Coming Into Being: Artifacts and Texts in the Evolution of Consciousness

William Irwin Thompson, Author St. Martin's Press $26.95 (284p) ISBN 978-0-312-15834-7
In these wide-ranging, deep essays, cultural critic and philosopher Thompson (At the Edge of History) continues his investigation of what he perceives to be an emerging planetary culture. An unorthodox, adventurous thinker, he applies Buddhist concepts to map the evolution of life from bacteria to humans, skips from prehistoric Mother Goddess sculptures to Christo's outdoor environmental wrappings, jumps from Proust to the Bible. He wrestles with the emergence of consciousness, the advent of patriarchy and the postindustrial breakdown of literate middle-class culture. For Thompson, anthropological bestsellers like Richard Leakey's Origins and Donald Johanson's Lucy are myth-laden projections by ""the men's club of anthropology"" onto the African savanna, while the story of Mary and Jesus, deeply embedded in Near Eastern mythology of the dying male, is a retelling of the ancient Egyptian legend of Isis and Osiris. In Taoist sage Lao Tzu's classic Tao Te Ching, with its celebration of anarchic decentralization and the feminine principle, Thompson finds ""the road not taken,"" an alternative to our world of hierarchy and rigid polarities. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/29/1996
Release date: 05/01/1996
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-333-74180-1
Paperback - 284 pages - 978-0-312-17692-1
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