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Restoring the Soul of the World

Our Living Bond with Nature’s Intelligence


Humanity’s creative role within the living pattern of nature

• Explores important scientific discoveries that reveal the self-organizing intelligence at the heart of nature

• Examines the idea of a living cosmos from its roots in the earliest cultures, to its eclipse during the Scientific Revolution, to its return today

• Reveals ways to reengage our creative partnership with nature and collaborate with nature’s intelligence

For millennia the world was seen as a creative, interconnected web of life, constantly growing, developing, and restoring itself. But with the arrival of the Scientific Revolution in the 16th and 17th centuries, the world was viewed as a lifeless, clock­like mechanism, bound by the laws of classical physics. Intelligence was a trait ascribed solely to human beings, and thus humanity was viewed as superior to and separate from nature. Today new scientific discoveries are reviving the ancient philosophy of a living, interconnected cosmos, and humanity is learning from and collaborating with nature’s intelligence in new, life-enhancing ways, from ecological design to biomimicry.

Drawing upon the most important scientific discoveries of recent times, David Fideler explores the self-organizing intelligence at the heart of nature and humanity’s place in the cosmic pattern. He examines the ancient vision of the living cosmos from its roots in the “world soul” of the Greeks and the alchemical tradition, to its eclipse during the Scientific Revolution, to its return today. He explains how the mechanistic worldview led to humanity’s profound sense of alienation, for if the universe only functioned as a machine, there was no longer any room for genuine creativity or spontaneity. He shows how this isn’t the case and how, even at the molecular level, natural systems engage in self-organization, self-preservation, and creative problem solving, mirroring the ancient idea of a creative intelligence that exists deep within the heart of nature.

Revealing new connections between science, religion, and culture, Fideler explores how to reengage our creative partnership with nature and new ways to collaborate with nature’s intelligence.

David Fideler holds a Ph.D. in philosophy and the history of science and cosmology. A recognized authority on the Pythagorean school, he is the editor of The Pythagorean Sourcebook and Library; author of Jesus Christ, Sun of God; translator of Love’s Alchemy; and editor of the humanities journal Alexandria.

“If humanity is to survive, David Fideler’s Restoring the Soul of the World provides us with the map for restoring our own souls and those of the planet with brilliance, clarity, and a love for human life and the life of nature.”

– Sim Van der Ryn, coauthor of Ecological Design

“David Fideler is a scholar and thinker of the first rank, and this marvelous book presents his profound historical, scientific, and philosophical expertise in a brilliant synthesis that is accessible to everyone. It is a beautifully written and wide-ranging guide to the history of the soul of the world. Drawing together threads from every field of human endeavor, from theology to poetry and astrophysics to biology, it is the most exciting, uplifting, and optimistic exhortation to engage with and restore the magical world around us that I have read in a long time.”

– Tom Cheetham, Ph.D., author of All the World an Icon

Restoring the Soul of the World goes beyond the goal of ‘sustainability’ to a new vision of our role here on Earth as renewing and regenerating a world that we feel emotionally committed to and want to care for and understand from a long-term view. This book is optimistic in the best way--based not just on hope or determination but on science, on an exciting array of successful solutions, and a daring kind of spiritual freedom rooted in the cosmos. This outlook could transform the world.”

– Nancy Ellen Abrams and Joel R. Primack, authors of The New Universe and the Human Future

Restoring the Soul of the World is the most far-reaching book available on more profound ways of understanding how we are connected to the cosmos. David Fideler reveals previously hidden traditions and ways of understanding ourselves and nature, exploring our relationships to nature’s intelligence as no one has before. A classic: you need to read this book.”

– Arthur Versluis, professor of American Studies at Michigan State University

“In Restoring the Soul of the World, David Fideler highlights the paradigmatic foundations of seemingly intransigent religious, scientific, and economic beliefs. But he then takes the crucial--and all too rare--step of interpreting and integrating these histories to illuminate a path forward. He pragmatically demonstrates how models of regenerative strategies can be found all around, and that restoring the soul of the world begins with becoming attuned to the cycles and patterns of a living universe.”

– David McConville, chairman of the board of The Buckminster Fuller Institute

“In this timely and absorbing book, David Fideler traces our long relationship with the world soul, chronicling how our experience of the spiritual power of nature was lost in a mechanized world. Yet Fideler brings real hope. Drawing on recent scientific discoveries and solutions, he envisions a way for humanity to collaborate in a ‘living but damaged paradise.’ This book will help many people take heart.”

– Tracy Cochran, editor for Parabola magazine

Restoring the Soul of the World is a wonderful book. I challenge anyone to read it intently and not feel the presence of the anima mundi or hear the hum of the music of the spheres. David Fideler is an inspiring guide on an enlivening excursion through the intelligence of nature. He brings together heart and mind in an alchemical fusion uniquely his own.”

– Gary Lachman, author of The Caretakers of the Cosmos

Restoring the Soul of the World is a timely rallying call to reimagine our relationship with our world, our culture, and our cosmos. Through a masterful overview of the history of forgotten knowledge, Fideler reveals the unsuspected connections between ancient thought and the cutting edge of contemporary natural science.”

– Leon Marvell, author of Transfigured Light

"Dr. Fideler focuses on the inroads that have been made in working with living organisms to clean up toxic wastewater and regenerate entire ecosystems. His vision is for us to participate creatively in cultivating all life and restoring the beauty, fertility and resilience of nature."

– Nexus, December 2015

“At the dawn of the twenty-first century, many people are searching for meaning in their lives. Something is missing, and we seem incapable of putting a finger on it. Fideler’s book does not complete the puzzle; however, it does provide a critical piece that can help us find our way forward by employing the wisdom of the ancients. It is time for humanity to look beyond lame science and blind religion to find an answer for the common causes of humanity and the well-being of our ecosystem. Fideler’s Restoring the Soul of the World draws upon the wisdom of the past to create a reasonable path forward--a path that begins with the restoration of our relationship with our living, intelligent, and sacred cosmos.”

– Traditional Stoicism, Chris Fisher, March 2016