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Living with a Wild God: A Non-Believer's Search for the Truth About Everything (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 1. Mai 2014

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Living with a Wild God: A Non-Believer's Search for the Truth About Everything + Smile or Die: How Positive Thinking Fooled America and the World
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  • Taschenbuch: 237 Seiten
  • Verlag: Granta Books (1. Mai 2014)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 1783780134
  • ISBN-13: 978-1783780136
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 13,5 x 1,7 x 21,6 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 75.016 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)

Mehr über den Autor

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"Ehrenreich has always been an intellectual and a journalistic badass... [She] ultimately arrives at a truce with the idea of God. You'll admire her journey."
Entertainment Weekly

"[Ehrenreich] resolutely avoids rhetoric in that 'blubbery vein'--which is why her book is such a rare feat...She struggles to make sense of the epiphany without recourse to the 'verbal hand-wavings about mystery and transcendence' that go with the territory... Ehrenreich has no interest in conversion...She wants, and inspires, open minds."
The Atlantic

"The factor that makes each of [Barbara's] books so completely unique in American intellectual life is her persistent sensitivity to matters of social class. She can always see through the smokescreen, the cloud of fibs we generate to make ourselves feel better about a world where the work of the many subsidizes the opulent lifestyles of the few. That, plus the fact that she writes damned well. Better than almost anyone out there, in fact."—Salon

"As personal a piece of writing as she has ever done... A surprising turn for Ehrenreich, who for more than 40 years has been one of our most accomplished and outspoken advocacy journalists and activists."—The Los Angeles Times

"Until reading LIVING WITH A WILD GOD I counted the Mary Karr memoir trilogy as my favorite from a contemporary literary figure. Now, Ehrenreich's memoir is tied for first place with Karr's books... Thank goodness [this book] exists. It is quite likely to rock the minds of readers who dare open to the first page."—Houston Chronicle

"A smart and enjoyable read... Ehrenreich maintains a grip on a sensible skepticism about religious matters - and a positive hostility toward the idea of unthinking faith - while avoiding the narrow-minded excesses that more zealous atheists sometimes fall victim to."—The Chicago Tribune -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Gebundene Ausgabe .

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

BARBARA EHRENREICH is the author of fourteen books, including the bestselling Smile or Die and Nickel and Dimed. She writes regularly for Time, Harper's, the New York Times Magazine and various British newspapers including The Times and the Guardian. She lives in Virginia, USA.

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1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich Von Antoro am 2. Mai 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
This book is very personal and deep, I was overwhelmed to read it. The famous writer and social activist Barbara Ehrenreich looks back to her teenage years, when she was asking deep questions all to herself, without close relations to anybody. She describes her intellectual evolution from solipsism to a strictly scientific attitude up to a intrinsic spiritual wonder at nature. A most beautiful and intriguing book, which I will keep in mind and reread.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 170 Rezensionen
134 von 141 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
At first disappointing, but then... 15. April 2014
Von Mary K. Breazeale - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
Barbara Ehrenreich is an author whose books were important influences on my generation of feminist/socialists. Hearts of Men and Nickle and Dimed are classics. So when I saw that, now in her 70s, she’s produced a book on spirituality I was eager to read it.

Living with a Wild God focuses on a set of dissociative moments experienced by Ehrenreich during her childhood and teen years. Uncanny insights into the nature of being? Encounters with the divine? Brain freeze explosions? An atheist, Ehrenreich refuses to give a conventional religious interpretation to what happened. In fact she doesn’t want to corrupt the purity of experience by interpreting or defining these moments at all. Okay, but then why write a book that keeps circling back to these incidents only to back away from explaining why they feel so crucial to her life story?

What results from all this is a weirdly unsatisfying memoir. We get the story of a brainly misfit growing up in a dysfunctional household headed by an alcoholic father and miserably unhappy, abusive mother. Ehrenreich’s enjoyably snarky voice, which works so well in most of her writing, falls flat here. Other than a nicely mean account of her adolesence in LA (like the Kerouac of Big Sur, she hates the California sun) the author skates along the surface of her life story, meting out a kind of impersonal contempt to everyone including her solipsistic youthful self. High school, college, grad school, marriage, motherhood, the anti-war movement… blah, blah.

I was now, according to my kindle, 80% of the way through the book. Suddenly, bam! A whole new kind of writing starts happening. In a deeply personal tone, Ehrenreich tells us why she wrote Living with a Wild God. Middle aged, with her second marriage crumbling and progressive politics rapidly diminishing as a force in American political life, she sank into depression. (How many of us followed that trajectory?) Returning to investigate her youthful dips into the twilight zone offered itself as a strategy to beat back the pain and sadness. In turn, engaging new sources of knowledge outside of what might be called the rationalist paradigm seems to have given Ehrenreich the healing energy to do ever more good work.

I’m still of two minds about her book. Why the choice of such a dispassionate, skeptical mode of address to narrate the story of her early life? But on balance, whatever Barbara Ehrenreich cares to say, I’m glad to listen.
76 von 81 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
staying open 14. April 2014
Von Stanley Crowe - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Barbara Ehrenreich, whose "Nickel and Dimed" is one of the best books I've read in the last fifteen years or so, is in her early seventies now (as I almost am myself), and it's quite wonderful to see her turn her unsentimental, humane eye on her own earlier life, and in particular, on some strange and intense "dissociative" experiences that she had as a teenager and, to some extent, still has today. These experiences she has come to present as encounters with something "other," and like the empirical scientist she used to try to be, her book is really an appeal to keep open the possibility that that "other" is something that we shouldn't rush to categorize in the language of religion, or psychiatry, or neuroscience. I have to say that nothing in "Nickel and Dimed" prepared me for this, but readers who are familiar with writers like Barry Lopez or Peter Matthiessen might think that Ehrenreich is exploring some territory that they too are interested in.

The book has two focuses of interest: first, her experience itself, which includes vivid accounts not only of what we might call uncanny moments but also of a very difficult childhood with two unhappy and finally alcoholic and suicidal parents. Ehrenreich writes about her parents with a detachment that is well short of clinical, but it's a detachment we can well understand as being the product of strategies that she, an unusually self-conscious, articulate child, devised to survive her relationship with these parents. She doesn't over-analyze, however: she contextualizes, and her adolescent encounters with uncanniness, along with her solipsism and precocious reading are set forth without any tightly connecting web of causes and effects being drawn between them. Her turn to social activism, while she was a graduate student in molecular biology, is as unpredictable as anything else in her telling of the various strands that made up her younger life, because before she made that turn, she was prone to denying altogether the possibility of interesting consciousness in "other minds." And when she does take the turn to activism, she does not fly to the other extreme and become an overflowing fount of "feeling" -- she is still empirical, practical-minded, and conscious of herself as a rather strange creature.

The other focus of interest is the possible meaning of her "uncanny" experiences, one of which, at Lone Pine, California, in 1959, was particularly intense and upsetting. These experiences she sees as almost beyond language, and even as she tries to put them into words, she's always warning against both her own wording and the wording that religious believers and psychologists might be tempted to use about them. Her final two chapters are meditations on these experiences, and they invite the reader to consider the possibility of a "life" in the universe that is beyond categorization and that she is pretty sure the categories of monotheistic religions just don't "get." She is talking here not of what she believes -- "I believe nothing," she says -- but of what might possibly be believable. The actual experiences of religious mystics like Meister Eckhart, the ongoing examinations of consciousness and possible intentionality in animals, and the parasitic and symbiotic relationships of micro-organisms with hosts are all adduced, not to "explain" what happened to the young Barbara but to remind us that there are forms of life, relationship, and consciousness that we would do well to keep an open mind about. I found the book compelling in its storytelling and intriguing in its implications -- I couldn't put it down.
97 von 107 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Helpful for the Spiritual but not Religious 10. April 2014
Von Rev. Brad Karelius - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
As a teacher of world religions, I have many students who either did not grow up within a spiritual tradition or had bad experiences with religion. Barbara reminds us that half of Americans reveal that they have had some kind of mystical experience. As a parish priest and college professor, I value Barbara's contribution in this book for my students. She is honest about her upbringing in an atheist, anti-religion family and her education and passion for science. But she finds the Cartesian rationality limited, especially when she tries to make sense of a powerful, mystical experience she had in Lone Pine, California fifty years ago (which is my own spiritual homeland). She gives voice and description to help others who have experienced a Presence/theOther/The Holy without requiring the vocabulary and theology of traditional religion.
60 von 67 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A modest addition to our culture's current debate 15. April 2014
Von joymars - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
As one who has had a life of "non-ordinary" experiences, I looked forward to the publication of this book. BE needed to include the relevant information about her life/psychological state as it pertained to her powerful experience, but the weight of these chapters in the book makes it veer into ordinary memoir territory. My guess is BE, an admirable writer, has entered the age when her entire life needs to have meaning -- and so she writes a book to spend time with her precocious young self.

Granted, her family's atheism is an important context for what she felt/saw/understood in her powerful non-ordinary experience. But the reader could have sized up her family circumstances in less pages. My eyes glazed over throughout the chapters on her laboratory work. I think there were more personal after-effects to be told regarding her epiphany than what she presents here, but BE felt the need to display her science bona fides instead.

Toward the end of the book BE finally gets down to musing about what she had seen and felt. She does so from the position of a carefully-guarded scientist/intellectual. She admits that she has spent little time in her life immersing herself in non-Freudian, non-clinical psychology, and that she has no intention of doing so in the future. As a writer known for her research, this is odd. Why does she drop her signature journalism for this book? She seems to understand the synchronous role of the friend who spearheaded her experience. He is a typical twin element that partners non-ordinary experiences. He was secretly searching for dangerous explosives. His intent paralleled her own searching behavior at that time in her life, and what he was after brilliantly mirrors the content of her non-ordinary experience. BE is aware of this synchronicity, displays it for all to read, but chooses not to probe it.

Maybe she's not comfortable with the subject of Psyche, but decided to jump into this project anyway -- or it was her editor's marketing idea. I would have liked to have been treated to more of BE's usual muscular reportage. Instead we get some musings, the sum of which could have been published as a magazine article.

What she also does not speculate about is how her experience might have saved her from the alcoholism that afflicted her parents. It is almost a cliché that substance abuse compensates for spiritual thirst. BE, thanks to her episode, could not have identified herself as spiritually starved -- and yet she remained free of religion -- a boon, to be sure. It is what I will take away from the book. She does question the "goodness" of the agency she encountered, and finds traditional "Good God" beliefs to be shallow and childish -- which I applaud.

This book is a modest addition to our culture's current debate about the limits of science and our understanding of consciousness. I was hoping it would be more, considering the author's past work. But I appreciate the fact that it does shed an unprejudiced light on those of us who have these life-consuming experiences, and who cannot define them according to traditional beliefs. It is gratifying to see this consideration coming from a committed atheist. Could it be the beginning of a trend -- that we are going beyond the structure of science and strictures of religion to embrace wisdom?
31 von 33 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Gorgeous writing about an impossible subject 21. April 2014
Von Janet Hardy - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
I have much in common with Ms. Ehrenreich - including growing up in an atheist/skeptical home, possessing a stubbornly empirical temperament, and experiencing multiple reluctant journeys into the numinous/mystical/metaphysical/whatever-you-call-it. And I've struggled, as she does here, with the frustration of trying to explain my experiences without resorting to what she calls "the vague gurgles of surrender expressed in words like 'ineffable' and 'transcendent." So to see someone else deal so beautifully with the tension between a scientist's mind and a mystic's experience would be tremendously exciting to me anyway.

But the *writing* is so gorgeous! It intimidates me and challenges me all at once: if she can get her struggle down on paper, so can I.

Here's the thing, though: not one reader in one hundred will be able to identify with what she's gone through. Most will either have succumbed to the usual language with which one describes the transcendent, the Chopra-esque language of bliss and spirit (or its religiously dictated variants) - or will never have had or recognized an experience of that which lies outside the physical.

The reviews of this book reflect that deficit. Even Ehrenreich's writing, dispassionate and experiential as it is, is not good enough to convey the essence of these experiences to someone who has not had similar epiphanies. (And for the speakers of conventional "spirituality," it will seem as though she simply "met the Divine," or some similarly pat and meaningless explanation.)

So: for me, and those like me, this book is a touchpoint and possibly a life-changer - I can't begin to say how glad I am that I bought it. For everyone else, it won't make much sense at all. But I'm giving it five stars for the few of us for whom it will matter deeply.
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