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The Ascent of Humanity First Edition (US) First Printing Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 58 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0977622207
ISBN-10: 0977622207
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Editorial Reviews


"Yale graduate, professor, speaker and author, remove the letters "se" from his surname and you have an idea just how brilliant a thinker Eisenstein is considered to be."Montreal Gazette

"This is an extraordinary book. Eisenstein has put his finger on the core problem facing humanity—namely: separation. All the crises that humanity now faces are grounded in the belief that we are separate—separate from each other, separate from the biosphere that sustains us, separate from the universe that has brought us forth. This is a tour-de-force filled with astounding insight, wit, wisdom and heart."—Christopher Uhl, author of Developing Ecological Consciousness: Paths to a Sustainable Future
"Quite marvelous, a hugely important work... This book is truly needed in this time of deepening crisis."—John Zerzan, author of Future Primitive and Elements of Refusal

 "A radical awakening as to how we arrived at our current crisis and how we can more effectively redefine the path of our evolutionary journey."—Bruce Lipton, author of The Biology of Belief
"Brilliant and original, with great depth of insight and understanding, Eisenstein's Ascent of Humanity easily ranks with the works of such giants of our age as David Bohm, Julian Jaynes, Jean Gebser, Whitehead. It is a profoundly serious, indeed somber portrait of our times, even as it opens a door of honest hope amidst the dark destiny we have woven about us. Accept the challenge of this major accomplishment and discover the light shining within it."—Joseph Chilton Pearce, author of The Crack in the Cosmic Egg, Magical Child, Evolution's End, and The Biology of Transcendence
"This is one of those rare books that moves the goal posts. Eisenstein pulls together a wide array of insights to show that what we thought was the solution is also the problem. It is eye opening fodder for conversations with everyone I meet. As a technologist and a human being, I believe this could well be one of the most important books of the decade."—Garret Moddel, professor of electrical engineering at UC Boulder; chairman & CTO, Phiar Corporation

From the Trade Paperback edition. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Charles Eisenstein is a teacher, speaker, and writer focusing on themes of civilization, consciousness, money, and human cultural evolution. His writings on the web magazine Reality Sandwich have generated a vast online following; he speaks frequently at conferences and other events, and gives numerous interviews on radio and podcasts. Eisenstein graduated from Yale University in 1989 with a degree in Mathematics and Philosophy, and spent the next ten years as a Chinese-English translator. The author of Sacred Economics (EVOLVER EDITIONS, 2011), he currently lives in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and serves on the faculty of Goddard College. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 604 pages
  • Publisher: Panenthea Productions; First Edition (US) First Printing edition (March 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0977622207
  • ISBN-13: 978-0977622207
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #870,894 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Steven A. Reid on March 19, 2007
Format: Paperback
Eisenstein convincingly develops the thesis that humanity has succumbed to the dismal end game of the Technological and Scientific Programs. He describes the Scientific Program as the attempt to understand every phenomenon through the application of the Scientific Method -- extending reductionism, measurement, classification, and enumeration inappropriately to aspects of existence or relationships where they do not apply. The Technological Program seeks to control nature, and thereby often disrupts it through unintended consequences. The usual, and usually incorrect, response to these blunders consists of more technology; more control. He argues that cooperation between life forms may prove much more important to evolution than competition. He shows how the prevailing materialistic world view, one seeking to isolate Man from hostile nature, colours seemingly objective scientific theory.

By focusing on self organizing systems of increasing complexity, he spotlights how matter literally tends to "come alive". The Divine exists not as a remote, possibly disinterested deity, but rather in every bit of the extant World.

The time has come for Humanity's next big step. We need to recognize that only imaginary, arbitrary boundaries divide the individual from the rest of the Universe. The "out there" and the "in here" exist only as concepts, not as valid categories delimiting our physiological and mental domains. We live in a world of abundance, where cooperation, not a paranoid "me vs. the hostile other" perspective should inform our philosophy.

This book might just catalyze a paradigm shift affecting science, economics, psychology, and theology. You will find it much easier to read than this review, and a lot more fascinating.
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Charles Eisenstein, a true Renaissance thinker, has written a monumental work that traces the journey of the human race from its beginnings through to present day. He has left no thought unexamined in his quest for an explanation of why and how we have come to this juncture, which is defined by a convergence of environmental, social and political crises.
Eisenstein argues that beginning with our first use of tools, we embarked on a journey of separation from nature and eventually from each other. Rather than viewing our current situation as a terrible mistake, Eisenstein believes it is an inevitable passage that will result in the birthing of a shift in perspective, an awakening of all humanity. As we emerge from the difficult times ahead, a better way of being in the world will result.
This book is incredibly broad and deep in its examination of how science, technology, religion, politics, economics, and sociology have each contributed to (and been a mirror of) our ever-greater alienation.
There were ideas presented here I have read nowhere else such as how our interest-dependent money system creates an unending need for economic consumption We literally can't stop consuming or our whole financial system collapses. No wonder environmental preservation will always be at odds with capitalism. Eisenstein not only examines what is not working, but gives plenty of concrete ideas about how to bring about real change. For example, a money system with negative interest called demurrage. Sound intriguing? Read this important book and decide for yourself.
The Ascent of Humanity will give you a clearer understanding of the current human situation as well as some real direction for how we can begin now to envision and create a better way to live that honors all life.
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I'll be honest - I probably mentally reference this book on a daily basis. I am yet to find a work this complete (and this voluminous) that seems to agree with so many of my own thoughts. That's not to say that it didn't get me to think critically about them, or that Eisenstein didn't diverge from them at certain points, but it is good to know that there are others out there who share my ideas.

So what is it about? Well, everything really. He brings together science, art, religion, work, play, school, and everything in between. We start off in the familiar and end up somewhere unexpected every time. And that's probably the best description I can give.

The book isn't flawless, of course. His discussion of autism, for example, leave a bit to be desired. But we're not left with the impression that he writing from the perspective of "truth" - the book is a chronicle of opinion and insight, not objective science. It's more a narrative about how things can be than about how they are - or maybe it's about how things are what we make them to be.

So ultimately, I felt the only shortcoming of the work was that the ideas I read here weren't particularly new - that is to say, I didn't read many things that I hadn't already read or heard about elsewhere. But that's not really what this book is about. Eisenstein weaves together many different sources and with them creates a coherent, unified idea. And that, in my opinion, seems to be what is needed more than anything else right now.

(Also, to anyone who enjoyed this work, I'd highly recommend reading "Immediatism" by Hakim Bey - very similar ideas, with a little more poetic flare... And lots of room for imagination.)
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