Synopses & Reviews
"Provides a cornerstone for our emerging vision of a planetary civilization."
will provide a cornerstone for our emerging vision of a planetary civilization....The political vision we have been waiting for.”
Brian Thomas Swimme, coauthor with Thomas Berry of The Universe Story
A vision of a new kind of politics for a new era of humanity...A seminal book that bears witness to the folly of all those who say we cannot change.”
Wade Davis, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence and author of Into the Silence
This is a brilliant book. The work of a lifetime of profound and richly varied boundary-crossing experiences combined with broad and insightful intellectual inquiry, it addresses one of the most critical needs of our time in accessible, almost poetic prose. No words of mine can do it justice.”
David C. Korten, board chair of YES! magazine and author of The Great Turning, Agenda for a New Economy, and When Corporations Rule the World
Ive studied and worked with Bushman communities for twenty-five years, and only now after reading this book do I understand just how important their lessons are for humanity today....This is an eloquent, inspirational work.”
Craig Foster, ethnographic and wildlife documentary filmmaker and director of The Great Dance: A Hunters Story
A unique contribution to rethinking our collective story, from our common past out of Africa toward a shared future on our endangered planet. To sink into this perspective is to see with fresh insight how we truly belong here such a gift!”
Mary Evelyn Tucker, cofounder and codirector of the Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale University
What if the way out of global political unrest and ecological collapse lay not in the search for the new but in an exploration of the old? Louis G. Herman argues that to re-envision the future we should look back into our deepest past. This past is seen in the San Bushmen of southern Africa, the oldest culture on Earth. As Herman reminds, "every human alive today is a direct descendant" of this group. For at least nine-tenths of the time we have been human, we have lived as hunter-gatherers in small communities in intimate relationship with wilderness. Herman does not suggest we move back to this way of life but that we mine this archetypal model for its wisdom. What he sets forth here, with convincing conviction, is a way to "reset the confused compass of humanity," using both cutting-edge science and our oldest, aboriginal way of being.
What if the answer to our global political unrest and ecological collapse lies not only in the search for the new but in an exploration of the very old? Louis G. Herman argues that for us to create a sustainable, fulfilling future, we need to look back into our deep past. Important clues to recovering our core humanity can be found in the lives of traditional San Bushmen hunter-gatherers of South Africa. The San are the closest living relatives to that ancestral African population from which all humans descended, and their culture can give us profound insight into what life might have been like before walled cities, warfare, and slavery. For at least nine-tenths of the time we have been human we have lived as nomadic hunter-gatherers, in small egalitarian communities in intimate relationship with wilderness. Herman doesnt suggest that we go back to this way of life but that we draw from the wisdom of the San and other earth-based cultures in creating a new earth-centered politics. With compelling conviction he presents an archetypal model for resetting the compass of a confused humanity,” using both the newest science and the oldest aboriginal wisdom.
How should we respond to our converging crises of violent conflict, political corruption, and global ecological devastation? In this sweeping, big-picture synthesis, Louis G. Herman argues that for us to create a sustainable, fulfilling future, we need to first look back into our deepest past to recover our core humanity. Important clues for recovery can be found in the lives of traditional San Bushman hunter-gatherers of South Africa, the closest living relatives to the ancestral African population from which all humans descended. Their culture can give us a sense of what life was like during the tens of thousands of years when humans lived in wilderness, without warfare, walled cities, or slavery. Herman suggests we draw from the experience of the San and other earth-based cultures and weave their wisdom together with the scientific story of an evolving universe to help create something radically new — an earth-centered, planetary politics with the personal truth quest at its heart.
About the Author
Louis G. Herman, a professor of political science at the University of Hawaii, was born in an orthodox Jewish community in Apartheid South Africa. He attained multiple degrees at Cambridge and volunteered for military service in Israel. He lives in Honolulu.