the ascent of humanity by charles eisenstein–review

In The Ascent of Humanity, Eisenstein’s basic premise is that humanity falsely sees itself as separate from and above nature. This has been going on for millennia, before the dawn of civilization. In fact, Eisenstein traces this separation from nature back to eukaryotes, single-celled organisms with a separate nucleus. But now the problem is ours, exacerbated by the Scientific Revolution.

Or is it a problem? Yes, says Eisenstein, but it is a necessary part of life’s evolution. That doesn’t excuse the human and environmental misery of the last several hundred years, but it gives hope for the next several hundred years, if we survive and if we learn and change. We are not separate from the rest of nature–never were. We just thought we were, and that’s a dangerous illusion which has allowed us to torture and kill others and pump oil and mine for copper and dam rivers and so on.

Eisenstein says we must experience before we learn–he uses the analogy of birth. At first, all is fine and cozy–like the garden of eden. But then the womb starts getting cramped–where we’re at now, a time of transition and great change. It’s time for birth–however, stillbirth is a possibility. Nevertheless, we can’t go back to the womb.

Birthing, going forward, then, we would do well to more closely align with natural processes. He stresses that it’s dangerous, though, to advocate for an idyllic, pre-technological existence. Instead, we must use appropriate technologies based on the cycles of water rather than the linearity of fire (which has been our model for thousands of years). The future, unknown, waits.

You can buy this book or get it at the library or read it online at

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