The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight: Revised and Updated Third Edition: The Fate of the World and What We Can Do Before It's Too Late [Thom Hartmann, Neale. A call to consciousness combinging spirituality and ecology that offers hope for the future. As the world's population explodes, cultures and species are wiped. Read "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight: Revised and Updated Third Edition The Fate of the World and What We Can Do Before It's Too Late" by Thom.
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I noticed a reference a few weeks ago to Thom Hartmann's book, The Last Hours of. Ancient Sunlight, and I just finished reading it. It is a very good summary of. While everything appears to be collapsing around us – ecodamage, genetic engineering, virulent diseases, the end of cheap oil, water shortages. Editorial Reviews. Review. “Thom Hartmann seeks out interesting subjects from such disparate outposts of curiosity that you have to wonder whether or not he.
Then, there was a section about culture and then a third section. Clarissa Pinkola Estes. Stormy Kicks Both of Their Asses. Manifest Anything You Want in 30 Days. In this book, which was originally published in -- the edition on which this review is based -- followed by a revised edition in , he tries to build a momentum towards "sustainable living" through a clear understanding of the scale of the problem ahead of us. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
The consequences were no more local, thanks to the advancement in transportation, as the whole world started to depend mainly on the ancient sunlight, as the current sunlight became unable to sustain all the consumption needs. The city-state culture is an important factor that contributed to the over-consumption of the planet according to Hartmann.
He shows that from as early as Mesopotamia, natural resources were eradicated by consistent consumption, eventually causing the fall of the civilization itself. This pattern, he argues, keeps on occurring for each city-state civilization that arises, including ancient Greece, Rome, China, and many others up to this day.
He provides arguments from the likes of Aristotle portraying humans as the masters of nature and links these convictions with the tendency of cities to expand, seeking more power.
This paves the way to the comparison between the domination nature of city-states communities and the cooperation culture of tribal communities, which is the main theme of the second chapter.
For more than a hundred thousand years, tribes generally lived peacefully and sustainably until the arrival of the dominant culture of city-states. With that premise in mind, Hartmann spends most of the second chapter describing a somewhat romantic version of tribal lives, elaborating on what he believes is the true meaning of freedom and spirituality. He parts from the scientific tone of the first chapter, focusing more on a narrative that sounds more like story telling. And despite his experience with the subject and the research he has evidently done, most arguments are plausible but not necessarily true, which is understandable in a way, given the scarcity of information about ancient tribes.
Nevertheless, Hartmann pinpoints the essential features of tribal life and its sustainable model correctly. These features, which are described extensively in the book, are mainly cooperation within the tribe, respect of diversity among other tribes, and the connectedness to nature. He calls this model of living "old culture," while that of city-states is called "new culture. Looking once more into history, he gives a few examples of ancient tribes who are not around anymore: He also mentions other tribes which are struggling to survive in our rapidly growing, modern day world.
He argues that in face of the juggernaut of city expansion, a tribe only has three choices: The second chapter is full of historical narrative. Hartmann's goal is to inform us about the disadvantages of living in cities and the advantages of the tribal way. Still, he states clearly by the end of the chapter that his motive is not a longing for living inside caves, but a desire to bring the tribal notions of cooperation and respect to our societies.
That's the basis of the "solution" he explains to us in the third chapter. Of those who eagerly waited for the promised "new yet ancient" solution, some may get disappointed a little at the first few pages of the last chapter. Spirituality is a main component of the book -- and of Hartmann's way of thought for that matter -- that he spends quite some time praising the spiritual tribal life and lamenting the materialism of the city-states.
His proposed spiritual solution consists of some vague concepts and figures of speech like "living in the here and now," "seeing the face of God," and "touching the sacred. Those among us who are inclined to the more scientific argument wouldn't have to wait for long though, as Hartmann's rhetoric transforms into more tangible solutions a few pages ahead.
He prescribes a set of actions to change our culture, which I believe is extremely important and directly to the point. The list includes cutting addiction to consumerism by living frugally and learning the "secret of enough," living independently "off the grid" to eliminate the dependence on government, empowering women, and imitating the outline of the tribal way of life by creating what he calls "intentional communities.
Throughout the book, Hartmann introduces concepts in clever ways and using clever analogies. He rightfully describes our current economic model as a "Ponzi scheme" or a finite "startup capital" we keep spending from, leading us to a breakdown, which will make the cities we live in more like "time bombs. All this may change, however, if we change the mindset, usually referred to in the book as cultural "stories," a word that implies conviction regardless of the truth.
He explains why diversity is important using an example of a power grid with multiple points of failure, and how small deeds can lead to big changes using the example of an electric transformer.
In addition to his clever writing, each chapter is preceded with an introduction and a set of questions to prepare the reader for what is coming, and every section of each chapter begins with a related quote reflecting upon the subject to be discussed, which I have found usually to be very thought-provoking. But despite Hartmann's brilliance in many pages, there were few parts in the book in which his bias and enthusiasm for his ideas outweighed his commitment to the truth.
For instance, while acknowledging in a paragraph or two that there were some violent and unsustainable practices among some tribal people in the past, his overall portrayal of the tribal culture is somewhat too romantic, if not Utopian. In other parts he treats questionable theories as scientific facts to the point of comparing Rupert Sheldrake's theory of morphic resonance to Einstein's relativity, and using particles entanglement as an evidence of the instant transfer of ideas like some kind of a universal consciousness -- a conclusion that is not scientifically sound, at least till now.
The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight is a heavy read because of its subject that challenges many widely accepted ideas. It is heavily critical of scorched-earth tactics and slash-and-burn agriculture. It doesn't shy away from showing the plight of Indian Americans in the face of the savagery of the white colonists. It attacks capitalism for driving overconsumption, socialism and communism for focusing on defining the patterns of consumption rather than promoting cooperation, and organized religions for their historic role in forming the culture of domination.
Even recycling and many of the "Green" initiatives are not spared. Above all, it directly takes aim at our modern way of living. Not everyone will be willing to accept Hartmann's message in this book, and from those who will, many will not find the promised solution conclusive. And it is not. Even Hartmann acknowledge that much damage has already been done, yet I can't see that as an excuse to wait for the Apocalypse; you shouldn't either.
The discussed "plan of action" should be regarded for its outline as a guide to a system with sustainable living as its main concern. It has been more than 15 years since the first edition was published, and we are still falling steadily in the same trap. It is partly because of the ignorance induced by the media, partly because of the false feeling of euphoria due to the exponential growth, and another part because of the fact that our modern way of life is so addictive, a fact that I was constantly reminded with while ironically reading this book on mass produced paperback.
Still, I find this book, despite its shortfalls, compelling and beautifully written overall; its purpose is a sufficient excuse to include it in the list of "most important books" as many of its admirers suggest.
I recommend it for anyone who cares about his future and that of his children, and who is curious to know how and why we keep on missing the forest for the trees, both figuratively and literally. Jan 18, Kim rated it liked it. I was so irritated with certain of the author's premises that I found myself arguing as much as reading. But then it is good to read things that you don't agree with - it offers the opportunity to learn something new.
I learned a different way of looking at the "Older Cultures" - that is the tribal cultures. I learned a very interesting method of sustainable farming used in the Amazon by I think the Kayapo tribe.
I really give the author credit for realizing that no specific measures can save I was so irritated with certain of the author's premises that I found myself arguing as much as reading. I really give the author credit for realizing that no specific measures can save the planet from the fix we've put it in - it will take a change of mindset. That is something that I do agree with wholeheartedly - and for that reason I feel the book is generally worth reading 3 stars.
However, the book cannot possibly succeed in its aim of encouraging a different mindset, because it is written in a way to put off anyone who does not already pretty much already agree with him. He repeatedly denigrates the beliefs of many serious religious folk and even of most thinking modern secular folks. He wants to unite, but he takes the soap box for one political party - how does he think he is going to sell "cooperation" to members of the other party? The premise with which I took such exception is that "city-states" that is all material progress - all civilization as we know it is like a cancer Well, friends, I read this book while I was marooned.
There's nothing like sitting for 2 hours pounding corn in a hollowed out log with the end of a piece of rebar so you can feed your chickens to make you think 6 minutes of electricity and your little food mill is a gift of the intellect - that ancient wisdom, sustainability AND modest modern convenience would make the best of all worlds.
To accomplish this overwhelming task, he utilizes historical and scientific arguments. However, there are identifiable inaccuracies in some of the information conveyed in the book that mar its credibility, as when he refers to Portuguese as reaching America in B.
An expert in Portuguese history would immediately disagree, putting A. D as the correct date. These mistakes might leave the informed reader disappointed. Jan 22, Kathleen rated it really liked it. Thom Hartmann is an amazing surge of energy on the planet!
He's a radio host, author and I don't know what else yet, but I was recently introduced to him by a good friend and bought this book to see if he was all he was cracked up to be. Well, this book is amazing; so much so that I bought another, "Cracking the Code," which I haven't started yet.
Oct 27, Sarah rated it it was amazing. Very powerful read. Hartmann proposes that the only way things can change is if we change our culture, starting with ourselves. An inspiring and hopeful look at the oil crisis and climate change. He discusses culture at length and provides a vivid history for how we got into the mess we are in now. I learned a lot from this book and hope to make some small but significant changes in my life. Mar 31, Prasad Bsv rated it it was amazing.
Dec 05, Brandon Pytel rated it it was ok. The best part of the book was the first third, or the section titled "We're Running Out of Ancient Sunlight.
To him, this parallels a Ponzi scheme, or a short term fix without realizing the long term consequences. Fossil fuels have resulted in exploding populations due to more food production, but they've also altered ou The best part of the book was the first third, or the section titled "We're Running Out of Ancient Sunlight. Fossil fuels have resulted in exploding populations due to more food production, but they've also altered our climate, landscape, and water. Overall, life as it stands would not be sustainable without oil, and when peak oil hits, humanity is in for a rude awakening.
If you picked this book up because you like reading about the environment, I'd stop there. Parts two and three are more in the category of anthropology and the histories of civilization.
Hartmann does a decent job in explaining the shift from Older Cultures tribal, communal, man is inherently good to Younger Cultures dominant with isolated wealth and inequality, winner take all mentality , which has been destructive to our selves slavery, mass accumulation of wealth for a small number of people, poverty, and famines and our environment.
His solution is to essentially change our way of viewing the world and revert back to the older culture belief that was grounded in humanitarian virtues his chapter on the founding fathers' construction of the constitution was particularly interesting. Maybe it deserved more than a two-star review, but the whole tribal lifestyle thing seemed relatively impractical.
It was just less a environmental book and more of a sociology book, and I guess that's not what I was looking for. Feb 25, Fred Dameron rated it really liked it. Wonderful book. After finishing "Mindfulness" and then reading "Last Hours" I can see where mindfulness thinking will lead to a better world. By no longer thinking in terms of winners and losers and instead thinking in terms of relationship we, as a species, can live longer and save our world. Mindfulness will work as way to l Wonderful book.
Mindfulness will work as way to live, it works for many Old Cultures.
It will not work for a Young Culture. Young Cultures work because they conquer. Old Cultures cooperate. By Cooperating Old Cultures will last longer and be much more sustainable. But to get to this point there will be a crash. Can Old Cultural ideas of cooperation, relationship, friendship, caring for strangers out last the fall of Young Culture.
This will be the main issue facing mindful people V those who must win. Another question is will those my age see the beginnings of this crash caused by Young Culture thinking.
This is also a question that Hartman could not answer. It should be interesting. Not what a initially expected or bought it in the first place.
As i thought it was a book about climate change, but as it turns out it's a book that's more than that. Before moving any further I must say it's been quite an experience. Started reading this 4 years ago but somehow got distracted and didn't take up on the challenge of finishing it only one fine day 4 years later. It is definitely spiritually motivated, however some of the chapters sounded very hippie like, which quite a unexpected Not what a initially expected or bought it in the first place.
It is definitely spiritually motivated, however some of the chapters sounded very hippie like, which quite a unexpected yet mysterious pathway I am not entirely familiar with. Nevertheless worth a read. Aug 04, Kyle Hartman rated it really liked it.
I did like the information in this book though a little outdated as well as how it was presented. Some of the ideas I didn't completely subscribe to, but as a whole it was a good book. Mar 21, Mark rated it really liked it. A book that starts with the global misuse and depletion of oil, that moves into tribalism, greed and how ADHD may have been a blessing. Mar 29, Posh rated it really liked it.
Amazing book I read this book so quickly! Such an easy read, I just flew through the chapters. This should be an essential book in the school curriculum. I found it inspiring and empowering, and I felt Amazing book I read this book so quickly! I found it inspiring and empowering, and I felt by the end of it that I really am having a positive impact on the world right now.
Everybody should read this Apr 24, Kurt rated it really liked it Shelves: Ancient sunlight refers to fossil fuels - coal, oil, and natural gas. These fuels are stores of sunlight that fell upon the earth hundreds of millions of years ago over a time period that itself lasted tens or hundreds of millions of years. Beginning only about years ago humans began extracting and burning these fuels at increasingly obscene rates so that we now are threatened with their imminent exhaustion within mere years or at best decades.
The main focus of this book, however, was not a Ancient sunlight refers to fossil fuels - coal, oil, and natural gas. The main focus of this book, however, was not as I had expected the consequences of rapid depletion of non-renewable natural resources and how to avoid or alleviate them. Instead, the author goes to great lengths to explain the superiority of primitive sustainable cultures over our modern, exploitive, non-sustainable culture.
In the last third of the book he describes what we can do about the upcoming disaster as the fuel that feeds our culture and makes our huge world population possible becomes increasingly more scarce and more expensive. His solution is to simply learn about primitive cultures, individually try to emulate them as much as possible, and spread the word to others.
At first I thought this was ridiculous -- that's no solution at all. The world could barely support a tenth of our population under those conditions. I also recognized that much of what the author said was not even correct.
For example, his continual praise of primitive culture's harmony with nature contradicts much of what we know about them. Today we are quite certain that these primitive people hunted many large, slow-moving mammals e.
Eventually, I realized, however, that the main premise of his argument is actually correct. Technology is not going to save us. There is not going to be a magic market-driven solution to get us out of the huge hole we have dug ourselves into. At some point in the near future our culture of materialism and consumerism is going to decline and come to an end.
Thus, there is no solution to save our culture and our civilization. The only solution is an individual solution -- a return to the kind of lifestyle that sustainably supported all of our ancestors for thousands of generations. I enjoyed this book because of its topic, which has always been fascinating to me. It is very similar to Jerry Mander's In the Absence of the Sacred which is probably my favorite on the subject.
Both of these books contrast the failure of modern culture and technology with the proven endurance and success of primitive cultures. Mar 24, Michael rated it it was amazing Shelves: I pretty much inhaled this book it helped that I had six hours at school watching my children fill out bubbles on standardized tests. Thom Hartmann is a radio host and author; this is the second of his books that I've read.
He writes about complex topics with both simplicity and depth, which is no mean feat. I like him: This book is broken into three parts.
The first part is a distressing overview of how man I pretty much inhaled this book it helped that I had six hours at school watching my children fill out bubbles on standardized tests. The first part is a distressing overview of how man is utterly fouling our nest. No news there. What is highly interesting is the author's discussion of sunlight, and the connection between sunlight and carbon oil, gas, coal, etc.
Hartmann describes sunlight in a unique and thought-provoking way. I was reminded of The Omnivore's Dilemma in that everything--everything--depends on sunlight, and that sunlight is an inexhaustible source of energy should we chose to harness it and use it wisely. The second part discusses how we go to this point. Not too much new here, either: Essentially, human beings lived in harmony with nature for , years. In the last 10,, there has been a slow but inexorable change from "we are nature" to "we must dominate and control nature.
The consequences of some of our ideas are highly destructive. The last part of the book was the most interesting, even as it was a bit out there.
Essentially, Mr. Hartmann says you must change the way you see the world before the world will change, both philosophically and literally. We must tell new stories about ourselves, and understand that we are as much a part of nature as are animals, plants, and fish.
I am giving the ideas and information in this book short shrift: There is much more I could say, but why don't I leave it to you to discover for yourself? Go on Good stuff. Most books like this leave me feeling depressed and helpless.
This one, though More and more I feel as though I am living in The Matrix in this country. What we see is not real: Smoke and mirrors. Wispy phantasms. Jul 17, Ladislau rated it really liked it. Mas depois vai mais longe e acaba por analisar toda a sociedade moderna e compara-la com as sociedades tribais.
E se afinal o que eu achava Natural for simplesmente Cultural? Poderemos afinal viver de outra forma? Compete-me agora optar. Jan 20, Annika rated it really liked it.
This is one of the books from this year that I will probably have to read again someday. I will say that I do know that I appreciated the level of research and scholarship that went into this book. I also appreciated how, while Hartmann painted a fairly bleak picture of our world, he expressed belief in the possibility of change and overall had more optimism than Quinn. If you want an in-depth discussion of the state of the world, everything from our use of fossil fuels to how the love of Americans for burgers leads to deforestation to the issues decreasing diversity to how loggers replanting trees still leaves gaps in the water cycle to antibiotics in meats, check it out.
Read, challenge, ponder. Dec 17, Kurt Gielen rated it it was ok. One of the few books I ever read that made me want to throw it away as far as possible because it angered the hell out of me. But since it was on my iPAD, I didn't.
The guy has such an annoying way of combining facts that aren't even remotely linked just to prove his point. Like on location Would people One of the few books I ever read that made me want to throw it away as far as possible because it angered the hell out of me. Would people not die from hunger if we weren't consuming wealth? And there are a number of other examples like this. At other times he doesn't even uses facts but rather makes suggestions using words like "speculate", "probably", "appears to be happening".
Which is fine as his main purpose in the first part of the book is to shock people and he succeeds very well in doing so. But worst of all, the biggest problem is that the guy has a huge problem with large corporations and unfortunately he does it in such an annoying way that he completely turned me off. Or would you say this is a gentle statement: They have fancy corporate headquarters and corporate cars and corporate jets to pay for. They lavish huge salaries, bonuses, and perks on their top executives.
What a fricking disappointing book. This is interesting! The problem illustrated and the solution proposed in this book, most probably, cannot be understood and implemented respectively by the same people. So the first part describing the problem in a very rock-solid,scientific way. I can imagine it may strongly appeal to those who are pragmatic in their ways of thinking.
Then comes the next part where you have to meditate, communicate with nature and live a spiritual life where most religious people would like although Mr. Hartman This is interesting! Hartmann describes the major religions as the core of the problem which is, in my humble opinion, true. Utilizing the wisdom of older cultures like that of American Indians and its ways of preserving nature and communal lifestyle brings back to memory another book I read recently under the title: In this book, most Indigenous figures in their correspondences with Mr.
Chomsky describe the grim reality of their cultures as being under continuous "Culturcide". Eventually, Mr. Hartmann's solution for our future problems is in big trouble.
Finally, when I checked online to validate the information regarding the effects of the Great Conveyor Belt on the weather in Europe and the American East Coast, I found out this theory was not conclusive and highly controversial. Also, the reference to Mesopotamia as if it is present day Lebanon was a down point for me. Nevertheless, it was a mind stirrer.
Jan 05, Chris rated it it was amazing Shelves: Call to action - take some responsibility for your part in the destruction or thriving of life on earth.
You're either part of the problem or the solution - no innocent passive witnesses. Lynne McTaggart. Autobiography of a Yogi. Paramahansa Yogananda. Pam Grout. The Shadow Effect. Deepak Chopra. The Orenda.
Joseph Boyden. A New Earth Oprah Eckhart Tolle. Wishes Fulfilled. Wayne W. Dying to Be Me. Anita Moorjani. The Alchemist. Paulo Coelho. Fire and Fury. Michael Wolff. The Power of Now. Susan Cain. Proof of Heaven. Eben Alexander. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Stieg Larsson. What If This Is Heaven? Gone Girl. Gillian Flynn. Dan Brown. Life of Pi.
Yann Martel. What God Wants. What God Said. The New Revelations. Scientific Healing Affirmations. Tomorrow's God. Conversations with God, Book 2. Home with God. The Surrender Experiment.
Michael A. When Everything Changes, Change Everything. The Help. Kathryn Stockett. Neale Donald Walsh. Conversations with God, Book 3. Birth and Beyond. Barbara Marx Hubbard. Assertiveness for Earth Angels. Doreen Virtue. The Intention Experiment. The Only Thing That Matters. Angels of Abundance. A Year of Miracles. Marianne Williamson.
Happier than God. The Bond. The Art of War. Sun Tzu. The Dynamic Laws of Prosperity. Catherine Ponder. I Can See Clearly Now. Co-creating at Its Best. The Nature of Personal Reality: Jane Roberts. The Universe Has Your Back. Gabrielle Bernstein. Braving the Wilderness. Tears to Triumph. You Are Psychic. Debra Lynne Katz. Penney Peirce. Serena J. Power vs. David R. The Code of the Extraordinary Mind. Vishen Lakhiani. Rhonda Byrne. The Essential Wayne Dyer Collection. Seth Speaks: The Eternal Validity of the Soul.
ReCreating Your Self. Ego Is the Enemy. Ryan Holiday. The Motivation Manifesto. Brendon Burchard. A Higher Loyalty.