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Earth EEs/EHEs; Planetary Consciousness
Record Type: Review   ID: 54

My Name Is Chellis & I’m in Recovery From Western Civilization

Glendinning, Chellis G.

 This well-argued, insightful book by a psychotherapist views exceptional human experience as intimations of our unity with our primal matrix, nature and the Earth itself. While agreeing that the personal is political, she insists it is also planetary. While agreeing with her, it seems to me that EHEs intimate our unity with the cosmos itself: the personal is cosmic. But we need not worry about that now-though we surely can gain strength and guidance from it-but our main concern is what Glendinning writes about here-Earth as a whole and the way our fate, which is in our hands (with a lot of help from nature), is inextricably bound with that of Earth. She presents several examples of EHEs associated with nature and interspecies communication. These and other EHEs are lifesavers we are being given today. We dare not take hold! if you need convincing, read this book. Read it if you have any doubt about the nature of human beings. She herself provides a better overview in her Preface than I could do. She says it is about "getting back to our roots: about why such a return is crucial … about how we can begin this journey" (p. x). She stresses "two of the most important social issues of our times: the psychological/spiritual besieging challenge each of us is facing, and the ecological crisis besieging our planet" (p. xi). She quotes Dovall and Sessions, who note that "the environmental problems of technocratic-industrial societies are beginning to be seen as… a crisis of character and culture" (p. xii). Exactly. She calls on her therapeutic training and her own therapy to show how "our dysfunctional practices are calling out to us to awaken to the parallels between the numbing and abuse we express in our individual lives and that of our collective relationship to the life of our planet," adding that it is not sufficient simply to declare it or be aware of it. Rather, "our declarations must constitute radical acts with far-flung implications for the ways we live and how we perceive ourselves as living beings" (p. xiii). In the last section (Four), "Re-Arising Within Us," she proposes that we will recover fully what we have lost through technology and the mechanistic worldview only when "it involves a return to the reciprocity, power, and wildness of our earthy nature which, despite all, is still champing for expression. The time is long since past for us to remember and call upon the passion for life we are capable of knowing when we live, not bolstered in the solid steel encasement of a world made of machines but breathing fully in intimacy and rhythm with the Earth" (p. xiii).
Publisher Information:Boston: Shambhala, 1994. 240p. Chap. notes: 215-232; Ind: 234-240
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