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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The psychology of Earth's exploitation - and its reversal?
Ecopsychology: Restoring the Earth, healing the mind, edited by Theodore Roszak, Mary E. Gomes and Allen D. Kanner, Sierra Club Books, University of California Press, Berkeley, California, 1995, 366 ff.

The psychology of Earth's exploitation - and its reversal?
By Howard Jones

Even though it was published more than a decade ago, during which our...
Published on 24 Jun 2010 by Dr. H. A. Jones

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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars disappointing
Whilst i am not sure about the idea of "fixing the world" the range of different opinions presented as ecopyschology seemed incoherent and often painfully romantic, idealising tribal cultures unquestioningly, little psychology and little ecology. i think that the movement needs to define itself much better than this.
Published on 22 Sep 2010 by Mr. Tj Chown


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The psychology of Earth's exploitation - and its reversal?, 24 Jun 2010
By 
Dr. H. A. Jones "Howard Jones" (Wales, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ecopsychology: Restoring the Earth/Healing the Mind (Sierra Club Books Publication) (Paperback)
Ecopsychology: Restoring the Earth, healing the mind, edited by Theodore Roszak, Mary E. Gomes and Allen D. Kanner, Sierra Club Books, University of California Press, Berkeley, California, 1995, 366 ff.

The psychology of Earth's exploitation - and its reversal?
By Howard Jones

Even though it was published more than a decade ago, during which our planet's resources have been further exploited, this book is such a mine of information and ideas that it is still highly relevant today. It is an expansion of the theme of Roszak's book The Voice of the Earth introducing the concept of ecopsychology. In its message it is complementary to books by other authors like Lester R. Brown, Thomas Berry, Thom Hartmann and Alastair McIntosh. Where this book is unique is in the concentration on human psychology that has led to the parlous state of the Earth and on suggestions for the kind of mind-set we need to adopt for the future.

As the title indicates, this book is mainly about the interaction of ecology and psychology. Paul Shepard tells us we need now to have an environmental revolution to succeed the agricultural and industrial revolutions. The last of these was inspired by the dualistic philosophy of Descartes, separating mind from body, and the philosophy of Francis Bacon urging exploitation of the natural world. We need to feel a oneness with Nature as a child should feel at one with their environment, or lovers at one with each other. We must encourage what E.O. Wilson called biophilia, a love of Nature that goes far beyond romantic sentimentality.

Both science and Judeo-Christian religion have rejected any concept of animism - soul or spirit in the natural world - and Freud mostly described the ego as bounded physically by the skin. These ideas have created a separateness of humankind with regard to other animals, trees or rocks. Because of our addiction to material acquisition, which Eastern mysticism acknowledges as the root of suffering, we are in denial about the havoc we are causing in Nature: `Our inability to stop our suicidal and ecocidal behaviour fits the clinical definition of addiction or compulsion: behaviour that continues in spite of the individual knowing that it is destructive. . .', as Alan Durning tells us in his chapter. Such consumerism has become the economic and philosophical basis of western society. Reversing this does not mean depriving people of essential goods and services: `To the contrary, life's most meaningful and pleasant activities [such as conversation, family activities, creative pursuits, appreciation of Nature] are often paragons of environmental virtue.' Allen Kanner and Mary Gomes see this need for continual material acquisition as a form of narcissism - one of the recognized personality disorders. These authors also have another chapter on feminist psychology.

Stephen Aizenstat in his chapter deals with the relevance of Carl Jung's Depth Psychology to this ecocrisis: it is to Jung with his collective unconscious that we must turn for psychological counsel. Anita Barrows explores how developmental psychology can be used to `keep our children as sane as they were when they were born , , , there is no question but that the way the world shapes the minds of its male children lies somewhere close to the root of our environmental dilemma' and Betty Roszak believes `our compulsively masculine science and technology . . . lies at the root of our environmental disconnection.' Terrance O'Connor sees a connection between the breakdown of interpersonal relations and the bond we should have with our environment.

This gives only a brief glimpse of a book that provides a useful if somewhat academic treatise on the relevance of psychology to our environmental crisis. Alas, no easy solutions are given, other than an exhortation to try to resolve these issues. The book might also have benefited from an index.

Dr Howard A. Jones is the author of The Thoughtful Guide to God (2006) and The Tao of Holism (2008), both published by O Books of Winchester, UK.

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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In place of dualistic hubris, 25 Aug 2006
This review is from: Ecopsychology: Restoring the Earth/Healing the Mind (Sierra Club Books Publication) (Paperback)
This is a lovely collection. Roszack has always been at the forefront of the synthesis behind the practice of Revolutionary Love. Here he and his coeditors collect together essays by leading thinkers and practitioners showing how the "endarkenment" split between human consciousness and the world itself ( between logos and psyche) is the terrible alienation that deprives us of our true nature, our planet and each other. Together with the work of Gregory Bateson, and Engels unsurpassed dialectics of materialism, this reader provides a complete course in revolutionary epistemology.

The collection is over a decade old now and none of it is out of date, indeed it ( including the ecofeminist insights and the shamanism ) becomes more relevant ( and more mainstream!)everyday.

My only qualm is about the widerness experiences used to wake people up to their alienation. Though they do emphasise low impact practices nonetheless they incorporate many things today's dubscouts (see dubsolution.org) would avoid - commercial trading of the trips, air travel , and the use of professional leaders.

Nonetheless an excellent volume to place beside Alistair McIntosh's Soil and Soul.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a book which has touched me deeply, 19 Dec 2008
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This review is from: Ecopsychology: Restoring the Earth/Healing the Mind (Sierra Club Books Publication) (Paperback)
I have loved reading this book. I haven't felt so moved by a non-fiction book for years. This collection offers a variety of perspectives on understanding ourselves as fundamentally connected to the world. It offers new intellectual understanding, but for me was also personally life changing. I am really excited by this way of seeing things and for the first time find I can face the ecological crisis with which we live without feeling so overwhelmed that I am unable to act...
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!, 2 July 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Ecopsychology: Restoring the Earth/Healing the Mind (Sierra Club Books Publication) (Paperback)
This book is a must read. Full of insightful articles by the leading forward thinkers in the field of psychology. Looks at the big picture in explaining the pathologies of our modern post-industrial society. Covers many different aspects of the eco-psychology discussion. Don't miss this book!
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars disappointing, 22 Sep 2010
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Mr. Tj Chown "Toby" (Brighton) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ecopsychology: Restoring the Earth/Healing the Mind (Sierra Club Books Publication) (Paperback)
Whilst i am not sure about the idea of "fixing the world" the range of different opinions presented as ecopyschology seemed incoherent and often painfully romantic, idealising tribal cultures unquestioningly, little psychology and little ecology. i think that the movement needs to define itself much better than this.
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