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“A wild book in every sense of the word, full of stories that will leave you trembling, but even fuller of ideas that will send you out into the world with new eyes.” —Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth 

“This book is like a prehistoric cave. If you have the nerve to enter it and you get used to the dark, you’ll discover things about storytelling which are startling, urgent and deeply true. Things each of us once knew, but forgot when we were born into the 19th and 20th centuries. Extraordinary rediscoveries!” —John Berger, author of Ways of Seeing and Why Look at Animals
 
I cannot imagine another book that so gently and so persuasively alters how we look at ourselves.” —Richard Louv, author of The Nature Principle
 
 “One of the most compelling and important ecology books in decades.” —Rex Weyler, co-founder of Greenpeace International

“A truly alchemical book. . . . Those of us who still hope for a revolutionary change in our thinking toward animals, the living land and the climate will welcome this book. Abram is an audacious thinker, a true visionary, and, really, just a damn good nature writer.” —San Francisco Book Review 

“An intricately textured, deep breath of a book that blurs the boundaries between human and animal, mind and earth. Prose as lush as a moss-draped rain forest and as luminous as a high desert night. . . Deeply resonant with indigenous ways of knowing, Abram lets us listen in on wordless conversations with ancient boulders, walruses,
birds, and roof beams. His profound recognition of intelligences other than our own enables us to enter into reciprocal symbioses that can, in turn, sustain the world. Becoming Animal illuminates a way forward in restoring relationship with the earth, led by our vibrant animal bodies to re-inhabit the glittering world." —Orion
 
“A stunning, compelling journey into embodied, earthly intelligence, Becoming Animal is philosophy at its engaging best. Prepare for a wild, profound ride into the essence of the human animalan essence embedded in communion with the Earth. A must read for anyone concerned about the future of the planet and ourselves.” —Kierán Suckling, co-founder and Executive Director, Center for Biological Diversity
 
“In Becoming Animal, David Abram has crafted the rarest of literary gems: a sublime effort combining transcendent prose, lucid insight, and lasting consequence.” —Shambhala Sun 
 
 “If we are to survive—indeed, if we are to stop the dominant culture from killing the planet—it will be in great measure because of brave and brilliant beings like David Abram. This is a beautifully written, deeply moving, and important book.” —Derrick Jensen, author of A Language Older Than Words and Endgame
 
Becoming Animal brings us home to ourselves as living organs of this wild planet. Its teachings leap off the page and translate immediately into lived experience. —Joanna Macy, Buddhist scholar and activist
 
“Without doubt one of America’s greatest nature writers, one who ably follows in the footsteps of Muir, Thoreau and Leopold. . . .[A] book of such transformative potential that it needs to be read twice in quick succession to get the full benefit. . . . The language is luminous, the style hypnotic. Abram weaves a spell that brings the world alive.”
Resurgence 
 
“Pure enthusiasm drives Abram to explore the yearning of our body for the larger body of Earth. . . . [Abram] brings the magician’s sense of mystery and playful surprise. . . His celebratory embrace of all that surrounds him is refreshing in the extreme.” 
Kirkus Reviews
 
“As with many deeply original—and radical—books, this work may startle, even provoke the reader in its electric reversal of conventional thought. . . . [T]his is a portrait of the artist as a young raven, arguing, with all the subtlety of his mind, for the mindedness of the body. An exercise of uncanny imagination.” —Jay Griffiths, author of Wild
 
“This brave and magical book summons wild wonder to remind us who we are.”
—Amory B. Lovins, Chief Scientist, Rocky Mountain Institute
 
“Speculative, learned, and always ‘lucid and precise’ as the eye of the vulture that confronted him once on a cliff ledge, Abram has one of those rare minds which, like the mind of a musician or a great mathematician, fuses dreaminess with smarts.” —The Village Voice
 
“Refreshing. [Abram] allows himself to be expansive, sentimental, and more than a little mad. . . . His book is transformative, animated by piercing observations and hallucinatory intensity.” —Bookforum
 
 “This startling, sparkling book challenges the technological temper of our times by returning us to the animal body in ourselves. Abram shows brilliantly how this body brings us back to Earth in a series of acutely moving descriptions of its polysensory genius. An original work of primary philosophy, it is written with verve, passion, and poetry.” —Edward S. Casey, author of The Fate of Place: A Philosophical History

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

David Abram is an ecologist, anthropologist, and philosopher who lectures and teaches widely around the world. His prior book, The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-than-Human World, helped catalyze the emergence of several new disciplines, including the burgeoning field of ecopsychology. The recipient of a Lannan Literary Award for Nonfiction, David was named by both the Utne Reader and the British journal Resurgence as one of a hundred visionaries transforming contemporary culture. His writings on the cultural causes and consequences of environmental disarray are published in numerous magazines, scholarly journals, and anthologies. A co-founder of the Alliance for Wild Ethics (AWE), David lives with his family in the foothills of the southern Rockies.



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121 von 124 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Becoming Animal by recovering our essential humanness 29. Oktober 2010
Von Glenn Aparicio Parry - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
If you have read Abram's impressive first book, The Spell of the Sensuous, you have probably been, like me, breathlessly awaiting his second. While the first book was a hard act to follow - being both a scholarly and passionate plea for humanity to recover its sense of humanness by recovering its immediate connection to what is other than human - his second equally wonderful book, Becoming Animal, is different. Abram makes no bones about not attempting the same comprehensive and scholarly review. Instead, he gives us a far more personal account of his journey into discovery of his animal and ultimately human self.

The result is another sublime work. Abram takes us through a variety of experiences in his daily life, some exotic, some mundane, but always immediate and present. It is a courageous work, taking us inside his life in a very intimate and direct way. Whether he is chronicling his baby daughter's spontaneous connection to a stone, his own adventures shapeshifting with ravens and shamans atop the Himalayas, his lament in leaving a rental home, or his clumsy attempts to fix a vacuum cleaner - Abram always maintains the same attention to presence. The book as a whole is an original guide to a way of thinking, seeing and interacting with the sensuous, breathing world.

Becoming Animal is a bit like entering a hypnotic trance, which is clearly Abram's intention. Every sentence embodies the message - keeping a rhythm, a pulse - just like the moving, breathing earth he speaks of. The sentences are a microcosm of the book, bringing together seamlessly what at first appear as diverse, unrelated experience. In the end, in a wholly personal way, he reprises some of the themes of his first book: that we need to reawaken our senses to the speaking, sensuous earth, that the written word and abstract thinking that pervades our society must be rebalanced by a restoration - a "restorying" of the land herself; that "rejuvenation of oral culture is an ecological imperative." He doesn't seek to eliminate abstract thinking or technology; he simply asks us to remember where it was abstracted from, so that we can remember our true origins and recover our essential humanness.

In short, it is another masterpiece from one of our most gifted contemporary storytellers.
44 von 45 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Almost Perfect 8. Februar 2011
Von Eric Gross - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
First let me come out and say, I really loved David Abrams book Becoming Animal. I loved how eloquently it argued against philosophies of transcendence which are such an important part of most organized western religions, I loved how David described and conjured up the mystery of the natural world, and perhaps most of all I loved how he reminded us, so powerfully, of the innately expressive and conscious filled the natural world truly is. Many of his descriptions of this world reminded me of my own time studying with Navajo healers.
So why not five stars? I wish I could give it 4.5 stars.
As I said in the title of this review, Becoming Animal is almost perfect. It also has several not to trivial problems.
One, Abram rails against those who criticize writers who romanticize the hunter/gatherer - indigenous cultures of the world and of the past. He points out, in a lengthy footnote, how those same critics tend to romanticize the worlds of ancient Greece and Rome, yet shower contempt on those who write favorably about indigenous cultures. And I could not agree more strongly. Yet, Abram does romanticize these worlds. As beautifully as he extols their power and their connection with earth-based life, he totally ignores their own internal pressures to conform, as well as their often savage cruelty they visit upon their neighbors. In the book Radical Hope: Ethics in the Face of Cultural Devastation, Jonathan Lear deftly describes the unceasing violence visited upon the Crow Nation by their traditional and more powerful enemy the Lakota. And this is one of countless stories of cultures dedicated to frequent violence and mindless animosity (not that are free of these very same vicissitudes). Often the reticence of these societies to innovate is a consequence of internal pressures to conform. Such stressors to internally conform in these societies often become unbreakable obstacles to innovation.
One of the core themes of Becoming Animal is the rootedness these traditional societies have with the Earth on which they live. But many of these same societies lack this rootedness, including several Abram mentions. The life on the high plains of such tribes as the Cheyenne and Lakota were very recent phenomena made possible by the acquisition of the horse, introduced into the Americas by the Spanish. Life on the high plains began with these tribes at around the same time it began with the European invaders. Many of these tribal groups are highly nomadic. The Navajo entered the 4 Corners region of the US around 1450 after a long migration from Arctic Canada beginning around 1300. They arrived in the Southwest not so long before the Spanish entered that same region. Thus the argument for ageless rootedness often falls apart.And these are just several of hundreds of possible examples.
Toward the end of the book, Abram unfortunately unleashes an attack on evolutionary theory by setting up a straw man hypothesis based on his projection that the science of evolution is too mechanistic and unwelcome to the complex web of inter-communication that he observes in the natural world. But such mechanistic models are exactly what modern science has, itself, rebuked. While the statistical incidence of mutation is random, how these random changes manifest and evolve in the complex eco-systems of the planet are entirely a consequence of the very same, rich and complex layers of inter-communication described and extolled so lovingly by Abram. Her really fails to get his critique right and the book suffers as a result.
Finally, his criticisms of the cartesian world are uncompelling. The world he correctly criticizes is, itself, a consequence of cultural and historical memes that go far deeper in the human story than what Abram describes. More compelling and evidence based critiques are raised by Morris Berman (see: Wandering God and my own writings, Liberation from the Lie. The emergence of mechanistic, soulless models was rooted in far deeper human cultural soil than what Abram presents in this book. I recommend each of these books for a more sweeping and compelling accounts for the degradation of the planets and social/individual life that resulted from the abandonment of the earthcentric life that forms the centerpiece of this book.
Abram is fantastic as a writer of narrative and some of my favorite passages are taken, directly, from his own life. I really loved his description of his kayaking off the coast of Alaska and encountering a colony of sea lions and how he responded to their sudden appearance with such brilliant and connected expression,. The personal quality of this book is really terrific.
But sometimes his use of language becomes too labored and flowery. Sometimes, it sounded strained, like he was working too hard to convince the reader of how smart and sensitive he is.
Nonetheless, this is an extremely valuable book and I really admire Abram for his originality, the challenge of the subject matter, and the power of this critically important message. This is a book that we need to read and absorb.
54 von 57 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
This book actually deserves all five stars 27. Oktober 2010
Von snowy owl books - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
For once I have found the enigma of a book that deserves all 5 stars from Amazon for it's gutsy interpretation of an old subject we rarely want to discuss. The human animal and his or her relation to the wild, how it creates thought and intelligence and even rationale. Let's examine how being more like an animal might do us some good....and less like a rational coldly removed abstract being bent on knowing truth by studying even more of the abstract. We have forgotten that experience in nature qualifies the true source of human development. Our surest form of truth is within the mystery of nature, everyday nature as perceived through our senses is what can bring us the most equitable and perhaps the most satisfyingly human encounter of the cosmos- not the science of quarks, genetics, microcosms, stellar phenomenon and such... though they may thrill with glitzy peeks of an unknown invisible universe at extravagant cost. This book is just incredibly different than others, as is the author and his divergent knowledge and experience of culture, city and mountains, he apprentices the world with a desire to understand how humans identify with the Earth- Remarkably honest, this man strides through sentences in a sort of bare nakedness of truth we have been longing to hear but somehow have not been able to say a word about in the last few centuries or so. It is complete ecstatic freedom and joy to read this authors uplifting work on the nature of being human - not the ever dualistic based "Human nature" that still pervades science and modern thought. How can you not enjoy a visionary work from a man whose very keen senses leads us all over the globes, face to face with mountains, magicians, shamanic creatures, old cities, and take us into the deepest observational realms of leaving our skin to soar like a bird. Magnificently done, now keep writing!!!
45 von 47 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Good Medicine 28. Oktober 2010
Von Amy Hannon - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
Thomas Berry diagnosed the ailment of our culture as autism. In a similar vein, Richard Louv called it nature-deficit disorder. Either way David Abram's new book, Becoming Animal, is good medicine for our entrancement with the written word and the electronic screens which flatten our world to two dimensions. In the philosophical tradition of the phenomenologists describing our different forms of alienation, this book lures us back to our authentic heritage as evolutionary cousins to both the stars and all the animals. It draws on insights unveiled in Abram's earlier masterpiece, The Spell of the Sensuous, but unfolds them like a Chinese puzzle to reveal ceaseless horizons of meaning hiding in our most common experience from seeing our shadows, hearing birdsong or sensing the dyanamism of a rock face in our path.

I especially love the reverend way Abram enfolds key ideas from the western Religions of the Book into our primal experience, explaining the metaphysics of angels and even of God, without any diminution of either concept but only expanded joy and access.

This is a marvelous, and yes, a magical book. Along with The Spell of the Sensuous, it will stand as a new classic in American philosophy and nature writing.
15 von 15 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Coming To Our Senses 8. Dezember 2010
Von HW Mathews - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
Mary Oliver advises us to `let the soft animal of your body love what it loves' in her oft quoted poem, `Wild Geese'; to open ourselves to the restorative, nurturing `rain' of sensory experience that waters us at our roots. Great advice but advice that many of us seem too busy or too scared to take at a time when I would argue we need to apply it most urgently.

Hopefully you can recall the sensual wonders of your early childhood: the feeling of sun on your face; the smell of flowers and the dirt in the garden bed; the taste of raspberry jam; the feeling of a pet's ear as you stroked it; the sounds of cooking in the kitchen and birds in the trees; and the sensory extravagance of climbing under air-dried sheets and a wool blanket on an autumn evening. But if you are like most adults in the world today, you can't or these are only vague memories. As adults, many of us feel cut off from this deep engagement with the world, and this lack of bodily engagement with the world is a major factor in our bravely soldiering on through our days and nights feeling empty, unfulfilled and curiously detached from daily life. It is ironic that in a time when we can reach into our pockets and pull out a device that will put us in contact with someone half-way around the world or tell us exactly where we are on the face of the planet, that so many of us feel strangely isolated and alone and disconnected from the very places where we live.

To help set this right, let me suggest that you obtain a paper copy of David Abram's `Becoming Animal' in which you can fill the margins with comments and notes or at least bend down the corners of the pages for a return visit and read what he has to suggest for finding our ways back to the sensual little creatures we were as kids and to regain a vibrant sense of being in a world that is waiting to engage us a every turn. This is a juicy, ripe pear of a book full of the sweetness of life that is a pleasure to taste as you turn the pages.

In `Spell of the Sensuous,' David reminded us that our senses are `our most intimate link with the living land, the primary way the earth has of influencing our moods and guiding our actions' and that our senses provide `the way our body binds its life to the other lives that surround it, the way the earth couples itself to our thoughts and our dreams. Sensory perception is the glue that binds our separate nervous systems into the larger, encompassing ecosystem.' He cautioned `If we ignore or devalue sensory experience, we lose our primary source of alignment with the larger ecology, imperiling both ourselves and the earth in the process.'

In `Becoming Animal' David literally immerses the reader in the subtle sensory/sensual aspects of `the more-than-human world' and how they are there for us to savor and demonstrates how we can restore a sense of joyful participation to even the most mundane of daily tasks be it waiting for a bus, walking to the mail box or cutting vegetables. With a poet's skill and a tracker's eye he lets us experience how feelings pool in certain places, how shadows are three dimensional presences not flat absences on a wall or the ground, how the fluid movement of water in streams, the roiling vitality of water vapor in clouds, and the delicate unfurling of a fern frond all speak to a dynamic force in the world, how the weather colors our moods and acts as a perceptual filter, and how vitally important it is to find ways of connecting with the place that you live such that you can move, act, speak and behave in a way to carries a sense of the place with you and literally grounds you and what you do in the truth of your home ground, David allows us to re-examine our lives, to reopen ourselves to the richness of experience we had as children, and to craft lives in which we feel more alive, more connected and more `placed.' As a final enticement to read this book, let me leave you with the following quote from the book (page 224): "Magic doesn't sweep you away; it gathers you up into the body of the present moment so thoroughly that all your [rational] explanations fall away: the ordinary, in all its plain and simple outrageousness, begins to shine - to become luminously, impossibly so. Every facet of the world is awake, and you within it."

It has been noted that `The best things in Life are not things' and in this book David makes a stunningly beautiful case for this assertion. Buy this book!
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