David Lewis-Williams (great read)


David Lewis-Williams

Professor Emeritus at the University of Witwaterstrand, Johannesburg.

I’ve been a fan of the work Lewis-Williams has done in collecting and investigating the earliest evidence of spirituality in humankind. To read through his literature opens the door to understanding how the roots of civilization took hold.

‘The Mind in the Cave’ is by far his most popular and widely read. When I first picked up a copy more than a decade ago, its impact was immediate. So many of the paintings shown further back in my blog can be traced back solely to this book that it is about time I talked about it in my blog.

If you’ve an interest in religion and wish to have some inkling on how ‘belief’ became so globally prominent in our collective minds, then the answers are within these pages.

P. 18, Chapter 1:

It is not simply that we are more intelligent than other creatures, that we are masters of complex technology, or even that we have complex language. These are glittering jewels in the crown of humanity with which we are comfortable. On the contrary, the essence of being human is an uncomfortable duality of ‘rational’ technology and ‘irrational’ belief. We are still a species in transition.

Journey through the cave art discoveries within Chauvet, African San rock paintings and follow Lewis-Williams as he brings light onto this mystery.

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9 Responses to David Lewis-Williams (great read)

  1. arjun bagga says:

    So true. In transition…

  2. simonhlilly says:

    I dunno I feel uneasy about some of the viewpoints. (And I always quickly cross myself when anyone does the simplistic entopics equals visions thing…..)

  3. simonhlilly says:

    Yep, thats the issue I think. One suspects such academics wouldn’t know a visionary experience even if the weeds started dancing with them….its difficult ( also) attempting to reject materialist theories without seeming petulant or irrational. But rationalism = truth seems more like a political statement ( or an article of faith). By the way, I now have a beautiful text edition of “The Red Book” that I am looking forward to diving into….

    • masqua says:

      Ahhh… the Red Book. You’re in for a visionary treat. Say hi to Philemon for me when he runs across you.

      If empirical rationalism isn’t based on a troublesome measure of faith, I’ll be a monkeys uncle.

  4. Geo Sans says:

    thanks for the recommendation

    another book on the list

    for the library

  5. Melinda says:

    Looks interesting. There’s an exhibition of Ice Age Art at the British Museum which I plan to go to in the Spring. Intrigued with the intersection of art and spirituality.

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