Pdf kindle The Spell of the Sensuous Perception and Language in a More Than Human World by David Abram

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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. In Chinese medicine disease is defined as that which goes against the Breath of Nature Bian Hua 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 inherently tied to the land as hunter gatherers to survive they were reuired to follow the laws of nature and the land that they inhabited With the advent of agriculture and the ability to store surplus grain and conseuently generate wealth a separation arose No longer did man have to toil day in and day out for food and his survival but with smart farming techniues and the eventual domestication of grain the wealthy could pursue intellectual pursuits the creation of the aleph beth emerged as a technology that could transmit some of these intellectual constructsAbram discusses the conseuences of this gradual transformation from oral to written culture as a divorce from the embodied sensorial experience of time space to a domain that is referent only to the human domain Only with the emergence of the phonetic alphabet and its appropriation by the ancient Greeks from the Hebrews who consciously did not encase the majestic air as written vowels did the written images lose all evident ties to the larger field of expressive beings Each image now came to have a strictly human referent each letter was now associated purely with a gesture or sound of the human mouth p138 italicized comments mine Instead of seeing language in everything around us the birds the wind the trees the earth itself encapsulating speech into written words divides humans from the very world in which we depend on for our well being The written word is no longer a transient mutating form but a fixed non breathing non living reference to be analyzed discussed and returned to for all time In short the written word divides us from nature because it is in and of itself completely unnatural simply a construction a technological advancement of the human mindWhen I go to write something down I do so to preserve the present moment so that in some future time it can again be accessed But my words no matter how poetic or successful at describing some part of a scene or mood must fail to express the entirety of the scene The pure infinite nature of the present is incapable of being recorded in this linear discrete fashion exported into the future to be re experienced So language itself and written language even so is limitedBesides the wealth generation of agriculture the invention of the phonetic written word can be seen as the grandmother of the technologies we enjoy today But these technologies come at a price Because they are invented for humans instead of for the world in which humans live using these inventions inherently reinforces this division In this way man can then manipulate the environment for his gain Thus man is not reuired to observe much less follow the breath of nature Sometimes we do follow the breath and we are healthy and vibrant But often we go against the breath and we develop diseases that ultimately kill usAbrams describes the healer s role in shamanic cutures existing at the edge of society constantly nourishing the border between human beings and the other beings the animate and seemingly inanimate creatures of nature For it is through this membrane that nature communicates with us and where the answers lie to cure disease and live in the balance that is necessary to sustain life The Many Lives of Fitzwilliam Darcy viewed themselves as part of the wider community of nature and they carried on. In Chinese medicine disease is defined as that which goes against the Breath of Nature Bian Hua 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 inherently tied to the land as hunter gatherers to survive they were reuired to follow the laws of nature and the land that they inhabited With the advent of agriculture and the ability to store surplus grain and conseuently generate wealth a separation arose No longer did man have to toil day in and day out for food and his survival but with smart farming techniues and the eventual domestication of grain the wealthy could pursue intellectual pursuits the creation of the aleph beth emerged as a technology that could transmit some of these intellectual constructsAbram discusses the conseuences of this gradual transformation from oral to written culture as a divorce from the embodied sensorial experience of time space to a domain that is referent only to the human domain Only with the emergence of the phonetic alphabet and its appropriation by the ancient Greeks from the Hebrews who consciously did not encase the majestic air as written Complete Amber Sourcebook vowels did the written images lose all evident ties to the larger field of expressive beings Each image now came to have a strictly human referent each letter was now associated purely with a gesture or sound of the human mouth p138 italicized comments mine Instead of seeing language in everything around us the birds the wind the trees the earth itself encapsulating speech into written words divides humans from the Jadę sobie. Azja. Przewodnik dla podróżujących kobiet very world in which we depend on for our well being The written word is no longer a transient mutating form but a fixed non breathing non living reference to be analyzed discussed and returned to for all time In short the written word divides us from nature because it is in and of itself completely unnatural simply a construction a technological advancement of the human mindWhen I go to write something down I do so to preserve the present moment so that in some future time it can again be accessed But my words no matter how poetic or successful at describing some part of a scene or mood must fail to express the entirety of the scene The pure infinite nature of the present is incapable of being recorded in this linear discrete fashion exported into the future to be re experienced So language itself and written language even so is limitedBesides the wealth generation of agriculture the invention of the phonetic written word can be seen as the grandmother of the technologies we enjoy today But these technologies come at a price Because they are invented for humans instead of for the world in which humans live using these inventions inherently reinforces this division In this way man can then manipulate the environment for his gain Thus man is not reuired to observe much less follow the breath of nature Sometimes we do follow the breath and we are healthy and Sweet Alien (Reestrian Mates, vibrant But often we go against the breath and we develop diseases that ultimately kill usAbrams describes the healer s role in shamanic cutures existing at the edge of society constantly nourishing the border between human beings and the other beings the animate and seemingly inanimate creatures of nature For it is through this membrane that nature communicates with us and where the answers lie to cure disease and live in the balance that is necessary to sustain life

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

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. 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 articulate the intense sadness and sense of loss I and others feel about humanity s disconnection from our fellow animals and our home planet was enormously validating Abram serves the role of a shaman an intermediary between the natural world and the spiritual world he is a scholar a poet a storyteller a trickster and a visionary These are uestions I ve asked myself for a long time Why do I passionately love the natural world yet feel so apart from it even when I am in its midst What is this barrier between my mind and the rest of the sentient world How is it that animals fully inhabit themselves and this world while I feel so detached so in my head so strangely un present Why do I feel broken not whole The Spell of the Sensuous revealed many answers answers that feel profoundly true This book is a synthesis of the scholarly and poetic the factual and a passionate call to action The evolution of thought concerning perception and language were interesting but what I found enthralling were his conclusions My copy of this book is full of underlinings on dog earred pages On almost every page I found soul level nourishment Just one of many thoughts that helped me begin healing from that terrible separation we have wrought we are situated in the land in much the same way that characters are situated in a storyalong with the other animals the stones the trees and the clouds we ourselves are characters within a huge story that is visibly unfolding all around us participants within the vast imagination or Dreaming of the worldDavid Abram has inspired me to start my own wild honoring blog to become part of that wider conversation And I truly believe that our collective consciousness is undergoing a shift and that David Abram is one of its leading voices

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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. 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 that complete themselves only through active relationships with nature There is in other words a visceral circuit of energy with the world and it is this that gives us meaning and a sense of engagement and fulfillment So far so good But then in a somewhat complicated argument Abram goes on to argue that humans increasingly abstracted themselves from nature through language transforming nature into something that was external because we were no longer integrated with it To put it bluntly the alphabet removed us deterministically from nature Along with this linguistic argument Abram references magical and native cultural practices to illustrate how indigenous peoples not us remain true to nature Abram denies that his thesis involves a going back and acknowledges that other factors are relevant as well Despite his denial the book nevertheless has the feel of a return to nature as his thesis is that we become impoverished when nature becomes less This is a point of debate His book idealizes indigenous man and suggests that all of the modern conveniences of life health leisure etc somehow are not or should not be desired by indigenous cultures From the outside looking in that may be easy to say These conveniences also may be the very reason developed societies are removed from nature Simply put these societies unlike native societies are no longer so dependent on nature for survival and well being This not language may provide the stronger argument about why our direct engagement with nature has become less relevant Whether our move from the world of magic to science is good or bad remains however a fair debate and Abram offers some provacative and helpful insights


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 w

  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

  3. says:

    The book has two significant flaws1 Abram is far too uick to succumb to reducing Judeo Christian sensibilities to

  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 articulate the intense sadness and sense of loss I and others feel about humanity's disconnection from our fellow animals and our ho

  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 o

  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 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 phi

  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 T

  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 phen

  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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