Finally, his criticisms of the cartesian world are uncompelling. He then has a couple of chapters on speech, using this again in a way that bears little relationship to the common meaning of speech. Civilized humans — those who have been affected by agriculture, and later industry — have gradually become alienated from what you might think of as the social life of their land. Abram weaves a spell that brings the world alive. As the climate veers toward catastrophe, the innumerable losses cascading through the biosphere make vividly evident the need for a metamorphosis in our relation to the living land.
He believes the world can only be known through an oral culture, and he points out nine qualities that make an oral culture superior to our own culture which has been cut off from the world by the written word. It's one of the most interesting and provocative books I've ever read. For this book, the journey is indeed the destination. No culture can ever aspire to sustainability if it is deaf to the animate earth. His celebratory embrace of all that surrounds him is refreshing in the extreme. The book had been recommended to me for the description of a traditional shaman shape-shifting into a raven.
We canât ârestoreâ nature, Abram writes, without ârestoryingâ life, hence his prodigious, transfixing, and rectifying âearthly cosmology. This is a beautifully written, deeply moving, and important book. The abrupt loss of rain forests and coral reefs, the choking of wetlands, the poisons leaching into the soils, and the toxins spreading in our muscles compel us to awaken from our long oblivion, to cough up the difficult magic that's been growing within us, swelling us with pride even as the land disintegrates all around us. In particular, I find Abram's endorsement of animism compelling, even irresistible: that every thing, considered alive or inert, is animate, expressive, dynamic, that they communicate with us, with every other thing around it, and altering it as it does, and consequently we are all inextricably interrelated, entangled with each other. Its teachings leap off the page and translate immediately into lived experience. Water drips near your face.
A must read for anyone concerned about the future of the planet and ourselves. This is not a book to rush through. Ours enses dulled, our attenntion lost to the world, we created, in our inward turning, a quiet cave wherein a new layer of Earth could first shape itself and come to life. Even if you're already in tune with Nature, this book will shift your perceptions further. So much food for thought -- and a call to return to my own storytelling roots.
I want to read his first book, spell of the sensuous; he has a phenomenal descriptive talent and makes you more aware of all of your senses. Abram's writing subverts this distance, drawing readers ever closer to their animal senses in order to explore, from within, the elemental kinship between the human body and the breathing Earth. Things each of us once knew, but forgot when we were born into the 19th and 20th centuries. First, the book is a manual about human perception and how we experience the worlds we inhabit. An exercise of uncanny imagination. Indeed, what is perception if not the experience of this gregarious, communicative power of things, wherein even ostensibly 'inert' objects radiate out of themselves, conveying their shapes, hues, and rhythms to other beings and to us, influencing and informing our breathing bodies though we stand far apart from those things? I dread to imagine how damaged a place we're creating and how that will affect our lives in the future.
There is none, of course; this is a book of moral and environmental philosophy, and more of the felt-truth flavour than the chain-of-logic variety. My comments here try to capture a central point of this book, but they fall short by making the book seem merely abstract and philosophical. . His profound recognition of intelligences other than our own enables us to enter into reciprocal symbioses that can, in turn, sustain the world. Deeply resonant with indigenous ways of knowing, Abram lets us listen in on wordless conversations with ancient boulders, walruses, birds, and roof beams. In David Abram draws on sources as diverse as the philosophy of Merleau-Ponty, Balinese shamanism, Apache storytelling, and his own experience as an accomplished sleight-of-hand of magician to reveal the subtle dependence of human cognition on the natural environment. Her really fails to get his critique right and the book suffers as a result.
It is safer to retreat into a purely human self-reflective words leading to some kind of in-our-heads fundamentalism. If you are interested in the intellectual roots of our alienation from the animate Earth and our own human possibilities, read this book. Like many great nonfiction books about nature, this book makes me notice the world around me better, and differently than before, so in that way, it was good. And so we take deeper care with our speaking, mindful that our sounds may carry more than a merely human meaning and resonance. His writing is calming,hypnotic and educational. Yet still we think of ourselves as uniquely sentient and uniquely able to communicate.
And Abram, ever attuned to mysteries beyond his comprehension, leaves open the possibility that perhaps his teacher really did turn into a bird. Abram shows brilliantly how this body brings us back to Earth in a series of acutely moving descriptions of its polysensory genius. This is a beautifully written, deeply moving, and important book. The personal quality of this book is really terrific. Deeply resonant with indigenous ways of knowing, Abram lets us listen in on wordless conversations with ancient boulders, walruses, birds, and roof beams. For too long we've ignored the wild intelligence of our bodies, taking our primary truths from technologies that hold the living world at a distance.
His profound recognition of intelligences other than our own enables us to enter into reciprocal symbioses that can, in turn, sustain the world. It took This was hard to rate. Lovins, Chief Scientist, Rocky Mountain Institute âDavid Abramâs new book is so invigorating, its teachings leap off the page and translate immediately into lived experience. It reads like poetry in its constant evocation of sensible experience in nature whether the language of crows or the whispering of pine trees. I am ignoring the previous experience with the wooden beams that vibrated negative energy when the child of the house went on a trip for the first time but improved after he told them she was coming back, only gone for 10 days. Rarely do I finish a book and turn to the beginning to start all over again. It is definitely a book I will return to, however, and spend more time with.