Richard Tarnas

Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View (book 12 of 12)

Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View (book 12 of 12)

December 29, 2019
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At long last… I started reading Richard Tarnas’s Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View end of February, and just finished it, completing my Goodreads reading challenge of 2019 (75 books read, this is my 75th) as well as my “12 Swedish and 12 English books to read and blog about” of the year.

Cosmos and Psyche opens doors in the reader’s mind, doors towards the future. Yes, it records, analyzes, and interprets events of the past, but its primary relevance points towards the future. Its thorough research fulfills a function that is central to the genuine, hard-nosed pursuit of human knowledge: ‘the elicitation of disbelief and the celebration of surprise’ (Lewis Thomas). Richard Tarnas dares to be far ahead of conventional thought. He broadens our horizons until we suddenly see with delight vistas and connections we never expected. Here at last is a world view which – in contrast to prevailing ones – has a future.” – David Steindl-Rast

The first half of the book I read with no sense of urgency. The latter… Knowing here’s a book preferably read a chapter at a time, and not one iota more, as it is amongst the densest and rich writings I’ve as yet encountered, and knowing the five-hundred pages had to be read come new years…  Well. Let’s just say, I will be re-reading this book, and I will be mining gold-nuggets and jewels from it that I totally overlooked this first time, of that I am certain. You see, it’s easy to get cheesecaked out when reading Cosmos and Psyche which I think Tarnas (or his editor?) was very much aware of, as the chapters are mostly 8-12 pages long or so; just perfect!

“[One is reminded here of] Niels Bohr’s axiom in quantum physics, ‘The opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth’, or Oscar Wilde’s ‘A Truth in art is that whose contradiction is also true’. What is difficult, of course, is to see both images, both truths, simultaneously: to suppress nothing, to remain open to the paradox, to maintain the tension of opposites. Wisdom, like compassion, often seems to require of us that we hold multiple realities in our consciousness at once.”

Cosmos.
Psyche.

Outer.
Inner.

Without.
Within.

Tarnas gives me tankespjärn to last me a lifetime or two, in the most beautiful language. I am stunned, aha-ed, confused and confounded, at times chocked, now and again in total disbelief and throughout it all, flabbergasted at the amount of meticulous work that has gone into the makings of this work. It’s far from an easy read, one I would never have picked up had it not been for the one and only Mr D (who else…). How lucky I am!

“One is unlikely to discover what one is certain cannot possibly exist.”

Being open – in mind, in heart – is perhaps the single most important insight I take with me, from reading Cosmos and Psyche. With openness, the possibility increases to discover that which does exist, however unaware I am of it.


The book I am blogging about is part of the book-reading challenge I’ve set for myself during 2019, to read and blog about 12 Swedish and 12 English books, one every other week, books that I already own.

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