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The Dream of the Earth Paperback – March 17, 1990


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Sierra Club Books; Reprint edition (March 17, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0871566222
  • ISBN-13: 978-0871566225
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,327,447 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This first volume in a new series, the Sierra Club Nature and Natural Philosophy Library, explores human-earth relations and seeks a new, non-anthropocentric approach to the natural world. According to cultural historian Berry, our immediate danger is not nuclear war but industrial plundering; our entire society, he argues, is trapped in a closed cycle of production and consumption. Berry points out that our perception of the earth is the product of cultural conditioning, and that most of us fail to think of ourselves as a species but rather as national, ethnic, religious or economic groups. Describing education as "a process of cultural coding somewhat parallel to genetic coding," he proposes a curriculum based on awareness of the earth. He discusses "patriarchy" as a new interpretation of Western historical development, naming four patriachies that have controlled Western history, becoming progressively destructive: the classical empires, the ecclesiastical establishment, the nation-state and the modern corporation. We must reject partial solutions and embrace profound changes toward a "biocracy" that will heal the earth, urges the author who defines problems and causes with eloquence.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"This volume quite possibly is one of the ten most important books of the twentieth century." -- Dr. Donald B. Conroy, President, North American Conference on Religion and Ecology

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Customer Reviews

I love Thomas Berry's vision.
KellyY
A new book, The Awakened Earth, teaches us how to form a partnership with Nature to heal environments out of balance.
Jim
The annotated bibliography invites focused further reading.
Daniel J. Benor

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Bugs on February 12, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Thomas Berry has put together in this one book what a thousand other writers have attempted and that is: a complete format for human perception of reality that should and can pervade through all our earthly activities, esp. religion, politics and economy. Let Earth and it's biolgical processes teach and guide us to a rational, sustainable, regenerative, healthy existence.

There are many potent passages all through this work and I picked out one that I felt was inclusive of the gist of the book.

..."This universe itself, but especially the planet Earth, needs to be experienced as the primary healer, primary commercial establishment, and primary lawgiver for all that exists within this life community. The basic spirituality communicated by the natural world can also be considered as normative for the future ecological age."- Page 120

This is an excellent treatise on reverence for the creative life forces that sustain us and treat us daily to a plethora of interactive life processes and our need to acknowledge this gift by treating it with the awe and respect it deserves.
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38 of 43 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 6, 2003
Format: Paperback
"Dream of the Earth" should be considered a definitive work of 20th century, but, sadly, it has been overlooked by most of the populace. So powerfully written and earnest in some places that I was actually moved to tears, this book serves as a final plea and loose guide on how to save the planet - and with it, ourselves. In a broader sense, the book serves as a history of the human condition, how we came to be in the fix we are in today, and what massive, cultural changes need to take place in order to retain the last scraps of our mythic, extraordinary being.
Most see the coming ecological cataclysm (the next 50 years) as impossible to avoid or as nonsense. It is neither of those things. If this book doesn't drive you to change your lifestyle, nothing will.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Robert L. Rose VINE VOICE on December 21, 2003
Format: Paperback
In one of his Dialogues, Plato says that the most serious difficulty one faces when attempting to philosophize is in "finding a suitable story for what one wants to say." But it's a difficulty worth facing at this time in history because a suitable story may serve to energize and advance current efforts to develop a globally responsible spirituality.

Everywhere we hear from perceptive folk that our conventional story has grown dangerously obsolete, and only by reimagining the world and our place in it can we advance beyond the dysfunctional limits of the old story.

The "dream of the earth" so beautifully described in this work by "geologian" Thomas Berry just may be the "big enough story" needed now to creatively navigate the global transition from a way of destruction to a way of sustainable wisdom rooted in a respect for the earth as respect for our very own bodies
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 19, 1999
Format: Paperback
This work is one of the most important books that you can read today. "We are living in interesting times." The Chinese consider the above quote to be one of the worst curses that can be placed upon someone.
If we do not create a new mythology about who we are and how we live, then the earth will do away with us.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Daniel J. Benor on September 22, 2004
Format: Paperback
Our planet, Gaia, is sorely in need of healing. Her earth, waters, and air are polluted. Natural resources are being depleted. Thousands of plant and animal species are becoming extinct.

In this classic book, Thomas Berry summarizes and discusses the dire needs of our planet for healing. While not going so far as to advocate spiritual healing as a solution, Berry strongly advocates for awareness of the innate intelligence of Gaia.

Berry masterfully explores the mind-sets that have contributed to the dangerous depletion of our planetary resources. He suggests that we have yet to find the guiding myths and images to inspire us to relinquish our focus on personal and national material gains in order to properly focus our energies on relating to Gaia in a harmonious way.

The annotated bibliography invites focused further reading.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Don Smith on July 20, 2009
Format: Paperback
Thomas Berry's "The Dream of the Earth" is a hard-hitting collection of essays designed to snap us out of our human-centred arrogance with regards to the Earth and the entire universe.

As a series of essays, it is of necessity disjointed and hence only a 4 star review but still recommended.

Get "The Universe Story" co-authored with Brian Swimme for the 5-star stuff!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Annemarie Askwith on April 23, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The change in consciousness that is needed for the human race to achieve the nobility and wisdom we are capable of requires that we recognize Earth's nonhuman beings and us as one interconnected community. This book outlines that this consciousness is required in all professions but none more than in our schools and religions. Presently most western peoples are radically cut off from this consciousness and the legs of our culture are becoming sand.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful By celticfrogreviews on April 2, 2011
Format: Paperback
The Dream of the Earth is Thomas Berry's call for humanity to lift its eyes from the allure of the industrial and consumer society to see the wonder of the Earth that surrounds and supports us. The content of the essays is well organized to pull the reader into what Berry calls an "intimate relationship with the Earth". He is well situated in both eastern and western mystic philosophy and brings these understandings of the world to bear as he argues that we cannot continue as we are. He is right in arguing that we may have already paid too great a price for what we call progress.
The challenge for me through the essays is Berry's willingness to appropriate aboriginal spirituality to his cause. I am not arguing that native spirituality is very earth oriented and more grounded in relationship with the earth than our Western notion of humanity as the owner and subdue of all we see. My problem is that he stereotypes the native people as the guardians of the Earth and the, perhaps, saviours of humanity if only we would listen to them.
We do in fact need to listen to the native communities, but not for the reasons that Berry suggests. We need to listen because they are part of us. There are native communities who are signing mining or hydro development deals to create jobs for the members of their communities. Do we reject these communities because they are no longer "the protectors of the Earth"?
This is a specific example of the weakness of Berry's book. He uses everything from extinct or endangered animals to aboriginal cultures as `types'. He then uses these types to argue that we are wreaking the worst damage on the earth that it has ever experienced. This is simply not true. It is a kind of hubris. We are destroying ourselves and taking a lot of the world with us.
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