The Sower and the Seed: Reflections on the Development of Consciousness
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The Sower and the Seed explores the origins of consciousness from a mytho-psychological angle. The concept of immanence, a vast intelligence within the evolutionary process, provides the underlying philosophy of the book, presented as a creative-destructive spirit that manifests higher orders of complexity (such as life, intelligence, self-consciousness) and then dissolves them. The book explores the human psyche as immersed in nature and the realm of the Great Mother, showing how the themes of fertility and power, applicable to all life forms, saturate the history of humanity - most evidently in the period stretching from 40,000 years ago up to modern civilizations. The book examines in particular the transition to patriarchal religious consciousness, in which a violent separation from the world of nature took place.
The Sower and the Seed also explores Hebrew, Egyptian, and Greek creation myths as commentaries on the origins of consciousness, and shows how the transition to consciousness from the unconscious (the birth of humanity) is inherently problematic, since it creates a separation from the realm of nature and instinct. This rise of consciousness out of nature and its fall or separation into a separated egoic state is its central dilemma.
Alan Mulhern also analyses the Enlightenment and scientific revolution. As he suggests, this was essential for capitalism to emerge and required a specific change in consciousness, provided for by Protestantism. However, capitalism was destined to undermine all religions and replace them with a thoroughly materialist philosophy. As well as being a profoundly creative system the author shows that industrialization is equally destructive, and that indeed a death potential in consciousness is activated within it (witnessed for example in the proliferation of enough weaponry to wipe out most of life on earth). It is suggested that humanity will undergo species-trauma in the near future and that remaining populations will face either fundamental reform or extinction. Capitalism presents many changes in consciousness during the different stages of its development, including the latest digital age where human consciousness is being fused with artificial intelligence.
The book concludes by showing that no matter what happens collectively, the path for individual progress and even enlightenment is open to each individual. This final section, 'The Quest', presents a series of illustrations, poems, and commentaries that show the search of the individual on the path of higher consciousness. The metaphor of the pilgrimage is used and shows essential psychological as well spiritual steps on such a journey.
Reviews and Endorsements
‘A wise and wonderful book, written by a Jungian Analyst who is also a poet. Graced by exquisite drawings by Lindsey Harris, it sows the seed of healing by expanding our understanding of the evolution of the psyche and how the unrecognised wound it carries has led to the spiritual crisis of our time. Through a rich poetic narrative and illuminating commentaries in each chapter, it shows how the birth of consciousness ruptured the original unity of the psyche and how patriarchal civilisation with its emphasis on transcendence and the value of the individual was built on the foundation of matricide: the eradication of the long-established culture of the Great Mother which had connected us to the earth and held us immersed in tribal identity. This enactment of a ‘crime against nature’ was portrayed in the image of the hero’s fight with the dragon and the story of our expulsion from the Garden of Eden. The author shows how the resulting dissociation and conflict within our psyche and our culture has led to our present dangerous alienation from nature and our own deepest nature.
Offering a challenge both to reductionist science and long-established religious beliefs, its enormous contribution to changing our view of ourselves is the realisation that spirit is immanent within matter and that the entire evolutionary process reflects the slow unfolding of an innate cosmic intelligence within the forms of life. As a species, we now face the choice between self-destruction and rescuing ourselves from our own destructiveness and capacity for evil, whose origin in the shadow aspect of our nature is clearly explained. We need to wake up to the danger of where our technology with its weapons of mass destruction and our ruthless exploitation of the planet’s resources is leading us. “Mankind, locked in fierce nationalisms, religious differences, competitive economic and military systems, slumbers towards auto-annihilation.”
This is a riveting, moving and challenging story told with brilliance and empathy by a master story teller.’
- Anne Baring, Jungian analyst and the author and co-author of seven books, including The Myth of the Goddess, Evolution of an Image, The Mystic Vision, The Divine Feminine, and co-author of Soul Power: An Agenda for a Conscious Humanity.
About the Author(s)
Alan Mulhern, trained as a Jungian psychotherapist, has worked for twenty-five years in private practice in London. He has given numerous workshops in both the UK and in Venezuela on subjects such as dream analysis, narcissism, the shadow, psychoanalytic diagnosis, and healing in psychotherapy. He has written on the subject of the changes in the profession of psychotherapy in the modern age.
Our customers have given this title an average rating of 5 out of 5 from 2 review(s), add your own review for this title.
Jason Wright on 21/05/2015 21:22:31
(5 out of 5)
This is a remarkable book drawing a clear narrative from the origins of consciousness to our current struggles with the power offered to us through the technological and material revolutions of the Enlightenment and industrial revolution. It is supported by original illustrations and poems throughout which have been designed for each chapter to amplify and make accessible its meaning. It covers difficult ground easily and comprehensively and is a must-read for those who wish to orient themselves to our current life from a mytho-psychological perspective. It is written in a didactic form, which I found helpful to react to and question my thinking. Others may find this irritating, but it does make the book briefer and a starting point rather than something that exhaustively covers complex and contentious ground.
It brings together a great deal of thinking and directs that to bear upon the economic and material traps we have created for ourselves. For me this book asks the great questions we face as we try to take responsibility for the power we have discovered or given ourselves and to some extent offers a practical frame for working with them. This is offered within the context of its own thinking rather than deferring to other authors and schools of opinion. It is a great, and more importantly, practical book. The systemic analysis of capitalism and its impact on consciousness, its creative and destructive nature and the lurching to trauma is a masterpiece in the making and I hope that this theme will be developed in further publications.
Dr Sarah Walton on 31/05/2015 22:10:42
(5 out of 5)
Alan Mulhern has achieved that difficult task of transcending words. The combination of prose, poetry and images that speak like the Tarot to the subconscious has created a powerful other. The poetry that runs throughout the book has a clear, exact, consistent beat; like a heart beat, it carries the reader along with its own rhythm. After reading, when reflecting, I have the sensation of a rhythm of the universe. This is remarkable.
The human sense that the author does not seem to speak to in the book is hearing (obviously), but with the poetry he reaches this sense better than with audible music, for the music of the cosmos is not something we humans can detect with our ears, but with our hearts.
The Sower and the Seed captures the divine music that inspires Shiva's dance.
This is an incredible achievement.
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