Coming to Our Senses: Body and Spirit in the Hidden History of the West

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9780044407195: Coming to Our Senses: Body and Spirit in the Hidden History of the West

Originally published by Simon & Schuster in 1989, "Coming to Our Senses" is the second volume in a trilogy on the evolution of human consciousness, and the recipient (in 1990) of the Governor's Writers Award for Washington State. (The first, "The Reenchantment of the World," was published in 1981 by Cornell University Press; the third, "Wandering God," was released in 2000 by the State University of New York Press.) The focus of this particular volume is the relationship between culture and the human body, and the somatic basis of Western religious experience. Whereas the first volume in the series is largely historical, and the third largely anthropological, "Coming to Our Senses" focuses on human psychology, especially the earliest years of life, and how this has historically influenced the nature of adult life and institutions in the West.

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About the Author:

Morris Berman is a poet, novelist, essayist, social critic, and cultural historian. He has written eleven books and more than one hundred articles, and has taught at a number of universities in Europe, North America, and Mexico. He won the Governor?s Writers Award for Washington State in 1990 for Coming to Our Senses, and was the first recipient of the annual Rollo May Center Grant for Humanistic Studies in 1992. In 2000, The Twilight of American Culture was named a ?Notable Book? by The New York Times Book Review, and in 2013 he received the Neil Postman Award for Career Achievement in Public Intellectual Activity from the Media Ecology Association. Dr. Berman lives in Mexico.

From Publishers Weekly:

The author's call for a life of the body--as opposed to an emphasis on success, material possessions and divisive "isms"--rigorously extends the arguments advanced in his popular The Reenchantment of the World . Stressing that the human infant's emerging self-awareness is bodily as well as conceptual, Berman views conventional birthing methods as traumatic; he faults modern infant care for a dearth of physical contact with the young. His analysis of repressed "somatic awareness" takes unusual turns: a history of mirrors, decoding of upper-class vs. lower-class body language, a review of our changing relations with animals--from reverential cave art to the treatment of other species as mere objects. Next, he identifies a countercultural tradition supposedly rooted in bodily experience and rejecting the cerebral, mechanical way of life of the dominant culture. Examples include Gnostic seers' fusion with godhead, Jewish mysticism, 11th century French Cathar heretics with their trance and ecstasy techniques, the soul travel of Renaissance occultists. This maverick synthesis challenges commonly held assumptions. Photos. First serial to Reality Club magazine; paperback rights to Bantam.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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