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Publisher's Summary

For a thousand generations, human beings viewed themselves as part of the wider community of nature, and they carried on active relationships not only with other people but with other animals, plants, and natural objects (including mountains, rivers, winds, and weather patterns) that we have only lately come to think of as "inanimate". How, then, did humans come to sever their ancient reciprocity with the natural world? What will it take for us to recover a sustaining relationship with the breathing earth?

In The Spell of the Sensuous, David Abram draws on sources as diverse as the philosophy of Merleau-Ponty, Balinese shamanism, Apache storytelling, and his own experience as an accomplished sleight-of-hand magician to reveal the subtle dependence of human cognition on the natural environment. He explores the character of perception and excavates the sensual foundations of language, which - even at its most abstract - echoes the calls and cries of the earth. In this lyrical work, Abram weaves his arguments with a passion, a precision, and an intellectual daring that recall such writers as Loren Eisleley, Annie Dillard, and Barry Lopez.

©1996 David Abram (P)2017 Tantor

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Stellar introduction to a revolutionary approach to language, nature and the human embedded in the natural world.

This book, exquisitely written and perfectly narrated, presents the impact phenomenology - as developed by Merleau-Ponty - has on our understanding of the language of humans and the roles language has played in both archaic and contemporary times as a controlling expression of our embeddedness in the natural world.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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a truly amazing read

This is one of those books that will change the way you look at things forever. Well read and even more, amazingly well written. Mr. Abram's words are poetic, evocative, inspirational.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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You and I are a myriad of energies Being One.

In these times, a much needed regard for the role we play in the balance with the natural world and its fundamental symbiotic operation is here rendered as a poetic account of that which should be and was once, as the child in each of us...first experiencing it, so obvious...
All too often forgotten by the clamour of burgeoning development within our isolated sphere of specifically human concerns, is a call... a beckoning for....this deeper listening, which finds us inextricably woven into the fabric of the environment of which we are so vitally woven.
Can your heart, through this call for a deeper listening, be moved to reassess and redine your role in such a way that you conduct yourself henceforth in reverence to that greater Whole of which you are a part...? Can you be...as the child...awash with awe and heedful of your every influence, upon recognizing the Sacred Garden you were born to steward...?

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Good

Excellent theory work for pagans involved in re-enchanting the world we live in. A bit too adherent to phenomenology, though.