Customer Review

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great book by Steve Taylor, 18 Sept. 2012
This review is from: Back to Sanity: Healing the Madness of Our Minds (Paperback)
A few years ago Steve Taylor captured my attention with his first book the Fall, in which he tried to understand the genesis, limitations and dangers of our `ego-separateness'. Since then he has continued to surprise me with new titles - about one every year - in which he has shown how deep this ego-separateness touches us in our daily lives, and how necessary and spiritually enriching it is to leave this ego-separateness behind. I was amazed that the theme could inspire Taylor to yet another book. And again, it is a great book, a welcome addition to his other titles, written again in his fluent, lively style, which makes the book accessible to both the academic specialist and the general reader. I am impressed by the way Taylor as an academic continues to make a big effort to reach the general public with his ideas, and by the way he dares to be fully open to the world of spirituality - a world that in academia is still very much frowned upon, and often not considered worthy of any serious scientific interest.

In Back to Sanity Taylor sets the problems that everyone in the Western world is facing today - from loneliness to acquisitiveness to competitiveness to warfare and to environmental destruction - in a clear perspective and he argues convincingly that behind these problems one root cause can be identified. Taylor has labeled this root cause humania, a state of `psychological discord', that is caused by our ego-separateness. This psychological discord manifests in our daily lives as a continuous `thought chatter', a kind of mental fog that blocks the full experience of reality around us and makes us feel incomplete. Taylor argues that this sense of incompleteness creates a permanent `madness of constant wanting', desperately wanting to complete our lives with material possessions, with a search for happiness, and a strife for power and fame. Although some people are more affected by it than others, and men are generally more affected by it than women, Taylor is convinced that nobody can fully escape the power of humania. Taylor himself has also experienced the power of humania and the fact that he brings in many examples out of his own life, adds a lot to the impact the book has on the reader. This way Taylor shows that he is in no way superior to the reader, and that we all have to face similar problems and challenges.

What is interesting is that Taylor not only brings the problems into perspective but also shows that there definitely is a way out. He dedicates the second part of the book to this. Already in the first part he argued that the state of humania is not the natural state of humankind, that indigenous peoples all over the planet have never suffered from it and were even very aware of the dangers of the Western approach to life. Taylor shows in this second part how we can break through the `surface of our being', which `is filled with disturbance and negativity', to `a deep reservoir of stillness and well-being' underneath, to the natural state that in every human being still lives on under this disturbed and negative surface. Taylor makes it very clear that this doesn't mean we should try to return to the lifestyle of indigenous people and reject the comforts of modern day living. But we definitely can learn a lot of these indigenous people to help us develop further into a more whole, integrated human being. An important part of Taylor's message is that the way out cannot be realized by just reading and digesting the content of his book. He wants to inspire the reader to work on his or her own development, and to facilitate this he marks eight, very accessible developmental stages to help the reader to attain `a state of permanent harmony of being'.

Taylor made me aware again, that there is a still lot of work to be done for me to achieve this harmony of being, but that it's worthwhile to continue on this track, because it's absolutely necessary for our own spiritual health and for the future of our planet
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 26 Oct 2012 14:47:25 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 27 Dec 2012 15:23:27 GMT]

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Nov 2012 18:10:51 GMT
Last edited by the author on 27 Nov 2012 18:13:41 GMT
Jarnie, what an incredibly stupid remark. If the review is too long for you, then just don't read it - and definitely don't buy the book as it will be a great deal longer still. This isn't especially long and certainly not pretentioius: it's exactly the kind of review that a sensible person would want to read.

Posted on 16 Dec 2012 09:00:32 GMT
Last edited by the author on 16 Dec 2012 09:01:16 GMT
A. Solo says:
Actually I'm also grateful somebody took the time to analyse and concisely review a whole book, on what is sometimes a difficult subject matter. This is precisely the kind of review I look for and actually means that I can buy this book in confidence that it's what I need for where I am at this moment in my journey.
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