Imprint:New Society Publishers - Gabriola Island
Form detail:Adhesive bound, Dust jacket
Dimensions:9in x 6 x 1.44 in | 3.46 lb
Page Count:528 pages
Illustrations:20 b&w maps, charts, photographs and graphics
Integrating modern science with traditional wisdom, The Web of Meaning investigates humanity's age-old questions—Who am I? Why am I? How should I live?—from a fresh perspective, laying down the foundation for a new worldview of interconnectedness that could foster sustainable flourishing on a thriving Earth.
A compelling foundation for a new story of interconnectedness, showing how, as our civilization unravels, another world is possible.
"A profound personal meditation on human existence and a tour-de-force weaving together of historic and contemporary thought on the deepest question of all: why are we here?"
— Gabor Maté M.D., author, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts
As our civilization careens toward climate breakdown, ecological destruction, and gaping inequality, people are losing their existential moorings. The dominant worldview of disconnection, which tells us we are split between mind and body, separate from each other, and at odds with the natural world, has been invalidated by modern science.
Award-winning author, Jeremy Lent, investigates humanity's age-old questions – Who am I? Why am I? How should I live? – from a fresh perspective, weaving together findings from modern systems thinking, evolutionary biology, and cognitive neuroscience with insights from Buddhism, Taoism, and Indigenous wisdom.
The result is a breathtaking accomplishment: a rich, coherent worldview based on a deep recognition of connectedness within ourselves, between each other, and with the entire natural world. It offers a compelling foundation for a new philosophical framework that could enable humanity to thrive sustainably on a flourishing Earth.
The Web of Meaning is for everyone looking for deep and coherent answers to the crisis of civilization.
Audience: For the readers of: Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer, The Tao of Physics, The Web of Life by Fritjof Capra, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig and Sapiens by Dr. Yuval Noah Harari. Cultural creatives – 35% of US citizens, interested in other cultures, strong social conscience, concerned with ecological sustainability 27% American citizens who consider themselves "spiritual but not religious" progressive thinkers, spiritual seekers, armchair philosophers, readers of The Patterning Instinct
Regional: San Francisco Bay area, author's hometown
Jeremy Lent is an author whose writings investigate the patterns of thought that have led our civilization to its current crisis of sustainability. Born in London, England, Lent received a BA in English Literature from Cambridge University, an MBA from the University of Chicago, and was a former internet company CEO. His award-winning book, The Patterning Instinct: A Cultural History of Humanity's Search for Meaning, explores the way humans have made meaning from the cosmos from hunter-gatherer times to the present day. He is founder of the non-profit Liology Institute, dedicated to fostering an integrated, life-affirming worldview that could enable humanity to thrive sustainably on Earth. He lives with his partner in Berkeley, California.
"One of the most brilliant and insightful minds of our age, Jeremy Lent has written one of the most essential and compelling books of our time. The Web of Meaning invites us to rethink at the deepest level who we are as a species and what we might become."
— David Korten, author, When Corporations Rule the World and The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community
"The Web of Meaning is both a profound personal meditation on human existence and, as its title implies, a tour-de-force weaving together of historic and contemporary world-wide secular and spiritual thought on the deepest question of all: why are we here?"
— Gabor Maté M.D., author, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction
"We need, now more than ever, to figure out how to make all kinds of connections. This book can help—and therefore it can help with a lot of the urgent tasks we face."
— Bill McKibben, author, Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?
"Jeremy Lent is one of today’s most eloquent cultural observers. In this captivating book he addresses with frightening clarity how humanity’s loss of balance within ourselves and with the natural world has brought civilization to the brink of collapse. He also shows us a way out—a path of integration, recognizing our deep interconnectedness, that could lead toward a new ecological civilization. I highly recommend this inspiring book to anyone concerned about the future of humanity."
— Fritjof Capra, author, The Web of Life, co-author, The Systems View of Life
"Five decades ago, the interweaving of Buddhist thought and systems theory liberated my experience and understanding of self. That changed everything. Today, with equal excitement, I harvest from Jeremy Lent’s The Web of Meaning a sense of the distinctive, ongoing presence—or spirit—that is woven by self ’s conscious engagement with life. The opportunity to plunge into this book will change my life. My gratitude, like spirit, is endless."
— Joanna Macy, author, World as Lover, World as Self
"Taking up where his brilliant The Patterning Instinct left off, Jeremy’s Lent’s The Web of Meaning reveals the deeper purpose and passion for human existence: a collective quest for meaning through connection, without even having to believe anything in particular. An important and rationally argued primer for universal flourishing."
— Douglas Rushkoff, author, Team Human
"In this timely and well-researched text, Jeremy Lent weaves the insights from ancient philosophical and Indigenous traditions with modern scientific views of how our systems of life unfold on Earth to reveal inspiring ways we might reawaken our innate capacities to live with a wider, more inclusive sense of self, identity, and belonging with each other and within nature. A beautiful synthesis of wisdom and empirical knowledge, this erudite journey offers an important way to construct a new narrative of our shared lives."
— Daniel J. Siegel, M.D., author, Mind, Aware, and IntraConnected: MWe (Me + We) as the Integration of Belonging and Identity
"With clarity, scholarship and passion Jeremy Lent rejects the ill-founded ideological cynicism of neo-liberal capitalism. Based on solid science, the book is a long argument that offers a viable and hopeful alternative that draws on Buddhist, Neo-Confucian, and Indigenous philosophies, and stresses the interconnectedness of all life. It is a wide-ranging synthesis written for all those who have not given up on a moral stand and can be spurred into action."
— Eva Jablonka, author, Evolution in Four Dimensions
"The Web of Meaning lays the foundation for a true world culture which is solidly scientific, yet profoundly spiritual, telling a contemporary story of a meaningful universe that includes and embraces humankind. This book is a landmark work for a time that urgently needs to understand that the cosmos is our home and not our enemy to be conquered."
— Andreas Weber, author, The Biology of Wonder
"A remarkable journey to explore the meaning of life and human’s place in our interconnected world. Lent’s deep knowledge of history, science, and traditional wisdom opens our eyes and our hearts to a new understanding of who we are and how our lifestyle is affecting the world around us. Lent presents an integrated worldview that points the way to living a meaningful life in harmony with nature. This brilliant book teaches us the wisdom and science we need to create a world where people care for each other and for Earth, and flourish."
— Clair Brown, author, Buddhist Economics: An Enlightened Approach to the Dismal Science
"The Web of Meaning is a book of radical and profound wisdom. This book is a magnificent manifesto for a regenerative culture and for an ecological civilisation. Lent shows us a way out of the old story of separation and disconnection and leads us towards a new story of interconnection. The book beautifully addresses some of the most complex questions of life. I found the book like a friend and a companion in the journey of transformation."
— Satish Kumar, Editor Emeritus, Resurgence & Ecologist, founder, Schumacher College, and author, Elegant Simplicity
"There are so many ways to understand the world, and so many levels to be integrated, that everyone can use the guidance of Jeremy Lent. Moving from the ancient Tao to modern neuroscience and everything in between, he boldly weaves deep insights together to envision a better world."
— Frans de Waal, author, Mama’s Last Hug: Animal Emotions and What They Tell Us about Ourselves
"The Web of Meaning is a call for recognizing what both our newest science and our oldest spiritual traditions tell us: that we are all inextricably interconnected with one another and with nature. This thoughtful and passionate work is an important contribution to the urgently needed cultural shift from domination to partnership."
— Riane Eisler, author, The Chalice and the Blade, The Real Wealth of Nations, and Nurturing Our Humanity
"A widely ranging, deeply penetrating, and healingly prescriptive consideration of how to reposition humanity within the world. Lent’s ideas, drawn from all around the globe from antiquity to the present, provide a vision for a better shot at survival and a life that is worthwhile for our time—and for the rest of time."
— Carl Safina, author, Beyond Words and Becoming Wild
"A path-breaking book—carefully researched, clearly written, and life transforming. This integration of science and wisdom traditions deserves to be widely read. One of the most comprehensive and insightful books on this topic to date."
— Mary Evelyn Tucker, Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology, co-author, Journey of the Universe
"Few writers I know have the ability to be genuinely holistic and interdisciplinary, weaving science and culture into a coherent whole. This is precisely what Jeremy Lent has done in The Web of Meaning, a profound and necessary book for forging a pathway towards an ecological civilization."
— Roman Krznaric, author, The Good Ancestor: How to Think Long Term in a Short-Term World
"With deft and unrelenting strokes of compassionate penmanship, Lent unravels the stories that keep us bound to a colonial arrangement of anthropocentricity, superior markets, excavated nature, endless growth, and boundless consumerism, masquerading as the normal. And then he spins an alternative conception of things. To read Lent’s The Web of Meaning is to be captured by a sensuous awakening—the scandalous idea that other worlds are possible and, perhaps given the state of contemporary collapse, almost inevitable."
— Bayo Akomolafe, author, These Wilds Beyond our Fences: Letters to My Daughter on Humanity’s Search for Home
"Insightful, exhilarating, and hopeful! Lent not only traces the stunning correspondences between ancient wisdom traditions and vanguard biological sciences, he explains how recognizing our place in life’s web of interdependence opens up new vistas for change. The Web of Meaning is a bold, timely challenge to conventional science, religion, and social movements to see the world—and themselves—in new ways."
— David Bollier, commons activist/scholar and co-author, Free, Fair and Alive: The Insurgent Power of the Commons
"Maybe, just maybe, this is the skillfully organized and brilliantly written book that will turn the world around. Scientists cling to a seventeenth-century metaphysics that leads to nihilism and supports the policies that are destroying ecosystems everywhere. But Lent shows, convincingly, that there are masses of facts science has laid bare that call for a very different worldview of self-organizing entities. He is certainly right. Is there any chance that the slowly awakening world will listen?"
— John B. Cobb, Jr., author, Process Theology: An Introductory Exposition
"It is hard to build new regenerative narratives that honor the old without being in extractive relation to non-western lands and peoples, but this book is a damn good start. This book is a good place to sit for anybody interested in binding the wounds of thoughtless progress and allowing the emergence of new patterns of being."
— Tyson Yunkaporta, author, Sand Talk: How Indigenous Thinking Can Save the World