- Paperback: 248 pages
- Publisher: North Atlantic Books; 1 edition (May 28, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1556433794
- ISBN-13: 978-1556433795
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #93,077 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Earth Has a Soul: C.G. Jung on Nature, Technology & Modern Life 1st Edition
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
"In the excellent choices of Jung's writings presented here, he shows us what we have lost and how we might find it again."—Joseph L. Henderson, M.D.
About the Author
Editor Meredith Sabini, M.A., Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist, teacher, and author. She is Director of Depth Psychology Programs, a continuing education providership in Berkeley, California, which specializes in dream seminars and self-care retreats for healing arts professionals.
Browse award-winning titles. See more
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
Dr. Jung was one of our "wise old men" and whether you agree with his findings or not, thinking about them will broaden your perspectives immensely. His approach--that the door to knowledge always opens inward--is not for everyone, and his language is not always crystal-clear. In some of his books, I've found myself floundering--not for lack of interest, but because of an often impenetrable density. (I have discovered that Marie Louise Von Franz is very good at decoding and clarifying his work.) However, the quotes in this book are well-chosen for easy access to Dr. Jung's sometimes difficult thoughts, and each selection is clearly referenced so that you know where to look if you want to read further.
Jung's respect and devotion for the Earth are evident on every page, but this isn't ecological finger-wagging about Man's folly in pursuit of wealth, warfare and technology. It's about understanding why we do what we do, and correcting existing imbalances. It's about being more fully human, and looking into the depths of our humanity in order to reestablish intuitive processes and relearn the ability to follow instinct. The goal is not to return to a primitive state, but to evolve to a higher and more perceptive one.
The energy of the Earth is always available to us. Jung repeatedly stresses that we are integral to the Natural world, that it is our source and our future. Whatever we do to it, we do to ourselves. We can wreak havoc and then try to repair these devastations, but until we heal ourselves, the profound imbalance will remain. Our psychological growth depends on redeveloping our connections with the Natural world. Likewise, the future of the Natural world depends on our integrity as we honor and implement those connections.
Dr. Jung's remarkable investigations of consciousness are well-known if not always well-understood. We can't expect to immediately understand everything the wise old guide tell us. In his other books, as I've disentangled the threads of the mythic, the alchemical, the archetypal, the theological from the logical and the practical, I've been forced to arrive at my own interpretations and conclusions--a real education. With this book, Meredith Sabini did a lot of the hard work for me. Her introduction is helpful and her selections clearly reveal Jung's almost heroic endeavor to understand what it is to be fully human. These glimpses into his thoughts are inspiring, humbling, and worthy of careful consideration.
From the sweet pinnacle of a tranquil, wholesome childhood, the rest of his life was a stunning downhill plunge, as the civilized world fell into ever-growing chaos and catastrophe -- rapid industrialization, urbanization, population explosion, two world wars, mustard gas, atomic bombs, holocaust, the rise and fall of Hitler and Stalin. It was an excellent time to become a famous psychiatrist, because this new reality was a steaming cauldron of intense insanity.
Jung provided the world with a new model for understanding the mind. For almost the entire human journey, we had obeyed the laws of nature, like all other animals did. But with the emergence of domestication and civilization, we began violating the laws of life, snatching away some of nature's power -- power that did not belong to us. This cosmic offense created a break that shifted us onto a path of suffering. The gods are now punishing us for our immature and disrespectful impulses.
Jung left behind a huge body of writings, most of which are of little interest to general readers. Meredith Sabini heroically combed through the mountain of words, extracted passages about our relationship with nature, and published them as The Earth Has a Soul. It stitched together snippets from many sources, from different phases of his life, so it's not as flowing and focused as a discourse written from scratch, but it's an important collection of provocative ideas.
In recent decades, thinkers have tried to explain why the roots of the Earth Crisis emerged several thousand years ago. Most have diagnosed the root of today's problems as rapid, out-of-control cultural evolution -- our skills at learning, communication, and tool making evolved far more quickly than our genes did, and this pushed us dangerously out of balance.
Jung would agree with this theory, but his perception of the problem was far more complex. For almost our entire journey, humankind was guided by instinct, a form of intelligence that was magnificently refined by millions of years of continuous improvement. Like other animals, we lacked self-awareness, or consciousness. Like other animals, we could think and strategize, but we remained unconscious, and perfectly functional.
Jung thought that consciousness became apparent in civilized cultures maybe 4,000 years ago, and it has been increasing ever since. The expansion of consciousness went into warp drive when the era of modern scientific thinking arrived, and we plunged into an industrial way of life.
In remote, isolated locations, there are still a few "primitive" cultures which remain largely unconscious, guided by their normal instinctive intelligence. They do not engage in abstract thinking. They do not destroy their ecosystem. They continue to obey nature's laws. But they are being driven into extinction by you-know-who.
Our conscious mind was new, infantile, incomplete, unstable, and easily injured. Jung saw it as a tiny boat floating in a vast ocean of unconscious knowledge. Like a fish out of water, we were separated from our ancient oceanic home, an unpleasant traumatic shock. In the good old days, we lived in an enchanted world where everything was sacred. But science and technology have dragged us away into a miserable manmade world where nothing is holy, and everyone is restless, anxious, and neurotic.
Consciousness was an extremely powerful two-edged sword, equal parts blessing and curse: "Unfortunately, there is in this world no good thing that does not have to be paid for by an evil at least equally great. People still do not know that the greatest step forward is balanced by an equally great step back."
On the shore of Lake Zurich, Jung built a summer retreat out of rugged cut stones, a sacred refuge for solitude and contemplation. He cooked on a wood fire, raised food in his garden, and drew water from a well. There was no phone or electricity, because the technology of modernity was certain to frighten away the souls of his ancestors.
Primitive people were "hellishly afraid of anything new" because they feared "unknown powers and indefinite dangers." This was just as true for modern folks, even if we pretended otherwise. "Nevertheless, we have plunged down a cataract of progress which sweeps us on into the future with even wilder violence the farther it takes us from our roots." In 1912 he wrote that America "does not understand that it is facing its most tragic moment: a moment in which it must make a choice to master its machines or to be devoured by them."
Jung had an intense dislike for modernity. A city dweller was reduced to a tiny, insignificant ant. Humankind was moving toward insectification. Overpopulation was destroying everything. Growing crowds multiplied the stupidity level, whilst sharply decreasing our intelligence and morality. Crowds were incubators for psychic epidemics, which were far more destructive than natural disasters. Excited mobs often created explosions of madness that nothing could stop. "The most dangerous things in the world are immense accumulations of human beings who are manipulated by only a few heads."
In his psychiatric work, Jung helped patients heal by encouraging them to seek guidance from their dreams. Our unconscious has all the answers we need, but we usually avoid looking there, because we are afraid of it. We overload our lives with distractions to discourage reflection, and to hide from our darkness. We live at a rapid pace, and never leave a moment for looking inward.
Tragically, Jung never came to know a real live hunter-gatherer. He never spent a year or three with the Pygmies or Bushmen, people who lived in the traditional human manner, and lived quite well. If he had, his thinking would certainly have taken quite a different path -- and very likely a far more powerful one.
He did take several brief expeditions to New Mexico, Africa, and India, to spend a little time with people who were neither Christian nor European. Contact with these miserable "primitive" people gave him feelings of superiority, because they seemed to be neurotic, "tormented by superstitions, fears, and compulsions." But they also scared him. He once left Africa because of a powerful dream. He worried that he was in danger of "going black under the skin." Did he come frighteningly close to breaking free from his civilized cage?
For Jung, returning to simple, primitive, sustainable living was not a possible solution. "The wheel of time cannot be turned back. Things can, however, be destroyed and renewed. This is extremely dangerous, but the signs of our time are dangerous too. If there was ever a truly apocalyptic era, it is ours." He believed that salvation could be found by training the conscious mind to receive guidance from the unconscious realm, the world of dreams.
His recommendations for healing included: getting closer to nature, living in small communities (not cities), working less, engaging in reflection in quiet solitude, reconnecting with our past, avoiding distractions (newspapers, television, radio, gramophones), paying serious attention to our dreams, and simplifying our lifestyles.
In 1961, the year he died, Jung wrote: "Civilization is a most expensive process and its acquisitions have been paid for by enormous losses, the extent of which we have largely forgotten or have never appreciated." In his final days in 1961, Jung had visions of massive catastrophes striking in 50 years.
Richard Adrian Reese
Author of What Is Sustainable
Eco-Art Therapist & Applied Ecopsychologist
He speaks about many things---but one of those things that especially struck me is: "The greatest abstraction of all is the idea of God." --- "Abstract thought is always ruthless. It is the most dangerous one to think, AND it is the most marvelous."
I have gained much in the reading of this interesting book: it has become a part of me.