The Passionate Mind Revisited: Expanding Personal and Social Awareness

The Passionate Mind Revisited: Expanding Personal and Social Awareness

by Joel Kramer, Diana Alstad


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The Passionate Mind Revisited takes readers on a liberating inner journey into the workings of their mind that can transform the way people look at themselves and the world. This expanded inquiry reflects the authors’ own and the world’s evolution since The Passionate Mind came out in 1974. The original book focusing on the individual is now extended to social and philosophical spheres and global challenges, exploring how the world’s life-threatening dramas are largely a function of people’s genetic and cultural conditioning, worldviews, beliefs, and values.

Kramer and Alstad assert that humanity is on an evolutionary cusp requiring further awareness and conscious social evolution. Worldviews can create rigid beliefs and narrow identities that are destructive in a world of global impact. While acknowledging the fallibility of any mental construction, the book offers an evolutionary worldview deemed more likely than traditional worldviews or scientific materialism.

In exploring what it is to be a human social animal, The Passionate Mind Revisited offers fresh vantage points on life’s core issues: the nature of thought, authority and belief, pleasure and pain, desire and fear, identity, love and care, freedom, power, gender, time, meditation, violence, and evolution. By demonstrating how to inwardly see and break through one’s conditioning, the authors delve deeply into the nature and processes of the mind, including how subjectivity filters perception. This approach to self-inquiry can help free people from mechanical responses that develop from unexamined beliefs and habits. Dysfunctional worldviews and their values inhibit the creative solutions much needed in a perilous world of runaway change. This book, through its discussion and methodology, fosters curiosity and truth-seeking. Kramer and Alstad offer new insights on personal and global issues that can facilitate a necessary shift to conscious social evolution.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781556438073
Publisher: North Atlantic Books
Publication date: 07/14/2009
Edition description: Original
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 964,235
Product dimensions: 6.12(w) x 9.02(h) x 1.09(d)

About the Author

Joel Kramer and Diana Alstad are co-authors of The Passionate Mind Revisited: Expanding Personal and Social Awareness (2009) as well as of The Guru Papers: Masks of Authoritarian Power. They have written and taught together since 1974 on evolution, spirituality, relationships, values, awareness, yoga, and social issues. Visit their website at

Joel Kramer, the author of The Passionate Mind, did post-graduate work in philosophy and psychology and was a resident teacher at Esalen Institute (1968–1970). He is a pioneer and legend of modern American yoga whose evolutionary vision of yoga freed it from its authoritarian roots, re-visioning it for the West.

Diana Alstad, a Woodrow Wilson Fellow, received a doctorate from Yale University in 1971. She taught in the humanities and initiated and taught the first Women’s Studies courses at Yale and Duke. She envisioned the Yoga of Relationship and developed it with Kramer.

Table of Contents

1. Authority
2. Belief (Commentary: Being Better Believers)
3. Pleasure & Desire (Commentary: Pleasure & Power)
4. Fear
5. Freedom (Commentary: Whose Life Is Sacred?)
6. Images (Commentary: From Images to Identity)
7. Love (Commentary: Love and Care)
8. Time (Commentary: It’s About Time)
9. Meditation (Commentary: Control Through Surrender)
10. Evolution (Commentary: Intelligence Without Design)

Chapter Commentary Descriptions:

2. Belief’s “Being Better Believers” investigates the relation between beliefs and worldviews, values, identity, violence, certainty, and relativism.
3. Pleasure & Desire’s “Pleasure & Power” looks at the relation of our genetic conditioning to manipulation, consumerism, predation, and the two faces of power.
4. Freedom’s “Whose Life is Sacred?” elucidates the two-gendered, intertwined, out-of-control explosions fueling each other: overpopulation in the female sphere of reproduction; and destruction (violence and short-sighted over-production) in the male sphere of production and killing.
6. Images’ “From Images to Identity” shows how self-images can harden into narrow, rigid identities that fragment the world.
7. Love’s “Love & Care” distinguishes between the two, showing care’s uniqueness and special importance for the social arena.
8. Time’s “It’s About Time” reveals quandaries in the ideal of "being in the now" by examining time within different worldviews, and presenting the authors’ worldview and view of time. It offers a rigorous critique of the “Be here now,” “power of now” ideal and mentality, showing how destructive it can be for humanity's survival. The past (causality) and especially the future (consequences) need to be taken more into account—not less.
9. Meditation’s “Control Through Surrender” reveals how “spiritual” practices can be their own form of mental conditioning, and distinguishes between mechanical techniques and a meditative frame of mind.
10. Evolution’s “Intelligence Without Design” approaches the “intelligent design vs. scientific materialism” controversy over evolution from a totally different perspective, by offering a more likely worldview than either.

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