Preceded by Planet Medicine and The Night Sky, this third installment of the author's trilogy explores the meanings and metaphors attached to the birth of life (embryogenesis) in its macro-evolutionary form (phylogeny) and in its micro-evolutionary form (ontogeny). The divide between matter and s
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(255mm x 203mm x 55mm)
North Atlantic Books,U.S.
Publisher: North Atlantic Books,U.S.
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US Kirkus Review »
Embryogenesis takes on global, yea, celestial proportions in this magical mystical tour of the body by anthopologist Grossinger. In chapter upon chapter (Sperm and Egg; Fertilization; The Blastula; Birth; Soma; Blood, Bones, and Immunity. . .), the author manages to gussy-up biological information to the point of no return for the rational reader. Random samples: "Viewed physically, human existence is a temporary lattice of star currents and cosmic dust" (from Sperm and Egg). "Like Plato's original males and females the germ cells are truly riven. So when they find their Other they require it forever. Gametes give themselves up without regard for race, beauty, or any actual love exchanged between partners in the larger multicellular world that juggles their fates." And from a chapter on mind: "Wise ones oversaw our evolution through their proxy in the cortex. Whether this was a novel wisdom thrust into the world by bestially sired hominids themselves, the collective unconscious intelligence of the whole prior bestial world finally manifested somatically, or some other supernatural complex honored by vitalists and spiritualists, little matters at this point."The going gets Jungier and the metaphors mistier as the book progresses through birth, ontogeny and phylogeny, self and desire, and more, finally culminating in the last two chapters, Spiritual Embryogenesis and Cosmogenesis and Mortality. The theme is one of endless becoming and being; a connectedness to all that which has gone before and is to come. . . Clear light occasionally emerges as Grossinger trots out knowledgeable bits and pieces about the intelligence of the octopus or the organization of the human nervous system. As well, he quotes copiously from medical pioneers and from contemporary theorists on the origin of life; from poets and philosophers, anthopologists, psychologists and mystics, east and west. Cosmic consciousness believers will eat it up. Those of more prosaic tastes will be lost trying to find the baby in this vast sea of bath water. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Richard Grossinger
A graduate of Amherst College, Richard Grossinger received a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Michigan, writing an ethnography of fishing in Maine. He is the author of many books, a portion of which is listed below: "Planet MedicineEmbryos, Galaxies, and Sentient BeingsThe Night SkyHomeopathy: The Great RiddleNew MoonOut of Babylon: Ghosts of Grossinger's"He and his wife Lindy Hough are the founding publishers of North Atlantic Books in Berkeley, California.