fundamental riddles which block the way forward for scientists working in physics and biology today, namely: What is the origin of the information that makes matter possible? How did life arise out of inanimate matter? And,what is consciousness?

Unlike some other works that approach the same, or similar questions, Godhead is neither mired in the indecipherable technical patois of specialist academics, nor blunted by the hollow mystical jargon that nowadays passes for genuine spirituality. Godhead's prose is sharp, sober, informed, flowing, elegant and accessible, leading the reader through its great edifice of knowledge whose passageways and galleries are all shown to be interlinked.

We learn that areas as seemingly distant as physics and psychology are in fact more connected than we could ever imagine. And this leads to one of the main pillars in Godhead's great hall of ideas: that the existence of the physical universe, of the cosmos itself, is directly related to consciousness. The quality of our thoughts, actions and attention, the book alleges, has a very real impact on the constantly changing state of the universe.

Because of Godhead's colossal, multidisciplinary reach, the book has something for everyone. Godhead has as much to offer the curious layperson as it does the most learned scientist. Not only will the reader's knowledge of the external universe be deepened and enriched, but also his or her INTERNAL universe - whose exploration, Godhead alleges, above all others, is the one fundamental task incumbent upon us all."

John Zada

"An astonishing book, rarely have I read one as rich or thought-provoking - it covers an amazing amount of history, archaeology, psychology, physics and even mysticism and pulls them all together in the most powerful and convincing way. I couldn't put it down and read it into the early hours of the morning, night after night.

Unlike many books which have one basic idea that is padded out to fill enough pages, here is new insight upon new idea interwoven with a wealth of fascinating information all of which sent my brain whizzing. Penny after penny dropped as I read. Their explanation for what the true nature of reality might be, for instance, especially their oscillating universe concept is the most plausible I've ever read - it pulls together and explains much from quantum physics. In fact to me it really does seem that they might have found the missing jigsaw piece that physicists etc have been searching for for decades. Their theory for what 'nothing' might be and how the cosmological big bang could explode from it and the universe evolve as a result also made logical sense, as did their explanation of how we experience continuous 'time'. These are not small questions and, as with anything subtle and potentially difficult to convey, in some parts of the book you have to allow yourself to simply follow their argument to its conclusion, but it really is well worth the effort and the clarity of their writing helps you follow their train of thought.

But these amazing new ideas weren't the only things to grab me - what also struck me was the way that the ideas put forward in 'Godhead' clarified for me previously incomprehensible religious and mystical writings (from different faiths) - here at last is a way to understand what others have been trying to convey for centuries that is also compatible with modern scientific findings. And they give example after example, all apparently talking about the same thing. The idea that there has long been a continual stream of hidden knowledge about the true nature of existence and our purpose in the universe (which has been transmitted through the ages and in different cultures) is, of course, not new, but here the authors suggest that this stream goes back even further than we may have thought to prehistoric times.

And our potential for connecting up to ultimate reality, they suggest, is inextricably linked with why human beings are also highly susceptible to a wide range of disorders and mental illnesses - a fascinating connection. I would have liked to know a bit more about some of the discoveries they mention about depression, dreaming and psychosis (and their relaton theory) but I can appreciate that this was already a long enough book and so as they've written many others on those topics I'm looking forward to getting tucked into them next!

Not many books have genuinely changed the way I think about things, but this one has. If you enjoy going on a mentally stimulating journey and are interested in the 'bigger' questions (including why we are here) then I can't recommend this book highly enough. I don't think I will ever look at life, the universe and our part in it in quite the same way again."

M. Gibson

"I have been reading in this area for over a decade and I can say that this is the most open, informative and possibly important book I have read to date. The themes dealt with here don't get any more ambitious. Life, the Universe and everything."