Sunday, June 25, 2017

Book Review: 'The Genius of the Beast: A Radical Re-Vision of Capitalism' by Howard Bloom

Review: The Genius of the Beast–A Radical Re-Vision of Capitalism

6 Star SpecialCapitalism (Good & Bad)Change & InnovationComplexity & CatastropheComplexity & ResilienceConsciousness & Social IQCosmos & DestinyCulture, ResearchEconomicsEnvironment (Problems)Environment (Solutions)HistoryIntelligence (Collective & Quantum)Intelligence (Wealth of Networks)Nature, Diet, Memetics, DesignPhilosophyPower (Pathologies & Utilization)Religion & Politics of ReligionScience & Politics of ScienceSurvival & SustainmentValues, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution
Amazon Page
Amazon Page
5.0 out of 5 stars Deep Look at Soul of Man, Society, and Capitalism
November 1, 2009
Howard Bloom
I received this book in pre-publication form so as to offer a blurb for the jacket. Below is my take on this book.This book will simultaneously tease your brain, arouse your emotions, and motivate you as it probes deeply into the soul of man, society, and capitalism as the engine of Western civilization.
The author gifts us with a counter-culture manifesto that resurrects the goodness of capitalism while also connecting to the roots of humanity, of the human soul as a microcosm of the soul of society.
Be patient, the first third of this book will amuse, enlighten, & provoke, at which point it will grab you by the throat and shake your fundamental perceptions of life. The author is compelling in both a scientific sense, weaving psychology, biology, economics, and sociology together; and in an artistic sense, delivering theater of the mind, new visions, poetic turns of phrase page after page, and a massive amount of purpose-laden provocative minutia, all of which culminates in blinding flashes of insight that explain the mind-expanding role of circuses, the failure of religion, and the natural cycles of fission and fusion, splintering apart and coming together.
“The future of the human race is hidden in our fantasies.” For me this book was science fiction in reverse, the lucid explanation of how good is bad, bad is good, and above all, the raw fact that every advance of civilization has been an advance of connectivity. The author joins William Greider and John Bogle as one of the moral wise men mentoring capitalism back toward its social purpose: doing well by doing good–satisfying individual natural emotional needs to re-engineer society over and over again.
This book was so important I did a “table” with my notes and then sorted them, here is what I used to create the above “Beyond 6 Stars” review (as I grade it at Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog).
10 Needs: Control, Status, Attention, Belonging, Identity, Love, Meaning, Structure, Uplift, Novelty
Blurb: Exercises your brain while probing your soul
Blurb: A story about the goodness of power of mass behavior driven by mass perceptions
Blurb: Broad historical overview, simplified but focused, interesting, and surprising
Blurb: INSIGHT: each advance of civilization is a connectivity leap ahead, from letters of credit to ships to trains to cell phones
Blurb: Packed with titillating minutia, e.g. Illinois had 27 times zones in 1870s
Blurb: Revisionist history that resurrects the goodness of capitalism while also connecting to the roots of humanity, of the human soul as a microcosm of the soul of society
Blurb: Will simultaneously tease your brain, arouse your emotions, and motivate you
Blurb: Counter-culture manifesto
Blurb: An exposition on the inherent value of integrity, fairness, and diversity
Blurb: Be patient, this book will amuse, enlighten, & provoke for the first third, at which point it will grab you by the throat and shake your fundamental perceptions of life
Blurb: Science Fiction in reverse–explains how we got here, how much more we can do
Book Art: Would be good to have illustrations throughout
Book Notes: 695 notes spanning a wide diversity of literatures and historical timeframes
Book Title: Mixed metaphors, change last bit to Restoring the Soul of Humanity
Capitalism: Corporations only use 10% of their available brainpower (ignore labor’s brains)
Capitalism: Superficiality is good because it feeds diversity and exploration
Capitalism: Only Western Civilization truly tolerated protest movements
Capitalism: Capitalism embraces diversity of beliefs and unlike religion, does lift the poor
Capitalism: This book restores the honor of capitalism by reconnecting purpose with profit
Capitalism: Capitalism as savior, liberator, and empowerer of the less blessed
Capitalism: Redefines capitalism as stored fantasy, courage, persistence, even ego
Capitalism: Capitalism is about caring for your flock.
Capitalism: Capitalism is about build and save.
Cities: Cities were the first mega-demonstration of civilized teamwork
Cycle of History: Economic depression can lead to strengthening of central authority
Cycle of History: Natural cycle of centralization then decentralization then centralization again
Cycle of History: Boom and bust is a biological imperative, individual knaves are part of the cycle
Cycle of History: Fusion (come together) versus Fission (split apart) is the natural cycle
Entertainment: Mood-shift salvation
Feelings: Feelings are the means by which we can energize the balance of our brain
Feelings: Trust your emotions and feelings
Glibness: NINJA Loans, Civil War, and who invented peanut butter, commoditization a side effect rather than a goal (see Lionel Tiger, The Manufacture Of Evil: Ethics, Evolution, and the Industrial System
Group IQ: Tea & tea time, coffee & coffee shops, turbo-charged Group IQ
Nature: Two billion years ago bacteria produced oxygen and over-turned the Earth
Nature: Global warming, all that we rail against, is an opportunity for novelty
Nature Human: Core concept: HUGS–must reconnect to one another, end of anomie
Nature Human: Emotions are how we are driven to explore, return, and “gas up” the collective
Nature Social: Crowd madness–loss of ethics–is a social symptom, forgiving of individual rogues
Science Rule 1: Truth at any price
Science Rule 2: Look at what is in front of you as you never have before–in new ways
Symbols: Symbols are abstractions that free mind from instinct and open new pathways
Uniqueness: More stuff in this book that I did not know or had not thought of than any I remember
War: War funds mass idiocy and waste at the same time that it funds innovation on edge
Writer’s Art: Fascinating juxtaposition throughout of human biology and the body social
Writer’s Art: A way to see anew, poetic turns of phrase page after page
Writer’s Art: “Socrates was an walking cuisinart of imported knowledge.”
Writer’s Art: The future of the human race is hidden in our fantasies.
The author’s other two books that I have reviewed:

Editor's note: This review was written by Robert David Steele and has been reposted with permission. The original page can be found here. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right. 

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