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Cosmos and Psyche


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About the Author

Richard Tarnas is a Harvard-educated historian and professor of philosophy and psychology, and the author of The Passion of the Western Mind. He is the founding director of the Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness graduate studies program at the California Institute of Integral Studies, and also teaches on the faculty of Pacifica Graduate Institute.


In this sequel to The Passion of the Western Mind, Tarnas (philosophy, cosmology, & consciousness, California Inst. of Integral Studies) opens with an overview of the "modern self," paying special attention to the impact of the Copernican revolution. He then begins a discussion of the psychological aspects of this modern self, building up to Carl Jung's analysis of the phenomenon of synchronicity. This discussion serves as the springboard for the rest of the book: cosmological archetypes and the principles of astrology. Tarnas cites an abundance of examples drawn from historical individuals, cultural eras, political events and revolutions, scientific discoveries, literary developments, and artistic innovations that correspond to various planetary alignments. He persuasively argues that a logical shift on the order of the Copernican revolution is necessary in order for modern individuals to analyze better the past and present (and to some extent the future). At times, however, the material seems to do little more than summarize planetary alignments and corresponding events. If nothing else, Tarnas succeeds in pointing out overwhelming coincidences that will undoubtedly be difficult for readers to disregard. Recommended for medium and large collections.-Jason Moore, Madison Cty. Lib. Syst., MS Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

"Breathtaking in the scope and scale of its vision, this extraordinary book shatters our cosmological assumptions . . . Spellbinding, eloquent, compelling."--Christopher Bache, professor of philosophy and religious studies, Youngstown State University

"Majestic, sweeping, and profounda This will be a book for the ages."--William Van Dusen Wishard, author of Between Two Ages: The 21st Century and the Crisis of Meaning

According to Tarnas, acclaimed author of The Passion of the Western Mind, history is on the verge of a major shift, comparable to the one wrought by Copernicus and Galileo, but a seemingly antiscientific one: an astrological turn that can only be understood thorough chronicling planetary alignments as they correlate to the rise of the modern mind over the last 500 years. Understanding planetary alignments, for Tarnas, is crucial to the world's future and requires "a genuine dialogue" with the cosmos, by "opening ourselves more fully" to "the other," to ancient and indigenous epistemologies, even "to other forms of life, other modes of the universe's self-disclosure." Filled with philosophical, religious, literary and scientific thinking ranging from Luther and Kepler through Hemingway and even Hitchcock and Dylan, Tarnas's book is not only sweeping in subject but dense and sometimes painfully slow going. It requires at once a strong background in the history of modern thought, an advanced knowledge of astrology, a willingness to withhold skepticism about the role of planetary alignments of the past in understanding life today and the avoidance of imminent world catastrophe. Tarnas's call to redefine what we consider as "legitimate knowledge" will resonate in some sectors, but it will be a tough sell with the more scientifically hardheaded. (Jan. 23) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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