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The Marriage of Sense and Soul
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Ken Wilber's first book, The Spectrum of Con-sciousness, written when he was only twenty-three, was hailed as "the most sensible, comprehensive book about consciousness since William James. He is the author of more than a dozen books, including Grace and Grit; Sex, Ecology, Spirituality; A Brief History of Everything; and The Eye of Spirit; and his large readership has kept all of his books in print. He lives in Boulder, Colorado.

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From a hugely popular New Age author.

Ever since the Copernican revolution, the battle lines between science and religion have been drawn. In succeeding generations, science and religion have been depicted as two cultural juggernauts slugging it out to establish their ideas as the dominant worldview. In his new book, Wilber (A Brief History of Everything) contends that attempts to reconcile science (sense) and religion (soul) have failed because scholars have not taken into account the fundamental differences between the two. Science, he argues, is a product of modernity characterized by differentiation‘a spiritless materialism. Religion, on the other hand, is a product of a premodern worldview less enamored of a portrait of reality (viewed as so much soulless matter) and characterized by an emphasis on humanity's connection to a spiritual dimension. Using A.O. Lovejoy's idea of the Great Chain of Being, Wilber fashions what he calls "the Great Nest of Being" in which soul, body, matter, mind and spirit intersect and coalesce. Imitating Plato's scheme of realms of truth, knowledge and reality, Wilber divides his Great Nest into four quadrants, each of which has a subjective, objective, intersubjective and interobjective dimension. Wilber contends that this scheme of unity-in-diversity provides the key to integrating science and religion. As ambitious as it is, Wilber's study is filled with simplistic generalizations ("Modern science and premodern religion aggressively inhabit the same globe, each vying, in its own way, for world domination") and mushy quasi-romantic pronouncements ("Art is the Beauty of Spirit/ Art is in the eye of the beholder, in the I of the beholder: Art is the I of the Spirit."). Moreover, in order to marry sense and soul, Wilber does violence to science by representing it in terms of spirit rather than on its own terms. Wilber's attempt to integrate science and religion is far surpassed by physicist Ian Barbour's trenchant Religion and Science. (Apr.)

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