Books

Elements of Pantheism

Paul Harrison (Author)

Do you feel a deep sense of belonging and wonder in a forest or by the ocean? Are you speechless with awe when you see the Milky Way strewn with stars? Do you find it hard to conceive of a divinity separate from the beauty of nature or the power of the universe? Then you are probably a pantheist. The heart of Pantheism is reverence for Nature and the Universe. It offers a vibrant alternative to theism and atheism, with a joyful and accepting approach to life on this earth. Pantheism dates back to the very first Greek philosophers, and was the religious viewpoint of many famous thinkers and artists, including Marcus Aurelius, Spinoza, Wordsworth, Whitman, Emerson, Thoreau, Einstein, and Frank Lloyd Wright. The dominant religious approach of the nineteenth century, pantheism is seeing a modern revival as the underlying world view of the environmental movement, of leading scientists, and of nature-revering paganism. This accessible, clear and authoritative handbook is the only available introduction to the history, theory and practice of Pantheism. “Surely one of the most extraordinary books written in recent years about the subject of religion.” –Dr. Bill Bruehl, Amazon Books

The Sacred Depths of Nature

Ursula Goodenough (Author)

For many of us, the great scientific discoveries of the modern age–the Big Bang, evolution, quantum physics, relativity–point to an existence that is bleak, devoid of meaning, pointless. But in The Sacred Depths of Nature, eminent biologist Ursula Goodenough shows us that the scientific world view need not be a source of despair. Indeed, it can be a wellspring of solace and hope.

This eloquent volume reconciles the modern scientific understanding of reality with our timeless spiritual yearnings for reverence and continuity. Looking at topics such as evolution, emotions, sexuality, and death, Goodenough writes with rich, uncluttered detail about the workings of nature in general and of living creatures in particular. Her luminous clarity makes it possible for even non-scientists to appreciate that the origins of life and the universe are no less meaningful because of our increasingly scientific understanding of them. At the end of each chapter, Goodenough’s spiritual reflections respond to the complexity of nature with vibrant emotional intensity and a sense of reverent wonder.
A beautifully written celebration of molecular biology with meditations on the spiritual and religious meaning that can be found at the heart of science, this volume makes an important contribution to the ongoing dialog between science and religion. This book will engage anyone who was ever mesmerized–or terrified–by the mysteries of existence.

Meditations

Marcus Aurelius (Author)

Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives and destroyed them. Now Penguin brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization, and helped make us who we are.

Leaves of Grass

Walt Whitman (Author)

Leaves of Grass (1855) is a poetry collection by the American poet Walt Whitman. Among the poems in the collection are “Song of Myself,” “I Sing the Body Electric,” and in later editions, Whitman’s elegy to the assassinated President Abraham Lincoln, “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d.” Whitman spent his entire life writing Leaves of Grass, revising it in several editions until his death.

Become What You Are

Alan W. Watts (Author)

“Life exists only at this very moment, and in this moment it is infinite and eternal. For the present moment is infinitely small; before we can measure it, it has gone, and yet it exists forever. . . . You may believe yourself out of harmony with life and its eternal Now; but you cannot be, for you are life and exist Now.”—from Become What You Are 

In this collection of writings, including nine new chapters never before available in book form, Watts displays the intelligence, playfulness of thought, and simplicity of language that has made him so perennially popular as an interpreter of Eastern thought for Westerners. He draws on a variety of religious traditions, and covers topics such as the challenge of seeing one’s life “just as it is,” the Taoist approach to harmonious living, the limits of language in the face of ineffable spiritual truth, and the psychological symbolism of Christian thought.

The Ethics Of Spinoza: The Road to Inner Freedom

Benedict de Spinoza (Author)

Benedict de Spinoza’s Ethics, first published in 1677, constitutes a major systematic critique of the traditional and religious foundations of philosophical thought. In it, Spinoza follows a logical step-by-step format consisting of definitions, axioms, propositions, proofs, and corollaries to create a comprehensive inquiry into the truth about God, nature, and humans’ place within the universe. From these broad metaphysical themes, Spinoza derives what he considered to be the highest principles of religion and society and lays out an ethical system in which reason is the supreme value. A seminal contribution to 17th-century rationalism, Spinoza’s Ethics refutes the dualism of Rene Descartes and provides a bridge between religion and modern-day psychology. This edition is the translation by R. H. M. Elwes.

This Will Make You Smarter: New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking

John Brockman

Featuring a foreword by David Brooks, This Will Make You Smarter presents brilliant—but accessible—ideas to expand every mind.

What scientific concept would improve everybody’s cognitive toolkit? This is the question John Brockman, publisher of Edge.org, posed to the world’s most influential thinkers. Their visionary answers flow from the frontiers of psychology, philosophy, economics, physics, sociology, and more. Surprising and enlightening, these insights will revolutionize the way you think about yourself and the world.

Daniel Kahneman on the “focusing illusion” • Jonah Lehrer on controlling attention • Richard Dawkins on experimentation • Aubrey De Grey on conquering our fear of the unknown • Martin Seligman on the ingredients of well-being • Nicholas Carr on managing “cognitive load” • Steven Pinker on win-win negotiating • Daniel C. Dennett on benefiting from cycles • Jaron Lanier on resisting delusion • Frank Wilczek on the brain’s hidden layers • Clay Shirky on the “80/20 rule” • Daniel Goleman on understanding our connection to the natural world • V. S. Ramachandran on paradigm shifts • Matt Ridley on tapping collective intelligence • John McWhorter on path dependence • Lisa Randall on effective theorizing • Brian Eno on “ecological vision” • Richard Thaler on rooting out false concepts • J. Craig Venter on the multiple possible origins of life • Helen Fisher on temperament • Sam Harris on the flow of thought • Lawrence Krauss on living with uncertainty

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