The Alphabet Versus the Goddess

I have just finished The Alphabet Versus the Goddess by Leonard Shlain. I read the epilogue and discovered that the author had already written my review.

Perhaps in my zeal to make my points I have overstated the right/left, feminine/masculine, nutrer/killer, and intuiter/analyzer dualities. … Nevertheless, I believe overlaying these templates upon human history has helped clarify many complex currents and have made certain patterns apparent that would have otherwise remained murky.

A more general thesis that changes in the means of communication is disruptive to societies seems to be compelling. The introduction of writing, the printing press, and television have all been accompanied by turmoil. The connection of alphabetical literacy with monotheism, patriarchy, and misogyny seems real, but it is hard to understand if it cause and effect or something more oblique. I am not sure that we know enough about psychology to make the stronger statement yet.

The book is thought provoking and it does give one a new way to think about the the sometimes tumultuous history of western civilization.

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