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My Name is Chellis and I'm in Recovery from Western Civilization Paperback – May 24, 1994
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Whether you believe the full ramifications of Glendinning's connections between addictive behavior and the ecological crisis depends entirely on whether you accept the premise that one can be "addicted" to civilization. But her call for a return to a nature-based culture, one in which people live "as if [we] were responsible for building the culture that the rocks and trees and birds of this place expected of human beings," is a compelling proposal, elaborated from the heart.
Top Customer Reviews
A doctor of psychology, with years of work in the field under her belt - as well as personal taste of abuse our civilization deals out - Glendinning's diagnosis for our collective madness is illuminating and profound, constituting nothing less than a critique of Western Civilization, progress, normality and rationality. After providing example after example of the folly, abuse and suffering we continually inflict upon ourselves, our loved ones and the earth who created and sustains us, her thesis quickly passes from specious to plausible, from doubtful to obvious. Perhaps more enthralling than the pathology is the cure, though.
Not only a message of suffering and pain, Glendinning offers us hope, beauty and joy. Aside from critique, Glendinning provides concrete examples of cultures that - in contrast to our culture - offer full political and social participation, genuine democracy, equality of the sexes, leisure, good food and nutrition, stability, ecological sustainability, and most importantly a sense of a connection and belonging. In a word, she reconnects us with the traditions, cultures and communities abundant with all the things we have lost in the Faustian bargain for that evanescent more we call progress. Should not be overlooked.
Also excellent books by Glendinning: When Technology Wounds, and Waking Up in the Nuclear Age.
With convincing passion and lucidity, the author raises the middle syllable of her last name against the backwardness of therapizing, medicating, motivating, chanting, meditating, praying, and healing without taking the real problem into account. People of nature, enviously demonized as childlike or primitive, suffer like the rest of us--but why do they do without neuroses and eating disorders, mass murder and organized intolerance?
Because it's our cultural separation from the seas and stars that makes us mad, and WE are the culture. In the brief, brief splinter of history since the rise of cities--a fragment in the million or so years of hunter-gatherer existence--we have taken the most radical social step imaginable and severed our contact with the dangers and lushnesses of the world. In its place we have concepts and categories, empiricism and case histories--and so much wrong-headed bewilderment that for most of us, a thing isn't real unless a laboratory measures it or a scientist finds a way to blow it up.
Dr. Glendinning does not make the reactive, pendulum-swing suggestion that we abandon our cultural or technological developments. Instead, she challenges the postmodern reader to find a satisfying personal rootedness in what's left of the Earth's wilderness.
See for yourself....
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Serious treatment of the reasons behind the ecological mess we're in, and how we got here. Not only that, though, because it includes the reasons each one of us may be personally... Read morePublished on January 24, 2014 by Joseph C Bergmann
I received a good deal on a used copy of this book, however, the condition was described as "very good". Read morePublished on August 23, 2013 by Henry
Chellis Glendinning grew up in a wealthy and respectable family in Cleveland. Her father was a caring doctor and a brutal child abuser. Read morePublished on March 4, 2013 by Richard Reese (author of Understanding Sustainability)
I used to believe her and others until I moved near Mexico. That nation doesn't have any environmental movements which are only found in the west. Read morePublished on October 18, 2012 by Alucard
The moment I saw the title of this book I knew immediately I need to buy it. I felt in this book I will find the semantics for what was already intuitively present in my heart. Read morePublished on September 5, 2012 by Lilly Lovecraft
I am indebted to Glendenning's razor sharp, spiritual deep ecology, self-critique, of the "shadow sides," of various New Age religions and Neo-Paganism, European and Asian pagan... Read morePublished on February 29, 2012 by Daniel A. Salomon
Most of the world's population would have to die in order to go back to her pre-civilization utopia. Read morePublished on January 27, 2012 by Eleanore M.
I thought that this book was going to be a critique of contemporary western culture, but, as it turns out, the author believes that we should all go back to the living conditions... Read morePublished on September 13, 2011 by Sheila Golburgh Johnson
This book makes several very interesting points, but gets very drawn out and preachy in between. This book can be split into 10 page segments where an idea with real merit is... Read morePublished on April 2, 2011 by James Basham