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Global Imperative: Harmonizing Culture and Nature.

This book opens with a gloomy dirge for "a society teetering on the brink of spiritual bankruptcy," unable to "long endure in our present course," and about to lose its chance to live in "cultural harmony with nature." In miniature, that outlines this forest ecologist's foray into philosophy.

In his previous books, The Redesigned Forest and Forest Primeval, Maser the forest ecologist knew where he was. This recent book has a few moments of scientific insight, but for most of it Maser is lost in a thicket of cliches about the evils of Western culture, archetypal projections, and balances of outer and inner landscapes. His arguments for some kind of vague new moral order rely ultimately not on his science but on "the perfect knowing that reaches beyond knowledge, for which there is no expression."

When it comes to his own biases, he has absolute expressions such as, "We have not the slightest idea how to deal safely with the concentrations of nuclear wastes we are introducing into the world." And, "Our management of the world's resources is always to maximize the output of material products." It's hardly nit picking to suggest that there is plenty of evidence that we know important things about nuclear waste handling and that we are not always hell-bent on maximum materialism. After all, whole nations have impoverished themselves in religious wars, and as this review is written, U.S. Marines are taking millions of our tax dollars ashore in Africa to feed starving people who will never work for General Motors. More immediately, our society did produce Maser's career and this book. Must we assume that it was written and published for maximum profit?
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Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Clark, Lance
Publication:American Forests
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Mar 1, 1993
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