David Abram's writing casts a spell of its own as he weaves the reader through a meticulously researched work that gently addresses such seemingly daunting topics as where the past and future exist, the relationship between space and time, and how the written word serves to sever humans from their primordial source of sustenance: the earth.
"Only as the written text began to speak would the voices of the forest, and of the river, begin to fade. And only then would language loosen its ancient associations with the invisible breath, the spirit sever itself from the wind, the psyche dissociate itself from the environing air," writes Abram of the separation caused by the proliferation of the written word.
In writing The Spell of the Sensuous, Abram consulted an engaging collection of peoples and works. He uses aboriginal song lines, stories from the Koyukon people of northwestern Alaska, the philosophy of phenomenology, and the speeches of Socrates to paint a poetic landscape that explains how we became separated from the earth in the first place. With minimal environmental doomsaying, Abram discusses how we can begin to recover a sustainable relationship with the earth and the nonhuman beings who live among us--in the more-than-human world. --Kathryn True
How did Western civilization become so estranged from nonhuman nature that we condone the ongoing destruction of forests, rivers, valleys, species and ecosystems? Santa Fe ecologist/philosopher Abram's search for an answer to this dilemma led him to mingle with shamans in Nepal and sorcerers in Indonesia, where he studied how traditional healers monitor relations between the human community and the animate environment. In this stimulating inquiry, he also delves into the philosophy of phenomenologists Edmund Husserl and Maurice Merleau-Ponty, who replaced the conventional view of a single, wholly determinable reality with a fluid picture of the mind/body as a participatory organism that reciprocally interacts with its surroundings. Abram blames the invention of the phonetic alphabet for triggering a trend toward increasing abstraction and alienation from nature. He gleans insights into how to heal the rift from Australian aborigines' concept of the Dreamtime (the perpetual emerging of the world from chaos), the Navajo concept of a Holy Wind and the importance of breath in Jewish mysticism.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Mr Abram spent 250 some pages painstakingly building an argument that the human race was, but is no more, grounded in the wisdom and in communion with the natural world. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Goldin
Exquisite language dropping you into the field of sensuous understanding, knowledge; poetry of awakening to what is important.Published 2 months ago by Loy Geddes
This is a unique book, a look at the role of the shaman in two indigenous cultures through the eyes of a magician with an academic bent. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Brian
One of the best original works in philosophy in the last 50 years. What is more amazing is that this text accommodates both the neophyte and Ph.D. at the same time. Read morePublished 3 months ago by E. Anderson
Simultaneously tries to refute the entirety of the development of science and literature, while constructing a fallacy filled argument as a student of the very fields he seeks to... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Xy
This is a very thought provoking book. It's depth of material is at times a challenge but well worth the effot, to expand one's in-depth understand of what we need to do to truly... Read morePublished 3 months ago by eileen hothow
I was so excited to get this book; Abram's background is fascination. But his style is very highfalutin' and oh so wordy! When he is storytelling, he is lyrical and soul-stirring. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Sarah J Faulkner