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The Reenchantment of the World


The Reenchantment of the World Cover

ISBN13: 9780801492259
ISBN10: 0801492254
Condition: Standard
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Publisher Comments:

A perspective study of our scientific consciousness and a cogent and forceful challenge to its supremacy. Focusing on the rise of the mechanistic idea that we can know the natural world only by distancing ourselves from it, Berman shows how science acquired its controlling position in the consciousness of the West.

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GDuperreault, October 23, 2014 (view all comments by GDuperreault)
This is a book that changed how I perceived and understood the society within which we live. Berman argues that the ascendency of Newtonian science was an evolution of the monotheistic, patriarchal and misogynist organization that Christianity had become. That misogyny and intolerance for the feminine and the ‘soft’ arts linked to it are tangibly expressed not only in our brutality towards women, but in our wanton disregard for the earth and in the vague but palpable fear of the unknown and uncertainty.

The book is broken into two parts. The first is how civilizing man chose to control its environment, shun and despise disorder, and disenchant life and man’s place in it. That disenchantment is the result of an ascendency of the clean and beautiful ideas and ideals the mind can create, such as in mathematics and their equations used to square the world, over the chthonic messiness of the real earth and physical body. The second half is comprised of Berman’s suggested means of ‘reenchanting’ the world. Citing the the works of scientists, those often on the fringes of proper science because they are critical of the absolute truth of current scientific ideology, his argument is basically that until we respect and love the real body, our mind-full ideology will continue to treat it with contempt. Seems obvious, on hindsight, but why is it many in our scientific community continue to promulgate the denial of man’s effect on the environment and the continued exploitation of the earth?

I thoroughly enjoyed Berman’s antithetical biography of Newton as a megalomaniac who believed that he was the second coming of Christ while having actively destroyed his rival mathematician Liebniz. And Berman points out that, despite the officially accepted history of Newton as a saint, if not God, of science, Newton was not without his critics. The poet and social critic William "Blake tried to show the blindness of this [Newton’s] orientation to nature; and nowhere did he say it better than in his verse letter to Thomas Butts (1802):
Now I fourfold vision see,
And a fourfold vision is given to me;
‘Tis fourfold in my supreme delight
And threefold in soft Beulah’s night
And twofold always. May God us keep
From single vision & Newton’s sleep!" (129-30)
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Product Details

Berman, Morris
Cornell University Press
Technology and civilization
Philosophy : General
Publication Date:
8.98x6.09x.84 in. 1.09 lbs.

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Arts and Entertainment » Music » General
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Medical Specialties
History and Social Science » World History » General
Humanities » Philosophy » General
Metaphysics » General
Reference » Science Reference » General
Science and Mathematics » History of Science » General

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Product details 357 pages Cornell University Press - English 9780801492259 Reviews:
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