David Abram's writing casts a spell of its own as he weaves the reader through a meticulously researched work that gently addresses such seemingly daunting topics as where the past and future exist, the relationship between space and time, and how the written word serves to sever humans from their primordial source of sustenance: the earth.
"Only as the written text began to speak would the voices of the forest, and of the river, begin to fade. And only then would language loosen its ancient associations with the invisible breath, the spirit sever itself from the wind, the psyche dissociate itself from the environing air," writes Abram of the separation caused by the proliferation of the written word.
In writing The Spell of the Sensuous, Abram consulted an engaging collection of peoples and works. He uses aboriginal song lines, stories from the Koyukon people of northwestern Alaska, the philosophy of phenomenology, and the speeches of Socrates to paint a poetic landscape that explains how we became separated from the earth in the first place. With minimal environmental doomsaying, Abram discusses how we can begin to recover a sustainable relationship with the earth and the nonhuman beings who live among us--in the more-than-human world. --Kathryn True
How did Western civilization become so estranged from nonhuman nature that we condone the ongoing destruction of forests, rivers, valleys, species and ecosystems? Santa Fe ecologist/philosopher Abram's search for an answer to this dilemma led him to mingle with shamans in Nepal and sorcerers in Indonesia, where he studied how traditional healers monitor relations between the human community and the animate environment. In this stimulating inquiry, he also delves into the philosophy of phenomenologists Edmund Husserl and Maurice Merleau-Ponty, who replaced the conventional view of a single, wholly determinable reality with a fluid picture of the mind/body as a participatory organism that reciprocally interacts with its surroundings. Abram blames the invention of the phonetic alphabet for triggering a trend toward increasing abstraction and alienation from nature. He gleans insights into how to heal the rift from Australian aborigines' concept of the Dreamtime (the perpetual emerging of the world from chaos), the Navajo concept of a Holy Wind and the importance of breath in Jewish mysticism.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Perception changing book. Completely different from everything I ever read.Published 11 months ago by Filou
This book was suggested to me by my dissertation director. I don't hesitate to suggest it to everyone!! It's an education in itself.Published on May 1 2012 by mad
Despite aboriginals being so sidelined on our society, haven't you been curious about their stories? what they mean? Read morePublished on Jan. 25 2011 by M. Auer
Spell of the Sensous is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force. Read morePublished on Dec 31 2003 by S.J. Snyder
Dr.Abram's book introduced me to a whole new way of looking at language and especially writing in relation to the sensuous earth, and for that I am grateful (and that is why i... Read morePublished on Dec 31 2003 by S.J. Snyder
...detailing the way academic philosophy can be adapted and shaped to aesthetics and lifestyle, or an appreciation of nature. Read morePublished on Aug. 5 2003
Here we have it: how earlier peoples were "in tune with" their environent, and how we aren't. Science is evil. All the "..." in one book. Read morePublished on Jan. 28 2003
I read this and loved it. Afterward, it occurred on me that I wouldn't be able to find anything as good for quite a while so I immediately read it again. Read morePublished on Oct. 15 2002 by Musher X