Being a Human: Adventures in Forty Thousand Years of Consciousness

Being a Human: Adventures in Forty Thousand Years of Consciousness

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science, , netgalley, nonfiction, science-and-nature, arc, giveaway-arc, Nonfiction, Science, History, Psychology, Philosophy, Environment, Audiobook, Anthropology, Cultural

A radically immersive exploration of three pivotal moments in the evolution of human consciousness, asking what kinds of creatures humans were, are, and might yet be

How did humans come to be who we are? In his marvelous, eccentric, and widely lauded book Being a Beast, legal scholar, veterinary surgeon, and naturalist extraordinaire Charles Foster set out to understand the consciousness of animal species by living as a badger, otter, fox, deer, and swift. Now, he inhabits three crucial periods of human development to understand the consciousness of perhaps the strangest animal of all--the human being.

To experience the Upper Paleolithic era--a turning point when humans became behaviorally modern, painting caves and telling stories, Foster learns what it feels like to be a Cro-Magnon hunter-gatherer by living in makeshift shelters without amenities in the rural woods of England. He tests his five impoverished senses to forage for berries and roadkill and he undertakes shamanic journeys to explore the connection of wakeful dreaming to religion. For the Neolithic period, when humans stayed in one place and domesticated plants and animals, forever altering our connection to the natural world, he moves to a reconstructed Neolithic settlement. Finally, to explore the Enlightenment--the age of reason and the end of the soul--Foster inspects Oxford colleges, dissecting rooms, cafes, and art galleries. He finds his world and himself bizarre and disembodied, and he rues the atrophy of our senses, the cause for much of what ails us.

Drawing on psychology, neuroscience, natural history, agriculture, medical law and ethics, Being a Human is one man's audacious attempt to feel a connection with 45,000 years of human history. This glorious, fiercely imaginative journey from our origins to a possible future ultimately shows how we might best live on earth--and thrive.

Title:Being a Human: Adventures in Forty Thousand Years of Consciousness
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9781250783714
Format Type:

    Being a Human: Adventures in Forty Thousand Years of Consciousness Reviews

  • Will Byrnes

    We think of wilderness as an absence of sound, movement and event. We rent our rural cottages ‘for a bit of peace and quiet.’ That shows how switched off we are. A country walk should be a deaf...

  • Kristine

    Being a Human by Charles Foster is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in early August.Foster takes a deep, near-poetic intellectual tone (with a twinge of wit) when describing early humankind through ...

  • Annie

    Originally posted on my blog: Nonstop Reader. Being a Human is a meandering nearly stream-of-consciousness look at human development over the last forty thousand (or so) years and examining three a...

  • Paul

    Absolutely stunning. Read this book. Quit your job. Go outside....

  • James Orton

    This is an incredibly special book. Beautifully descriptive nature writing exploring the origins of consciousness via three periods in our evolution. Part memoir, philosophy and anthropology, this is ...

  • Nathan Schmidt

    I received an advance reader's copy through Goodreads First Reads, and I am grateful for this opportunity.This is an evocative and compelling dive into mankind's relationship with nature and ourselves...

  • Mayda (My Book Cafe Life)

    “We are people who needs stories, as we need air…”Being Human by Charles Foster was an interesting read. The book is philosophical and poetic. It discusses mankind’s relationship with mother n...

  • Bluey

    Eccentric, poetic and essentially metaphysical, this book will pull you back to the past to reassess who you are and what you want and ought to be....

  • B.

    I won an ARC of this one in a Goodreads Giveaway. There are a lot of stream of consciousness ramblings on the part of the author, which isn't something that I typically associate with non-fiction. I w...

  • Mike

    Charles Foster's Being a Human: Adventures in Forty Thousand Years of Consciousness is one of the most fascinating books I have ever read, and this is due in no small measure to the mosaic capacities ...