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Coming Home: The Birth & Transformation of the Planetary Era Paperback – April 1, 2010
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'A brilliant and singular book that shines a powerful light on our critical moment in history. Coming Home brings both vision and scholarship, rigor and imagination, to this all-important task of historical self-reflection, allowing us to glimpse profound overarching patterns that make newly intelligible not only our history but the specific challenges of our Planetary Era. With its publication, Coming Home immediately becomes necessary reading for our time -- necessary, at least, for those in our precarious civilization who know it is their peculiar calling to try to grasp the big picture as accurately as possible.' -- Richard Tarnas, author of The Passion of the Western Mind and Cosmos and Psyche 'For those travelers seeking meaning in this crisis-riven time, here is both map and provisions for the journey. This is a work of rare distinction. I bow to Kelly's respect for the radical uncertainty facing us now. His work illumines not only the inescapable nature of this uncertainty, but also its capacity to awaken and ennoble us at this turning in our human journey.' -- Joanna Macy, author, World as Lover, World as Self 'Kelly sketches an impossibly -- but all the more possibly -- Great Vision. It is not concocted of new agey spiritual pontification. It unfolds in dazzling breadth and trusty erudition, laced by a wise and earthy uncertainty.' -- Catherine Keller, Professor of Constructive Theology, Drew University; author of Face of the Deep: On the Mystery and On the Mystery: Discerning Divinity in Process 'Sean Kelly takes as his call the entire sweep of Western thought. He brings order to its profusion and finds major meanings and directions overlooked in traditional histories of ideas, all the while highlighting fascinating and forgotten clues and revealing undertows whose significance is becoming increasingly relevant and urgent in our own time. There may be other ways of ordering this vast field, but the story that Kelly presents is elegant, economical, immensely insightful, and, above all, charged with hopeful possibilities for change.' -- Freya Mathews, Associate Professor of Ecological Philosophy at La Trobe University 'Many readers will be familiar with the work of Richard Tarnas, who endorses this book by saying that it is necessary reading for our time, an assessment with which I wholeheartedly agree.' -- David Lorimer, Scientific and Medical Network Review, Winter 2010.
About the Author
Sean M. Kelly, Ph.D., is Professor in the Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness Program at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) in San Francisco. He has published numerous articles on Jung, Hegel, transpersonal psychology, and the new science and is the author of Individuation and the Absolute: Hegel, Jung, and the Path toward Wholeness (Paulist Press, 1993). Sean is an editor (with Donald Rothberg) of Ken Wilber in Dialogue: Conversations with Leading Transpersonal Thinkers (Quest, 1998) and a translator (with Roger Lapointe) of the French thinker Edgar Morin's book Homeland Earth: A Manifesto for the New Millennium (Hampton Press, 1999). Along with his academic work, Sean has trained intensively in the Chinese internal arts (taiji, bagua, and xingyi) and has been teaching taiji since 1990.
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it gives you a wide view on the evolution of consciousness that put things into perspective. It can give you a deep sense of trust and the directions necessary to know where to go in this difficult times.
It really is beautiful book that is adressing its time problems and amplifying our vision of it.
It touched my heart and mind
For youth, finding patterns is a compelling learning tool and appeals to our innate attraction to symmetry and order. Kelly's book appeals to this fascination and introduces the concept of a Great Code and a fundamental fractal pattern, which is neither reductive nor dogmatic, but acts as a lens to understand our past and perhaps predict the future.
Another important aspect of the book is its spirit as reflected by the title, "Coming Home." A thread of hope and trust in the future is woven throughout and interspersed with compelling new humanitarian accomplishments like the "Global Justice Movement." Kelly calls the movement a synchronicity in the collective consciousness, the expression of a spontaneous groundswell and points out that it was a youth driven movement. Next, he applauds the systematic coordination of social justice and environmental activists on a global scale. He goes on to describe the emergence of new ideas like "radical interdependence" and "global solidarity."
By radical interdependence he speaks of the social movement where everyone and everything is interconnected. By global solidarity he emphasizes the ideal of freedom or liberation from oppression and the participatory character of the human situation. For Kelly, these various movements and impulses are hopeful and have the potential to "coalesce into a new, creative, countercultural force with potentially world-transforming consequences."
Most compelling, for me, and perhaps for youth as well, was his restatement of Edgar Morin's call for a new kind of religion that would rationally undertake saving the planet, civilizing the earth, and unifying humankind, all the while safeguarding its diversity. Morin's proposal for a new kind of religion would also serve the expected role of "uniting people in suffering and death yet simultaneously acknowledge that we are all fellows in an unknown adventure." Most significantly, it would look into "the abyss," a place of enormous curiosity for me yet a place traditional religions seem to avoid. Kelly's analysis made me eager to pick up Morin's book and learn more.
A parallel approach, which no doubt would peak the curiosity of young people, was Kelly's restatement of Tarnas' affirmation of the reality of the World Soul. The idea of a World Soul offers a deeply provocative structure patterned on "archetypes." Tarnas defines the archetypes as "specific immutable structure or essences, so definite and enduring they were believed to possess an independent reality of their own." Archetypal principles include among others: "the mathematical forms of geometry and arithmetic; cosmic opposites such as light and dark, male and female, love and hate, unity and multiplicity; the forms of man (anthropos) and other living creatures; and the Ideas of the Good, the Beautiful and the Just. Kelly affirms Tarnas' view that the archetypes are the common ground of intelligibility of both nature and spirit, cosmos and psyche. From personal experience, to participate in the World Soul is to re-inhabit an enchanted Universe.
The allure of an enchanted Universe is particularly appealing to youth as they struggle with their own identity and place in the world. Psychologists such as Bruno Bettelheim argue that children need fairy tales as a way to process complex ideas such as abandonment, death and injury. In his book The Uses of Enchantment: the Meaning and Purpose of Fairy Tales, Bettelheim argues that fairytales allow children to grapple with their fears in remote, symbolic terms. On the flip side, children can also gain a greater sense of meaning and purpose through socially evolved stories. Even if the notion of a World Soul does not ring true for everyone, it's an enchanting idea, capable of delighting and transforming. The idea of a World Soul frames the human psyche and creates an affinity to our inner most self while inviting us to consider a relationship with the planet as a Being.
In summary, Kelly was truly masterful in his ability to introduce his own new ideas and reconnect me to the ideas that give me hope.
Easy style and language to discuss very complex process if the development of the Western mind. One of the most important books I've read.
In 2010 I attended Kelly’s seminar on Hegel, who argues that, “Just as gravity is the substance of matter, so also can it be said that freedom is the substance of spirit. . . . Matter possesses gravity in so far as it is impelled to move towards a central point. . . . Spirit, on the other hand, is such that its centre is within itself; it too strives towards its centre, but it has its centre within itself.” I also took Kelly’s seminar on Jung, who writes that, “We can hardly escape the feeling that the unconscious process moves spiral-wise round a centre, gradually getting closer, while the characteristics of the centre grow more and more distinct.” Guided by Kelly’s book we can see that the tightening spiral of Western history mirrors the developmental spiral of the individual self, which mirrors the spiral of black holes and our inside-out black hole universe exploding from a singularity at the Big Bang. Kelly’s book helps us understand that the Platonic-Hegelian-Jungian theory that the developmental patterns of the individual psyche, the collective psyche of society, and the cosmos as a whole, though vastly different, are simultaneously One by virtue of being structured by the same underlying archetype of Unity itself.