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Restoring the Soul of the World


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Table of Contents

In Search of the Living Universe

Part I
Awakening to the Beauty of Nature

Humanity and the Cosmological Impulse

1 Starlight and Cosmovision
Awakening to the Universe

Beauty, Desire, and the Soul of the World

Life in the Cosmopolis

The Light of Nature and the Alchemical Imagination

The Lushness of Earth and the Spirit of the Desert

6 The Last Flowering
The Rediscovery of Soul in Renaissance Florence

Part II
The Death of Nature and the Rise of Alienation

The Mechanization of the World

In the Name of Utility
The Exploitation of Nature and the Decline of Pleasure

Part III
Anima Mundi

Rediscovering the Living Universe

9 Psyche Regained

10 The Mirror of Nature
Modern Cosmology and the Reanimation of the Universe

11 The Pattern Which Connects
Life and Mind in Nature

Part IV
A World with a Future

Cultivating Life in a Global Community

12 The Turning Point
Returning Home in the Space Age

13 The Alchemy of Engagement
Working in Collaboration with Nature


Illustration Credits




About the Author

About the Author

David Fideler holds a Ph.D. in philosophy and the history of science and cosmology. A recognized authority on the Pythagorean school, he is the editor of The Pythagorean Sourcebook and Library; author of Jesus Christ, Sun of God; translator of Love’s Alchemy; and editor of the humanities journal Alexandria.


“If humanity is to survive, David Fideler’s Restoring the Soul of the World provides us with the map for restoring our own souls and those of the planet with brilliance, clarity, and a love for human life and the life of nature.”
*Sim Van der Ryn, coauthor of Ecological Design*

“David Fideler is a scholar and thinker of the first rank, and this marvelous book presents his profound historical, scientific, and philosophical expertise in a brilliant synthesis that is accessible to everyone. It is a beautifully written and wide-ranging guide to the history of the soul of the world. Drawing together threads from every field of human endeavor, from theology to poetry and astrophysics to biology, it is the most exciting, uplifting, and optimistic exhortation to engage with and restore the magical world around us that I have read in a long time.”
*Tom Cheetham, Ph.D., author of All the World an Icon*

“Restoring the Soul of the World goes beyond the goal of ‘sustainability’ to a new vision of our role here on Earth as renewing and regenerating a world that we feel emotionally committed to and want to care for and understand from a long-term view. This book is optimistic in the best way--based not just on hope or determination but on science, on an exciting array of successful solutions, and a daring kind of spiritual freedom rooted in the cosmos. This outlook could transform the world.”
*Nancy Ellen Abrams and Joel R. Primack, authors of The New Universe and the Human Future*

“Restoring the Soul of the World is the most far-reaching book available on more profound ways of understanding how we are connected to the cosmos. David Fideler reveals previously hidden traditions and ways of understanding ourselves and nature, exploring our relationships to nature’s intelligence as no one has before. A classic: you need to read this book.”
*Arthur Versluis, professor of American Studies at Michigan State University*

“In Restoring the Soul of the World, David Fideler highlights the paradigmatic foundations of seemingly intransigent religious, scientific, and economic beliefs. But he then takes the crucial--and all too rare--step of interpreting and integrating these histories to illuminate a path forward. He pragmatically demonstrates how models of regenerative strategies can be found all around, and that restoring the soul of the world begins with becoming attuned to the cycles and patterns of a living universe.”
*David McConville, chairman of the board of The Buckminster Fuller Institute*

“In this timely and absorbing book, David Fideler traces our long relationship with the world soul, chronicling how our experience of the spiritual power of nature was lost in a mechanized world. Yet Fideler brings real hope. Drawing on recent scientific discoveries and solutions, he envisions a way for humanity to collaborate in a ‘living but damaged paradise.’ This book will help many people take heart.”
*Tracy Cochran, editor for Parabola magazine*

“Restoring the Soul of the World is a wonderful book. I challenge anyone to read it intently and not feel the presence of the anima mundi or hear the hum of the music of the spheres. David Fideler is an inspiring guide on an enlivening excursion through the intelligence of nature. He brings together heart and mind in an alchemical fusion uniquely his own.”
*Gary Lachman, author of The Caretakers of the Cosmos*

“Restoring the Soul of the World is a timely rallying call to reimagine our relationship with our world, our culture, and our cosmos. Through a masterful overview of the history of forgotten knowledge, Fideler reveals the unsuspected connections between ancient thought and the cutting edge of contemporary natural science.”
*Leon Marvell, author of Transfigured Light*

"Dr. Fideler focuses on the inroads that have been made in working with living organisms to clean up toxic wastewater and regenerate entire ecosystems. His vision is for us to participate creatively in cultivating all life and restoring the beauty, fertility and resilience of nature."
*Nexus, December 2015*

“At the dawn of the twenty-first century, many people are searching for meaning in their lives. Something is missing, and we seem incapable of putting a finger on it. Fideler’s book does not complete the puzzle; however, it does provide a critical piece that can help us find our way forward by employing the wisdom of the ancients. It is time for humanity to look beyond lame science and blind religion to find an answer for the common causes of humanity and the well-being of our ecosystem. Fideler’s Restoring the Soul of the World draws upon the wisdom of the past to create a reasonable path forward--a path that begins with the restoration of our relationship with our living, intelligent, and sacred cosmos.”
*Traditional Stoicism, Chris Fisher, March 2016*

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