The book is a poetic and philosophic meditation on Thoreau’s work, highlighting a “Pedagogy of awakening”, that is, a path towards a non-dual and enlightening experience with Nature, a possible answer to the need of addressing the urgency and necessity of our troubled times. The urgency stems from a series of crises that humankind is now facing—epidemiological, environmental, social, political, economic; however, all those crises, as many have already observed, might be better understood as different faces, or different modes, of the same underlying crisis: the Anthropocene crisis, that is, the crisis whose ultimate origins lay at our feet, triggered by the way we, humans, inhabit—and impact—this world. It seems consensual that humankind has never faced such a terrible array of combined crises that, for the first time in history, puts our very survival as a species in danger. A dense fog has alighted on this small and beautiful blue planet, and one can only hope that the pains and suffering we have been through for so long are the pangs of a childbirth—a new beginning, a new promise—, and not the gaspings of a sclerotic organism that is on the brink of its final collapse. Thence, the necessity. The necessity of a new way of inhabiting this world. And I believe that an excellent guide to teach us how to do so is Henry David Thoreau.
Clodomir B. de Andrade is associate professor in the Department of Religious Studies at Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora, Minas Gerais, Brazil.
Chapter 1: Concord, Cosmos
Chapter 2: The Long Shadow of Prometheus: Civilization and Alienation
Chapter 3: Sacramental Technique
Chapter 4: Being Wild: Thoreau’s Pedagogy of Awakening
Chapter 5: Being Nature: The Inconceivable Non-Dual Experience
Conclusion: A Footpath in the Woods
About the Author
Professor de Andrade gives us a wonderful account of Thoreau. He harkens to the miracles of dawn that Thoreau sings in such great celebrations. He immerses himself in the Concord Saunterer's captivating poeticprose.
An important, beautifully written account of how Thoreau’s loving friendship with
Nature makes possible a wild pedagogy of awakening, his transformative journey
towards an originary, illuminating dawn within. Drawing widely on classical philosophy,
scripture, and literature, Professor de Andrade lucidly explains how, for Thoreau, the
liberating study of Nature allows us to flourish, reveals our deep interdependence, and
teaches self-knowledge through respectful acknowledgment and acceptance of the