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The Rebirth of Nature: The Greening of Science and God Paperback – April 1, 1994
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"This frontal assault on conventional science embodies a radical rethinking of humanity's place in the scheme of things." (Publishers Weekly)
“The Rebirth of Nature is a breakthrough book, beautifully written and spiritually oriented. It shows our intimate relationship with the universe--that we are a part of a breathing, living, thinking cosmos and that intelligence is a pervasive reality inseparably one with nature. This book will take everyone who reads it to new heights of understanding.” (Deepak Chopra, M.D., author of Ageless Body, Timeless Mind)
"A beautifully written, deeply felt, and sinuously argued challenge to many habits of thought." (Booklist)
From the Back Cover
NEW SCIENCE / ECOLOGY
“The Rebirth of Nature is a breakthrough book, beautifully written and spiritually oriented. It shows our intimate relationship with the universe--that we are a part of a breathing, living, thinking cosmos and that intelligence is a pervasive reality inseparably one with nature. This book will take everyone who reads it to new heights of understanding.”
--Deepak Chopra, M.D., author of Ageless Body, Timeless Mind
“This frontal assault on conventional science embodies a radical rethinking of humanity’s place in the scheme of things.”
“A beautifully written, deeply felt, and sinuously argued challenge to many habits of thought.”
RUPERT SHELDRAKE, one of the world’s foremost biologists, has revolutionized scientific thinking with his vision of living, developing universe with it’s own inherent memory. In The Rebirth of Nature Sheldrake urges us to move beyond the centuries-old mechanistic view of nature, explaining in lucid terms why we can no longer regard the world as inanimate and purposeless. Through an astute critique of the dominant scientific paradigm, Sheldrake shows how recent developments in science itself have brought us to the threshold of a new synthesis in which traditional wisdom, intuitive experience, and scientific insight can be mutually enriching.
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Top Customer Reviews
Since the 17th century, there arose a group of scientists who turned away from this tradition to declare that nothing was really alive, that even life forms were nothing more than mechanical and dead entities governed by physical laws.
Rupert Sheldrake has joined a contingent of biologists and other scientists reacting against this development. They are led by the famous British scientists Jim Lovelock, who developed the Gaia hypothesis that the earth and indeed the whole universe are a living organisms that exhibit qualities of purpose and intelligence in developing a planet where intelligent beings can thrive. We are living, thinking beings because we are part of a living, thinking universe.
Sheldrake marshals developments in science itself that support belief in the soul. Most impressive are the descriptions of changes in magnetic and gravitational fields that were required for the development of life on earth.
The last few chapters are on how these animistic findings affect both religious and philosophical beliefs to change our whole orientation towards life and the earth. It is hard to over-emphasize the positive changes this will make in people's lives and happiness. We are already living in heaven.
The revival of the soul as part of the body and not separate from it will do great things for psychological health and the happiness of people. The same thing for the concept of nature as the face of God. It will cause a revolution in religion.
Sheldrake's brilliant concept of the soul as a creative field interacting with other fields past and present is tantalizing and full of great possibilities.
I have one small objection to his treatment of the Christian belief in the soul, which he regards very positively. He ignores the fourth-century changes in Christian doctrine that taught that the human soul could exist separately from the body after death. Aristotle had thought differently. He taught that after death, the soul cannot go anywhere without a body of some kind.
Christians were concerned about what happened to the souls of the just before the return of Christ. They invented the afterlife to accommodate those spirits.
This neoplatonic development overturned the earlier Christian belief that salvation would imvolve the resurrection of real bodies, not the bliss of a non-material soul in a non-material heaven.
This 4th-century dualism contributed much to the demonization of nature, of the body, and of women.
In 1946, H. Paul Sartmire, in "The Travail of Nature: The Ambiguous Ecological Promise of Christian Theology," traced the highly conflicted relationship of Christianity with nature.
That ambiguity gave Enlightenment scientists and industrialists room to regard physical nature as lifeless and to have their way with it.
We are now facing the consequences of that development as Sheldrake vividly illustrates in his work.
If you are new to Sheldrake's work, get this book for a healthy dose of Sheldrake 101. If you are a fan like myself and familiar with his ideas, this book will only further increase your admiration for the man. I loved it!
The author has taken the title of his book from the cycle of nature, from dormancy in the winter to its rebirth each spring. The subtitle derives from the fact that 21st century science has, however reluctantly, had to make room for a spiritual dimension in the material world. With Victorian views of deity now thoroughly discredited as simplistic fantasies, Sheldrake presents us with a new image of God based on the contemporary science of the natural world. The older mechanistic and impersonal view of nature is not discarded but refined in the light of modern discoveries in physics and biology.
In the opening chapter Sheldrake gives us something of the mythological background to spiritual belief where the views of God as male and nature as feminine are the products of age-old patriarchal societies in which men were to be feared and obeyed while women were to be used and exploited. Biblical stories tended to support this outlook, while the philosophy of Francis Bacon promoted the desecration of nature for the benefit of Man. These early chapters give an outline of the interpretation of biblical and early scientific writings.
Sheldrake then goes on to discuss the conflict during the late 18th and 19th centuries between the reverence for nature shown by the romantic poets and painters and the practical exploitation of nature's resources by the engineers of the Industrial Revolution. The work of Newton and his successors also saw the beginning of a wholly materialistic vision of nature and of man.
The discussion then moves on to vitalism and the nature of that spiritual energy or life-force that clearly exists within living things: what is it that makes them living beings rather than dead or simply inanimate? A revival of this world-view would represent the `greening' of science. So we move into Sheldrake's ideas of morphic resonance and formative causation, and the role of the morphic field in cosmic evolution. The discussion of Gaia and the Anthropic Principle bring the author back to the role of pagan festivals. The designation by Faraday of the region of space in which a force acts as a `field' was intended to show the connection with the natural world, and the discussion leads easily into the role of sacred spaces and the vision of God as a natural and universal spiritual energy. This is a very satisfying book for its holistic vision, doing away with the long-established division of science and religion. At no point should the non-scientist get lost in the terminology. There are Notes, a Bibligraphy and an Index at the end.
Howard Jones is the author of Evolution of Consciousness
A New Science of Life: The Hypothesis of Morphic Resonance
The Presence of the Past: Morphic Resonance and the Habits of Nature
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