Pain, Sex and Time by Heard

Gerald Heard. Pain, Sex and Time: A New Outlook on Evolution and the Future of Man. Foreword by Huston Smith. Rhinebeck, N.Y.: Monkfish, repr. ed. 2004. Paperback, xxxii + 263 pp.

I first encountered Heard’s 1939 book some thirty years ago back in England, Heard’s land of birth, and was greatly impressed by its originality. I am delighted that this work is back in print, because it still packs a lot of punch.

Heard’s work—and he published a number of insightful books—was one of the ideological sources of the human potential movement and was also instrumental in the spreading of Vedanta in the Western hemisphere.

As with several of his other publications, Heard adopted a broad evolutionary perspective in Pain, Sex and Time that was catholic enough to still hold appeal today. More specifically, he argued that in its march through the ages, humanity acquired an increased vitality that not only makes us more sensitive to pain but also pushes us beyond mere biological evolution to the transformation of our mental capacities.

Enormously learned, Heard—who was the only intellectual that H. G. Wells would listen to on the radio—had at his fingertips a vast array of cultural data and philosophical ideas, which make Pain, Sex and Time informative and entertaining reading even today, though we may not always agree with him.

His plea for conscious self-transcendence and self-transformation remains vitally important, and given the predicament of our present-day world is arguably more urgent than ever.

Copyright ©2006 by Georg Feuerstein. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in any form requires prior permission from Traditional Yoga Studies.

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