Lately a lot of attention has been given to our shared economic, ecological, and social issues. In his book ‘Healing Civilization,’ not only does Claudio Naranjo name these collective problems, he asserts that in order to solve them we first have to heal ourselves; not a particularly new revelation. Our spiritual traditions have been making this assertion for centuries. What makes Mr. Naranjo’s thesis different is his understanding of how we need to start this self-healing process.
Mr. Naranjo claims that at the heart of our problems is a patriarchal culture and paradigm that needs to be re-constructed. He feels that our orientation towards a father – centered family and the authoritarian character that it creates is the root of our collective neuroses. Mr. Naranjo traces this patriarchal mindset back to the Indo-Aryan invasion of ancient Europe and the Middle East.
According to Mr. Naranjo some unknown traumatic event at the beginning of Indo-Aryan civilization created an adaptation to their environment which he feels has since become ‘dysfunctional.’ A significant aspect of this adaptation was the previously mentioned patriarchal orientation. Indo-Aryan culture brought this patriarchal mindset with them when they invaded the Matriarchal farming cultures of ancient Europe and the Middle East, subjugating the local populace and replacing their matriarchal values with patriarchal values. With colonization, these patriarchal values have since reshaped global civilization, creating the world we live in today. Today this patriarchal value system is reflected in everything from our child-rearing practices to our belief systems.
Another theme that Mr. Naranjo stressed was the colonization of the mind with patriarchal attitudes. This theme led him back to his main point that we have to de-colonize our minds and heal ourselves of the patriarchal attitudes that have been so successfully implanted in us. According to Mr. Naranjo, this healing of our ‘inner child’ and inner ‘feminine’ selves will be the basis for the transformation of our culture.
He continues with a look at methodologies of healing ourselves, utilizing spiritual traditions, and psychotherapy. He believes that the best route to healing our culture includes transforming education, making the institution more experiential based, and creating a curriculum that is inclusive of values, psycho-therapy, and the world’s spiritual traditions.
As part of his critique of contemporary education he demonstrates how much of it is based on the behaviorism, and operant conditioning of BF Skinner. Psycho-therapeutic and spiritual methodologies have been under-utilized, in part because of the institutional biases against psycho-therapy and religion in the school system. Before a reader jumps to any conclusions it’s important to note that his ideal schools would have an ecumenical, all-inclusive orientation toward the worlds spiritual traditions. Students would be exposed to the valuable aspects of Buddhism, Islam, Native American spirituality, and Taoism, as well as Christianity. They would study the saints and mystics of the various belief systems.
Mr. Naranjo wouldn’t just focus on transforming the institutions and practices of education. He would also devote time to the healing of its teachers, and create conditions to re-invigorate their enthusiasm about teaching.
Even though the main theme of this book is confronting our patriarchal attitudes and developing more of a ‘feminist’ perspective, there is a lot of other information for readers to process. Obviously, there are some statements that he makes that could be controversial to some readers. For instance, certain readers who are strongly tied to a particular religious belief system may not relish his ideas about using a smorgasbord of religious beliefs to transform education. Other readers who advocate for a separation of religion and education will also be affronted. Obviously, certain readers might not like his critiques of patriarchy. Simply put, this book is for a broad minded audience that are seeking answers for our present crises. I doubt Mr. Naranjo would claim he has all the answers, however I am sure that he has the hope that some of the questions he is asking will point us in a healthier direction.
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Healing Civilization: Bringing Personal Transformation Into the Societal Realm Through Education and the Integration of the Intra-Psychic Family Paperback – Illustrated, 1 June 2010
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- ISBN-10 : 0895561638
- ISBN-13 : 978-0895561633
- Paperback : 256 pages
- Language: : English
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About the Author
Claudio Naranjo is a psychiatrist and the author of 13 books in English, including Character and Neurosis, The Divine Child and The Hero, The Enneagram of Society, The Healing Journey, The One Quest, and The Way of Silence and the Talking Cure. He is known for bringing personality enneagrams to the United States and for developing the psychology of enneatypes. He lives in Berkeley, California. Jean Houston is a scholar, philosopher, teacher, lecturer, and the author of 26 books, including Life Force, Manual of the Peacemaker, A Mythic Life: Learning to Live Our Greater Story, A Passion for the Possible, Public Like a Frog, and Search for the Beloved. She is the cofounder of the Foundation for Mind Research, the founder and chief teacher at the Mystery School, and the founder of the International Institute for Social Artistry. She lives in Ashland, Oregon.
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Amazon.com: 6 reviews
review of Healing Civilzation16 October 2016 - Published on Amazon.com
3 people found this helpful
Guy T. Ashby
I'm very satisfied with this book.26 May 2015 - Published on Amazon.com
This book has me thinking. Naranjo spends half the book identifying the condition of our society. That part read fairly quickly - the conditions seem obvious to me. Now the reading has slowed down because his suggestions for solutions have really made me think. I didn't count myself as part of the problem but it turns out that I am. The writing isn't spectacular but the ideas are. Anyone searching for meaning and a way to contribute to our society should consider these concepts. Claudio Naranjo certainly seems qualified to offer an opinion.
4 people found this helpful
Good book8 January 2013 - Published on Amazon.com
I had to read this book for a law class and it was a complete reality check for me. The book describes the world as it is and how this civilization will always be infected with an unknown disease. The author goes into full detail about great things to make the world a better place. I recommend this book to anyone into politics or law and even teaching because it may just surprise the average teacher.
4 people found this helpful
Mine Your Own
An awakening29 December 2012 - Published on Amazon.com
On a journey that aims to educate and enlighten without being pompous or yawning. This book put into clarity what I see happening all around me. One would have to be blind not to notice what is happening to the world run by a patriarchal society.
2 people found this helpful