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Ascent of Humanity
The Evolution of the Human Sense of Self
, by Charles Eisenstein

Read by Lyn Gerry from episodes 461 - 485 and by Robin Upton for episode 674   List of Episodes
* Whole text online
* The entire audiobook (806MB ZIP file)

This is a large book which tackles today's social and environmental troubles on a fundamental level. It addresses the evolution of life as a process of incremental separation from ones environment. Eisenstein traces the modern alienation a looong way back (before protozoa!) and takes a detailed look at what is happening around the world, putting forward an animist view of spirituality that emphasises the fundamental connectedness of all life.

Eisenstein uses a Biblical parallel, likening the human effort to conquer nature to the building of the Tower of Babel. The psychology of previous investment makes it increasingly hard to give up the effort to reach heaven, even as it becomes ever more painful to continue the effort. He looks forward to what he refers to as "the age of reunion", in which technology and human ingenuity is turned to the task of nurturing life and celebrating its difference, spontaneity and chaos, rather than attempting to separate and dissociate ideas and events and thus to bring them under human control.

0. Introduction
  1. The Triumph of Technology
  2. The Origins of Separation
  3. The Way of the World
  4. Money and Property
  5. The World under Control
  6. The Crumbling of Certainty
  7. The Age of Reunion
  8. Self and Cosmos