Top critical review
One person found this helpful
on November 17, 2001
Like David Abram, I too appreciate nature. I would
never deliberately defile or spoil it in any way. I do not worship it, however;
but rather I worship its creator. The byline running through
this book gets too dangerously close
to pagan nature worship for me. Nevertheless the author
has many valid observations to make and I do not
write him off altogether, even though I do not
share (what I assume to be) his views of life,
and was often insulted by his opinions,
especially those with such disrespect for Christianity.
His idea of reciprocity between man and nature is
food for thought, even if it is
almost verbatim derived from what G. I. Gurdjieff taught,
in his Fourth Way movement in the early
20th century. Gurdjieff's disciple, J.G. Bennett, called it "Reciprocal Maintenance,"
the only difference being that this kind of
reciprocity governs man-to-man, and man-to-cosmos
relationships, as well as man-to-nature. Abram didn't
seem inclined to include us humans
as beneficiaries of each other's reciprocity.
It does not surprise
me however, since there is a bitter scorn
and derision cast upon many institutions
we in the West once held as synonymous with
successful living, in particular
the (always easy potshot)
whipping boys capitalism and industrialisation,
that runs throughout the book.
Abram even goes so far as to replace the
grammatically sound masculine
pronouns "he" and "his" with "she" and "her."
I was less than amused by this deliberate flouting of
English grammar rules. The one point in the book
(and not ironically the best part) where
he comes nearest a sense of reverence for
anything beyond physical nature, is his exposition regarding the ancient Hebrew language's peculiar non-existence of vowels. It was fascinating (once he finally got around to it)
to read his theory about what repercussions
followed the emergence of such vowel sounds.
After all this was the main premise of the book
to begin with. The rest was difficult to plough through,
though not unworthy of attention if you can stomach his attitude
towards Western civilization.