Top positive review
The Human Ego, The Original Sin of Humankind.
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on October 3, 2009
Eckert Tolle's book "A New Earth" hardly needs another Amazon book review considering the 1,451 that have been submitted so far. After reading a number of the reviews, I was startled by the extraordinary esoteric thinking of many the reviewers. This is hardly typical of the average American mind. It appears the "New Age" movement has grown exponentially and it demonstrates the immense hunger for spirituality that has been so suppressed in American culture. In a way, this is sad because it represents a hunger that much of the institutional church is not fulfilling. The critical issue is that Christian spirituality is meant to be pro-active, generating the powerful forces of love, compassion, forgiveness and caring for others while the new secular spirituality can be extremely self-centered.
I have chosen to write this book review from the perspective a Catholic peace and social activist. Regardless, none of these reviews can substitute reading "A New Earth" because one needs to personally taste the absolute eloquence and powerful spiritual insights found in Eckhart Tolle's writing. Reading Eckhart Tolle is transformational. His writing is therapeutic. Chapter three, "The Core of Ego", is definitely a prime instructional source for good mental health. "A New Earth" is one of the most important books of our time. It needs to be read by all inquiring spiritual minds and those struggling to understand the increasing violence and insanity in the world.
Eckhart Tolle's book presents a clear understanding of human consciousness, profound spirituality and the beginnings of a radical and evolutionary awakening of a higher consciousness. To arrive at this higher consciousness, Eckhart Tolle delves deeply into the dysfunction of the human ego, both in the individual and in the institutions of power and wealth. To Eckhart Tolle, "The greatest achievement of humanity is not its works of art, science or technology, but the recognition of its own dysfunction, its own madness".
Eckhart Tolle states how the love of things can contribute to the domination of the human ego and how a consumer society honors material things as a means to self-enhancement.....it distorts our perception of reality and the true nature of our humanity.
To quote Eckhart Tolle: "Ego-identification with things creates attachment to things, obsession with things, which in turn creates our consumer society and economic structures where the only measure of progress is always more. The unchecked striving for more, for endless growth, is a dysfunction and a disease. It is the same dysfunction the cancerous cell manifests, whose only goal is to multiply itself, unaware that it is bringing about its own destruction by destroying the organism of which is a part".
With "A New Earth" chosen by the Oprah Book Club, and the numerous appearances of Eckhart Tolle on the Oprah Winfrey show, Oprah has played a big role in elevating the spiritual consciousness of hundreds of thousands of American readers. Oprah must be commended for this. As I understand it, more than any other book in recent history, this book was read and reviewed by the vast majority of book clubs in the U.S. I hope "A New Earth" will be the beginning of much needed maturity in American thinking and in American Christianity as well.
Yes, to me, Christianity in America needs to mature in a spiritual way if ever there is to be greater maturity in American culture. A higher spiritual consciousness is the essential element for radical social transformation. As Fr. Richard Rohr, of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, NM, would say, Christianity in America has become a belonging system, "us" against "them", rather than a system for personal transformation. The tragedy is that Christianity has become in some ways just another institution seeking its own perpetuation and power, dominated by the human ego.
The dysfunction of the human ego is what Christ tried so hard to get through to the minds of his disciples, particularly when he told Peter, the "first pope", to "get behind me you devil" (Mathiew 24,15) or "Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye" (Mathew 7). Christ had the perfect non-dualistic mind.
In fact, addressing the human ego goes to the heart of all of the world's major religions, but Christianity seems to have walked away from it. Christianity chose to do so when it became part of the Roman Empire in 325 AD. Since then, Christianity has had a hard time critiquing the system and the unjust status quo that stems from the dysfunction of the human ego. Christianity has found it difficult to critique the system because it has become a part of the system. The culturally imprisoned mindset of many American Christians is totally contrary to the mind of Christ.
As mentioned, addressing the problem of the human ego goes to the heart of all of the world's major religions. But not often enough do religious or spiritual writers critique the institutions of corporate capitalism. Eckhart Tolle's book is most timely to stimulate a new national conversation, particularly when considering America's "never ending war" against terrorism and the near dictatorial powers of the U.S. Military Industrial Complex.
It is time U.S. citizens recognize that government propaganda in support of war and the interests of corporate capitalism is a force that strategically preys on the weaknesses of the human ego. Actually corporate capitalism can be said to be diabolical as it seeks to enrich itself by altering human consciousness. This then exaggerates the human ego that has led to a dysfunctional society. Eckhart Tolle never used the word "capitalism". Yet the underlying message of his writing is a severe critique of capitalism. I guess you could say the word "capitalism" has been "sanctified" in America, the unspoken word or the unseen elephant in the living room.
Eckhart Tolle avoids saying in a direct manner, "corporate capitalism is intrinsically evil and unsustainable" or "corporate consumer capitalism alters human consciousness and is the destroyer of the human spirit". You have to come to that conclusion yourself.
In March 2009, there was a conference at the Center of Action and Contemplation, Albuquerque, NM called "The Emerging Church: Christians Creating a New World Together". This conference was attended by a thousand people, about half of whom were Catholic, the rest were mainline and evangelical Protestants and other Christians. Many of those at the conference believed that the future of the church will be the coming together of like minded people from all denominations who seek a more prophetic and contemplative faith. A higher global consciousness that is seeking a more just, sustainable and compassionate world is already a powerful emerging force in the world. The "emerging church" seeks to be part of this higher social consciousness. It seeks to serve as praxis and as co-creator for the evolutionary destiny of humankind to consciously provide for the survival of it's own species. An increasing number of Christians view this higher consciousness as the universal consciousness of the risen Christ. To these Christians, the salvation and survival of humankind is what the death and resurrection of Christ is all about.
A more contemplative faith is about centering oneself in Presence, through meditation and contemplation, seeking wisdom through the gift of the Holy Spirit. This is done by embracing opposing thoughts and coming to spiritual discernment. Particularly for a Catholic activist, this centering of the human spirit is the critical means of overcoming personal anger when so involved in non-violent civic activism. Spiritual discernment goes to the heart of a healthy democracy as well. A healthy democracy is truly an act of the human spirit. Democracy is meant to work for the common good and to question the unjust status quo. This is why corporate capitalism hates democracy and seeks to destroy it with the total corruption of the U.S. Congress.
I see the teachings of scholars like Eckhart Tolle and the emerging church movement as bringing maturity to Christianity in the 21st Century. It is the coming together of like minded people of all faiths that see the human ego, enticed by the institutions of corporate capitalism, as being the prime cause of social unrest, the scapegoating of others and the waging of war. It cannot be denied, the oppression of global capitalism is the cause of the "blow-back" of terrorism. This blow-back from war and economic domination is in reality the powerful forces of spirituality at work, the liberation of the human spirit.
In meditation and contemplation, where we seek to separate ourselves from the dominance of the human ego, we can come to see what the Divine Spirit wants us to see, the holiness of all people, to understand our own brokenness and thus becoming able to forgive others with compassion.
Father Richard Rohr stated so well in a September 4, 2009 article in the National Catholic Reporter that another word for contemplation is non-dualistic thinking. "That's what makes people able to be merciful and forgiving. You can't love your enemies with a low level dualistic mind. It's impossible. You don't have the software to know how to do it. So we tell people to love your enemies. A normal Catholic can't do that with the software that he or she has been given. Catholics were never taught they need a different consciousness to understand the Gospel".