The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight by Thom Hartmann. Three Rivers Press, New York, 1999. $14.00 paperback.
Reviewed by Maya del Mar
Susan and I participated in a healing workshop given by Hank Wesselman, author of unique books which are teachers for our time. (Two of them, Spiritwalker and Medicinemaker, are reviewed in the January and March issues of Daykeeper.)
Hank talked about soul loss as the most serious cause of illness. He said that it is the most prevalent cause of disease in our time, and that there can be national soul loss as well as personal soul loss.
And then he reported the closing remarks at a conference of health professionals in Los Angeles, people dedicated to healing.
The moderator woke up everyone with her final questions addressed to the audience. This was during the Gulf War, and she asked, "How many of you would give up your cars to stop war?"
Less than 10% of the health care workers raised their hands.
Then, "How many of you are willing to give up your homes to stop war?"
Not a single hand.
And finally, "How many of you are willing to give up your sons to stop war?"
Here the hand-raising was enthusiasticabout 75%.
When told of this the Polynesian elder, Makua, said, "In Polynesia, we call that human sacrifice."
Thom Hartmann talks about where we are, what brought us here, and gives us hope to change itto retrieve the soul of a nation.
His vision is broad and integrative. In this small book he covers 7000 years of "dominator" history, human prehistory, and millions of years of earth history, and puts it all together. The basics are here, with lively examples, and the reader is left with a clear picture of the spiritual, economic, and cultural pickle we are in.
In California there is an energy crisis. This crisis is clearly caused by manipulation by the power industry.
However, let us not let this blind us to the fact that there IS, in fact, a huge energy crisis happening. Ancient sunlight, locked in the earth for 300 million years, has been driving our culture. And now it is nearly gone. The power companies proposal to use up the remainder quickly and inefficiently is exactly wrong. We need to husband that sunlight and use it wisely while we develop truly sustainable systems.
As Mr. Hartmann puts it, "We need to use our oil to not use oil."
We are asleep, as Mr. Hartmann says. The Australian aborigines call it the Great Forgetting. And we use television to keep us zoned out.
He says that we need to change our stories, to wake up to life, recognize its beauty and sacredness, and respect it. We need to re-empower women, understand the real meaning of wealth, and respect other cultures. We need to reinvent our daily life and our rituals, and once again become part of community.
Nothing that Thom Hartmann says is new. The substance of it is all being said by many people. The authors genius is that he takes the essence and puts it together in a succinct, engaging narrative in such a way that the reader is impacted by the big picture all at once, and at the same time empowered to make positive changes in his/her life.
The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight is indeed a wake-up call.