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Paperback Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View Book

ISBN: 0452288592

ISBN13: 9780452288591

Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View

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Book Overview

A groundbreaking book that explores how astrology can inform our understanding of the events that have shaped our world--the inspiration for the docuseries Changing of the Gods.In these pages, distinguished philosopher and cultural historian Richard Tarnas traces the connection between cosmic cycles and archetypal patterns of human experience. Based on thirty years of meticulous research, and on thinkers from Plato to Jung, Cosmos and Psyche explores...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

An amazing book

Richard Tarnas is a very special author. He has an open and original approach to his subject matter, and the reader is richly rewarded. I have to admit that I have long been skeptical of astrology as a serious discipline, and felt it had too many inconsistencies, lacked a collegial agreement on the various meanings and interpretations of natal charts and transits, and was inadequately predictive. Tarnas, however, shows with a series of cases, that there seems to be "something going on" with the hard aspects of certain outer planets, specifically Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, when compared to the lives and contributions of individuals, and the patterns of history. This overlay of astrological data upon human history is what has been needed to help make the case that there is some kind of relationship that animates the old expression, "as above, as below." I think Tarnas is incredibly brave and innovative to present this thesis of astrological influence. Naturally, much more needs to be considered to explore the nature of this phenomenon. Tarnas has, however, given us a compellingly rational framework for this exploration. I look forward to more from him, and others, on this intriguing subject.

sensing the animation of the cosmos

I use this book in the graduate courses I teach (theories of depth psych, qualitative research) and am glad to recommend it as an exciting look at an emerging paradigm, one in which human beings use quantitative AND qualitative tools to listen in on our living surroundings. For people who feel drawn to astrology but put off by its vulgar forms, particularly the pre-Enlightenment notion that the stars exert some kind of causal force on human doings, this book offers a synchronistic way of holding the entire topic, one that connects world transits (those of the slow-moving outer planets) and historical events in stunning patterns of significance too important to overlook. For a contemporary example, think of the Saturn-Pluto alignment just ending: rigidity, contraction, and Saturn's cannibalistic appetite for innocence given extra punch by the Plutonic underworld. This alignment occurred during the start of both World Wars, the start of the Cold War, the rise of fascist movements all over the world, and the bombing of the World Trade Center and the subsequent paranoia and militarization. Professor Tarnas piles on the parallels, but he must to make his point: that such correlations must be seen interpretively, symbolically, and metaphorically. This is a qualitative approach, and yes, it is scientific: science as hermeneutics and participatory inquiry. As Abraham Maslow remarked, if the given data don't fit a type of science that only counts and measures, then so much the worse for that view of science. Tarnas's idea of diachrony is particularly powerful: the idea that events occurring during one world transit develop during all the following ones. The implication is that something at the archetypal level of being is evolving--but evolving in ways discernible in human culture.

A superb, tour de force

Don't let the references to astrology in the other reviews turn you off toward reading this book. I am not particularly interested in astrology, and yet I found this book to be a breath taking, far ranging analysis of where Western culture and history have come from, where it is now, and where it is going. I have been looking for a book that could explain the spiritual dimensions of how, and why, the world has been forever changed. It is not simply a matter of having more technology today than we did 50 years ago. This goes back to the paradigm shift in how reality was viewed as the result of Copernicus' resurrection of ancient Greek philosophical theories of the Universe and our place in it. This book provides a well written, engrossing account of this story and how we got where we are today...and where we are going! Highly recommended!

I'm Convinced

When I read Tarnas' first book, "The Passion of The Western Mind," I was incredibly impressed by the depth of his insight, especially in the Epilogue, which expressed a whole constellation of profound ideas concerning the dialectical progression of world views and the relationship of self and world that I (and probably many others) had been blindly groping towards but had neither the breadth of knowledge nor the integrative power to articulate. In those thirty pages, Tarnas managed to formulate not only a tenable, but a rigorously convincing theory of how the subject-object dichotomy and the disenchantment of the cosmos (which he renders intelligible as the necessary price that we have paid for the individuation of the modern human subject) can be overcome. Since then, through years of study and thought, I have gone back to that Epilogue many times, always impressed, not only by the unique depth and clarity of the insights expressed therein, but by those insights' applicability to a vast number of unresolved intellectual and practical issues that constellate our current, postmodern world view. After reading "Passion," I did some research on Tarnas and I discovered that he was interested in astrology. At first, I was disappointed that the man who had written "Passion" could believe in something as obviously naive and ridiculous as astrology. However, after reading several elegant and rigorously reasoned essays Tarnas had written about archetypal astrology, I was forced to reconsider my position. Over the next few years, I bought several books on astrology, and I found them to be interesting, though I remained unconvinced since the philosophical arguments contained in the books that I read (when they bothered at all) were generally cursory and unsophisticated. Over the last few months, I have been waiting for "Cosmos and Psyche" with a mixture of excitement and trepidation, hoping that it would live up to the enormous promise of "Passion" while fearing that Tarnas might have gone a way that I could not follow. However, I have just finished reading "Cosmos and Psyche" and it surpasses all of my expectations. I think it can be safely said, without exaggeration, that this book could initiate a global transformation of world views on the level of the transformations initiated by Copernicus, Darwin, and Freud. Not only is the argument the clearest, the most rigorous, and the most inspired feat of sustained philosophical inquiry I have ever read, but the sheer volume of the evidence that Tarnas presents blasted away the last lingering shreds of skepticism I had been holding onto. Anyone who reads this book will be stunned by the synchronistic (not mechanistically causal) correlations of events in human history with the movements of the planets. There are too many of these incredible revelations to list here. Just read the book. Even if you're ultimately unconvinced, which I find highly unlikely assuming that you're willing to question all o

Stunning Visionary History: infectiously readable!

Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View by Richard Tarnas (Viking) Students of Carl Jung and astrologers will find Tarnas's new work an extension of their own cultural psychology of cycles. To what degree the skeptical majority will be willing to read this large work and suspend of their skepticism long enough to seriously entertain Tarnas's correlations and conclusions is another matter altogether. Much as in his previous work, The Passion of the Western Mind, Tarnas has a gift for global statements and pattern-recognition often missed in less far-reaching histories. Essentially this work is an account of the postmodern mind or the cultural formation of self within the last 500 years with an eye towards the future. The book brims with intense learning, literary history, social movements, philosophical schools, scientific trends, business and economic inclinations, scientific developments, environmental changes in particulars are woven together in to decipherable patterns of cyclic development. Readers of Joseph Campbell's Masks of God will find in Tarnas a fuller account of modern creative mythology, often disguised in our world as history and ideology, science and religion. Like his preceding work, this volume is a work of speculative history as corresponding to the long cycles of the outer planets such as Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. These 20 and 30 some odd year cycles offer a grid for Tarnas to notice uncanny correspondences between historical and cultural events in our globalized world which seems to demonstrate a collective unconscious and a human consciousness that will continue to change in profound and essentially unpredictable but radical ways in the future. Tarnas recognizes that we live in a time of incredible cultural and scientific ferment that will radically remake what human beings are and can do in the near futures. These times are fraught with great danger and great promise. Even if one is unwilling to seriously entertain the correspondences between astrological planetary cycles and world-historical events, the book is inspiring because of the way the author sees how we can grasp hold of our future and ride the cycles much as a surfer rides a wave. In many ways Tarnas' study represents one of the most sustained arguments for pattern and predictability in historical processes. One that may set historians on edge because it almost seems to be saying that noticing the cycles of the outer planets can reveal deep patterns of correspondence in terrestrial events. However one responds to this organizing claim in this study, Tarnas has created a great visionary historical work that will influence many, not only in the new age counterculture but also in the business entrepreneurial world of creative innovation and social engineering. If for no other reason, this work has importance as a continuation of Carl Jung's cultural psychology of archetypes and how they can be applied to the interpretation of contemporary ev
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