Jessenoah's Reviews > Earth in Mind: On Education, Environment, and the Human Prospect

Earth in Mind by David W. Orr
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Feb 05, 08

Recommended for: teachers and ecological refugees
Read in January, 2005

A must read for teachers and humans of all sorts, but especially teachers and anyone who wonders why they feel like a displaced person, despite a pleasant home and comfortable life. This one is a good kick in the ass. The book takes a critical look at the many myths of education, examines the values we're (not)taught in school, and how that plays out in grow up world. lots of thoughts on placelessness, the perversions that are science, rational thought, and modern existence, and more!

I read this in a hammock under a palapa on the beach in southern mexico while waiting for tides to shift. My favorite quote in the book is from an alcoholic dead beat dad turned trappist monk, namely Thomas Merton, to the effect of "Be anything you like, be madmen, drunks, and bastards of every shape and form, but at all costs avoid one thing: success" (11).
Then the author goes on to talk about how the world has plenty of "successful" people, and what it needs now are peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers of every kind. plus people who live well in their place. i love that one.

Thomas Merton also describes the education system as the "mass production of people literally unfit for anything except to take part in an elaborate and completely artificial charade." good one THomas! (He was later electrocuted in a bathtub while engaging in spiritual tourism in India.) Yes I am a cynical bastard. But I do like to think Thomas would approve of my knack for successlessness.

Another good quote is from gary snyder, who describes the true ecological criminals, who "make unimaginably large sums of money, people impeccably groomed, excellently educated at the best universities-male and female alike-eating fine foods and reading classy literature, while orchestrating the investment and legislation that ruin the world"(17). Ouch! Harsh words, but right on. Gary is my Hero.

The main thing I didn't like in this book was how David Orr goes off on Woody Allen for being a biophobe. i didn't find this line of thought to be very productive. plus i really like woody allen movies. especially annie hall. another downside is that the book is a collection of essays which tend to be repetitive. the first four will do you well.

if anyone wants to read this you can borrow it but be forewarned I do draw stars lines and arrows in the margins.

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