The Passion of the Western Mind: Understanding the Ideas that Have Shaped Our World View

By Richard Tarnas

"The so much lucid and concise presentation i've got learn, of the grand traces of what each pupil may still learn about the heritage of Western inspiration. The writing is sublime and consists of the reader with the momentum of a novel... it truly is a noble performance."
--Joseph Campbell, 
author of The Hero with 1000 Faces

Here are the good minds of Western civilization and their pivotal rules, from Plato to Hegel, from Augustine to Nietzsche, from Copernicus to Freud. Richard Tarnas plays the near-miracle of describing profound philosophical ideas easily yet with out simplifying them. Ten years within the making and already hailed as a vintage, the fervour OF THE WESTERN brain is actually a whole liberal schooling in one volume.

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This sort of booklet invitations a undeniable highbrow flexibility—a sympathetic metaphysical mind's eye, a ability for viewing the area in the course of the eyes of guys and girls from different occasions. One needs to in a feeling wipe the slate fresh, try and see issues with out the ease or burden of a preconceived outlook. after all the sort of pristine, malleable mind set can in simple terms be striven for, by no means accomplished. but to aspire to that excellent might be the one most vital prerequisite for an company reminiscent of this. except we can understand and articulate, all alone phrases and with no condescension, sure robust ideals and assumptions that we not think of legitimate or defensible—for instance, the as soon as common conviction that the Earth is the desk bound heart of the cosmos, or the much more enduring tendency between Western thinkers to conceive of and personify the human species in predominantly masculine terms—then we'll fail to appreciate the highbrow and cultural foundations of our personal inspiration. Our consistent problem is to stay trustworthy to the ancient fabric, permitting our current viewpoint to counterpoint, yet now not distort, many of the rules and global perspectives we research. whereas that problem shouldn't be underestimated, i think that this day, for purposes that would turn into transparent within the later chapters of the booklet, we're in a greater place to have interaction this activity with the required highbrow and innovative flexibility than at maybe any time long ago. the subsequent narrative is prepared chronologically in response to the 3 global perspectives linked to the 3 significant eras that experience typically been distinct in Western cultural history—the classical, the medieval, and the fashionable. remember the fact that, any department of heritage into “eras” and “world perspectives” can't in itself do justice to the particular complexity and variety of Western proposal in the course of those centuries. but to debate such an incredible mass of fabric fruitfully, one needs to first introduce a few provisional ideas of association. inside those overarching generalities, we could then larger handle the problems and ambiguities, the inner conflicts and unanticipated alterations that experience by no means ceased to mark the background of the Western brain. we start with the Greeks. It used to be a few twenty-five centuries in the past that the Hellenic international introduced forth that awesome flowering of tradition that marked the sunrise of Western civilization. Endowed with likely primeval readability and creativity, the traditional Greeks supplied the Western brain with what has proved to be a perennial resource of perception, idea, and renewal. smooth technology, medieval theology, classical humanism—all stand deeply of their debt. Greek suggestion used to be as primary for Copernicus and Kepler, and Augustine and Aquinas, as for Cicero and Petrarch. Our mind set continues to be profoundly Greek in its underlying good judgment, lots in order that prior to we will start to take hold of the nature of our personal suggestion, we needs to first glance heavily at that of the Greeks.

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