Thompson's gleanings of a nascent ""planetary civilization"" are both more and less convincing than when he first dropped At the Edge of History, his dazzling post-industrial prophecy, on our 1960s heads. More, because with the intensifying energy crisis the limits of technocracy are more clearly discernible as is the Boschean nightmare of nuclear holocaust. Less, because Thompson's just-around-the-bend expectations of ""metaindustrial"" contemplative villages run on solar energy and devoted to tilling organic gardens seem like just another way of saying that it's always darkest before the dawn. This, among other things, is exactly what he's saying with the affirmation that ""history is a double helix"" and a look at the process of enantiodromia ""in which a movement turns into its exact opposite."" Thus, on the verge of technocratic lunacy men will turn back, not to medieval handiwork (Thompson is no Luddite) but to miniaturized computers, animism, and the mythic transformation. Thompson--and this is his special talent-can find auguries everywhere: in Heisenberg's esteem for Pythagoras, in the tendency of our bankrupt cities to resemble Calcutta, in the craze for sci-fi movies, in the death studies of Kubler-Ross. But more than ever it is apparent that his central preoccupations are religious and that a leap of faith is required to get from the perils of megapolis to the simple joys of the new age. The four lectures in this book were delivered in 1976 when Lindisfarne, Thompson's community of scholars, moved to New York.