This groundbreaking book proposes that the rise of alphabetic literacy reconfigured the human brain and brought about profound changes in history, religion, and gender relations. Making remarkable connections across brain function, myth, and anthropology, Dr. Shlain shows why pre-literate cultures were principally informed by holistic, right-brain modes that venerated the Goddess, images, and feminine values. Writing drove cultures toward linear left-brain thinking and this shift upset the balance between men and women, initiating the decline of the feminine and ushering in patriarchal rule. Examining the cultures of the Israelites, Greeks, Christians, and Muslims, Shlain reinterprets ancient myths and parables in light of his theory. Provocative and inspiring, this book is a paradigm-shattering work that will transform your view of history and the mind.
From the author of the bestselling Art and Physics comes a new book with breathtaking implications. Making remarkable connections across a wide range of subjects, including neurology, anthropology, history, and religion, Leonard Shlain argues that the development of alphabetic literacy itself reinforced the human brain's left hemisphere--linear, abstract, predominantly masculine--at the expense of its right--holistic, concrete, visual, feminine. The Alphabet Versus the Goddess charts the connection between alphabetic literacy and monotheism; patriarchy and misogyny, and tracks the correlations between the rise and fall of literacy and the status of women in society, mythology, and religion. Shlain further examines the tremendous shift that has occurred with the return of the image. Is it a coincidence that the TV/movie/computer age has seen the resurgence of women's political power as well as renewed interest in the divine feminine? Shlain sees us moving toward an equilibrium between left and right hemisperes--between word and image. A thrilling read, filled with historical anecdote and breathtaking insights, this book will transform your view of history and the mind.
In this book, Leonard Shlain explores how artistic breakthroughs could have prefigured the visionary insights of physicists on so many occasions throughout history. Art & Physics is a seamless integration of the romance of art and the drama of science--and an exhilarating history of ideas.
As in the bestselling The Alphabet Versus the Goddess, Leonard Shlain's provocative new book promises to change the way readers view themselves and where they came from. Sex, Time, and Power offers a tantalizing answer to an age-old question: Why did big-brained Homo sapiens suddenly emerge some 150,000 years ago? The key, according to Shlain, is female sexuality. Drawing on an awesome breadth of research, he shows how, long ago, the narrowness of the newly bipedal human female's pelvis and the increasing size of infants' heads precipitated a crisis for the species. Natural selection allowed for the adaptation of the human female to this environmental stress by reconfiguring her hormonal cycles, entraining them with the periodicity of the moon. The results, however, did much more than ensure our existence; they imbued women with the concept of time, and gave them control over sex--a power that males sought to reclaim. And the possibility of achieving immortality through heirs drove men to construct patriarchal cultures that went on to dominate so much of human history. From the nature of courtship to the evolution of language, Shlain's brilliant and wide-ranging exploration stimulates new thinking about very old matters. .