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Book Reviews
Earth Spirit: The Circle of Life is Broken
By: Brendan Myers - Moon Books, $19.95

Description: The “Greening of the Self” didn’t happen, so here in Earth Spirit - The Circle of Life is Broken: An Eco-Spiritual Philosophy of the Climate Crisis by author Brendan Myers, we learn how we can ourselves replace it with a philosophy of complex systems, moral summons, wonder, healing, and love.

Verdict: The Circle of Life is more than the food web. It’s a self-organizing system of global life-cooperation and energy dissipation. Its balance and stability have been taken for granted for millennia. But in the age of the climate crisis, the Circle is breaking down.

From the 1960s onward, philosophers, artists and spiritual teachers promoted the idea of the ‘Green Self’ to help us understand how the Circle works, and how we harm ourselves when we damage it.

But in all that time, the climate crisis only got worse. The “Greening of the Self” didn’t happen. Using the science of ecology and a deep dive into human nature, this book explores what the Circle of Life really is, and what becomes of us when we face it in different ways.

The exploration reveals a deeper eco-spiritual perspective, in which the Immensity of the Earth, and the breakdown of the Circle, are calls to action: to heal the Circle, and to create a better world.

Within both this quite astoundingly astute book and the world itself, as a whole, something important is happening in our world that you are not going to read about in the newspapers.

Personally, I consider it the most fascinating and hopeful development of our time, and it is one of the reasons I am so glad to be alive today. It has to do with what is occurring to the notion of the self.

I won’t bore you with the nuances of what comes next, but suffice to say that the self is the metaphoric construct of identity and agency, the hypothetical piece of turf on which we construct our strategies for survival, the notion around which we focus our instincts for self-preservation, our needs for self-approval, and the boundaries of our self-interest.

But, and as the Myers poignantly points out, something has shifted here within that magical construct, for the conventional notion of the self - with which we have been raised and to which we have been conditioned by mainstream culture - was long ago undermined.

What Alan Watts called the skin-encapsulated ego and Gregory Bateson referred to as the epistemological error of Occidental civilization was systematically unhinged and peeled off, so to speak.

Indeed, it was replaced by wider constructs of identity and self-interest-by what you might call the ecological self or the eco-self, and thus became co-extensive with other beings and the life of our planet. Furthermore, it is what is discussed here by Myers as being termed the “Greening of the Self.”

The premise of the “Greening of the Self” is that we are not individuals separate from the world. Instead we are always co-arising or co-creating the world, and we cannot escape the consequence of what we do to the environment.

And therein lies Myers’ core within this new book, for his innovative writing beautifully demonstrates that where once solely broadening our view of what constitutes self could have easily cut through our dualistic views, bringing forth the emergence of the ecological self, we are now a planet devoid of such opportunities; replacing all those failed, perhaps even untried endeavors with a philosophy of complex systems, moral summons, wonder, healing, and love.

About the Author - Brendan Myers, Ph.D., is originally from a small town in Ontario Canada. In 2006 he earned his Ph.D in philosophy at the National University of Ireland, Galway. Brendan is the author of numerous fiction and nonfiction books, and his work has been featured by Celtic cultural associations, interfaith groups, political activist groups, and humanist societies around the world.

Presently he serves as a professor at Heritage College, in Gatineau, Quebec. He loves fairy tales and space exploration, and he lives in a library next door to a forest.

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