Synopses & Reviews
This acclaimed inaugural volume of the Sierra Club Nature and Natural Philosophy Library considers our ecological fate from a species perspective, the way The Fate of the Earth
viewed our prospects for nuclear annihilation. Thomas Berry's seminal thesis proposes a universal "biocratic" criterion to evaluate human history, development, and activity. He contends that the validity of any human enterprise is the degree to which it enhances the universal life force.
Berry builds his case on a comprehensive review of the history of ideas, and he points toward a transformation of consciousness that is needed if we and the planet are to survive. The Dream of the Earth provides the insights, inspiration, and ethical guidance we need to move beyond exploitation or disengagement toward a transcendent vision of a restorative, creative relationship with the natural world.
Drawing upon the wisdom of thinkers from Buddha and Plato to Teilhard de Chardin and E. F. Schumacher, from ancient Chinese philosophy and Native American shamanism to contemporary astrophysics, Berry forges a balanced, deeply felt declaration of planetary independence from the sociological, psychological, and intellectual conditioning that threatens the death of nature, offering a path that will avert ecological catastrophe and move our traumatized planet toward health.
This landmark work, first published by Sierra Club Books in 1988, has established itself as a foundational volume in the ecological canon. In it, noted cultural historian Thomas Berry provides nothing less than a new intellectual-ethical framework for the human community by positing planetary well-being as the measure of all human activity.
Drawing on the wisdom of Western philosophy, Asian thought, and Native American traditions, as well as contemporary physics and evolutionary biology, Berry offers a new perspective that recasts our understanding of science, technology, politics, religion, ecology, and education. He shows us why it is important for us to respond to the Earth's need for planetary renewal, and what we must do to break free of the "technological trance" that drives a misguided dream of progress. Only then, he suggests, can we foster mutually enhancing human-Earth relationships that can heal our traumatized global biosystem.
"Beyond all my experiences with universities, literature, and wisdom traditions, Thomas Berry's work has opened the door for me to the most thrilling, over-arching, inclusivist, all-embracing and empowering perspective I have ever encountered."--Paul Winter, musician
"The Dream of the Earth provides a brilliant, integrating perspective on our responsibility to the larger Earth community."--Terry Deacon, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley
Includes bibliographical references (p. 224-240) and index.