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The Resurgence of the Real: Body, Nature and Place in a Hypermodern World Paperback – May 6 1999

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 292 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (March 1 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415922984
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415922982
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.7 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 386 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #232,847 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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The Resurgence of the Real is a fascinating proposal for correcting the ills of contemporary society. On the one hand, it offers an eloquent critique of modernity's tendency toward scientism and industrialism at the expense of holistic environmentalism. On the other hand, the distinction drawn between modernism and postmodernism turns out to be simplistic and largely illusory, for although Charlene Spretnak identifies her postmodernism as also "pre-modern," its origins and articulation are part and parcel of the modernist project. Still, her call to recover awareness of our context, our relationships to others and to our environment, is not only valid but necessary to our survival. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

The well-trod ground of ecospiritualism is trundled over once again by Spretnak (The Politics of Women's Spirituality, 1981, etc.). Modernism is Spretnak's unoriginal bugbear: It can be found tattering the social fabric; it lurks behind the disintegration of the economy, health care, everyday life, ethnic and racial hatreds. Modernism is the deep structure repressing the ``real,'' imposing discontinuities ``between humans and the rest of the natural world, between self and others, between body and mind.'' Economic expansion and technological innovation, Modernism's frayed mantras, are little but the mechanistic blatherings of an ideology gone sour, Spretnak intones. The body is not a biomachine requiring external intervention upon breakdown; it is a self-correcting energy system. Nature is not simply matter to be acted upon; it is a dynamic, self-regulating cosmos. Place is not just where you are, but an influential ecosocial frame. Yes, yes. The mingling of body- mind/cosmos/place is where Spretnak situates the ``real,'' so she mooches about in the theories of chaos, complexity, and Gaia, and in the works of John Ruskin, William Morris, and revolutionary artistic movements to buttress her point. And they are points well taken but here made ponderously and without a whit of humor. The writing is lumbered, and Spretnak comes across as schoolmarmish and scolding: ``Ironically, the counterculture of the sixties was dismissed as romantic even though its ignorance of the Romantics was almost total.'' She is drawn to the dry, high-minded ``geologian'' Thomas Berry, reasonably enough, but her position is impoverished when she ignores the spirited intellectual high jinks of Paul Feyerabend and others who so nimbly eviscerated the notion of modernity. ``The gist of all this is that life is an interactive phenomenon of planetary and biospheric scale.'' Stop the presses. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa0862234) out of 5 stars 5 reviews
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa0739ab0) out of 5 stars A Beautiful & Elegant Critique of the Post-Modern Mystique! June 22 2000
By Barron Laycock - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
In "Resurgence of the Real", Author Charlene Spretnak takes accurate aim at the pandemic, negative and deadening global aspects of the hyper-rationalized social, economic, and political environment of the postindustrial world, diagnosing its ills, and proposing a quite realistic, attainable, and more organic alternative to our misguided ways. In this elegantly written and argued neo-Luddite thesis, Spretnak passionately speaks on behalf of a more enlightened post modern ecology that actively eschews the deadening embrace of 20th century scientism and technological industrialism and recognizes the basic human connection to nature and the environment.
This is a book with a mission and a message. On the one hand, she offers an impressive critique of how our blind fascination with rationalism, science, and technological innovation has strangled out of consciousness any appreciation or awareness of the natural world around us, and has led us into a ritual denial of our fundamental connection to nature. On the other hand, showing how illusory and simplistic our intellectual categories seem to be, she argues for a recovery effort in order to actively regain our individual and collective awareness of our natural context, our relationships to other human beings, and to our basic grounding in the ecology of the real world around us.
But the leap toward such critical awareness eludes many of our contemporaries, who are locked into such a modernistic, mechanistic and rational worldview that they tend to view themselves as bio-machines requiring external interventions when malfunctioning. Every thing about our artificially created and sustained human environment holds us within this kind of faulty and dangerous world-view. Instead, she argues, we need to recognize that we are self-correcting energy systems operating within nature, which she defines as a dynamic and self-regulating cosmos. This is heady and quite intellectually stimulating stuff, and requires a close reading and a requisite ability to think, as they say, "outside the box" of conventional thought.
The author faces the issues of our time with eloquence, clarity, and a keen intellectual acumen. The book is obviously written with great care, passion, and unimpeachable intellectual clarity. Spretnak offers a stinging and accurate diagnosis of what has gone wrong in the post-modern world, and presents, with great lucidity and careful thought, a look at the emerging postmodern ecological world-view we need to overcome the ecological, social, and political problems confronting us. This is a very special, passionate, and wonderful book, and is one offering hope for the future. I hope you enjoy it.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa073960c) out of 5 stars Beautiful and Philosophical June 15 2000
By Renee Thorpe - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Humanity is so ready for this groundbreaking book!
I heard Charlene Spretnak on the radio and rushed to buy this book.
Spretnak goes beyond our arbitrary ways of categorizing the world and its inhabitants, offers hope for the environment, for humankind, for our spirit. Forget right and left, modern and postmodern, communist and capitalist, all the usual labeling. Spretnak explores what's wrong with modernity, from its beginnings in the age of Renaissance humanism! She writes eloquently of the suicidal rush to embrace technology at all costs.
Excellent book for any environmentalist, anyone with a spiritual or religious inclination, any art history student, any political scientist.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa07394e0) out of 5 stars A worthy slog Nov. 27 2007
By Cecil Bothwell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Charlene Spretnak's depth of insight is nearly overwhelming. In fact, the only reservation I have about recommending this book is that it is really heavy going. You're gonna have to work at it -- and you may want to save Chapter 2 for later, unless the concept of "deconstructionist postmodernism" either gives you goose bumps or makes you seethe. (For what it's worth, Spretnak dispatches with the whole empty concept of d-p, but her triumphant campaign isn't for the faint of heart.) In brief, the author's argument is that modernism -- the philosophy which has ruled us for a few hundred years -- has led us astray. In particular it has distorted our relationship to body, nature and place. We have accepted a separation of self (intelligence or spirit) from our physicality, of our lives from nature (as if we lived in glass boxes, or existed "on top" of it), and of our entire existence from its setting. Modern culture embodies the pretense that it is a cloak around the planet which could as easily be draped elsewhere. Of course that is not and has never been the case, but it is the conceit of modernism that such a mental picture is the scientific or objective truth behind our subjective experience. What follows lies all around us today. Spretnak is very optimistic that the Real is coming back with a bang, and just in time. Her philosophic defense of bioregionalism, of holistic health strategies, of Green politics, of deeply felt community, of respectful attention to ancient alternatives, and on and on, is brilliant and invigorating. As is her demolition of the underpinnings of GATT, the World Bank, modern economic theory and the use of computers in grade school classrooms, or the overweening adoption of a computerized mind-set. She blasts Sesame Street out of the water. BAM! Most telling of all is Spretnak's explanation of why radical localism does not imply a new isolationism. She argues that we must learn to live locally in intimate contact with our bioregion, but with utter respect for the global commons. We each live in a place. We all live on earth. We must adopt solutions that work Here without deleteriously impacting There. This one may well knock your socks off. Whew.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa1697408) out of 5 stars Challenging and inspiring Oct. 25 2012
By Joyce - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Spretnak participated in launching the continental bioregional movement, was a founder of the Green Party in the U.S., has written many fine books, among them: Green Politics (with Fritjof Capra), The Spiritual Dimension of Green Politics, States of Grace (on the world's major religious traditions), and Lost Goddesses of Early Greece. She combines a keen eloquent intellect with depth and passion. In this book she lays open the ills of the modern world with its blind fascination with rationalism and technology and explains how we got here from the age of Renaissance humanism. She proposes a realistic, attainable alternative, reconnecting us with the natural world. She says that the core problem is the repression of the real, and that "The modern worldview has imposed devastating discontinuities between humans and the rest of the natural world, between self and others, and between body and mind." If we want a viable future, Spretnak says we must recover a love of the human body, a love of nature as a whole, and a love of the place where we live. This is a history book, a scientific book, but most of all a spirit book. It is a challenging read, but its detailed poetry fills gaps in our awareness.
8 of 14 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa073a1c8) out of 5 stars Slightly flawed Feb. 6 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
There's some wonderful stuff here-esp. the material on William Morris and John Ruskin and the neo-Utopian view at the end. I've given the book to several friends, but always with this caveat: don't trust the material on witch burnings. She's bought into what are apparently terribly exaggerated figures on the numbers of victims, which are based on faulty research. Contemporary researchers put the number at 50,000 to 100K rather than the millions cited here. And one was too many, IMO. See WITCH: THE WILD RIDE FROM WICKED TO WICCA by Candace Savage for a more contemporary view.