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Sex, Ecology, Spirituality: The Spirit of Evolution Hardcover – February 28, 1995
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From Publishers Weekly
This is the first in a projected set of three volumes charting recent thought in the title's interrelated areas, the title itself being a slight misnomer since sex and ecology are the foci of the forthcoming volumes. Here, however, Wilber elaborates at great length several contemporary systematic theories concerned with the biological, psychological, spiritual and metaphysical aspects of life and the various evolutionary stages of each. He then offers an overview of spiritual practices that can lead to an evolved "omega point" of consciousness. Wilber, a transpersonal psychologist and the author of No Boundary, among other works, has unfortunately tried too hard to cram everything possible into this massive undertaking. The result is that even the hundreds of pages of notes (sometimes useful, sometimes merely repetitive) become a mass of ideas and names. Wilber is a well-read, sophisticated and energetic thinker; yet his style veers from the discursively expansive to the overly condensed. Those seeking A Theory of Everything will be more than satisfied. For others, the book's sheer length and lack of organization may make this a very frustrating read.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
This is a sprawling synthesis of evolutionary and "systems" theory from the Presocratics to Piaget, permeated by the mysticism of Plotinus. Odd as it may seem for a book with more than 500 pages of text and 200 of notes, it suffers from a tendency to make unsubstantiated or inadequately referenced claims, especially in passing references to various feminisms and postmodernisms. But the reader can take this to be one aspect of the book's oral character: it reads like a composition dictated and transcribed. That is a strength as well as a weakness, since it imparts a lively and passionate tone to a text that could become simply tedious. The book's greatest strengths are its ambitious scope and its relentless attention to the materialist flattening of evolutionary and developmental theories in Western tradition. Wilber follows earlier devotees of Plotinus in insisting on a world composed not of parts and wholes but of wholes that are also parts and parts that are also wholes--wholes within wholes, remarkably similar to the "monads" of Anne Conway and Leibniz. Given a widespread hunger for spirituality and a widespread misunderstanding of materialist readings of development, even a flawed attempt to deepen developmental perspectives with developmental insights from mysticism is a step in the right direction. Steve Schroeder
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On the other hand, Ken's books remain difficult to read because he is so concerned that his points get instilled, that he repeats/recapitulates his arguments in 10 different ways for each one! I'd give him 5 stars but for this.
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This book is just stunning. I have spent the last 35 years reading several thousands of books, trying to make my own synthesis of what is known about...Read more