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Transforming Human Culture : Social Evolution and the Planetary Crisis
Earley, Jay
SUNY Press (State University of New York) / Softcover / 1997-07-01 / 0791433749
Other Psychotherapies
price: $27.50 (may be subject to change)
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Explains how human social evolution has led both to worthwhile achievements and moral horrors and provides perspective on today's planetary crisis by viewing it as a transition within the larger picture of social evolution.

"I know of no other book that is as complete in its story about how we got to where we are and what must be done about it. Earley's argument is well ordered and is consistent with all the information I have about where human society is in its evolutionary history. If one were to supplement this book with the chief references to which the author directs us, the result would be a remarkably comprehensive picture of our present global dilemma and its resolution." --Willis Harman, President of the Institute of Noetic Sciences

This book provides perspective on today's planetary crisis by seeing it as a transition within the larger picture of human social evolution. Jay Earley develops a model that explains how social evolution has led not only to worthwhile achievements but to moral horrors and the current world crisis as well. He argues that certain ground qualities were present at the beginnings of our social evolution, such as natural living, belonging, vitality, community, and equality and that over the span of human history certain emergent qualities developed to give us greater power in the world, such as technology, social organization, and rational thinking. In developing these latter qualities, we have suppressed the ground qualities, however, at the expense of our health and wholeness. The next step in social evolution, Earley argues, is to take conscious charge of our future by integrating ground qualities with emergent qualities so that they can continue to evolve, but in a healthy way.

Read the First Chapter

Reviews and Endorsements:

"With this remarkable work, Earley joins the tribe of those historians of culture and consciousness who seek to understand the meaning of the emergence of spirit through culture. This book provides an extraordinary spectrum of insight into who and what we are, where we have been, and where we may yet be. Beautifully written and filled with provocative ideas, it is a feast for the mind and a much-needed journey for the soul." -- Jean Houston, author of The Possible Human and A Mythic Life

"Jay Earley has written a book of clarity and compassion, an important call for the human species to take the next, essential evolutionary step. Transforming Human Culture provides a vast panoramic perspective on the story of humankind. Not flinching from confronting our present destructiveness, Earley provides a fundamentally positive vision, free of blame and full of hope." --Andrew Bard Schmookler, author of The Parable of the Tribes

"At last! Transforming Human Culture is a holistic, comprehensive, readable, and positive projection of our options for the future. While recognizing the ecological, economic, and social failures of our current dominant EuroAmerican culture, Earley doesn't dwell in doom and gloom but shows a clear choice we can make to build a participatory, holistic, communal, and sustainable system of cultures for a humane future." -- Bill Ellis, editor of Tranet

"This is a landmark book. It deals with crucial issues in a readable, original, and comprehensive manner. Almost every page reveals some new nugget of insight, an original way of looking at something problematical, or even just a new application of the author's overall thesis." -- Joel Funk, Plymouth State College

"Earley is able to deal realistically with the present global crisis while still locating our situation in a hopeful grand scheme. He provides an alternative explanation of the horrors of history to moral blame without mitigating the horrors. He integrates societal, technological, and spiritual perspectives without losing their distinctiveness." -- John Cobb, Jr., coauthor of For the Common Good: Redirecting the Economy Toward Community, the Environment, and a Sustainable Future

"I like the author's sense of history, his analysis of human evolution, his appreciation for the complexities of the problems (personal, social, ecological) facing us, his insight into how the psychological phenomena of 'splitting' and 'dissociation' can help to diagnose a wide variety of predicaments in human history, and his discussion of possible solutions to contemporary social and ecological problems." -- Michael E. Zimmerman, Tulane University

"There is no task more important than making sense of the profound and unsettling times in which we live. In Transforming Human Culture, Jay Earley places today's world in the larger story of culture and gives us tools for writing that story's next chapter. An important and absorbing work." -- Charles Johnston, author of The Creative Imperative

"We now know that only a complete rethinking will enable us to make the changes we so urgently require. Jay Earley provides his own overview in ways which help us see the sweep of change and some of the necessities of the future." -- Robert Theobald, author of The Rapids of Change


Introduction to SUNY series in Constructive Postmodern Thought


I. Introduction

II. The Model of Social Evolution


III. Stage 1: Tribal Hungting Magic

IV. Stage 2: Mythology and the Farming Village

V. Stage 3: The Warrior State

VI. Evolutionary Driving Forces

VII. The Evolution of Oppression

VIII. Stage 4: Universal Religion and Philosophy

IX. Stage 5: The Modern Era


X. The Ecological Crisis

XI. The Population Explosion

XII. Markets Not Communities

XIII. Loss of Meaning and Vitality


XIV. Overview of the Model

XV. Cooperation and Democratic Economics

XVI. Culture and Gender

XVII. Ecological Economics and Population

XVIII. The Evolution of Consciousness

XIX. Conscious Participation

XX. The Social Realm

XXI. Position Analysis

XXII. Everyone Has a Part to Play


XXIII. Social and General Evolution

XXIV. Global Consciousness

XXV. Conclusion

Note on Centers and About the Author



About the Author:

Jay Earley is a psychotherapist with doctoral degrees in Psychology and Computer Science. He is the author of Inner Journeys: A Guide to Personal and Social Transformation.

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