THE FOURTH INSTINCT by Arianna Huffington


The Call of the Soul
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 Controversial author and TV personality Huffington (Picasso: Creator and Destroyer, 1988) calls on society to acknowledge the drive towards transcendence and wholeness that alone can transform our lives. During a stop on her first book tour, Huffington tells us, she was sitting in her room in a European hotel, yellow roses on her desk, Swiss chocolate by her bed, the only sound that of ice crackling as it slowly melted into the water around the French champagne. Suddenly, she knew that worldly success was nothing and heard in her head Peggy Lee's question ``Is this all there is?'' Maybe not quite St. Augustine's voice in the garden, but this was Huffington's conversion, enlightenment, and satori, setting her out, she says, on the journey of 1,000 miles toward the publication, she hoped, of yet another bestseller. Her teaching here is that we are too concerned with three of our basic instincts--survival, procreation, and power--to the detriment of a fourth, which is more intuitive and spiritual. This fourth instinct is proper to human beings, she believes; it inspires all our striving and causes us to evolve as a species. Huffington claims that we are now at the dawn of a new age in which the fourth instinct is imperative for our future. None of this, of course, is very new, and although Huffington has good things to say, she says too many of them and fails to give them the depth they deserve. As she quotes from the Dalai Lama, C.S. Lewis, the New Testament, Joseph Campbell, St. John of Kronstadt (who she claims erroneously was Greek Orthodox), and many other sages, our author seems to be whisking us around some great cocktail party where we meet fascinating people without getting a chance to know them. Thus, she gives an impression of glibness in spite of her sincerity. Profound ideas, superficially treated. (Author tour)

Pub Date: May 10th, 1994
ISBN: 0-671-69229-1
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1994


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