The praying mantis is one form of the bushman trickster deity //Kaggen. The trickster embodies the paradoxical nature of consciousness-reality and the principles of reversal, boundary-crossing and creative transformation.
(Photo: Craig Foster; Bryan Sanders, NASA)
(Photo: Craig Foster; Bryan Sanders, NASA)
In Future Primal, Louis Herman offers a vision of a new kind of politics for a new era of humanity. Drawing on his time among the Kalahari Bushman, the lessons of his service as a soldier in the Israeli army, his experiences as a Jewish lad living through the darkest years of apartheid in South African, he has written a seminal book that bears witness to the folly of all those who say that we cannot change, as we all know we must, the fundamental manner in which we inhabit this planet.
— Wade Davis, National Geographic Society Explorer-in-Residence and author of Into the Silence and The Serpent and the Rainbow
“This is a brilliant book. The work of a lifetime of profound and richly varied boundary crossing experiences combined with broad and insightful intellectual inquiry, it addresses one of the most critical needs of our time in accessible almost poetic prose. No words of mine can do it justice.”
--David Korten, board chair, YES! Magazine and author, The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community and Agenda for a New Economy: From Phantom Wealth to Real Wealth
“Future Primal is a masterpiece. It braids together admiration for early societies, respect for science, and profound faith in our ability to create better collective lives on this endangered planet. Louis Herman merges the very old and the very new, the empirical and the mystical; he brings forward artists, shamans, dancers, hunters, and tricksters to beckon us toward a politics more respectful of humanity, of difference, and of the earth. Lively and learned, this book is written with the engaged hand of a practiced teacher. It will be a hit with students who long for Herman’s combination of practical examples and sweeping vision.”
— Kathy E. Ferguson, professor of political science and women’s studies at the University of Hawai‘i and author of Emma Goldman: Political Thinking in the Streets
“I've studied and worked with Bushmen communities for twenty-five years and only now after reading this book do I understand just how important their lessons are for humanity today ... This is an eloquent, inspirational work, expressing a vision that could make a giant positive change for humanity and all life on earth.”
— Craig Foster, ethnographic and wildlife documentary filmmaker and director of The Great Dance: A Hunter’s Story.
“Louis Herman’s Future Primal demonstrates that political science has not completely degenerated into the meaningless accumulation and analysis of empirical data. His book reconnects us with visions of the good life that have been foundational to human existence since the Paleolithic beginnings of humanity in southern Africa. Herman refuses to accept the doctrinal answers of religious orthodoxy and the sterile responses of neo-Marxism, postmodernism, and neoliberalism. His book is a groundbreaking work of creative scholarship and philosophical vision that transcends all civilizational, religious, and political boundaries. It provides a compelling narrative that weaves our new understanding of the origins of human life and the larger community of being into an original vision of the good life that has the philosophical truth quest at its core.”
— Manfred Henningsen, political philosopher at the University of Hawai‘i
“Future Primal is an urgent, adventurous, and glistening work. Louis Herman makes a powerful case that in our historical advancement we have lost something deep and fundamental in how we relate to each other, the world around us, and life as a whole. With a rich narrative that mixes the personal, the philosophical, the anthropological, and the spiritual, Herman points to a politics of the future that will be informed by the beauty and power of shamanic and tribal insights that our abstract world has left behind — at our peril.”
— Wayne Cristaudo, chair of the politics department at Charles Darwin University, Australia, and author of Power, Love and Evil: Contribution to a Philosophy of the Damaged
“The author’s powerful story of his search for truth over decades in South Africa, England, Israel, and Hawai‘i is integral to the fascinating and bold tale he is telling, at once ancient and contemporary, of a cosmos of faith, and of love, and of hope that draws from the best that historical and natural sciences have to offer. A thought-provoking challenge to any philosophy of politics and history.”
— Paul Caringella, visiting research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and trustee of the Voegelin Literary Trust
“Louis Herman has brought together a rich life journey on several continents with penetrating perspectives from political philosophy and contemporary cosmology. This work is a unique contribution to rethinking our collective story, from a common past out of Africa toward a shared future on our endangered planet. To sink into this perspective is to see with fresh insight how we truly belong here — such a gift!”
-- Mary Evelyn Tucker, cofounder and codirector of the Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale University
Bushman hunters in the western Kalahari at a waterhole looking for tracks