The Ascent of Humanity
Civilization and the Human Sense of Self
Charles Eisenstein explores the history and potential future of civilization, tracing the converging crises of our age to the illusion of the separate self. In this landmark book, Eisenstein explains how a disconnection from the natural world and one another is built into the foundations of civilization: into science, religion, money, technology, medicine, and education as we know them. As a result, each of these institutions faces a grave and growing crisis, fueling our near-pathological pursuit of technological fixes even as we push our planet to the brink of collapse.
Fortunately, an Age of Reunion is emerging out of the birth pangs of an earth in crisis. As our old constructs of self and world dissolve in crisis, we are entering a new narrative of interbeing, a more expansive sense of self, and a more ecological relationship to nature. Our darkest hour bears the possibility of a more beautiful world—not through the extension of millennia-old methods of management and control but by fundamentally reimagining ourselves and our systems. Breathtaking in its scope and intelligence, The Ascent of Humanity is a remarkable book showing what it truly means to be human.
About the Author
Charles Eisenstein is a speaker and writer focusing on themes of civilization, consciousness, money, and human cultural evolution. His viral short films and essays online have established him as a genre-defying social philosopher and countercultural intellectual. Eisenstein graduated from Yale University in 1989 with a degree in Mathematics and Philosophy and spent the next ten years as a Chinese–English translator. The author of Sacred Economics and, Ascent of Humanity, he currently lives in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania.
"This is an extraordinary book. Eisenstein has put his finger on the core problem facing humanity—namely: separation. All the crises that humanity now faces are grounded in the belief that we are separate—separate from each other, separate from the biosphere that sustains us, separate from the universe that has brought us forth. This is a tour-de-force filled with astounding insight, wit, wisdom and heart."—Christopher Uhl, author of Developing Ecological Consciousness: Paths to a Sustainable Future
"Quite marvelous, a hugely important work... This book is truly needed in this time of deepening crisis."—John Zerzan, author of Future Primitive and Elements of Refusal
"A radical awakening as to how we arrived at our current crisis and how we can more effectively redefine the path of our evolutionary journey."—Bruce Lipton, author of The Biology of Belief
"Brilliant and original, with great depth of insight and understanding, Eisenstein's Ascent of Humanity easily ranks with the works of such giants of our age as David Bohm, Julian Jaynes, Jean Gebser, Whitehead. It is a profoundly serious, indeed somber portrait of our times, even as it opens a door of honest hope amidst the dark destiny we have woven about us. Accept the challenge of this major accomplishment and discover the light shining within it."—Joseph Chilton Pearce, author of The Crack in the Cosmic Egg, Magical Child, Evolution's End, and The Biology of Transcendence
"This is one of those rare books that moves the goal posts. Eisenstein pulls together a wide array of insights to show that what we thought was the solution is also the problem. It is eye opening fodder for conversations with everyone I meet. As a technologist and a human being, I believe this could well be one of the most important books of the decade."—Garret Moddel, professor of electrical engineering at UC Boulder; chairman & CTO, Phiar Corporation
From the Trade Paperback edition.