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Nature and Madness

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  90 ratings  ·  6 reviews
Through much of history our relationship with the earth has been plagued by ambivalence--we not only enjoy and appreciate the forces and manifestations of nature, we seek to plunder, alter, and control them. Here Paul Shepard uncovers the cultural roots of our ecological crisis and proposes ways to repair broken bonds with the earth, our past, and nature. Ultimately encour ...more
Paperback, 200 pages
Published April 1st 1998 by University of Georgia Press (first published October 12th 1982)
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Richard Reese
Mar 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Paul Shepard wrote Nature and Madness to explore a perplexing question: “Why do men persist in destroying their habitat?” Shepard came to the conclusion that modern European-American culture was damaged by a long process of psychological deterioration.

Obviously, modern consumers live and think in a manner that is radically different from our wild ancestors who lived relatively sustainably. This change wasn’t the result of freaky genetic mutations or the normal process of evolution. We still have
Aug 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
Are we relying on future generations to solve our environmental crises and/or our broken relationship with nature? ....while at the same time influencing those same generations to adopt cultural values and attitudes which work against this reliance? Paul Shepard addresses this and other things in his excellent book.
Libby Friede
Nov 16, 2017 rated it liked it
cool ideas but felt academic in the bad way
Dec 20, 2019 rated it did not like it
I honestly could not understand this book. I read quite a bit of academic work on the subject of ecology, but this book had me going "what just happened?" at the end of every paragraph. The author seems to be making some comparison between human developmental stages and the cultural evolution of western economies... I think?! Check out this book if you enjoy the experience of zoning out as someone pedantic mansplains at you at a party. ...more
Dec 20, 2015 rated it liked it
I skimmed. Kind of a lot. Call me unsophisticated, but at this stage in my reading life, I'll own it: I found the writing fairly cumbersome and distracting. I don't mind working through confusion, but when I find myself stopping and going back to count a string of prepositional phrases out of passive curiosity, I know that's not where I want my attention to be. Yes, there are important and powerful ideas here. And I felt like most of them weren't particularly new to me. The work is explicitly an ...more
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Sep 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Such an important book. Great. Love it.
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