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World as Lover, World as Self: Courage for Global Justice and Ecological Renewal Paperback – October 9, 2003

5.0 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Eco-philosopher Joanna Macy, Ph.D., is one of the best know spiritual activist in this country. She is a scholar of Buddhism, general systems theory, and deep ecology. A respected voice in movements for peace, justice, and ecology, she interweaves her scholarship with four decades of activism. Her wide-ranging work addresses psychological and spiritual issues of the nuclear age, the cultivation of ecological awareness, and the fruitful resonance between Buddhist thought and contemporary science. Her group methods have been adopted and adapted widely in classrooms, churches, and grassroots organizing. Her work helps people transform despair and apathy, in the face of overwhelming social and ecological crises, into constructive, collaborative action. The author of 10 previous books Mrs. Macy travels widely giving lectures, workshops, and trainings in the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Australia. She lives in Berkeley, California.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Parallax Press; Revised edition (October 9, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 188837571X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1888375718
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #235,541 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By R. Griffiths on September 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
Joanna Macy recalls how as a young child she sent a sick and quarantined relative a shopping bag of objects that would tell their own story of what she had been about and what she was thinking and doing. Now she likens this collection of essays to such a bag. Not an autobiography, it nevertheless conveys most clearly the author's personal concerns in the fields of Buddhism, deep ecology and systems philosophy. The chapters comprise 'so many pieces of my life that reflect the pursuits of my heart and mind'. The book is arranged in the following sections: One: Trusting our Experience Two: Rediscovering the Early Teachings Three: Learning in Asia Four Opening New Doors The first part invites readers to engage with their own feelings about environmental destruction and social injustice, and offers conceptual tools to enable this connecting to take place. Part Two discusses the contemporary relevance of classic Buddhist teachings, especially the concept of 'mutual causality'. While this will clearly be of interest to Buddhist practitioners, others including myself, will find it has a much wider significance. The third part expands on Macy's experiences of Buddhist encounters in Asia. It could have been entitled 'engaged Buddhism in action'. She recounts some fascinating meetings and some valuable lessons learnt. The final part of the book shows how Macy's expanding world-view has led to opportunities for growth and development and sharing accross a wide variety of contexts. Especially interesting for me was her description of 'The Council of All Beings'. The book's title refers to an essay in part one, which suggests people tend to view the world in one of at least four ways: as battlefield, as trap, as lover or as self.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
Reading Brazilian theologian Leonardo Boff's Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor this fall, I was reminded of Buddhist scholar Joanna Macy's World as Lover, World as Self, a book I first read at the beginning of this decade and have reread several times since. The environmental problems we're witnessing today will require as much spiritual transformation as economic change. And it's not a question of "getting religion" as much experiencing the spirituality of place. I've had as many negative encounters with fundamentalists as I have had with newagers. The first believe that life gets better after you're dead, the second group believe that life is but a dream. Is there an alternative? Macy writes about the Buddhist practice of "Sarvodaya" - which means "everybody wakes up." She writes: "In my mind I still hear the local Sarvodaya workers, in their village meetings and district training centers. Development is not imitating the West. Development is not high-cost industrial complexes, chemical fertilizers and mammoth hydro-electric dams. It is not selling your soul for unnecessary consumer items or schemes to get rich quick. Development is waking up - waking up our true potential as persons and as a society." (p. 132)
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I read a lot of spiritual books. So many, in fact, I fear I am becoming immune. Most spiritual books seem awfully cheap and flimsy lately. Out of touch. Our world is gravely threatened and all most of these books can offer is a slimmed-down, buffed up self. Washboard abs for a gutted earth. The air is full of carcinogens -- but at least my teeth are white!

For real spirituality, for a view of the self and the world both exhilarating and useful -- see Joanna Macy. Put her picture in the dictionary next to the word 'visionary'. She is helping us re-imagine time, the world and the self. She's not skipping the pain and she's telling the truth.

We say "everything is interconnected" but what does that mean? We produce depleted uranium with a half-life of 4.5 billion years -- how do we even start to think about that kind of time? What if it's already too late? Am I just a drama queen when I cry thinking about the polar bears who drown because they can't find ice on which to rest? These are the questions I have -- and this is the book for them.

I read an earlier version of this book when I was nineteen, sitting in a college library. I remember writing "the forests are my lungs outside the body" and understanding a little bit and reeling. For a week, I staggered around like a man hit on the head with a plank.

If our species and civilization are going to survive, we have to take a humungous leap. Recycling cans and eating blueberries is not going to be enough. Al Gore, Thomas Friedman, Lester Brown are lined up with suggestions but where does the strength and vision necessary for transformation come? For that, Joanna Macy is the best guide I have found.
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Format: Paperback
I came across this book a few months ago and it was like finding gold. I've been practicing meditation for years and my experience brought me to the same life-affirming conclusion that Joanna Macy expresses in this book. She talks about three ways of viewing the world, (a) World as battleground, in which the world is viewed as a battleground between the forces of good vs. the forces of evil; in which each of us must pick a side, (b) world as trap, in which the world is viewed as a tempter, ensnaring us in its web, and that our job is to transcend this existence to free ourselves from it, and (c) world as lover, in which the world is regarded as "...an intimate and gratifying partner.." through which we must move as if the world is our lover.

The first two, I view, as life-denying; essentially painting this creation as fundamentally flawed if not downright evil, whereas the 'world as lover' is life-affirming. By far, most of the world's religions and philosophies follow the life-denying model, but this has always seemed counter-intuitive to me since I can't believe that the Creator emanates this manifestation in order for it to be denied or utterly transcended. When a person becomes aware of their true nature and the nature of creation we see that the creation fairly screams out with beauty and love; ever tends toward it. This is not for nothing as Joanna Macy's book makes abundantly clear. Our job is to be both fully aware in fully in love! In that, creation's promise is fulfilled.

Thank you, Joanna Macy, for this wonderful gift to all humankind.
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