October 27th, 2005

Books!

Finally done with this one ...

Whew! I don't know how long it's been that I've been plowing through this book (OK, so the OCD made me go searching ... I started reading this in April '04), but it's been a LONG read. As has been the case with 90% of what I've been reading of late, Voices Of The First Day: Awakening In The Aboriginal Dreamtime has been sitting on my shelf for quite a while and seemed to be something that should have been a reasonably quick read, given my interest in the subject matter. Well, it occurred to me several times while enmired in this that some books should come with "warning stickers" to the effect that the author is a loony anti-Western Luddite with pronounced Green Party orientations! No matter how good his research into the Aboriginal life might be, if it's constantly being presented with lurid "we must return to hunter-gatherer ways!" freak-outs, it's likely to irritate most readers! I'll quote one particularly pungent rant:

We are blinded by the delusions that rise from our hollow and rotting social order. It is vain pomposity to believe that humanity can advance while the earth and its native peoples, plants, and animals are enslaved, desecrated, and destroyed. The dream of human origins and destiny as an evolution from monkeys swinging in trees to men in space suits lumbering off to other planets is an adolescent dream of uninitiated men drunk on the power of the cerebral cortex. Unfortunately, the men who maintain this dream are the ones who hold economic, military, and political power today. Whether it be by sociopolitical revolution, economic disaster, or environmental catastrophes, the overturning of this power is the only hope for the earth. The change must occur while there is still time to nurture the seed and to prepare ourselves inwardly for the dream of regeneration."
Quite a sidetrack for a book that is supposed to be an in-depth look at the Aboriginal culture and spirituality. Needless to say, the author has some very specific axes to grind, most of which (if you figure out what he is ultimately proposing) involve the elimination of billions of people in order to enable what he frames as a "dream of regeneration"!

Not that the book was useless, mind you ... I found several fascinating bits which dove-tailed both with my Shamanic studies and my readings in advanced theories of Physics and Biology. It's just that, well, it kept coming back to tantrums over how the author felt the rest of the human race should live (in small hunter-gatherer bands, with no technology or visible culture). Now, if you're a fan of the Green Party's lunatic fringe (although I don't suppose most folks who read my journal are likely to fit that profile!), this book would no doubt make you wet your pants. For the rest of you, unless you have a very specific interest in Aboriginal Anthropology (which does, of course, get a decent share of these 391 pages), I'd say steer clear ... the book may have its redeeming qualities, but it's a bit like trying to get directions from the booze-crazed wino on the corner ... the information might not be worth putting up with the presenter!


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