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David Lewis-Williams's previous book, The Mind in the Cave, dealt with the remarkable Upper Palaeolithic paintings, ...
David Lewis-Williams's previous book, The Mind in the Cave, dealt with the remarkable Upper Palaeolithic paintings, carvings, and engravings of western Europe. Here Dr. Lewis-Williams and David Pearce examine the intricate web of belief, myth, and society in the succeeding Neolithic period, arguably the most significant turning point in all human history, when agriculture became a way of life and the fractious society that we know today was born.
The authors focus on two contrasting times and places: the beginnings in the Near East, with its mud-brick and stone houses each piled on top of the ruins of another, and western Europe, with its massive stone monuments more ancient than the Egyptian pyramids.
They argue that neurological patterns hardwired into the brain help explain the art and society that Neolithic people produced. Drawing on the latest research, the authors skillfully link material on human consciousness, imagery, and religious concepts to propose provocative new theories about the causes of an ancient revolution in cosmology and the origins of social complexity. In doing so they create a fascinating neurological bridge to the mysterious thought-lives of the past and reveal the essence of a momentous period in human history. 100 illustrations, 20 in color.
|1||The revolutionary Neolithic||13|
|2||The consciousness contract||37|
|3||Seeing and building a cosmos||60|
|4||Close encounters with a built cosmos||88|
|5||Domesticating wild nature||123|
|6||Treasure the dream whatever the terror||149|
|7||The mound in the dark grove||169|
|8||Bru na Boinne||198|
|9||Religion de profundis||250|
|10||East is east and west is west||281|
Posted August 28, 2009
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Pearce has written a very compelling work arguing that certain common threads in the Neolithic experience and belief systems from Asia to Europe (and beyond) are, in fact, the result of altered states of consciousness common to all humans.
However, when I read this, to me the conclusion to be drawn from his evidence is more likely a far different one: cultural diffusion.
And if that is, in fact, the case, then he's onto something far more substantive and earth-shattering than he apparently realizes...
Posted July 19, 2012
No text was provided for this review.