Passages About Earth

Thompson, William Irwin

From ample but largely gloomy evidence of rapid social change — future shock, ecological disruption, population explosion, proliferation of information — Thompson draws a startling conclusion: "We are the climactic generation of human cultural evolution." Man, he asserts, will now either slide back into a new Dark Age or evolve into a higher, more spiritual being. Which way will we go? The author opts for evolution. While such optimism is as welcome as it is rare these days, it is largely based on mysticism and intimations of a "new planetary culture," which Thompson shares with Philosopher Teilhard de Chardin and Science-Fiction Writer Arthur C. Clarke. This is thin epistemological ice even for a skater as fast as Thompson. Indeed, incredulous readers may drop the book after the first reference to "our lost cosmological orientation." That would be a mistake. Agree with it or not, Passages is always fascinating, a magical mystery tour of man's potential

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