A Study in Nomadic Spirituality
Publication Year: 2000
Published by: State University of New York Press
Wandering God: A Study in Nomadic Spirituality
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List of Illustrations
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This work covers a rather vast canvas, and would not have been possible without the help and expertise of a good many colleagues and friends who were able to give me crucial feedback or relevant suggestions when these were needed. Two anthropologists in particular, Megan Biesele and David Spain, ...
Note to the Reader
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Introduction: The Experience of Paradox
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History is typically written in a linear and chronological form in textbooks and official accounts; in personal memory, however, it is largely anecdotal. "Where were you when Kennedy was shot?" we will often ask someone, knowing that the images of that moment, and later of the Zapruder film and of Jackie standing ...
1. The Writing on the Wall
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I recall being asked, some years ago, by someone at a conference I was attending. what I was currently working on. Like many writers, this is a question I try to evade, since I have a fear that if I talk about my work I shall become less motivated to do it. So in response I murmured something about Paleolithic consciousness, ...
2. Politics and Power
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I recall, some years ago, reading a discussion by the American psychologist Abraham Maslow of a course he had taken in graduate school in abnormal psychology. Maslow had forgotten the name of the course textbook, but the images on the dust cover remained engraved in his memory. At the top, said Maslow, was a photograph ...
3. As the Soul is Bent: The Psycho-Religious Roots of Social Inequality
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All human organisms go through two early processes, or events, that rupture the primordial experience of unity with the mother and with the world. The first is physical birth; the second, which is much more tenuous and prolonged, is psychological birth. The second rupture is what concerns us here, for it marks the beginning ...
4. Agriculture, Religion, and the Great Mother
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I have been arguing for the existence, historically, of two basic constellations: HG society (or more precisely, immediate-return economies) - whose conception of the sacred is diffuse, paradoxical, and horizontal - and agricultural civilization (or more generally, delayed-return economies) - whose notion of the numinous ...
5. The Zone of Flux
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So it turns out that not everyone is happy with the sedentary Life, and this should come as no great surprise: it's not our genetic heritage. States, sedentism, and agriculture are all latecomers, apparently forced upon us by a combination of external circumstances and a latent drive for power and inequality. ...
6. Wandering God: The Recovery of Paradox in the Twentieth Century
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We have come a long way since our early discussions of hominid biocultural evolution and the nature of hunter-gatherer politics. I hope it is a journey the reader has found rewarding. Before bringing this to a conclusion and discussing the fate of nomadism and the likely shape of future civilization, I have to ask the reader ...
7. The Other Voice
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If I am going to be true to the ideas discussed in this book, I can't really be "going anywhere" with it. As the above quotation from the Canadian philosopher John Ralston Saul suggests, we need to get beyond what might be called "paradigm-shift addiction," the (apparently) unending and desperate search for mental theme parks ...
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About the Author
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Morris Berman is well known as an innovative cultural historian and social critic. He has taught at a number of universities in Europe and North America, and has held visiting endowed chairs at Incarnate Word College (San Antonio), the University of New Mexico, and Weber State University. ...
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Page Count: 349
Illustrations: 19 b&w illustrations
Publication Year: 2000
Series Title: SUNY series in Chinese Philosophy and Culture