Anodea Judith is a brilliant scholar who can take a subject and make it absolutely fascinating to the average reader. In this book, an update of her previous work, "Waking the Global Heart," she looks at history from a completely new perspective. Rather than boring facts lined up in order, she looks at streams of patterns, an evolutionary path that humans have grown through. It's clear that we're in a time of crisis - a global rite of passage. Civilization as we know it could collapse anytime. It's only by studying our past and understanding our evolution as a species that we can know where we're headed, and how to get there.
This is the most interesting and readable book about history - and our future - I've ever read. In fact, prior to reading it, I hadn't understood the larger patterns of our growth and development as a species. She weaves a fascinating story with her eloquent, thoughtful voice. Not "His-story," as we've been taught in school, but OUR story. When we look back, we can see where we've come from. Then, she turns our attention toward our future, showing us that we have a choice, right now, and that our choices will lead us either into a glorious future (if we can open our hearts to each other and to the planet), or to more death and destruction if we do not. Although it sounds alarming, alarms are important if you're trying to wake up in time.
In her previous works, she looked at psychological development, and personal growth, through the lens of the Chakra System, a map to wholeness. In this book, she uses that lens again to examine the development of human civilization. Because she is also a brilliant psychotherapist, it's as if she has Western Civilization itself on the psych couch. She is trying to make sense of the source of his wounds and his bizarre, violent behavior by examining his past. Once the source of his neuroses is understood, she offers a cure -- a Rite of Passage that he must go through, and decisions he must make (we must make), in order to turn from a mixed-up, selfish and dangerous teenager into a whole-hearted, healed and awakened adult. Tribal cultures knew how to take their children and turn them into functioning adults. We seem to have lost that knowledge, so we've remained a civilization obsessed by teenage manias. She declares in no uncertain terms: It's time to grow up. I've heard that "GOD" stands for Grow Or Die. This is our moment to choose.
I strongly recommend reading this book if you want an optimistic and hopeful narrative about human nature, the multiple crises we face, and the possible glorious future we could create easily. If you want to understand how we got into the mess we're in, and how we can get out of it, read this book. It provides a hopeful look at our future, but it is clear that our time to wake up - into the heart - is now.