Nature and the Human Soul: Cultivating Wholeness in a Fragmented World Paperback – 21 Mar 2008
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Addressing the pervasive longing for meaning and fulfillment in this time of world crisis, "Nature and the Human Soul" introduces an innovative developmental psychology that shows how fully and creatively we can mature when we allow soul and nature to guide us. Bill Plotkin presents a model for a human lifespan rooted in the patterns and rhythms of nature, a template for individual development that ultimately yields a strategy for cultural transformation. It describes how to raise children who are in love with life and learning, how to help teenagers develop personalities that are both authentic and socially engaging, how to grow into a fulfilled, soulful adult contributing unique gifts to the greater world, and how to mature into a genuine elderhood of wisdom and cultural leadership.Psychologist and wilderness guide Bill Plotkin guides every reader, stage-by-stage, on the journey toward wholeness and active, contributing engagement with the world.He goes on to describe the archetypes and the 8 corresponding stages, which are: Innocent (infancy, early childhood), Explorer (middle and late childhood), Societal Entrepreneur & Wanderer (early adolescence, late adolescence), Soul Apprentice and Artisan (early and late adulthood), and Master and Sage (early and late elderhood). Based on the 15 per cent of Western people who exhibit exemplary development, these descriptions offer insight into discovering your potential. They help explain conflict and confusion in our society and point the way to assisting children and adults move through the phases for better lives and a better world.
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Top Customer Reviews
What I am saying here is don't pass this book up because you think you will need a dictionary alongside it to understand what it has to say.
Yet, in one respect I came away perplexed. In this work there seems to be a confusion of the word `soul' with the word `spirit' as if they are one and the same thing. Nothing could be further than the truth.
I found another 'easy read' The Reincarnation of Albino Luciani: In Search of the Human Soul which does define the four dimensions of a human being: body - mind - spirit - soul as the four distinctly different things they are.
Albino Luciani was Pope John Paul I who was murdered in the Vatican in 1978 after only 33 days on the job because of his liberal left wing idealsThe Vatican Murders: The Life and Death of John Paul I. As a young seminarian he would often ask his teachers: "What is the human soul?" He always got the same answer: "It is just something we don't understand."
As a result he dedicated his doctoral thesis `The Origin of the Human Soul' to defining specifically what one is speaking of when one utters the phrase "the human soul." Like most people at one time I confused the 'spirit' and 'soul' as being synonymous.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Nature and the Human Soul begins with the idea that humanity is engaged in the process of the Great Turning, the move from an ego-centric industrial growth model of civilization to an eco-centric earth community model that is sustainable into the future. The question is then asked, "What does it mean to become fully human in an eco-centric world?" At a time when most therapeutic models are about coping with the dire consequences of our current circumstances, this is an especially generative question, one that is filled with hope for the future. To answer this question fully, Bill Plotkin dives deeply into the structure of the medicine wheel, the wheel of life, to create one of the most innovative and healing imaginations of the process of individuation that I have ever read. What brings this model to life is Plotkin's 25 years of experience as a depth psychologist, wilderness guide and eco-therapist, leading individuals into the wild to seek their destiny. The abstractions of life-span stage theory are given pulse and beauty through the soul-stirring stories of the individuals whose experiences illuminate the phases of the wheel of life. More than just another developmental theory, Nature and the Human Soul has the potential to be a foundation stone in the New Myth that we so desperately seek.
Holden, for all his outward cynicism and irreverence, is hurting inside and deserves a mature response. Bill Plotkin, in his new book "Nature and the Human Soul," offers, in quite an unprecedented way, a competent and compassionate response to the Holden Caulfields of the world.
Holden is everyone of us who has ever gone looking for guidance from a mature adult, someone with the capacity to lead another into a deeply rooted sense of purpose and belonging, a need we hunger for so deeply that it leaves us feeling orphaned in the only world we have come to know, a world too small, too trivial, and too everyday even to acknowledge this longing, let alone respond to it with competency and compassion.
"Nature and the Human Soul" speaks plainly and directly to what ails us as human beings in our process of maturing and evolving, and to what ails this fragile earth, our island home. Bill Plotkin recognizes so clearly that the will required to alter our destructive treatment of the natural world will only come, if at all, by seeing the natural world as priceless in its own right surely, but also as that which alone can speak to our persistent longing to inhabit a place and a purpose uniquely ours in this universe, part of an infinitely complex, interrelated web of relationships and conversations.
"Nature and the Human Soul" is a beautiful thing to behold for its symmetry, honesty, poetry, scholarship, and humility--a practical resource and basis for hope given to us as the fruit of a life lived very deeply and very boldly. The book makes you feel heard and confident that there is indeed a way forward that is authentic and noble and comes as a kindly blessing to the natural world.
As important as it is to both Depth Psychologies and Eco-Psychologies, this book is also fresh and readable, poetic in its imaging and easily accessible to everyone. The weaving of interviews into the text with elders Joanna Macey and Thomas Berry are startling and poignant as we get to experience their far reaching wisdom. As well, Plotkins own storytelling masterfully draws one into the natural world showing us how nature can teach us and mirror our own humanity. He brings the soul's logic into view. The confluence of this organic developmental model of being fully human (the soul-centric developmental wheel) with ones own personal world is not constraining but rather frees us into our full imagination, expression and potential. It is a message that is highly original, vastly unique, and mysteriously familiar in its deep truth.
Gary Diggins (Toronto)
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