"THE EROS OF EVERYDAY LIFE: Essays on Ecology, Gender and Society" by Susan Griffin

"THE EROS OF EVERYDAY LIFE: Essays on Ecology, Gender and Society"

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Griffin (A Chorus of Stones: The Private Life of War, 1992, etc.) calls for a recovery of the sense of meaning that ties human existence to the physical earth and the universe. The destruction of the environment, the possibility of nuclear war, the disintegration of community, a ""larger mood of unraveling""--all this, says Griffin, can be traced to the ever-widening gap in Western thought between human consciousness and the natural world that sustains it. The ascendance of science and rationalism has blotted out the ancient instincts that once allowed people to live harmoniously, to feel in the most mundane acts the rich connections between themselves and nature, the ""eros of everyday life"" of the title. Instead of the Western, masculine insistence on hierarchy and racial and sexual categorization, we must turn back to an ecological approach, one which recognizes the infinite interdependence of everything on the planet. This dangerous devaluing of earthly experience, Griffin argues further, is painfully clear in the misogyny and racism of the white male: Women and non-Western peoples are more exotic, seductive, closer to a natural state, and therefore to be feared and controlled. Griffin puts her skills as a poet to good use here, but her rampant feminism, really a brand of female chauvinism (e.g., men have always hated women because they know they are fundamentally dependent on them) will alienate many readers. As for illuminating a path toward the enlightened life, Griffin offers little more than an idealized vision of non-Western cultures as the key to salvation. Her argument is further diluted by an odd assortment of miscellaneous essays tacked on to the end of the title suite. Griffin overlays a message of almost unrelieved sorrow, fear, and anger with a distasteful superiority of tone that is unlikely to win her converts.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0385473990
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Doubleday