In this reviewer’s opinion, Carter Phipps and his editor are without a doubt the greatest writer editor team within the integral and evolutionary movements. Because of the enjoyableness and ease of reading his work I would go so far as to call Carter Phipps the new “Hemingway” within the crop of current integral and evolutionary authors.
He does an inspiring job of taking the reader through the cultural history of the philosophy and spiritual aspects of what it means to be an evolutionary. It is a hands-down, must read for any individual who wants to become excited and motivated by the bright promises for the future contained within the cultural history of evolutionary philosophic and spiritual thinking.
Many times Carter poses new, insightful and deeply challenging questions that simply aren't seen often enough within the integral evolutionary movements. At times he shows himself to be a true original thinker, but unfortunately for the readers he does not allow himself more freedom to do more of this within his book.
While I love this book for what it is meant to do as a cultural history of evolutionary philosophy and evolutionary spirituality, I also am compelled to speak to what I believe to be a glaring shortcoming. The shortcoming of the book Evolutionaries by Carter Phillips is that although its subtitle says “Science’s Greatest Idea” the book unfortunately gives short shrift to the leading evolutionary scientists or any of the modern principles of evolutionary science.
In chapter one on the first page he quotes David Sloan Wilson extolling how essential evolutionary science is to our practical daily lives and then surprisingly Carter never really demonstrates that singular keystone idea in any tangible or practical way throughout the rest of his book. His book's lack of sufficient hard evolutionary science, stories about the evolutionary science area (except for a bit on John Stewart author of Evolution’s Arrow and the Evolutionary Manifesto,) and the critical importance of evolutionary science providing the core principles and values for effective and empowered day-to-day living mirrors a problem common in too many areas of today’s independent integral and evolutionary groups.
Too much of what is being offered by these groups as what it takes to be a real and informed evolutionary is overly spiritual (in the form re-hashed Buddhism, old guru speak or mash ups of other eastern religions,) and/or mostly philosophical (lots of Wilber maps and parsing of quadrant perspectives,) with little or no hard evolutionary science nor how to use evolution’s practical and time-tested principles in daily life.
In spite of the above mentioned significant problem with Carter’s book, I still am unequivocally recommending that if you want to know about the cultural history of evolutionary philosophy and evolutionary spirituality and get very motivated (or re-motivated,) about our history as evolutionaries get this book as soon as possible.
Evolutionaries is a totally enjoyable, remarkably inspiring and amazingly well written book! I hope that Carter in his next book allows his budding gift for original thinking to roam more freely over the essential issues of the integral and evolutionary movements.
Click here to learn more about “Evolutionaries, Unlocking the Cultural and Spiritual Potential of Science’s Greatest Idea.”
Review by Lawrence Wollersheim