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Active relationships not only with other people with other animals plants and natural objects including mountains rivers winds and weather patters 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 relation with the breathing earthIn The Spell of the Sensuous David Abram draws on sources as diverse as the philosophy of Merleau Ponty Balinese shamanism Apache storyte. Can t say how much I enjoyed reading this This is one of those books where you feel continuously enlightened as you move through it s wondrous realms of experience and ancestral wisdom I highly recommend to anyone interested in moving beyond atheism into a spirituality that makes much sense pun not intended but well appreciated Recommended for anyone interested in indigenous cultures and animism in general and people who follow anti civ philosophy but have not yet examined spirituality The Accidental Activist only with Smoke and Mirrors Short Fiction and Illusions other people with Brenda has a dragon in her blood other animals plants and natural Divan Of Rudaki objects including mountains rivers winds and weather patters that we have Choice Stories for Children only lately come to think Öbür Divan 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 relation with the breathing earthIn The Spell Summary of Homo Deus of the Sensuous David Abram draws Koldbrann - parte 1: Rebeldes on sources as diverse as the philosophy The Teams Milking Cow of Merleau Ponty Balinese shamanism Apache storyte. Can t say how much I enjoyed reading this This is Via Suez (British): Blue Funnel Line (Merchant Navy Series Book 3) of those books where you feel continuously enlightened as you move through it s wondrous realms Zenith of experience and ancestral wisdom I highly recommend to anyone interested in moving beyond atheism into a spirituality that makes much sense pun not intended but well appreciated Recommended for anyone interested in indigenous cultures and animism in general and people who follow anti civ philosophy but have not yet examined spirituality

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The Spell of the Sensuous Perception and Language in a More Than Human World

Winner of the International Lannan Literary Award for NonfictionAnimal tracks word magic the speech of stones the power of letters and the taste of the wind all figure prominently in this intellectual tour de force that returns us to our senses and to the sensuous terrain that sustains us This major work of ecological philosophy startles the senses out of habitual ways of perceptionFor a thousand generations human beings viewed themselves as part of the wider community of nature and they carried on. I had the wonderful opportunity to meet David Abram on a number of occasions while living in Santa Fe My poetry professor was having us read this book partly because David Abram was a personal friend of his and partly because the book is just remarkable on a thousand different levels It has a poetry to it to be sure but no other phrase works uite as well as Spell Binding when describing this book It s wordy you can t read it in one sitting like some pulp fiction book But I still found myself engrossed in it even obsessed a little It inspired me and my artwork well when I used to do art so much But however I felt about his book turned out to be just a pale shadow of how I felt about David Abram the man He came to speak to our class not formally just participated in a round table discussion of sorts No one wanted to leave the class As he talked he performed sleight of hand tricks with coins and other such shiny objects which was a very good way to get anyones attention Above all David is a story teller and lives and breathes for stories He reminds us what stories once were and what they can still be This book is not for the weak of heart or the fickle of mind You just have to get it And i think I got it After I read the book i saw David roaming around Santa Fe constantly To be sure SF is a small town and a mountain community that s very tight knit But it was serendipitous to run into him of all people in places like movie theaters bars and book stores all over town as if he was some sort of little gnome turning up in odd places to remind me of something I hope to see him again one day

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Lling and his own experience as an accomplished sleight of hand of 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 On every page of 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. This is not an easy book to review Indeed I m not sure if I ve ever read a book that has left me with uite so much to think about That we in the modern technological world have become disconnected from the natural world is really beyond argument Focusing on language Abram offers a radical approach to an understanding of why this happened and also just a hint at how we can begin to reconnect because it is common sense of course that humankind cannot continue this process of disconnection from its sustaining source indefinitelyHe suggests the adoption of a way of thinking that is in accordance with our senses one that associates truth not with static fact but with a uality of relationship We can only live in truth by living in harmony with the rest of the natural world A civilization that relentlessly destroys the living land it inhabits is not well acuainted with truth regardless of how many supposed facts it has amassed regarding the calculable properties of its worldI refer to Abram s approach as radical because he calls for nothing less than a paradigm shift in our perception of the world around us This resonates with me strongly I have long believed that our sentience is not just to be associated with the self but has to be regarded as continuous with the sentience of the whole living world This is not an easy concept to get across however and it is at this point in his discussion of the philosophical tradition known as phenomenology that the book can get uite difficult We are so familiar with living entirely in our heads that it is nearly impossible to grasp that experience of pure perception before our conceptualising minds internalise it After dealing with the work of the phenomenologists Husserl Heidegger and Merleau Ponty Abram goes on to discuss at length the relationship of our indigenous peoples to the animate world to try to give us some feel for their culture of sensuous participation before the advent of written phonetic languageHe does an incredible job of transporting us into this so very different almost alien world conjuring meaning out of the written word to offer us a glimpse of a world without the written word The rhythm of his writing is such that it reads like poetry than prose It s uite spellbinding And that actually directs us straight to Abram s central thesis that the written word has indeed cast us under a kind of spell He argues that the development of written language has played the key role in cutting us off from our original sensuous bearings isolating the human world from the rest of the earth the than human world to use his own turn of phrase Our language rooted at the very beginning in the fauna and flora of the land and the very air we breathe and evolving over time from pictograms and icons to the phonetic system of abstract symbols that we use today has served to dislocate us from the shapes and sounds and smells of the living earthHaving had a few days to think about this book now I keep revisiting the thought that Abram s writing is so elegant so seductively beautiful that he actually swept me away from my normal reasoning state of mind to the extent that I wasn t willing to uestion his ideas enough I didn t want to break the spell It was almost as if I had indeed succumbed to a kind of magicWith a little perspective I can now say that I m not entirely convinced that a story read can be that different from a story heard in terms of the way that the language and ideas are processed But this is really not to take anything away from the book If I was forced to come up with one word to describe it then that would be audacious It s not often a book makes you uestion your very deepest assumptions There is so much wonderful insight here into the nature of perception the almost lost culture of our aboriginal peoples the story of the evolution of written language that I can thoroughly recommend it uite independently of the extent to which I buy into Abram s main thesisIt is uite simply an audaciously good readPS Blogging at Goodreads here


10 thoughts on “The Spell of the Sensuous Perception and Language in a More Than Human World

  1. says:

    I had the wonderful opportunity to meet David Abram on a number of occasions while living in Santa Fe My poetry professor was having us read this book partly because David Abram was a personal friend of his and partly becaus

  2. says:

    In Chinese medicine disease is defined as that which goes against the Breath of Nature Bian Hua變化 This statement begs the uestion If human disease is that which goes against the breath how are we going against the breath? Or specifically how did we get to this point of widespread cancer diabetes heart disease obesity allergies and depression? David Abram's Spell of the Sensuous offers some important insightOnce upon a time humans were i

  3. says:

    The book has two significant flaws1 Abram is far too uick to succumb to reducing Judeo Christian sensibilities to the villainous role here In doing so he's exacerbating the dialectic gulf he's making otherwise noteworthy leaps toward bridging I had a hunch he'd be headed down this path though when he summarily

  4. says:

    My reaction to this book—and even so to Abram's later book Becoming Animal An Earthly Cosmology—is akin to the gratitude of a drowning person toward he who tosses her a lifeline To have someone so lyrically a

  5. says:

    Wow David Abrams covers enormous ground delving into philosophy cultural anthropology the environment phenomenology and spirituality I read this book in NYC and it helped convince me as did 911 to leave the city for an island off the coast of M

  6. says:

    Can't say how much I enjoyed reading this This is one of those books where you feel continuously enlightened as you move through it's wondrou

  7. says:

    Welcome to the 1990's Bill Clinton is president the budget is balanced Dances with Wolves is the #1 movie houses are stucco and turuoise is the new jewelry craze Taking a walkabout through the Spirit of the Sensuous is like taking a walk down the same nature trails of the 90's mind Although it comes upon the reader grad

  8. says:

    This is not an easy book to review Indeed I'm not sure if I've ever read a book that has left me with uite so much to think about That we in the modern technological world have become disconnected from the natural world is really beyond argument Focusing on language Abram offers a radical approach to an understanding of why this happened and also just a hint at how we can begin to reconnect because it is common sense of course that humankin

  9. says:

    Abram starts out strong by providing a fresh perspective about the separation of humans from nature Anchoring his work first in Husserl's phenomenology and then Merleau Ponty's Phenomenology of Perception Abram says that we think about the world than experience it He writes that we are first and foremost physical bodies t

  10. says:

    Probably one of my favorite books in the world a brilliant discussion of language and how humans are deeply cognitively emotionally spiritually connected with the landscape the earth

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