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The Voice of the Earth: An Exploration of Ecopsychology Paperback – December 1, 2001

4.8 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Our culture is psychotic in its rift between the personal and the planetary, maintains Roszak ( The Making of a Counterculture ). Drawing freely on Jung, Freud and the Gaia hypothesis, the California State University historian posits an "ecological unconscious" in each person, a living record of cosmic evolution capable of linking us synergistically to the natural environment. But this awareness has been repressed, he contends in a bold, ambitious philosophical essay. His sketchy outline of a new discipline and therapy, "ecopsychology," is built around a dense critique of tribal animism, systems theory, Teilhard de Chardin, humanistic psychology, ecofeminism and "deep ecology," the mystical-feminist wing of environmentalism. The tools of Roszak's therapy include communion with wilderness, nature mysticism and traditional healing techniques, coupled with a sizing down of large cities, which he condemns for their inhuman scale.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

In his new book, Roszak explores the correlation between the degraded condition of the earth and the uneasy state of the human psyche that he introduced in Person/Planet ( LJ 10/1/78). He elaborates on the conflict between our devaluation of the natural world--the result of an outdated picture of the universe as mindless matter in motion--and the contemporary model of the universe as a web of open, evolving, and interrelated systems. Humans belong in the universe, he argues, and as microcosms of the whole we carry its history in our collective unconscious. Roszak supports this argument by examining the anthropic principle, Deep Ecology, the Gaia hypothesis, and systems theory. Scientists will be troubled by his teleological reasoning and the speculative nature of his "ecopsychology." Nevertheless, this book makes a thought-provoking contribution to the search for an ecologically sound way of being in the world. For academic and large public libraries.
- Joan Elbers, Montgomery Coll. Lib., Rockville, Md.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 376 pages
  • Publisher: Phanes Press; 02 edition (December 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1890482803
  • ISBN-13: 978-1890482800
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #455,521 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By David C. Belden on March 4, 2002
Format: Paperback
In its first edition this was one of the best books of the decade, for me. One of his main arguments is that for about three hundred years the main political agenda in the West was the struggle for democracy, freedoms, political equality. That struggle continues in the rest of the world, but in the West a new struggle is emerging, which will dominate society and politics for the coming centuries. This is the struggle for personal meaning: now that we have affluence and rights, we are turning to what makes our lives worth living.
He quotes an early and halting expression of the struggle for political rights from the Putney Debates, in the English Civil War (mid 1600s) - he has beautiful quotes from this. This somewhat incoherent desire for democracy, expressed by lower class people, was reviled by many educated people; but 100 years later the intelligentsia adopted its agenda in the American, French Revolutions etc. Now, he says, the Recovery Movement and similar expressions of desire for personal growth are reviled by many educated people as vulgar 'me first' or 'I'm a victim' self obsessions. But he says this longing for personal growth is a powerful force that will change our societies.
There is much more - his argument that psychotherapy is an urban movement, but that we can never heal ourselves until we reconnect with nature. Or his explanation of the anthropic principle - and his scepticism about the role of random factors in evolution - both of which suggest at least that we should feel more at home in our universe, and not imagine we humans are merely insignificant, randomly generated accidents. Whether he's right about the this I don't know, but it's sure encouraging to read it. There's plenty of food for thought and hope in this book. A good book to read with it is Robert Wright's Non Zero.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book could easily be seen as one of the most profound wake-up calls for humanity published for the 21st century! This is the stage in our evolution that we'll either continue on our destructive, insane, parasitic and unconscious collective death-wish to oblivion, or we'll heed the loud call heard here to become aware of our life-sustaining, interconnectedness to all life and start to heal our riff not only amongst ourselves, but more importantly, with Earth. To give this outstanding book a 5-star rating is not enough- it deserves 10-stars!

For those who are not familiar with *Ecopsychology*, there is a good description and comparison of it to human-only psychology in the Epilog of this monumental work:

"Just as it has been the goal of previous therapies to recover the contents of the unconscious, so the goal of ecopsychology is to awaken the inherent sense of environmental reciprocity that lies within the ecological unconscious. Other therapies seek to heal the alienation between person to person, person and family, person and society. Ecopsychology seeks to heal the more fundamental alienation between the person and the natural environment." (p 320)

The current state of affairs in the human relationship with the earth is not only ambivalent and dismissive, it is destructive, parasitic and cancerous, and yet, Planet Earth is our only life-support system- our very reason for existence. One might then be inclined to see our current relationship with our home as outright insanity. And indeed, it is! "If we could assume the viewpoint of nonhuman nature, what passes for sane behavior in our social affairs might seem madness." (Preface, p 13) And, of course, our "social affairs", disregarding our relationship to Earth, is riff with pathology and psychosis.
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Format: Paperback
I re-read this book every few years, but it's only recently that I've come to appreciate Roszak's "exploration of ecopsychology" as a profound assessment of our "biospheric emergency" and a sure prescription for deep healing. In particular, his discussion of "plenitude" (evoking Mumford here), Roszak provides an elegant alternative to our current fascination with mindless surfeit.
The Principles of Ecospychology are sketched in an Epilogue, rooted in the assertion that "the person is anchored within a greater, universal identity" than that which has been presented in earlier psychologies. Here the goal is to "awaken the sense of environmental reciprocity that lies within the ecological unconscious. Other therapies seek to heal the alienation between person and person, person and family, person and society. Ecopsycholgy seeks to heal the more fundamental alienation between the person and the natural environment."
A very useful appendix, "God and Modern Cosmology," provides an annotated bibliography for continued study of the growing convergence between science and religion.
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Format: Paperback
The Voice Of The Earth: An Exploration Of Ecopsychology by Theodore Roszak is a compelling and thoughtful exploration of the interconnection between psychology, ecology, science, and nature. Individual chapters address such issues as the true essence of mother earth/Gaia, Psychology vs. Cosmology vs. Ecology, and much more in this serious transcendental address of clashing ideologies of the planet we know best. The Voice Of The Earth is strongly recommended for readers with an interest in the philosophy of nature and the impact of human psychology upon the ecological environmental.
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