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Involution: An Odyssey Reconciling Science to God Paperback – 2 May 2013

5.0 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 1 pages
  • Publisher: Unknown; 1st edition (2 May 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0957500203
  • ISBN-13: 978-0957500204
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 4 x 22.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 625,919 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Praise for 'Involution- An Odyssey Reconciling Science to God'

 

Philippa Rees wrote a book that is a rarity: it is on a controversial, actually hair- and eye-brow-raising subject, and it is totally sincere.  And totally insightful. If you the reader are as brave as this author, you are in for a fantastic ride.  Getting close to science as well as to God at the same time.  That's no mean feat. Enjoy the ride - and the light! (Dr. Ervin Laszlo)

 

 

‘A brilliant and profoundly erudite epic charting the evolution of Western thinking processes, probing the frontiers of rationality and naturalism and opening up a deeper understanding of the nature of reality based on the reality of mystical experience. The author’s grasp of the principal elements of Western culture is masterly and her poetic narrative woven together with extraordinary subtlety. The detailed footnotes demonstrate a rare depth of perceptive scholarship. This is nothing short of a heroic intellectual tour de force and deserves the widest readership.’ (David Lorimer, Director Scientific and Medical Network)

*

 

'…Your journey through poetry is more than just an alternative treatment of the material you originally theoretically described; it is the very act of genius, which is able to treat the ambiguous nature of the world differently. The poetry is an alternative for how the world makes meaning from the ambiguous.  It is a completely alternative direction for an exploration of the world in itself.

 

The scale of the feat you have thereby achieved by writing in poetry is immense. This goes far beyond the mechanistic notions of wholeness arrived at by some modern scientific authors. Your work reintroduces the aesthetic, beautiful, meaningful process that is poetry into science.  The genius of involution is not just a mechanism of science relating to the whole but a completely different realisation of the beautiful, within living process.'

 

(Philip Franses. Editor. The Holistic Science Journal. Lecturer Schumacher College)

 

*

"Involution is, at least in terms of 'subject', a daring, Dantean feat.

 

Rees's profound notion that the evolution of humankind is made possible by the dormant dominions of evolutionary memory in our unconscious - the eponymous 'involution' - is, I would suspect, a theory Charles Darwin would have gratefully embraced as a curative to his own bleaker 'discoveries', which he initially emotionally and religiously resisted.

 

That Rees has chosen to communicate her dialectic in the medium of sprung-rhymed blank verse is ingenious in itself, as well as being in the narrative spirit of the poetry of the ancients. 

 

Whatever one's poetic, religious or scientific response to Involution may be, what will be difficult for even the most scouring of critics to deny is it's scholastic vitality, compositional discipline and macrocosmic scope. Involution is a work of indisputably tall ambition, and an accomplishment which may well prove much more than the sum of its invariably exceptional parts".

 

(Alan Morrison. Poet. Editor: The Recusant Magazine)

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Imagine being kidnapped in the Tardis by Doctor Who. That's the only comparison I can make for the reading of Involution. It's a wild ride across Time and Space (inner and outer), and the author accompanies you with the same infectious enthusiasm and love for humanity that the Doctor expresses. You are treated to the same expectation that you can and will keep up with the Doctor's energy and understanding but also with the acceptance that at times you simply won't be able to and it doesn't matter as long as you are enjoying the ride and trust that you're going in the right direction and experiencing the right things. There is also a LOT of wry, dry and self-deprecating humour as well as the same gentle, loving mockery of the foibles of the human race that the Doctor often expresses.
Yes, Involution is a poem and poetry has become something of an alien experience for many of us. I read almost all of it at the gym, while either on a treadmill or a static cycle because the rhythm of reading poetry is aided by physical movement. My favourite part was Canto Nine, where the great Serpent, personification of DNA, narrates and speaks directly to the reader. It's a very profound feeling, as if the alien we feared turns out to be the saviour of the world, for most humans fear snakes and even loathe them.
The footnotes are very worth reading, especially if there were many parts of the book that had you thinking, I ought to know that but I don't. They're an education and a mind-expanding read in their own right; don't miss them out as there are plenty of Aha! moments there.
If you have read the other excellent reviews, you may find yourself feeling a little nervous of tackling a book that is often described as being erudite (and other similar epithets). Don't be.
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Format: Paperback
The recovery of evolutionary memory happens to innumerable people today, people who through a personal experience become cognizant of a knowledge we all have in our bones, of our inter-relationship with each other and every particle in the universe. Whether acknowledged or not, we have not lost the shamanistic knack to enter into what we deeply engage with. It can be a disturbing encounter with one's self, because the intellect must make way to absorb a truth logic alone is not fit to comprehend.

Science won't go there. If some brilliant minds are defensive, it's because science has built a reputation based on reliable facts and theories, and our progress seems to be the proof of the pudding. And yet, a paradigm where theories win over experience is becoming less and less convincing, not least because it alienates poets from logicians. Traditionally, aspirations and insights were projected onto prophets, only for their message to become distorted in the interest of politics. But why blame the prophets? Why throw the baby out with the bath-water? With consciousness expanding, we are becoming less herd-orientated (I hope). What becomes increasingly obvious is that the messages, the insights of the age are conceived inside, by hundreds and thousands of individuals. Some are scientists, some are artists, and many ordinary people keep their wisdom to themselves so as to not be rejected as cranks. I'm sure I'm not alone to feel heartened by people like Philippa Rees, who had the courage and resilience to follow up the authenticity of her powerful vision with decades of meticulous study and share the fruits.

For those who appreciate their facts, they comprise half of the book. The epic poetry sections infiltrate deeper parts of the mind, in my experience.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Philippa Rees has been unknown for way too long. I feel this travesty is about to be rectified, for this is the nature of genius. Who else has the right hemispheric power of epic poetry and the left hemisphere to tackle scientism?

Indeed, the strangle hold scientism has on culture is loosening.

With this book, I feel the key has been retrieved from the dudgeons of scientism.

With the poetic splendour of Homer and the gravity of One who knows, Involution: An Odyssey Reconciling Science to God, dangles the keys to salvation in front of our nose.

The awakened one, you see, is not a sleeper, like you and me. She's isn't a teacher; let alone a preacher. Neither a prophet, nor looking to profit. She isn't a snake, or an obvious fake. She is awake!
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Involution is so satisfying as a theory because it resonates with a primal truth; it just feels right.

Philippa Rees tells this story of our story with wit and wisdom and manages to make profound points with flippant ease and sometimes with an archness that bypasses the reader's resistance to the weighty so that you will find yourself effortlessly jogging along the narrative path alongside Reason and Soul whose banter is comforting and never grandiose. The dialogue permits relief from what could become didactic so that for example if the thesis offered by Reason is concerned with aspects of the Trojan War, the antithetical Soul interrupts with snorts of derision - impatient and demanding that we should get to the point.

Since the book is dealing with a journey through the entire history of human development and civilization, the use of poetry as the chosen form gives a stylistic neutrality to the narrative; we are not caught in any one epoch and seem to hover above echoes of Milton, Socrates, Pope with waspish Byronesque flourishes as we are afforded a birds-eye view of the forest. This is interrupted with swoops of close-up detail of particular trees using imagery and words that roll around the mouth like boiled sweets.

As the journey is completed on it's circular promenade the voice of Soul takes over the narrative to tie up the tale with Love and Reunion, making a sort of bow on the top. And here the verse becomes sublime; Soul identifies himself as the impulse of genius as well as the Lord of misrule and in a heart stopping moment of tenderness gathers up the reader and reassures her that:

"Cradled in my neck you'll breathe our essence:
I shall carry you entwined and carefully
Through the silver light and striding water....
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