Man Theodore Roszak The Voice of the Earth

ISBN 13: 9780671729684

The Voice of the Earth

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9780671729684: The Voice of the Earth

In his latest book Theodore Roszak searches for the environmental dimensions of sanity where conventional psychology leaves off: at the threshold of the nonhuman world.
He writes: "The sanity that binds us to one another in society is not necessarily the sanity that bonds us companionably to the creatures with whom we share the Earth. If we could assume the viewpoint of nonhuman nature, what passes for sane behavior in our social affairs might seem madness. But as the prevailing Reality Principle would have it, nothing could be greater madness than to believe that beast and plant, mountain and river have a 'point of view.'"
The Voice of the Earth seeks to bridge this centuries-old split between the psychological and the ecological. A true "ecopsychology," Roszak insists, sees the needs of the planet and the needs of the person as a continuum. In a sense that weaves science and psychiatry, poetry and politics together, he shows that the ecological priorities of the biosphere are coming to be expressed through our most private emotional and spiritual travail. The Earth's cry for rescue from the punishing weight of the industrial system we have created is our own cry for a scale and quality of life that will free us to become the whole and healthy person that more and more members of our species are coming to believe we were born to be.

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About the Author:

Theodore Roszak is the author of The Making of a Counterculture, Where the Wasteland Ends, The Gendered Atom, and other works of nonfiction. His novels include Flicker and The Memoirs of Elizabeth Frankenstein, which is currently being made into a motion picture. Roszak lives in Berkeley and is professor of history at California State University, Hayward. A Guggenheim Fellowship recipient, he has twice been nominated for the National Book Award.

From Kirkus Reviews:

Repeatedly, in this scholarly survey of cultural history, Roszak (History/California State Univ.; Flicker, 1991, etc.) evokes a back-to-nature philosophy, contrasting the rational philosophy of the Enlightenment with the romanticism of the noble savage; prehistoric animism and earth-mother religion with the rise of patriarchy and male-dominated, nature-dominating religion. All this by way of elaborating what he sees as the only salvation of the ecological crisis: a new ``ecopsychology.'' The new school celebrates the individual, seen in harmonious interrelationships with the family, society, Mother Earth, and, ultimately, the cosmos. Ecopsychology is informed by various post- Freudian schools: some Jung (collective unconscious), and something of Reich, Maslow, Gestalt psychology, and various California-style movements--in general, those schools that look upon the unconscious as the well-spring of creativity. ``The core of the mind is the ecological unconscious,'' Roszak says, containing ``the living record of cosmic evolution, tracing back to distant initial conditions in the history of time.'' Yes, time's arrow and the evolution of the cosmos figure large in Roszak's philosophy. Taking the Big Bang as a given, and borrowing arguments from systems theory, the Gaia hypothesis, and the anthropic principle, he sees the emergence of humanity as inevitable in the grand scheme of things. It follows, then, that we must get back on track with Mother Earth. How to do this finds Roszak lamenting urban- industrial society. Cities are bad. Deep ecology is good. The restorative work must begin in childhood, and must involve a breaking away from macho ideas and the invoking of some concepts of ecofeminism. Roszak turns a fine sentence and knows his history (if not his science), but his idealism pays no mind to the population problem, poverty, disease, or rising racial-ethnic conflicts; and it dismisses the cultural largesse of cities and pays scant homage to what science and technology might do. In short, there seems to be more wish than reality here. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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