I read Original Wisdom: Stories of an Ancient Way of Knowing August 1, 2001 on the day it was published, and on my birthday. It has become woven into the inner being of who I am.
The human world is not simple. The world we made is a tangled disaster of rules and bureaucracies that make us be what we were not born to be. We may think we can but we cannot own this planet. – Robert Wolff
Words trying to explain the deeply spiritual journey that the author takes us on do not do it any justice. You sit with this book in silent awe and honor it and bless it for touching you, changing you, connecting you and opening your heart and soul.
Many people do not know that this book was originally called “What It Is To Be Human,”and was published by a little known publisher and it was the writer of the foreword, Thom Hartmann, who got his hands on a copy, read it and immediately contacted his own publisher and told him he had found one of the most important books written in our generation. Yes. That good.
I do not know why it is the common belief that all indigenous or tribal people want to be a part of civilization, as though mobile phones, television sets, hamburgers and bibles will somehow improve their lives. They live lives rich and filled with tradition, history and a deep sense of community, something that modern civilization has lost touch with and made superficial.
Leaders do not change the world. It is we who must change our thinking. – Robert Wolff
You read this book and you find yourself asking, have we lost our humanity? traded it for the ease and convenience of a technological world?
Robert writes: “Some people, and they are the people we think of as primitive, live well without ‘doing’ much of anything. They do not have jobs, they do not work nine to five, they certainly do not work for anyone else. They do not farm, they do not have to take care of animals. All of them, women, men and children wander around and find things to eat: fruit, roots—they know their environment intimately. Of course, because they feel part of nature. They spend their days doing what they do best.
Some like making things, they make canoes, or cloth, or pots, or they carve. Some like hunting or fishing. Some people have a talent for staying in touch with another reality, they are priests, shamans, healers. Some of them have a talent for making other people feel good. I have probably learned more from these so-called primitive people than from any other. People who live very close to the earth, or the ocean, with very few of what we think of as necessities of life, live well.
Sadly, it is no exaggeration to say that as soon as we come and bring them ‘civilization’, they plummet into abject poverty and ill-health.”
Reading his words, you are imbued with some of his ‘Original Wisdom’ and you gain more of an understanding of ‘What It Is To Be Human’ and you walk away from the read being a better person. This is one of the top 10 books I have EVER read.