The Resurgence of the Real: Body, Nature and Place in a Hypermodern World Paperback – May 6 1999
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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.See all Product Description
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
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.
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