[[ read online ]] The Passion of the Western Mind: Understanding the Ideas that Have Shaped Our World View Author Richard Tarnas – Selindameditasyon.com

The Passion of the Western Mind: Understanding the Ideas that Have Shaped Our World View An impressive synthesis of a lot of material excellent review of the Greek mind and how it persists of the Judeao Christian mind and how it persists Perhaps most provocative is the suggestion that we are somehow mystically evolving into a new consciousness Gaia , and that the roots of this come out of Freud, Jung, Groff, and the psychedelics, with an accompanying shift from a masculine dominated intellectual culture to a feminine one One HUGE omission what about the non Western mind T An impressive synthesis of a lot of material excellent review of the Greek mind and how it persists of the Judeao Christian mind and how it persists Perhaps most provocative is the suggestion that we are somehow mystically evolving into a new consciousness Gaia , and that the roots of this come out of Freud, Jung, Groff, and the psychedelics, with an accompanying shift from a masculine dominated intellectual culture to a feminine one One HUGE omission what about the non Western mind There is no attention to where the rest of the world s world view has come from and no mention of whether this revolution in Western thinking is visible anywhere else It may be, but there s no case for that in this book This was a very interesting book about cultural philosophy 95% of the book is a survey from Plato to Postmodernism In the last 5% of the book, Tarnas uses the entire trajectory of western thought to present his reflections regarding the direction in which culture may be headed Although my comprehension of what he describes remains incomplete, I ll attempt a brief review of only the epilogue Tarnas shows that the Scientific Enlightenment created a paradigm shift in the collective human psyche, This was a very interesting book about cultural philosophy 95% of the book is a survey from Plato to Postmodernism In the last 5% of the book, Tarnas uses the entire trajectory of western thought to present his reflections regarding the direction in which culture may be headed Although my comprehension of what he describes remains incomplete, I ll attempt a brief review of only the epilogue Tarnas shows that the Scientific Enlightenment created a paradigm shift in the collective human psyche, which resulted in a disenchanted worldview and the modern characteristic of existential alienation The inner tension between the quest for meaning and a cold impersonal world tends to lead to an entire spectrum of psychological distortions and disorders The solution to the modern predicament is to be found in epistemology The counter cultural response to the Enlightenment was expressed by the Romantics who turned inward to discover the mysteries of life Rather than relying on the scientific method, the Romantics placedemphasis on the emotions, imagination, and intuition to explore a vast array of human experience But it was the scientific mind that dominated the cultural paradigm Tarnas believes that the missing key in the philosophical quest can be found in depth psychology and the exploration of the unconscious Drawing upon powerful psycho therapeutic methods that serve as catalysts to reveal the realms of the unconscious, Tarnas identifies numerous implications with respect to religion, psychology, and philosophy But the most important implication has to do with epistemology Particularly the subject object dichotomy that has defined modernity.According to Tarnas, the dualistic shift that began with Descartes and the Enlightenment was not just a fractured way of seeing the world nor the opposite of the Romantics, but rather an archetypal birth process in the evolution of the human mind All of cultural history can be seen not just as random events, but an evolving process where every contraction and death provides for an expansion and birth the mind participates in this archetypal process.Modernity begins in a movement toward freedom and individualism, but inevitably evolves into existential alienation leading to a deconstructive frenzy Yet this existential crisis is necessary for new birth This archetypal process found in culture and every aspect of nature is the same potentially unfolding process found within us Tarnas suggests that a very different epistemology is called for, which has its roots in thinkers like Goethe, Hegel, Schelling, Coleridge, Emerson, and Rudolph Steiner What these thinkers have in common is the understanding that mankind s relationship to the cosmos is not dualistic, but participatory.A participatory epistemology implies that these archetype processes within us are in fact an expression of nature itself And it is through the inner life of the mind using a plurality of faculties that the deeper truths of nature can be revealed Thus, the mystical experience is not just a private distorted experience of an isolated ego, but rather the emergence of nature herself, a direct intuitive apprehension of reality itself Or in Tarnas words, the imaginal intuition is the human fulfillment of that reality s essential wholeness, which had been rent asunder by the dualistic perception Tarnas claims that this is not a regression to a naive participation mystique, but rather an evolution through dualistic alienation It incorporates postmodern thought, but transcends it The human spirit of nature brings forth its own order through the human mind when that mind is employing its full complement of faculties intellectual, volitional, emotional, sensory, imaginative, aesthetic, epiphanic Then the world speaks its meaning through human consciousness Finally, Tarnas reflects on the past several decades, with its deconstruction of so many cultural components suggesting that a new birth is emerging This new birth can be seen in the holistic approach now seen in nearly every field of study social ecology, feminism, going green, alternative medicine, etc Culture is beginning to discover aholistic ecological worldview that sees the interconnectivity among all living systems and that the mechanical worldview may turn out to be an ironic projection of man s alienated condition Last, Tarnas shows how this trajectory of the Western mind has been driven by a heroic impulse to forge an autonomous rational human self by separating itself from the primordial unity with nature To achieve this, the Western mind has repressed the feminine Western culture tends to be characterized by rationalism, masculinity, individualism, contractual relationships, colonialism, capitalism, imperialism, and science It is an imbalance Eastern culture that has not been westernized has been the counter balance to the west It s characteristics tend to be collective, passive, intuitive, feminine, and mystical Tarnas believes it is time to embrace the feminine in all its various forms as well as ecological, archaic, and other countercultural and multicultural perspectives The social and environmental problems we now face are rooted in dominatory political and social systems The hope for western culture is a synthesis between the east and west, mysticism and science When the masculine is balanced with the feminine, not only are they complimentary to each other, but the balance also enables each to transcend themselves This is a very important, well written and dense treatise about the history of ideas in Western Civilization The author manages to condense, in a single book, all the major stepping stones of the intellectual history of the West, and he manages to achieve this result without seriously compromising on depth and accuracy The great drama of the evolution of the Western Mind is described passionately and in a gripping and enjoyable book, where the critical concepts and world views, as expressed by This is a very important, well written and dense treatise about the history of ideas in Western Civilization The author manages to condense, in a single book, all the major stepping stones of the intellectual history of the West, and he manages to achieve this result without seriously compromising on depth and accuracy The great drama of the evolution of the Western Mind is described passionately and in a gripping and enjoyable book, where the critical concepts and world views, as expressed by the major philosopher throughout history, are beautifully expressed in a concise but scholarly valuable way Remarkable.Let me highlight some of the points made by the author that I found particularly worth discussing The author remarks that the birth of philosophy in ancient Greece did not happen in a vacuum, significantly owing to the cultural substrate existing at the time where the mythological structure of the Olympian world presented the Universe as an ordered and structured whole, a cosmos rather than a chaos, where the natural and the human world are not distinguishable domains In particular, Hellenic culture attained a delicate and fertile balance between the ancient mythological tradition and amodern secular rationalism The temples to Zeus, Athena and Apollo are clearly a celebration of mathematical elegance and human rationality as much as a celebration of the divine The author manages to express the beauty and complexity of Plato s philosophical system, stressing how for Plato the ultimate reality is not only rational and mathematical in nature, but also profoundly aesthetic In Plato, the Good, the True and the Beautiful are united In this, Plato represents the pinnacle of the unique synthesis of eros and logos of passion love of wisdom , and rational mind For Plato and for most of the ancient Greek philosophers , the direct apprehension of the world deeper reality satisfies not only the mind but also the soul The Greek fundamental concept of logos that incredibly beautiful and quintessentially Greek concept representing mind, reason, intellect, organizing principle, word, wisdom and meaning is also nicely explained as developed and enriched in history by the Western philosophical thought Finally, here we have one author who does not follow the politically correct current trend of negating the important part played by the legacy of the Classical Era in the subsequent evolution of the Western Mind and of the Western World, which ultimately was one of the causes and enablers of the revolutionary developments of the Scientific Revolution and Industrial Revolution It is good to see an author who is not scared to stress the uniqueness of Western intellectual thought and civilization, and its debt to the Classical World legacy even if he correctly recognizes the also very important contribution of the Eastern Civilizations to the formation of the Greek civilization Neo Platonism is briefly explained by the author, who recognizes that it became the final expression of classical Pagan philosophy Unfortunately, I must say that here I was disappointed by the lack of depth with which the author treats the amazingly beautiful and very important philosophical system of Plotinus, system which left a very important intellectual legacy influencing, directly or indirectly, many subsequent important Western systems of thought including Christianity No sufficient recognition is given by the author to the intellectual developments of the Roman Civilization which, while being substantially influenced by the Greek Civilization, nevertheless and contrary to what many may think actually did develop its own peculiar and unique culture The author beautifully conveys the inner tensions between the different ideologies, approaches and world views of what is called Christianity , which has never been a monolithic system of thought The great tension between the Judaic and the Hellenistic legacies of the Christian Creed is compellingly highlighted The intimacy between the Hellenistic side of Christianity and Neo Platonism is clearly highlighted after all, Augustine regarded Plato s thought as the most pure and bright in all philosophy and he also posited that the Platonic Forms existed within the creative mind of God On the other hand, while God was seen by the Hellenic Christian perspective as the universal Mind, the Logos, the Neoplatonic One, the Judaic conception leaned towards a jealous, almost capricious, almost nationalistic, completely transcendent entity to be feared as much as loved The Hellenic Christian God was quite different to the Judaic God promising a political victory for Israel and the physical destruction of the political enemies of the Judaic State I really liked how the author highlights how the Christian world view, even in its most medieval form, was not as simple or one sided as many may think And the great scholastic awakening which happened in the late Middle Ages is a testament to this, as represented in its most magnificent form by the intellectual quest of Thomas Aquinas The greatness of the intellectual synthesis accomplished by Aquinas is beautifully expressed by the author I also like how the author dispels the myth that Aquinas philosophical system is purely Aristotelian in character Aquinas quintessentially Neoplatonic notion of participation in being is an example of the influence of Neoplatonism in Aquinas thought The author very nicely demonstrates how the Neoplatonist mathematics, added to the rationalism and nascent empiricism of the late Scholastics, provided one of the final components necessary for the emergence of the Scientific Revolution It was Copernicus and Kepler s tenacious Neoplatonic faith that the Universe was regulated and structured according to simple, elegant and beautiful mathematical forms that allowed them to go beyond any form of na ve empiricism and trigger the Scientific Revolution The extremely important role played by the Classical Legacy and in particular, Neoplatonism in the explosion of the Renaissance intellectual revolution is nicely explained The multifaceted complexity of this period is also conveyed very effectively I really enjoyed how the author lucidly and compellingly explains, without trying to be politically correct, the profoundly contradictory and ambivalent character of the Reformation triggered by Luther The Reformation was as much a reactionary counter revolution against the relaxed cultural syncretism displayed by the Renaissance Church s embrace of the Classical pagan culture, as it was a quest for the Church purification undoubtedly needed at the time and return to its pure roots It was the Reformation which was pushing for a literal, word by word interpretation of the Scripture, which was pushing for a Bible based Christianity ontologically dualistic and very pessimistic in relation to the rational capabilities of the human mind It was first Protestants who initially reacted almost violently against the Copernican world view revolution But, on the other hand, the focus on the individual freedom from institutional constraints, and the breach of the monolithic, potentially suffocating spiritual an intellectual power of the Church, proved in the longer term very positive developments for the evolution of the modern Western Mind Jumping now tomodern philosophers, I did like how the author explains the Cartesian Kantian thought revolution However I am not sure that I fully agree with some aspects of the author s interpretation of the Kantian thought, in particular I think that the stress on Kant s subjectivism is not warranted I also think that the author should really have explained the absolutely critical Kantian concept of synthetic a priori , without which the Kantian system cannot really be fully appreciated The Romantic sensibility is nicely explained in its important philosophical implications, and I really liked how the author manages to highlight the most important features of Hegelian s thought Hegel has been always misunderstood and underestimated in the post modern thought, and the author renders him justice On the other hand, I disagree with the author s view of post modern existentialism, which the author perceives as being profoundly pessimistic I actually think that this is a profoundly misguided perspective of existentialism, whose main message is, in my opinion, profoundly optimistic and liberating, a deeply Promethean cry for the power of man to choose, to radically self define and create the meaning of himself and his own role in the Universe existence precedes essence I also profoundly disagree with the author s myopic view of the aims and character of the scientific inquiry the author has a quite restricted and one sided view of the scientific enterprise, which he tends to see as a purely quantitative, reductionistic and reductive approach to the understand of the Universe, and as such not spiritually fulfilling This is simply NOT what science is about science is as much about an holistic, passionate approach to the understanding of the Universe as it is about a rigorous and structured approach based on mathematical consistency and experimental accuracy and confirmation The author probably never took the time to read the likes of Penrose, Bohm, Wheeler, Davies, Einstein or Feynman Unfortunately, and sadly, this is an attitude that can be seen in many individuals who had an education only in the so called humanities and who had never been seriously exposed to the beauty of mathematics and of the sciences on general, and who simply do not understand them Finally, the author believes that the missing key in the philosophical quest can be found in depth psychology and the exploration of the unconscious He uses Freud and Jung as compelling examples and he also believes we have to embrace the feminine in all its various forms as well as ecological, mystic, and other counter cultural and multicultural perspectives Well, to be honest I find this mumble jumble, out of the 70 s, LSD driven approach deeply unsatisfactory and obsolete Freud in particular has been discredited and even within the psychologists confraternity his views are not widely popular either Overall, it is a really important, provocative, insightful book worth reading and well deserving a 4 stars Highly recommended Though this book was written in 1991, it still serves as an excellent analysis of the paralysis of the modern world Richard Tarnas is primarily focused on philosophers and philosophy, but a glance at the present political situation reveals how strong the connection is between the loss of a common paradigm or even two or three and the confusion that confounds the global society.Tarnas, though, grounds that grasp of the present in the intellectual traditions that shaped the modern world, and be Though this book was written in 1991, it still serves as an excellent analysis of the paralysis of the modern world Richard Tarnas is primarily focused on philosophers and philosophy, but a glance at the present political situation reveals how strong the connection is between the loss of a common paradigm or even two or three and the confusion that confounds the global society.Tarnas, though, grounds that grasp of the present in the intellectual traditions that shaped the modern world, and begins in ancient Greece Though he is distilling numerous complex philosophical and religious views into a relatively few pages, he does so with grace and precision His long analysis of Christian thought, and how it affected our ways of thinking, is excellent, and he also shows how the cracks in the iron theology of the middle ages allowed the light of the Renaissance to seep in.And though his lining up the Copernican revolution which removed man from the center of the cosmos , the Darwinian revolution which removed man from the crown of creation , and the Freudian revolution which removed reason as the master of humanity s future is far from new, he clearly states the postmodern dilemmas, and makes it clear why it is so hard to reach consensus on any aspect of 21st century life.Tarnas semi mystic embrace of Stanislav Grof s theory about how an infant s passage through the birth canal echoes the constrictions of our culture, and how human culture can be saved by the masculine domination of the past 5,000 years returning to the feminine womb that it left so long ago seems like the product of a few too many psychedelics, it cannot detract from Tarnas achievement And who knows Maybe he s right, and maybe we will, as a culture, step back from the dangerous excesses of our male dominated culture As Leonard Cohen said, I wish the women would hurry up and take over and twenty years on from the publication of The Passion of the Western Mind, I feel safe in saying Tarnas would agree The subject matter is fascinating I can t say the same thing for Tarnas writing style, however Tarnas seems to think his book is a game of Scrabble But you don t win points with readers when you employ unnecessary extended metaphors every other page, write the same thing over and over in different ways, and use complicated words when simpler ones would suffice With a good editor, this book could be condensed into areadable form one that allows the average person to engage the materia The subject matter is fascinating I can t say the same thing for Tarnas writing style, however Tarnas seems to think his book is a game of Scrabble But you don t win points with readers when you employ unnecessary extended metaphors every other page, write the same thing over and over in different ways, and use complicated words when simpler ones would suffice With a good editor, this book could be condensed into areadable form one that allows the average person to engage the material a bit better That said, the material itself is interesting, and Tarnas does make good points here I just wish I didn t have to plow through a pile of sludge to get to them Nine tenths or so of this book is a very conventional, albeit prolix, survey of the history of philosophical thinking in the West from the pre Socratics to the present As a brief introduction to the history of ideas it is to be recommended Even the wordy repetitiveness of Tarnas exposition may function as an aid to retention and understanding for beginners.Having devoted decades to such studies myself, I found most of the book to be a rehash of familiar ideas and would never have gone through Nine tenths or so of this book is a very conventional, albeit prolix, survey of the history of philosophical thinking in the West from the pre Socratics to the present As a brief introduction to the history of ideas it is to be recommended Even the wordy repetitiveness of Tarnas exposition may function as an aid to retention and understanding for beginners.Having devoted decades to such studies myself, I found most of the book to be a rehash of familiar ideas and would never have gone through the whole thing were it not given me as a gift by a distant friend I ll be seeing soon As it was, however, I did have the satisfaction of finding its very familiarity a confirmation that I have obtained a decent philosophical education Further, I had the satisfaction of seeing some of my own judgments my prejudices , such as regards the vital centrality of Kant, reinforced by the author.What surprised me was the emphasis that Tarnas puts on C.G Jung Again, I had the satisfaction of reading his claim that Jung was a thoroughgoing Kantian, the very topic of my textually definitive master s thesis on that topic But beyond that Tarnas goes further than I would, seeing Jung as propounding a synthesis and resolution of conflicting worldviews much as Kant at least temporarily, as he puts it reconciled the physical sciences to ethics and religion.Tarnas doesn t so much focus on Jung, though, as he does on the psychotherapist Stanislas Grof, seen substantially in terms of Jungian archetype theory Here, building on a weak foundation, a conceptual structure is built in the last tenth of the book which I found unsupportable.Basically, the idea is that we, in this post Modern era, are alienated from the world, that, in fact, the history of philosophy is a history of successive alienations via the thought of such figures as Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Descartes, Kant, Nietzsche and Darwin, all of whom overturned old certainties while attempting to posit new models of understanding In other words, its the old simplistic and, according to Walter Kaufmann, unfair Hegelian three step of thesis antithesis synthesis at a higher level Jung and Grof, to Tarnas thinking, offer the next step in this evolution toward the Absolute with the archetypes of birth and the feminine.Here Tarnas gets too fuzzy for me to appreciate his thinking First of all, neither Jung nor Grof were are philosophers Second, archetype theory itself is like, admittedly, Kant s table of categories , in its detail the shadow, the anima us, the wise old man, the puer aeternas, the Self and so on indefinitely , poorly evidenced, some of the archetypes having , some much less, evidential basis, some of them having , some much less, logical necessity, some of them having , some much less, biological correlation Grof, he tells us, offers the ultimate achetype, ultimate for this era at least, in the rediscovery of what Otto Rank called the birth trauma the progressive from uterine bliss, to the trauma of passing through the birth canal, to the awakening in the greater world Here one isn t sure if Tarnas wants his readers to believe that one can actually remember the experience, an outrageous claim on the face of it, or is he s simply offering a metaphor which Grof, his clients and Tarnas himself have found to be fruitful If it s just a metaphor, fine, fuzzy as it is, especially as Tarnas doesn t go into the fundamental difference between birthing as a mother and being birthed, irrespective of gender a difference one would expect to be emphasized given the weight he gives otherwise to gender differences But that, very weak interpretation isn t clearly distinguished from the stronger, existential one that we, all of us, collectively and at the very core of our experience, KNOW its truth.Where he is stronger, as regards Jung think applied to civilization and its discontents, is in reference to Jung s observation that the universe becomes conscious in us That makes some sense, but he hardly develops the idea, spending muchtime with Grof s birth business than with Jung s rather commonplace, but potentially profound, observation some of the implications of which are explored by Heidegger and other phenomenologists hardly even mentioned in the text.Still, all my objections to Tarnas concluding fuzziness aside, the bulk of this book is a worthy introduction to the history of philosophy in the West Joseph Campbell called this book the most lucid and concise presentation I have read of the grand linesof Western thought High praise from someone who would know Tarnas greatest achievement, to my mind, is the lucidity of his prose which makes this an enormously readable survey of the Western Mind from the Greeks to the Post Moderns.Tarnas objective for creating this opus is similar to what Campbell wished to do that is, to create the possibility for an integration of all cultures and Joseph Campbell called this book the most lucid and concise presentation I have read of the grand linesof Western thought High praise from someone who would know Tarnas greatest achievement, to my mind, is the lucidity of his prose which makes this an enormously readable survey of the Western Mind from the Greeks to the Post Moderns.Tarnas objective for creating this opus is similar to what Campbell wished to do that is, to create the possibility for an integration of all cultures and all peoples into a new holistic consciousness In his Epilogue, he says that a s the plant at a certain stage brings forth its blossom, so does the universe bring forth new stages of human knowledge His effort in this book is to show the stages that have led up to where we are now, and to contribute to our discovery of the next stage.This next stage largely involves synthesizing the masculine nature of Western philosophy and science with a feminine, holistic understanding of the unity of all living things For Tarnas, doing this involves delving deep into consciousness, where we find that the bold conjectures and myths that the human mind produces in its quest for knowledge ultimately come from something far deeper that a purely human source They come from the wellspring of nature itself One of our favorite things about this book is the way it builds upon itself When Tarnas describes the ideas and influence of any particular philosopher, event, or innovation, he does so in such a way that he can refer to it again later on and you will understand the connections For example, in medieval times, scholars working within the Church the only institution capable of supporting scholars went through a transition in thought similar to the transition from Plato to Aristotle Plato believed that truth took the form of otherworldly ideals, and that this world was but a poor reflection of them Augustine seized upon this concept to reinforce the Christian emphasis on life after death Plato was followed by Aristotle, who elevated the importance of this world and the importance of this life to the center of his philosophy, and something similar happened in Europe in the Middle Ages That shift was sparked in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries with the West s rediscovery of a large corpus of Aristotle s writings, preserved by the Moslems and Byzantines and now translated into Latin With these texts, which included the Metaphysics, the Physics, and De Anima On the Soul , came not only learned Arabic commentaries, but also other works of Greek science, notably those of Ptolemy Medieval Europe s sudden encounter with a sophisticated scientific cosmology, encyclopedic in breadth and intricately coherent, was dazzling to a culture that had been largely ignorant of these writings and ideas for centuries Yet Aristotle had such extraordinary impact precisely because that culture was so well prepared to recognize the quality of his achievement His masterly summation of scientific knowledge, his codification of the rules for logical discourse, and his confidence in the power of the human intelligence were all exactly concordant with the new tendencies of rationalism and naturalism growing in the medieval West and were attractive to many Church intellectuals, men whose reasoning powers had been developed to uncommon acuity by their long scholastic education in the logical disputation of doctrinal subtleties The arrival of the Aristotelian texts in Europe thus found a distinctly receptive audience, and Aristotle was soon referred to as the Philosopher This shift in the wind of medieval thought would have momentous consequences.Under the Church s auspices, the universities were evolving into remarkable centers of learning where students gathered from all over Europe to study and hear public lectures and disputations by the masters As learning developed, the scholars attitude toward Christian belief became less unthinking andself reflective The use of reason to examine and defend articles of faith, already exploited in the eleventh century by Anselm, archbishop of Canterbury, and the discipline of logic in particular, championed by the fiery twelfth century, dialectician Abelart Ranidlv ascended in both educational popular and theological importance With Abelard s Sic et Non Yes and No , a compilation of apparently contradictory statements by various Church authorities, medieval thinkers became increasingly preoccupied with the possible plurality of truth, with debate between competing arguments, and with the growing power of human reason for discerning correct doctrine It is not that Christian truths were called into question rather, they were now subject to analysis As Anselm stated, It seems to me a case of negligence if, after becoming firm in our faith, we do not strive to understand what we believe Moreover, after a long struggle with local religious and political authorities, the universities won the right from king and pope to form their own communities With the University of Paris s receipt of a written charter from the Holy See in 1215, a new dimension entered European civilization, with the universities now existing as relatively autonomous enters of culture devoted to the pursuit of knowledge Although Christian theology and dogma presided over this pursuit, these were in turn increasingly permeated by the rationalist spirit It was into this fertile context that the new translations of Aristotle and his Arabic commentators were introduced.Anselm was the Archbishop of Canterbury who created Scholasticism, a means of dialectical reasoning that he used to prove the existence of God He also openly opposed the Crusades, which means he was incredibly bold and defiantly compassionate From here, and in the same snowballing, story telling mode, Tarnas goes on to describe Thomas Aquinas in one of my favorite parts of the book Tarnas aptly delineates the trajectory of Western philosophy from the pre Socratic era to postmodernism a long laborious journey from Homer, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle Greek era to Jesus Christ, Paul, Augustine and Aquinas Christian Medieval era and then Copernicus, Descartes, Locke, Hume, Kant, Goethe, Hegel, Freud and Jung Modern era and finally a quick turn at Nietzsche and Postmodernism Of course, these figures are central the narrative encompassesYet it neglects othe Tarnas aptly delineates the trajectory of Western philosophy from the pre Socratic era to postmodernism a long laborious journey from Homer, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle Greek era to Jesus Christ, Paul, Augustine and Aquinas Christian Medieval era and then Copernicus, Descartes, Locke, Hume, Kant, Goethe, Hegel, Freud and Jung Modern era and finally a quick turn at Nietzsche and Postmodernism Of course, these figures are central the narrative encompassesYet it neglects other influential figures some of my favorites for brevity s sake.The style and structure of Tarnas s narration is circular, repetitive and overlapping, with constant reiterations, summaries, and rewordings of issues and thinkers previously described This helps immensely in imbibing central ideas and developments in the course of history The wording is often literary sometimes even poetic and metaphorical nothing like scientific dryness this will sure keep any reader engaged An important thing to note is that in the section, The Transformation of the Medieval Era , the narrative becomes too eclectic, drawing forth from different figures in a synoptic integrative fashion Hence, Tarnas here does not elaborate thoroughly on some philosophers and contributions Nietzsche s influence, for example, is not delineated fully, and so is the case for other individuals In addition, other important thinkers are overlooked, like Henry Bergson and Ralph Waldo Emerson.Anyway, this book serves as an indispensible primer that will make branching out and zooming in for deeper study on specific figures or periodscongenial I highly recommend it for those new to philosophy or just want to get a wholistic overview of western thought For a book that describes itself as one the encompasses the Ideas that Have Shaped Our World View, there was very little mention of the roles women played I took a class with the author, and when we brought up the invisibility of women in history, and in his book, he became defensive and told us we had an allergy towards himstill not sure what that means As he explained throughout the three day course, he understands what it means to be a woman because he s experienced childbirth during L For a book that describes itself as one the encompasses the Ideas that Have Shaped Our World View, there was very little mention of the roles women played I took a class with the author, and when we brought up the invisibility of women in history, and in his book, he became defensive and told us we had an allergy towards himstill not sure what that means As he explained throughout the three day course, he understands what it means to be a woman because he s experienced childbirth during LSD and breathwork trances I have never met anyone who was so neatly able to usurp the role of women, he says he felt the pain of childbirth in the crowning of the birth of the world while at the same time, misunderstand our experience so completely He was utterly clueless in regard to how offensive his assumptions of what it means to be a woman This magnificent critical survey, with its inherent respect for both the Westt s mainstream high culture the radically changing world of the s, offers a new breakthrough for lay scholarly readers alikeAllows readers to grasp the big picture of Western culture for the first time SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE Here are the great minds of Western civilization their pivotal ideas, from Plato to Hegel, from Augustine to Nietzsche, from Copernicus to Freud Richard Tarnas performs the near miracle of describing profound philosophical concepts simply but without simplifying them Ten years in the making already hailed as a classic, THE PASSION OF THE WESERN MIND is truly a complete liberal education in a single volume


About the Author: Richard Tarnas

Richard Theodore Tarnas born February 21, 1950 is a cultural historian known for his books The Passion of the Western Mind Understanding the Ideas That Have Shaped Our World View and Cosmos and Psyche Intimations of a New World View Tarnas is professor of philosophy and psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies, and is the founding director of its graduate program in Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness.


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