EVOLUTION'S END

CLAIMING THE POTENTIAL OF OUR INTELLIGENCE

Neo-Luddite/New Age pop apocalypticism from the author of Magical Child Matures (1985), The Bond of Power (1981), etc. There's precious little here that hasn't cropped up in Pearce's other books, reshuffled but adding up to the same old message: that we make the world that we inhabit (``our world is a construction of knowledge and each act of knowledge brings forth a world''), and that modern living is mucking it up. Human intelligence, says Pearce, consists of ``fields of potential'' ready to be awakened by the right ``model environment.'' Pearce looks at how this process unfolds in thinking, dreaming, sight, hearing, memory, and the like, finding support for his ideas in various New Age dogmas, as well as in the religious teachings of Castaneda and Muktananda. What emerges is a cogent if scientifically dicey sketch of the ``self-organization'' of perception. Upon this platform, Peace constructs a novel three-stage model of human development: heart-mind synchrony, which occurs in infancy; postadolescent synchrony of the physical self and the creative process, which few of us attain; and a final mystical stage, nearly unknown, that ``moves us beyond biology.'' Why do so few people reach the top of the ladder? Because our potential is poisoned by ``barbaric'' practices like circumcision and premature snipping of the umbilical cord. Pearce saves his worst news for blacks, a ``high percentage'' of whom are ``uneducable'' because of the ``psychic shock'' of not using midwives! As for children who squeak through infancy, they face such horrors as day care, TV, toy stores, and Little League, which ``prevent neural development'' or at least warp creativity. A singular theory of human development, placed on an attractive epistemological base and then eroded by technophobia, hyperbole (in proper birthing, ``our civilization, as well as our species, is at stake''), and hints of racism, until what remains seems curiously deformed—a jeremiad without common sense.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-06-250693-5

Page Count: 256

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1992

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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Readers unfamiliar with the anecdotal material Greene presents may find interesting avenues to pursue, but they should...

MASTERY

Greene (The 33 Strategies of War, 2007, etc.) believes that genius can be learned if we pay attention and reject social conformity.

The author suggests that our emergence as a species with stereoscopic, frontal vision and sophisticated hand-eye coordination gave us an advantage over earlier humans and primates because it allowed us to contemplate a situation and ponder alternatives for action. This, along with the advantages conferred by mirror neurons, which allow us to intuit what others may be thinking, contributed to our ability to learn, pass on inventions to future generations and improve our problem-solving ability. Throughout most of human history, we were hunter-gatherers, and our brains are engineered accordingly. The author has a jaundiced view of our modern technological society, which, he writes, encourages quick, rash judgments. We fail to spend the time needed to develop thorough mastery of a subject. Greene writes that every human is “born unique,” with specific potential that we can develop if we listen to our inner voice. He offers many interesting but tendentious examples to illustrate his theory, including Einstein, Darwin, Mozart and Temple Grandin. In the case of Darwin, Greene ignores the formative intellectual influences that shaped his thought, including the discovery of geological evolution with which he was familiar before his famous voyage. The author uses Grandin's struggle to overcome autistic social handicaps as a model for the necessity for everyone to create a deceptive social mask.

Readers unfamiliar with the anecdotal material Greene presents may find interesting avenues to pursue, but they should beware of the author's quirky, sometimes misleading brush-stroke characterizations.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-670-02496-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

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