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In a world racked by violence and conflict, James Redfield and Michael Murphy--leading cocreators of today's spiritual boom--present a message of hope and a vision for the future. It is no accident, they argue, that the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries have witnessed a revolution in new human capacities. Daily we hear and read about supernormal athletic feats; clairvoyant perception; lives transformed by meditative practices; healing through prayer-and we ourselves experience these things. The authors contend that thousands of years of human striving have delivered us to this very moment, in which each act of self-development is creating a new stage in planetary evolution--and the emergence of a human species possessed of vastly expanded potential.
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When is perennial wisdom more perennial than wise? Perhaps when it follows this commonplace opener: "Today we stand poised at a threshold in human history." Popular and prolific author Redfield (The Celestine Prophecy) is teamed here with Esalen Institute cofounder Murphy and documentary filmmaker Timbers. This trio of writers presents the history of human consciousness as an unfolding map of human potential, extrapolating from empirically documented peak human experiences a future norm of sensation and sensibility. An emphasis on empiricism and an 80-plus page annotated bibliography (almost one-quarter of the book) anchor the text; a chapter of exercises provides application. Perhaps the historic framework dwarfs the picture of what is new: it's difficult to discern progress in the argument for forthcoming human advancement in this latest work from writers who have already persuasively or profitably ploughed the ground. It's also difficult to find the God of the title, except as the Divine One who primed the evolutionary pump at its outset and inspired many of the visionaries the authors cite. The text is accessible but dry; Redfield's visionary fiction and Murphy's genre-bending books (e.g., Golf in the Kingdom) offer more fun. The book may be most valuable to those not familiar with the work of Redfield or Murphy; as a synergistic addition to their work, there's not much new. (Jan.) Forecast: The Celestine Prophecy spent more than three years on the New York Times bestseller list, making it one of the hottest spiritual books of the late 20th century. A 13-city author tour should help Redfield (who has an outstanding history in promoting his books directly to readers) and his colleagues sell through their 75,000-copy initial print run. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

The universe, of which the earth and humans are a part, is still evolving. People, however, are so busy living that they are often unaware of that process. Redfield (The Celestine Prophecy) and coauthors Michael Murphy, cofounder of the Esalen Institute, and writer/producer Silvia Timbers aim to make readers more aware of their world and themselves. For those whose knowledge of evolutionary theory is scant, this book provides a good introduction in three parts: "Awakening," which summarizes both Western and Eastern visionary thinkers; "The Emerging Human Being," which explains the new spiritual potential; and "Participating," which looks at the possible outcome of people operating on a superhuman level. The authors point out that evolution is not an even process but one of spurts and jumps, and they present exercises to help readers participate in it more fully, develop psychic abilities, deepen education, work on social transformation, and the like. Now, they argue, regardless of the events of September 11, we are experiencing a spurt that could change the face of humanity. Informative, thought-provoking, and challenging, this is a worthwhile acquisition for public libraries. John Moryl, Yeshiva Univ. Lib., New York Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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