The Patterning Instinct

A Cultural History of Humanity’s Search for Meaning
Narrated by: Derek Perkins
Length: 19 hrs and 14 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (136 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

This fresh perspective on crucial questions of history identifies the root metaphors that cultures have used to construct meaning in their world. It offers a glimpse into the minds of a vast range of different peoples: early hunter-gatherers and farmers, ancient Egyptians, traditional Chinese sages, the founders of Christianity, trailblazers of the Scientific Revolution, and those who constructed our modern consumer society.

Taking the listener on an archaeological exploration of the mind, the author, an entrepreneur and sustainability leader, uses recent findings in cognitive science and systems theory to reveal the hidden layers of values that form today's cultural norms. Uprooting the tired clichés of the science-religion debate, he shows how medieval Christian rationalism acted as an incubator for scientific thought, which, in turn, shaped our modern vision of the conquest of nature. The author probes our current crisis of unsustainability and argues that it is not an inevitable result of human nature, but is culturally driven: a product of particular mental patterns that could conceivably be reshaped. By shining a light on our possible futures, the book foresees a coming struggle between two contrasting views of humanity: one driving to a technological endgame of artificially enhanced humans, the other enabling a sustainable future arising from our intrinsic connectedness with each other and the natural world. This struggle, it concludes, is one in which each of us will play a role through the meaning we choose to forge from the lives we lead.

©2017 Jeremy Lent and Fritjof Capra (P)2017 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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What listeners say about The Patterning Instinct

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Wonderful book! Changes your perspective on the human race and where we might be going.

I really enjoyed this book, to the point where I had to go out and buy a hard copy. Having been very depressed about the state of our nation and the world in general, reading this book has shifted my perspective, given me a sense of something to work towards, and a deeper understanding of

4 people found this helpful

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Best science and philosophy read ever.

This is by far the most thought provoking book of its kind of which I heard. The historical, scientific, phylosophycal, and theological aspects brought to light are boundless. I am on my third listen and am continuing to enjoy the concepts presented.
Anyone that wonders about the history of great ideas involving the evolution of thought throughout history will be entertained for hours.
This audiobook should be required listen for all secondary science teachers as well as history teachers.

3 people found this helpful

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Well written, informative, important & challenging

The most important book you may ever read. Humanity must change its priorities. This book does an amazing job of explaining the origins and development of our collective perspectives, priorities, and world views and why they got us where we are today, as well as options for our future that require a different cultural and philosophical reality.

The audio narrator was great and spot on in tone and pace.

The originization and quality of the authors information, analysis, and discussion was well thought out and made for a informative, challenging, and IMO exellent listen/read.

P. S. The only unfortunate and certainly unforeseeable part of the book was a Lewis CK anecdote that hasn't aged well in a few short years. History, perspective and all that.

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contains a varied perspective

Struggled a little to read it in couple of points, but supper interesting, very deep approach, enthusiastic in connecting view points of history, social, philosophical, religious, industrial, economic fields .If you have interest in any of those field you will be intertained by the interwoven plot of meaning in between them!

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Absolutely fabulous book.

this book surpass Sapien and Deus as the best book I ever read. unbelievably good!!

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Great perspective on human past, present & future

A must read/listen for anyone interested in a brief, but coherent account of how modern western societies got to be the way they are today. Also provides a compelling perspective on living a better life and how to leave a better world to future generations.

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A fantastic venture

I purchased the book but couldn't stand not to be reading it while driving , so got the audiobook as well. The material was totally worth the price I paid and I have been raving about this book to anyone who will listen.

The audiobook's performance was so spot on it became the voice in my head when I'm reading the actual book.

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Wow, this is a great book, i learned so much!

i love how there a story for every point, i also felt there was a steady flow of thought that lead to the point. i learned the growth of philosophy from different global regions and how they influence the philosophy of today's world. i would like to thank the author for putting the time and effort into creating this book!

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Wordflooding

A lot of words, a lot of history of ancient philosophy and religion. Ordinary content, masquerading as a new original take on human nature.

2 people found this helpful

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60 por ciento habla de religión

No es lo que esperaba. El titulo confunde. Los primeros capitulos estan bien. Luego explica las distintas religiones.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Nathaniel
  • 01-10-18

Broad and Focused

What did you like most about The Patterning Instinct?

It provides a comprehensive learning experience through the history of man and presents a compelling argument for the routing of understanding and being. It's written expansively, sympathetically, transparently, compassionately and with a focus and pacing that impels one to continue on.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

As someone quite new to reading deeply into the human condition and its developments, this book further motivated me to continue my learning. It taught me much and opened my mind to many new discoveries and yet many new questions.

Any additional comments?

I can highly recommend this book. The narration is strong and intelligent and Jeremy Lent's effort here is to be seriously considered and pondered upon. I will surely look into his future work, of which I hope there is much.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Russell Beard
  • 08-11-18

little bit dissapointing

not sure about this one .. seemed a bit ironic that while he is saying language and culture form our societies.. and new ideas could take us in new directions (so far so good) and his stated intention is to help nudge humanity toward a more humane and sustainable future with higher quality of life while reducing the negative impact on the planet etc... and yet there are no new ideas in the book!.. it reads like a series of book reviews.. its basically a compendium of cultural histories and insights from other writers ..loosely stiched together with a tenuous "patterning" theme.. and finishes with a pretty weak conclusion.. bit dissapointing .. well read though and an entertaining overview for people not allready familiar with the topics discussed..

2 people found this helpful

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  • Aggie
  • 01-28-20

Essential book

This is a deep-laid examination of the ideas humanity has come up with in response to development from prehistoric times through to the modern age (and beyond), ideas which have in turn fostered change.

Are we on a path where the destruction of the climate and familiar life is inevitable or do we still have the ability to change course?

There is no bigger question and this book extends some hope.

I very much valued reading it as an audiobook. The human voice helps you through the hard stuff. Ultimately that in a way is its message. The more we connect with each other, with ourselves, and with the natural world, the better our chance of saving things.

Who do I recommend it to? Everyone. No exceptions. One key fact presented in the book is that once 3.5% of the population engages actively in a protest movement, change is unstoppable. So I recommend this book to at least 3.5% of you.

I found it through an article by George Monbiot in the Guardian. Thank you to him if he ever reads this review.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-14-20

Fantastic book

!!! One listen / read is not enough...very inspiring and thought provoking - Much thought went into this book - a great torch to bring light into the dark... Greatly recommended

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  • MR A I LEWANDOWSKI
  • 06-05-19

amazing book

I loved this book from the beginning til the end.
Let's do the job of today's!

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  • Alexa Forbes
  • 07-09-18

Wonderful, gripping, sweeping work

I absolutely loved this book. It covers where we as humans have come from and where we are headed. It provided for me an essential context for my thinking about the future and why we as humans have such huge difficulty navigating the issues that are right before us. A must read for those like me who have only a hazy understanding of global history and culture but are keen to understand these things so to understand the future. And Jeremy's writing style is utterly gripping, plus the book is beautifully read. I couldn't put it down.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-08-19

All of humanity should read this

A more profound read than the simarlyencompassing Sapians. With a hint of optimism for how we might mitigate the climate and ecological disaster we find ourselves in and which will only worsen if world views don't shift towards those described in this book.