2 out of 4 stars
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Rediscovering the Wisdom of Human Nature by Chet Shupe is a non-fiction novel with the ambitious goal of revealing the truth about the real nature of human beings.
The author makes a strong claim: civilization made people unhappy because it functioned as a cage. Through the pages of his book, Shupe wants to guide us towards the realization that the more men rely on language, laws, and institutions, the more they deviate from their real essence and Nature.
Shupe claims that, six thousand years ago, human beings were freer and lived in spiritual communion. Even if life was harsher, humans were happier, because they were being true to their nature. But with the institution of marriage, humans started claiming private properties, thus creating the need for laws. Consequently, institutions were created to enforce those laws. But institutions and civilization separated us from the others, creating spiritual isolation. The author believes that this state of separation from Nature will end when humans will start living again in sisterhoods and brotherhoods. These are communal systems in which human beings live together in harmony, putting the lives of others before their own. But at the same time, Shupe cannot offer a precise scheme of how and when this could happen, even if he is convinced it will happen someday.
I found some aspects of this book quite intriguing. For example, I agree with the author’s claim that the capitalistic culture we live in provokes a state of emotional isolation. I think it is true that this system is causing distress and anxiety because we always need to excel and rely on money to survive. The chapter I liked the most was for sure the one dedicated to soldiers: the author offers the military experience as proof that our true nature did not disappear, but is just dormant. In case of necessity, like when at war, it awakens. Soldiers on the field offer an example of brotherhood: they live in communion and understand that they have to stick together for a higher purpose, putting their own lives at risk to save and protect the group.
However, there were several things that bothered me about this book. For example, the author claims that before civilization, human beings loved each other “unconditionally” (p. 20). But, for how much we can know about the way our prehistoric ancestors lived, we simply cannot measure the degree of love they felt toward each other. Moreover, I found that many concepts were quite repetitive. Maybe repetitions were intended to make the message clearer, but in my opinion, they were counterproductive at some point. Also, I didn’t find the writing style to be very fluent: quite often, I was confused by the excessive use of commas, which rendered the text less clear.
For these reasons, I would rate the book 2 out of 4 stars. One star was taken off for the several editing mistakes and incongruities, and one for the other issues described above. No profane language was used, but for the kind of topic treated I would suggest this book only to an adult public. People of diverse religious beliefs should not be bothered by the material here presented, even if some references to the Christian religion are mentioned. People intrigued by speculations and critical thinking about human nature and spirituality could find this book interesting.
Rediscovering the Wisdom of Human Nature
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