"Steven Herrmann carries the visionary message of Walt Whitman, Herman Melville, Emily Dickinson, and William James forward into our time with the added inspiration of C. G. Jung. This work elevates our vision of what politics can be and should be read universally by citizens and political leaders alike. Spiritual Democracy puts the idea of democracy back to where it belongs, as a shining example of the human spirit at work in the evolution of human culture and social architecture."
―Murray Stein, PhD, author of Minding the Self: Jungian Meditations on Contemporary Spirituality
"This is a grand, brilliant, and breathtaking book that explores in depth the central wisdom at the core of Whitman's prophetic poetry―that of Spiritual Democracy. This vision is at the heart of Sacred Activism, and anyone who wants to truly be inspired to act from a universal consciousness in this terrible and divisive time will find in this book rich food for their soul."
―Andrew Harvey, author of Radical Passion
Exploring what the author calls the "shaman-poets"—Walt Whitman, Herman Melville, and Emily Dickinson—this book demonstrates how far ahead of their times these writers were in forecasting developments of our current time. It was Whitman who first wrote of "Spiritual Democracy" as a vision of transformation and global equality. Steven Herrmann delves deep into the visionary expressions of this idea of Spiritual Democracy—"the realization of the oneness of humanity with the universe and all its forces"—in these early American writers, showing the influence the groundbreaking work of the geologist and thinker Alexander Von Humboldt had on Whitman and others. Writing that every member of the global community regardless of color, gender, or sexual orientation can realize these freedoms, the author explores how one can tap into the vitalizing source of equalizing, vocational energy to bring a sense of purpose and peace. Although the book shines as a work of literary criticism, the author's insights as a Jungian psychotherapist take the reader ever deeper into the creative impulses of Whitman, Melville, Dickinson, and other poets in their crafting of the seminal notion of Spiritual Democracy. In addition, Herrmann offers practical methodologies for personal and global transformation in the section, "Ten Ways to Practice Spiritual Democracy." Table of Contents Visions of Spiritual Democracy - Introduction 1. Cosmos 2. Spiritual Democracy as a Science of God 3. From Humboldt to Jung 4. Jung on Spiritual Democracy 5. Healing the National Complex 6. Whitman's "New Bible": The Foundation of a Religious Vision 7. Walt Whitman's Global Vision 8. The Bi-Erotic as Transcendent Sexuality 9. Shamanism and Spiritual Democracy: A Post-Humboldtian Notion of the Cosmos 10. Whitman as a Preserver of the Psychic Integrity of the Community 11. Moby Dick: The Evolution of a New Myth for our Times 12. Herman Melville: The Quest for Yillah 13. Towards a Hypothesis of the Bi-erotic 14. Moby Dick and the Trickster 15. The Marriage of Sames: "A Bosom Friend" 16. Moby Dick: The Characters Behind the Names 17. The Fall of the Dictatorships as Portrayed in Moby Dick18. Metamorphosis of the Gods 19. The Re-emergence of the Feminine 20. Afterward: A Bi-Erotic Model for The Way Forward a) Ten Ways to Practice Spiritual Democracy
Steven Herrmann is a writer and researcher who has explored the writings, teachings and most importantly of all, the poetry, of American commentators such as Walt Whitman(1819-1892), Herman Melville (1819-1891), and Emily Dickinson (1830-1886).Through studying their writings he has uncovered a strain of political thought that might just emerge as an important principle at the heart of the current worldwide up-swelling of political dissent. In Spiritual Democracy: The Wisdom of Early American Visionaries for the Journey Forward Herrmann has distilled the essential ingredients of these writers and infused them with the ideas and concepts of scientist Alexander von Humboldt and the well-known Swiss psychiatrist C. G. Jung. Weaving a complex thread through the personal, political and social aspirations of these key figures the author also occasionally challenges, but sometimes integrates with, the accepted basis upon which the Founding Fathers established their core political aspirations. In concluding his narrative into the thoughts of religious re-union, self-determination and social fairness he offers ten specific and practical ways to bring peace and spiritually democratic principles into the world before closing with an extensive bibliography, end notes and index. Some books are heavy by the nature of their size―others are weighty by nature of their content. This is a heavy book―it is a thunderous tome which lifts and raises almost immovable objects as if subjecting them to anti-gravity. Those seemingly intransigent elements to which I refer are in fact the founding principles upon which our society and its governance are rooted. Most of these are currently under attack from a new spiritual imperative―one which is rising up through the unconscious and finding its expression in currently disjointed and disparate ways. Spiritual Democracy: The Wisdom of Early American Visionaries for the Journey Forward is one of those rare books that can help tie and bind all those ideas together and make their expression more comprehensible. This is a book that has so many levels for the reader to travel and philosophical paths to explore but of greatest fascination to me was the way in which the author has managed to draw the core elements of Jungian psychoanalysis out of the dusty realms of analytical theory and into the light of a much broader and more esoteric landscape. Whilst 19th century social commentators such as Whitman and Jung offered to the world such powerfully transformative ideas about the possible nature of democracy and its failings they all recognize the need for us to integrate all religious ideas(including a recognition of, and respect for, the human Shadow), modes of sexual expression and inherent sense of universal love way before their time. Spiritual Democracy triumphantly transcends our currently limited thinking on the nature of society and harmonizes a vital and exciting new vision on what may be yet to come.
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