Permanent Publications, 2018
Reviewed by Trevor Sharman
The author’s stated intention with this book is to, chart a pathway from the Anthropocene to the Transformocene with this central theme uniting a range of diverse elements to, invite a re-imagining of our relationship to wholeness and be inspired by the imaginal realm. The Anthropocene being our current era in which human activity, divorced from self and planetary awareness, has become a key determinant of the (ill) health of our planet and the Transformocene envisioned as a co-created era of integral wholeness.
It is a rich mix of ideas and connections drawing on detailed research, sometimes rather dense, yet always with a commitment to communicate with and involve the reader, notably with the brief exercises offered at each chapter end aimed at helping explore experientially and integrate the material.
The first of the three sections of the book which Collins calls ‘The Imaginal Lineage’, explores some of the key potential elements which can underpin this transformation, which includes science, with a critique of scientism, ancient mythology and archetypes, the sacred feminine and indigenous ways of knowing.
In the second section, drawing on the work of Karl Jung and Process Psychologist Arnold Mindell, he discusses the importance of exploring the ‘shadow’, the unconscious, as it impinges on our ways of thinking and acting in the present. This includes how we affected by ancestral inheritance and mythic images within our culture, whilst these influences remain inaccessible to, and are dismissed by ‘rational’ science. He contends, we are missing soulful connection to life because hyper-rationalism in our technocratic world is eroding the language of mystery from human life and our ability to access and engage with the spiritual.
The third section, ‘The Emancipatory Edge’, draws on a range of examples and experiences of moments of change in peoples’ lives, often crisis events such as near death experiences, which have led to ‘life reviews’ and then on to personal transformations in awareness and action. With these examples as inspirations, Collins proposes we act to intentionally explore our shadows, own our projections and create human technologies for transformation, using our imagination.
He characterises the current global crisis as a collective psycho-spiritual trial in the order of a near death experience, and thus a moment of potential for transformation for humanity, drawing on the tools of technology, imagination, myth, ancestral knowledge and the other-than-rational resources present to us.
This is not a book to flick through. Rather it merits careful digestion. It offers a coherent base of knowledge, evidence for the potential for dynamic transformation and credible pathways for action. If it doesn’t offer a precise destination, it does suggest exciting if challenging pathways towards transforming ourselves and our present world.