The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self: Cultural Amnesia, Expressive Individualism, and the Road to Sexual RevolutionCarl R. TruemanCrossway / 2020 / Hardcover$19.99 Retail:5 out of 5 stars for The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self: Cultural Amnesia, Expressive Individualism, and the Road to Sexual Revolution. View reviews of this product. 2 Reviews Video
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Kendra5 Stars Out Of 5takes effort but highly insightfulDecember 11, 2020Kendra"I am a woman trapped in a man's body." How did this phrase, which would have seemed ridiculous a hundred years ago, become one that is generally understood and accepted by Western culture today? This is the question Trueman sets out to answer in this book. Beginning in the period of the Romantics, Trueman shows that the sorts of statements such as the opening sentence are not a recent phenomenon, but rather the end results of a shift in worldview that has been long in the making.
In short, we have moved from a mimetic view (regards the world as having a given order and a given meaning and thus sees human beings as required to discover that meaning and conform themselves to it) to a poietic view (sees the world as so much raw material out of which meaning and purpose can be created by the individual) (39). Or in another way of saying it, we have rejected sacred order, where truth and authority come from Someone outside of ourselves, and adopted a view of expressive individualism, where humans meaning by giving expression to their own feelings and desires and culture justifies itself by itself (46). Explanations of the thinking of people such as Rousseau, Wordsworth, Nietzsche, Marx, Freud, Marcuse and others who contributed to and developed this new way of thinking form the bulk of the book. The last chapter is a "prologue to future discussions," where Trueman briefly looks at the church's complicity in expressive individualism, possible implications for the church in the coming years, and a few areas of key importance that the church must address.
Coming in right at 400 pages and filled with vocabulary that sent me repeatedly to the dictionary, this book was a rigorous read. I knew very little, if anything, about the theories of the philosophers Trueman cites, and felt like that stuff was "over my head." One of the things Trueman does well is explaining and summarizing the passages he quotes ("What Marcuse is saying is..." or "In other words,..."). My eyes still glazed over sometimes, but in the end, I found the book to be very insightful in understanding the culture and mindset of the world in which I live. It takes some effort, but I'd say this is one of the most worthwhile books I read this year and I highly recommend it.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher (Crossway) in exchange for my review.
Joan5 Stars Out Of 5Compelling and FascinatingNovember 2, 2020JoanQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5In this fascinating and compelling read, Carl Truesdale confronts questions that trouble many of us today. He maintains that the current changes in world view were not brought about recent events such as the "free love" of the 60's or the LGBTQ alliance today, but rather through a slow molding that has taken centuries to complete. He examines strands from philosophy, psychology, science, literature and art that have led us to reimagine our identity and our culture.
According to Trueman, we are now living in a time when many people do not accept the view that the world has a sacred order and meaning which human beings strive to discover and conform to. Instead the world is seen as mere raw material to be used by the individual to create their own purpose. Our age is one of the Psychological Man. The greatest good is self-actualization of the individual, which comes about through finding personal identity and pursuing it in a way that gives pleasure. His conclusion is that the majority today do not root their imperatives in anything sacred.
This is a book to read slowly and carefully. You will learn about the ideas of Rousseau, Wordsworth, Shelley, Blake, Nietzsche, Marx. Darwin, Freud and others. You will study movements, ideas and disciplines including radical feminism, surrealism in art, communism, romantic poetry, pornography, politics, religious choice, pop culture and the rise of transgenderism. You might consider Trueman's book a crash course in Western Civilization over the past 200 years.
Trueman's conclusions are:
We're all part of and influenced by today's secular age. Not everything is bad; for example, the emphasis on human dignity is to be applauded. Trueman predicts that gay marriage is here to stay, but possibly not the current fascination with transgenderism. Religious freedom is likely to be curtailed.
As Christians we should:
Reflect long and hard on the connection between aesthetic-based logic and the core beliefs of the church
Recover both natural law and a high view of the physical body
Be a community
He compares Christians today to the church in the second century. At that time Christianity was a marginal sect in a dominant, pluralist society, viewed suspiciously.
The Lutheran Ladies Connection received a free e-book in return for a fair and honest review.
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