Theo Grutter. Dancing with Mosquitoes: To Liberate the Mind from Humanism—A Way to Green the Mind. New York: Vantage Press, 2000. Paperback, xviii + 386 pages.
This brilliant iconoclastic work contains 224 meditations that at times read vividly like diary entries. Grutter’s focus is on the conventional mind that endlessly churns in well-worn grooves and never succeeds in experiencing life in the raw. A seasoned outdoors man used to being alone in the wilderness, Gutter has learned to think and feel outside our civilizational grooves cut for us by our consumer society and the 850-word vocabulary of the media.
Many of his insights are as extraordinary as their formulations are shocking to a reader who prefers the safe ground of polite discourse. Those, however, who are willing and ready to follow Gutter into the wild outdoors are in for a special combination of surprise, awe, horror, disgust, beauty, and above all rawness.
Whether he talks about plants, animals, the environment, death, fear, our screwed-up civilization, or himself, he never fails to come up with any number of unpleasant insights that yet need to be heard. His language aims at the reader’s gut and never misses to hit home. But he also is a master of memorable lyrical turns of phrase and gripping imagery.
The editor in me would have liked to trim this book down by a hundred pages, but I can also appreciate that the book is something of a sledge hammer whose weight ought not to be reduced. Besides, Gutter doesn’t write dull pages. Words come bubbling out of him; after all, he waited 30 years to spit them out. If you read the book from cover to cover, you might actually emerge as a better human being.
Copyright ©2006 by Georg Feuerstein. All rights reserved.
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