Pain, Sex And Time: A New Outlook On Evolution And The Future Of Man (Provenance Editions) (英語) ペーパーバック – 2004/12/15
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"Pain, Sex and Time" explores evolution and postulates the possibility and means of a future evolution of the mind. First published in 1939, its philosophy converted a generation of leading thinkers from the scientific worldview to the perspective of the mystics.
Gerald Heard (1889-1971) was a well-known British polymath and science commentator for the BBC. He later toured and lectured prolifically in the United States. Heard wrote thirty-eight books including The Ascent of Humanity, The Social Substance of Religion and A Taste for Honey, a detective story which sold over half a million copies. Referring to Heard's influence on Western notables, Ellery Queen wrote, "Gerald Heard is the spiritual godfather of this Western movement."
Aldous Huxley (from his 1939 review of "Pain, Sex and Time"): "Gerald Heard's book represents a significant attempt to reinterpret in contemporary terms and in the light of modern knowledge the teachings, practical no less than theoretical, of the traditional religious philosophies..."
Professor Huston Smith, (from his 2004 Foreword to
Pain, Sex and Time): "Overnight, the book in hand converted me from the scientific worldview to the vaster world of the mystics. I applaud the decision to bring this book back into print."
In this absorbing and provocative book, Gerald Heard shows that a fissure in human consciousness, which has been rapidly widening for 400 years, is the cause of modern man's tragic dismay. Believing his problem external, when it is really in his own mind, man at last faces a "veritable Copernican revolution" psychologically. Science tells us that man is the only animal capable of continued evolution. It shows further that he can evolve in only one way--mentally. "Pain, Sex and Time" is then a new outlook, a new promise for the future, a new exploration of those strange and little-known powers of human consciousness of which man is becoming increasingly aware. Harper & Brothers, 1939
"Pain, Sex and Time" was James Dean's favorite book.
"Pain, Sex and Time" has been out of print for 60 years.
Gerald Heard was a well-known British polymath in the second quarter of the 20th century. He began his career as science commentator for the BBC, and H. G. Wells was widely quoted as saying that he was the only one he bothered to listen to on the wireless. From there he went on to write the most successful detective story of the day, A Taste for Honey, which sold over half a million copies, an astronomical number in those days. Thirty more books followed including Pain, Sex and Time, The Ascent of Humanity, and The Social Substance of Religion.
These are very shortly the basic ideas of Mr Heard's book. He continues to design, in broad terms, the practical way of achieving such a goal. Shortly, he proposes the creation of voluntary communes totally dedicated to it. There is also a short review of the history of human mystical experience (maybe the most interesting part of the book). One remark here: Mr Heard seems to be overenthusiastic with what concerns the spiritual development of the Jewish Essene community and early Christian gnostics. Was their religion really non-anthropomorphic as he seems to think?
Mr Heard tried to realize his ideals. He failed, like so many idealists before. Which does not mean that these were not worthy ideas. Perhaps the practical steps should have been different.
Long, winding sentences make the book somewhat difficult to read, until you get used to them. (Was this kind of style fashionable before WWII?) Not all the ideas presented are convincing, particularly those concerning evolution. Nevertheless, Mr Heard's mission is that of a pioneer. One of his troubles is that his goal is very difficult to describe. "The enlargement of consciousness" is good but very general. The same vagueness applies to the possible methods of moving towards it. He is feeling his way towards an unclear goal in an unknown land, therefore his language is, out of necessity, also quite general, perhaps not always very clear.
All in all, it was not a very interesting reading, except for some parts on history. But it certainly raises the right questions like the following: why do we have such an enormous discrepancy between the ever more powerful means in our possession (science, technology) and the negligibility of our ends (material well-being - yes, but... is this all, gentlemen?).