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on 6 September 2017
As an MA student studding Social Sculpture I found this book so very beautiful book that is the foundation for so much observation of life in the world. A must have for any student who wishes to study more deeply into life and the meaning of it.
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on 28 June 2017
I was recommended this book by a friend. I bought it, started reading it, have now binned it. It's not evidence based. It's touchy feely hippy mystical nonsense - "when the blackbird puts a berry in its beak I, the watcher can taste the berry". No I can't. Get real.
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on 30 August 2017
Flipping brilliant. I may even read it again.
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on 12 November 2014
great
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on 4 September 2014
Very helpful for children.
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on 19 March 2016
https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0679776397/ref=cm_cr_ryp_prd_ttl_sol_9
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on 3 February 1998
One day I spotted a bird at my feeder that I didn't recognize. I got out my field guide, identified the bird, mentally patted myself on the back, then looked out at him again. He was a perky handful of mottled brown fluff, with delicate feet and shiny black eyes -- and it suddenly struck me that whatever name I applied to him was utterly irrelevant to the living reality of the bird himself.
Another pertinent story: I live in high desert country, where a fragile ecosystem has evolved over millennia, perfectly adapted to the region's harsh soil and scarce water. In recent years, a number of people have bought plots of land near my house and put mobile homes on them. They've then scraped every hint of vegetation off the lot. The ambitious ones do things with gravel and railroad ties and bags of fertilizer. But most just leave the soil bare, as if possession is exemplified by their victory over "weeds."
So I read Abram's book with a shock of recognition. His concepts aren't particularly original (I kept being reminded of the English Romantic poet Wordsworth), and he often takes for granted that his readers accept his assumptions. I find it ironic, too, that such an eloquent and persuasive writer should devalue language. While I think he takes that argument too far, he's absolutely right that by defining "knowledge" and "civilization" as "distance from the non-human," we've lost a sense of our place in nature that is endangering our planet's health and our survival as a species. It's unfortunate that the book is being marketed through New Age and ecological sources; it deserves a much wider readership.
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on 2 December 2008
As a classicist I found this little book totally revisoned my understanding of early Greek 'literature.' Traditional approaches to Homer, for example, are usually divided between the radical Parryists (an almost extinct bunch named after Millman Parry) who analyse the poems for formulaic patterns and produce detailed statistical data for occurences and repetitions, and those who rebel against this trend claiming it devalues Homeric poetry. David Abram not only made me realise that Homer must be understood in relation to oral poetry, he taught me what it means to understand oral poetry. I also found his ideas shaping my awareness of the early Milesian presocratics, especially Anaximenes.
Of course, Abram's arguments have been weaved together from a wide variety of sources. Being a classicist I was already aware of the work of Eric Havelock and Walter Ong to whom Abram is deeply indebted. But it is this eclectic mix of ideas that makes this book a fresh and dazzling experience in a crusty old subject.
Being also interested in recent studies in cognitive science, I was overjoyed to see that George Lakoff and Mark Johnson' 'Philosophy in the Flesh' culminates with a brief description of Abram's ideas.
For those wanting to read more Abram, check out the website for the Allinance of Wild Ethics, though this remains his only book to date.
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on 1 December 2009
A fascinating odyssey through the mind, first with the philosophical viewpoint of phenomenology which at last tries to describe reailty as it shows itself to us/itself and the perspective of the other both indigenous peoples and animals and plants. At times lyrical and deeply personal and at others academic it nevertheless doesn't let go of the connection it forms at the beginning with tales of Abrams life. One feels that the experience of the world so honestly told throughout the book at times, provide the true wonder evident in Abrams life. It is a pity more of these experiences were not forthcoming. It reminds me of the answer given by a Zen student in Japan when asked about his practice : "the world is so beautiful you almost can't stand it"
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VINE VOICEon 30 September 2011
I found this an extraordinary book; I would suggest that if you want to find books with the same sensibility (but very different otherwise) you might be looking at Hermann Hesse's Steppenwolf, Jung on archetypes and alchemy, the poetry of Keats and Coleridge, Novalis and Goethe, but this is an autobiographical account of his mystical-scientific experiences of the elemental presence of nature, of the movement of ants in a dance with the observer, of inhabiting the quality of wind and water.

For those interested, the philosopher Rudolf Steiner gave a lecture early in the 20th century in which he described the 12 philosophical worldviews (see Human and Cosmic Thinking), pointing out how each was seen by its proponents is the one and only way of knowing reality when in fact full understanding requires all of them. During this he specifically describes a mode of experience, which he calls gnostic sensationalism, the ability to experience through the senses the deepest essential truths of nature and the world, and I've never found a more perfect example.
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