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5.0 out of 5 stars
A Must-Read for People Interested in Consciousness, Jan 21 2003
Reviewed by Elliot A. Ryan and Charles O. Bubar
Many books have one or a handful of fundamental concepts. This book has dozens, woven together in a powerful fabric to provide intelligent clothing for a new paradigm of transcendence. A major argument of this book is that transcendence, the ability to go beyond limitation and restraint, is our biological birthright, built into us genetically, and blocked by enculturation. It is an inspired and heretical work as all great truths are heretical in the context of the culture that encounters them.
Depending on your cultural and religious background, it will be either joyful or somewhat disturbing to read. Nevertheless, for those who deeply understand its profound implications, The Biology of Transcendence can be a blueprint for a new paradigm in child development.
In this powerful work, Pearce draws on research from a wide range of the physical, social, biological, and medical sciences. His bibliography contains over 100 sources from Frederick Leboyer on birth and bonding to Paul MacLean on the brain, Jean Piaget on development, John and Beatrice Lacey on the heart, the Holy Bible on religion, David Bohm and Rupert Sheldrake on science, and Rudolph Steiner on spirituality.
Joseph Chilton Pearce reveals the biological and neurological underpinnings that help us discover the underlying principles of our own deepest nature.
This is a book which can be productively read numerous times, each time grasping more of the interrelationships among the fundamental concepts and understanding their implications for our own lives and those of our children.
This book deserves to be a best seller, yet even as the Bible is a best seller, the Bible is often not read by those who own it - or if read, may be fundamentally misunderstood. In the same way that the Bible is a profound affirmation of spiritual possibility and an indictment of "the world", The Biology of Transcendence is an affirmation of our transcendent birthright and an indictment of cultures which oppose this birthright.
An important goal of culture is to inhibit destructive impulses and behaviors. Unfortunately, culture can result in a failure in nurturing and a consequent failure in the brain development of the child's prefrontal cortex - the brain system which, when developed and integrated, internally inhibits the same destructive impulses and behaviors in children and adults which culture has failed to externally control.
Pearce offers evidence of the growing failure in nurturing of children in the United States and the increase in destructive impulses and behavior. By the end of the 20th Century, 6000 American children and teens were being killed annually by their peers. Further, suicide has become the third highest cause of death by youth between ages 5 and 17, with suicide attempts in this age group occurring on the average every 78 seconds.
Pearce shares many of the transcendent experiences of his own life of 83 years, which provided his powerful personal motivation to understand the true nature and source of these experiences and the framework of child development principles which can open this potential to our children.
In explanation of "unconflicted behavior" he describes two such instances from his own life that occurred due to his discovery in his early 20s of how "to bypass my body's most ancient instincts of self-preservation, which resulted in a temporary absence of all fear and subsequent abandonment of all caution. This enabled me, at particular times, to accomplish things that would have been considered impossible under the ordinary conditions of the world," (1) such as sleep and operate a check-proofing machine at the same time plus take customary coffee breaks and (2) climb a sheer cliff straight up from the ocean with an overhang at the top. His implicit trust in the force of unconflicted behavior operated the check-proofing machine and propelled his body up through an avalanche of dust and debris. Unconflicted behavior allows no space for doubt.
Pearce sees these fundamental concepts as part of the process of building lifeboats to ferry humankind out of a growing chaos and into a new realm of transcendent possibility. These concepts provide affirmation of the innate intelligence of mothers who possess strength and self-confidence, who are deeply spiritual in a personal sense, who exhibit freedom, and who exude inner security, confidence, and the intelligence of the heart. For fathers, their most important role is to provide mothers with a safe space, free from fear during pregnancy, childbirth, and their son's or daughter's early childhood years, so that the child's safe space is never in question. After the first three years, the father provides the model for bridging between the nest and the world.