Molecules of Emotion is a book by Candace Pert, a Johns Hopkins trained biologist whose claim to fame is discovering the opiate receptor in the 1970's. The first 2\3rds of the book is an interesting look inside the politics and methods of large research institutions. The last third of the book is what I would describe, charitably, as Dr. Pert's search for a new paradigm.

Being a researcher at Johns Hopkins is nothing to scoff at, and Dr. Pert certainly knows more about the ins and outs of peptides and receptors than all but the very elite of research acadamia. So her story of the atmosphere of neurology research in the 1970s is certainly interesting, especially when she talks about the petty egotism of the scientists. She also reveals that scientists engaged in the equivalent of NFN, stretching a single project into as many papers as possible.

It's during the last third of the book that the writing becomes less clear. Personally, I am all in favor of different paradigms of thought and critiquing the basic axioms of Western Science, but for someone of her intelligence, her criticisms don't seem to be very clear. They consist of the usual talk of healing Cartesian dualism, and of the different mind sets of "The East" and "The West", and some talk of quantum physics and information theory. In short, the usual suspects of "new paradigm" thinking, all of which is used to back up some helpful, but unremarkable advice on how to live a happier life by releasing your emotions, exercising and the like.

I've been looking for books that show a lot of insight into medical theory of whatever paradigm. This, sadly, is not one of them.

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