Coming into Being

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

4.08 (46 ratings by Goodreads)

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Description

The author of this book takes the reader on a journey through the evolution of consciousness from the preverbal communications of early stone carvings, to the writings of Marcel Proust, around the monumental wrappings of Christo and up to the rebirth of interest in the Taoist philosophy of Lao Tzu.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 284 pages
  • 138 x 216 x 24mm | 509g
  • Palgrave MacMillan
  • Basingstoke, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0333741803
  • 9780333741801

Table of contents

Foreword Our Contemporary Predicament and Our Present Evolution of Consciousness The Past Evolution of Consciousness: From Spirochete to Spinal Chord Science and the Construction of Mythic Narratives About Human Origins Weird Myths About Human Origins: The Strange Cases of Zecharia Sitchin and Rudolph Steiner Prehistoric Sculptures: The Body as the Story of Time From Prehistoric Sculpture to Folktale to Civilized Literature The Hero Versus the Initiate in the Masculine Encounter with Death The Patriarchal Construction of Culture and the Reimagination of the Female Body The Shift From the Arithmatic to the Geometric Mentality The Alliance of the Animal and the Human in the Expulsion of the Demonic From the Physical World The Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita The Road Not Taken: Chaos Dynamics and the Cosmic Feminine in the Tao Te Ching Notes Indexshow more

Author information

WILLIAM IRWIN THOMPSON is the author of At the Edge of History, The Time Falling Bodies Take to Light and Imaginary Landscapes.show more

Review Text

Meandering millennial meditations by a self-described cultural historian, Wissenskunstler, Marshall McLuhanite, and yogic proselytizer. Perhaps it is unsurprising, then, that this book is more stream-of-consciousness than history of consciousness, as Thompson (The American Replacement of Nature, 1991, etc.) jettisons such Western prejudices as order and coherence while he whimsically skips from Proust to Earth Goddesses to the Rig Veda to comparing translations of Lao Tzu. When Joseph Campbell engages in such dazzling eclecticism, it usually works. Here it seems misconceived. Electrified by the constructed significance of the year 2000, Thompson also succumbs to an apocalyptic variant of the Whig fallacy of history. Instead of viewing the present as the grand culmination of centuries of meliorations, he sees it as the beginning of a final transformation of humanity involving "the recovering of the feminine, the deconstruction of the patriarchy, the deconstruction of capital-incentive economies of scale run by military-athletic-entertainment-industrial complexes with their shadow economies of drugs, arms traffic and crime; and a general resistance to medibusiness taking over the human body." If we do not throw off all these old bonds, if we do not subjugate science to ancient wisdom, Thompson predicts a violent, long-drawn disintegration of civil society, "darkness and entropy in a war of each against all." In any book so fruitcake-rich with ideas and theories, you're bound to find at least a few tasty morsels, and Thompson does not disappoint. He offers some provocative - though unoriginal - ideas on the evolution of consciousness, and his discussion of the limits and fallibilities of academia and science is first-rate. But the healthy skepticism he shows here completely vanishes when it comes to matters more mysterious and arcane. Things must be in a pretty bad way if science and reason cannot save us, and we must cast ourselves instead on Thompson's haphazard ruminations. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Review quote

'wide-ranging and deep essays...Thompson [is] an orthodox, adventurous thinker.' - Publishers Weekly 'Rich, provocative, demanding, and compelling.' - Booklist 'William Irwin Thompson tosses off in a paragraph ideas which some writers might find suitable for a full-length book.' - The Seattle Timesshow more

Rating details

46 ratings
4.08 out of 5 stars
5 35% (16)
4 39% (18)
3 26% (12)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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