on 24 May 2011
Last reviewer could not have put it better. For me at least this book managed to articulate all of the dormant and germinating ideas - or feelings - that I had of the condition of our world, making them crystal clear in a way that has radically altered my understanding of social and historiographical reality. It is a savage indictment of the dangerous paradigms that unconsciously govern our behaviour, and speaks with a prohpetic lucidity that disturbs the mind and soothes the soul. Meaningful change begins in the consciousness of the individual, and I believe that if everyone would read and understand this book, the 'system' would implode. Word becomes deed only when word has power, and these are words of power indeed.
on 20 November 2015
The most important book ever written? I'll tell you why. No one has ever to my knowledge unraveled the string-ball of civilization quite like this. The roots of war, depression, science, mysticism, religion, conflict, judgement, nations, ideology, ideas, philosophy, racism, specieism, sexism, labeling, words, politics, power, money, greed, obedience, famine, want, lack, corruption, authority, control, consent, duality and everything else are deconstructed and exposed in this book. Every philosophy or ideology I've ever read from Buddhism, Christianity, Marxism, Decartism, Darwinism, post-structuralism, creationism to democracy, communism, fascism, totalitarianism and even humanism and spirituality and every self help or ideology you've ever read or heard are all exposed as mere effects, rather than causes. Everything I thought to be a foundation turns out to be a mere surface level, the tip of the iceberg, established recently and exposed as short-lived - including civilization itself.
In other words, Eisenstein pulls the whole rug from under our feet. The whole game, the whole shebang. It's not an easy book to read for this reason. The language is accessible but the truth is not. I had to realise just how indoctrinated I am, to the core. Prepare to have every assumption you have ever made tested, everything you assumed to be true without question, questioned. Prepare to be the fish who is shown the truth of the water in which you swim and of which it has never ever even occurred to you to question.
on 30 October 2011
This is an astoundingly important work, both analysing the inherent pathologies of our civilization (based on scarcity and separation), and looking at where we can go as a species. It's a long book but only because it is so comprehensive and holistic in its appraisal of where we are and what we've done to the planet and to ourselves.
One of the most important books you'll read. For other authors on a similar path see John Zerzan, Derrick Jensen, David Abram et al.
on 28 May 2013
My title sums up the argument of this book. Eisenstein suggests the problem of "human nature" is due to the philosophies and mythologies that we have subscribed to and still subscribe to that cause separation, of us from nature. He especially analyses technology, economics and money. I believe his logic but am left with one nagging doubt - Is this oneness enough to assuage the age old existential fear of death? It might be, but the problem is experiencing enough glimpses of the oneness to keep us going in the belief that separation is not forever. We are unlikely to see this oneness in our lifetimes and as Eisenstein says things will get worse before they get better. I like his practical solutions to money but am unsure what a technology not based on fire (electricity) would look like. But then he is not an engineer.
I underlined more sentences that I thought were gems than any other book. Whilst not directly a book about mythology it steers us towards a oneness with Gaia and gives hope that one day the separation will end. We just have to keep that "faith"
on 9 March 2016
I could never put it into words, all of this, so it's just as well someone has! It's extremely interesting, innovative, and beautifully written. This book goes through a range of topics such as language, religion, science, etc. - the main issues have affected us through history, and relates each one to us as modern people, while making a study of first world maladies such as addiction and depression. If you feel that you're often acting against your better values or interests, and those of your family and friends also, but that you are powerless to change things, you should perhaps read this. And if you enjoy classic literature, as I do, you may simply enjoy it as a quality read with real feeling and depth.
A most engaging book indeed and I had a dilemma rating the book since the author raises many interesting issues and thoughts of which I mostly agree. However I do not completely agree with his idea of individualism.
The author talks rightly of the things that challenge individualism when he talks about the world we live in, the society we are a part of, the way society needs issues of science, economy, education, money and aspiration. However he does miss other issues in society that challenge our individualism and by doing so his version of optimism is less than its true potential.
However although I had a dilemma I still felt that the author had the greatest sense of provoking thoughts and this is its strongest point. And that is how I came to rate it with maximum stars.
The book is actually excellent as the author pricks our conciseness and gets us thinking instead of just sub consciously accepting things. The way the book is written is very easy to read and engaging and the author does manage to keep the subject interesting throughout.
Further this book makes an excellent starter book in understanding the true sense of self. The book touches on the true sense of what is important and the distractions of society.
Much of the book is a study of society itself. And there is a case made for and against the perceived merits of society. There are different ways to interpret the authors intentions and therefore its best purpose is to challenge what we have taken for reality without actually suggesting a definitive alternative version of the reality of society or life. And although his thoughts of our individualism in our society are slightly less optimistic than my own It is a great book.
on 2 December 2009
I really enjoyed this book, nicely written, documented, accessible language even though repetitive.
BUT I didn't like the optimism in the end, I stopped reading after Chapter VII - Technologies of Reunion, started to look like a Sci-Fi to me.
4 stars from me!