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EarthDance: Living Systems in Evolution

4.8 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0595130672
ISBN-10: 0595130674
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Elisabet Sahtouris, Ph.D. is an evolution biologist, futurist and author/lecturer who has lived in the USA, Greece and Peru. She has taught at MIT, the University of Massachusetts and CIIS. Her other books include Biology Revisioned and A Walk Through Time: From Stardust to Us.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: iUniverse (October 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0595130674
  • ISBN-13: 978-0595130672
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #889,801 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Keith A. Chandler on March 30, 2001
Format: Paperback
If I believed in reincarnation, I would think that Elisabet Sahtouris was Homer in a previous life. She writes with the grand sweep and musical throb of an epic poet and, as she says in her introduction to this new edition of EarthDance, she honed her writing skills as well as gestated her ideas on a "small pine-forested Greek island." While EarthDance is grounded in a thorough knowledge of Sahtouris' own field of evolutionary biology and a wide-ranging grasp of both science and philosophy, it also draws deeply on her personal experience of having lived among indigenous peoples and gained a profound respect for the traditional science of their cultures.
EarthDance prophetically represents the new and rapidly expanding Post-Darwinian evolutionary biology. Sahtouris explains how, in cycle after cycle, the living entities or "holons" in the realm of Gaia have merged, through negotiation and symbiosis rather than ruthless competition, in a constantly self-creating and re-creating "holarchy" of living systems.
Death even plays a crucial role in this ongoing dance of life. "Every dancer knows," says Sahtouris, "that each dancer can only perform one step at a time; that old steps must be abandoned so that the dancer's body will be free to perform new ones, which may then repeat or change the pattern of old steps." However, it is life, not death, which attracts the passion and vision of the author. She challenges the human species to live as the new biology now recognizes life has evolved, cooperatively and symbiotically rather than "red in tooth and claw." Unlike Edmund O.
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Format: Paperback
When I was in college the standard joke was that one of the final exam questions would be: construct a model of the universe with all things included with all their interactions. Elisabet Sahtouris comes about as close to doing that as anybody can. And she does it with language most people can understand. This book was so captivating I devoted an entire weekend to reading it.
Starting with the Gaia Principle the author leads us through the evolution of planet Earth; the key biological and chemical events that eventually led to life as we know it; the philosophy, politics, and religion that have shaped Homo Sapiens' environmental policies; and finally provides some sound advice for how humans should live in Earth's ecosystems. Of course it is impossible to construct a model of the universe with all its interactions in a single book or even a single lifetime; but, the author hits all the high points with plenty of easy to understand examples. Her ability to explain complicated physics and biology in terms any laymen can understand is out standing.
The author's main point is directly attached to the Gaia Principle and that Earth will survive anything humans do to it. However, humans may not survive what we do to ourselves. She makes a very convincing case that Homo Sapiens are in the very early stages of their evolution and we have yet to figure out how to use our technology correctly. All other successful life forms have learned to create symbiotic relationships with other living creatures. Modern man is not there yet. Ironically so called primitive societies had it figured out before we brought the industrial revolution on to ourselves.
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Format: Paperback
This is one of the best books I have ever read. Certainly there is no shortage of books describing what the human race is doing to itself and the other organisms that inhabit our planet. It can be depressing reading most of the time. This book, however, managed to put all of this into context, and surprisingly, made me feel that all is as it should be in the grand scheme. It is a wonderful synthesis of past and present scientific revelations, intuition, and even religion. Do yourself a favor and read this book.
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In Earthdance, Elisabet Sahtouris has drawn together some of the best thinking about Earth as a living organism and presented it in terms that both inform the newcomer and add to the knowledge of the experienced student of evolution. Challenging the popular Darwinian concepts of how evolution takes place, Sahtouris leads her reader to understand how limited and dangerous Darwin's ideas can be in the wrong hands and minds. The "survivial of the fittest" mentality, she reminds us, can lead to deliberate acts of violence by one people against another in the name of "fitness." In Sahtouris' understanding of the evolutionary process, life takes on a new dimension, based in a reverence for all life. Spirituality is now a given, though "religion" takes its lumps. Traditional religious forms are seen as extensions of Darwinism, again propogating survival of one idea over another rather than the inclusion of all people in a search for the deeper spiritual meaning of how cration comes together out of the spiritual consciousness of all beings. Sahtouris points toward the Vedic religions as a way to understand the nature of our world as a living organism. The Buddhist concepts of the movement of life from one dimension of life to another fits beautifully within the "dance." She points to the view of Earth from space as a key element in the understanding of the unity of all life and being. Her book is another vital look from our space as a way to see the holiness of all life.
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