Ehrenreich’s “Living with a Wild God”

Barbara Ehrenreich’s new book, “Living with a Wild God,” focuses on the wild and mystical God she finds all around her in a fleeting world. In an interview with Jeff Sharlet, Ehrenreich opens up:

JS: At one point you call monotheism deicide.

BE: Well, because an awful lot of deities had to be killed to make for that one guy!

JS: In the book you describe trees that are more interesting than people, and that if you want a study of moods, you might want to look at the ocean—and none of this has the feel of nature writing. “Nature” is a term that I know you dislike in a similar vein as spirituality. Too sweet. So I wonder, in the process of those mystical experiences where everything is stripped away and everything becomes unnamed, is that related to your ability to see animation in trees, in the ocean, to see beyond that singular figure of God?

BE: Well I think the tragic thing about monotheism—and also about science, as I lump them together here—is they require that the rest of the world be dead. There’s this famous quote from Plutarch where a ship is going by and they hear the cry, “The great god Pan is dead,” and that marks the fact that the pantheon of the Greek gods has now given way, or will give way soon, to the risen Jesus, to this one-or-sometimes-three-part god. So, monotheism, all the other spirits and gods—done. And science! The Cartesian worldview is that the world is dead, except for human consciousness. It was only in the last twenty years or so that science began to acknowledge the feelings and thoughts of animals. And creativity. So I find the two kind of similar. As compared to a worldview more like my own, where it’s not all dead. There’s a lot going on. It’s a happening place.

For the rest of the interview on “Living With a Wild God” please visit Killing the Buddha here.

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