Five Books Guaranteed To Expand Your Consciousness

Some books have the power to change the way we think about the world.

  1. The Meaning of Human Existence by E.O. Wilson

One would imagine a book titled The Meaning of Human Existence to be a multi-volume monster, yet the brilliant evolutionary biologist E.O. Wilson has managed to elegantly distill this ancient question into less than two hundred pages. This Pulitzer Prize-winning book reminds us that our purpose is, and has always been, survival. It’s impossible to read these pages and not be in complete awe of the evolution of our consciousness, and all the while be reminded that just as we have evolved, so have the challenges facing us as a species.

2. The Creative Explosion by John E. Pfeiffer

It may have been written in 1982, but The Creative Explosion is a timeless anthropological thriller detailing the mysterious period of immense human creativity that simultaneously flourished across multiple global locations. It’s as if cave paintings appeared all over the world, out of nowhere, at the same time. How did this happen? Pfeiffer’s fascinating perspective of the transition from nomadic hunter-gatherers to the beginnings of modern-day cities forces the reader to rethink contemporary symbols of status, social hierarchies, and humanity’s ancient, crucial relationship with art. Above all, it instills a sense of gratitude by contrasting our relative, modern complacency with the hardships faced by our ancestors.

3. Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Hararri

There’s a reason why this masterpiece is on the must-read list for big thinkers like Bill Gates: it’s mind-blowing. This is not light reading, but if you’re seeking a trip down the rabbit hole, look no further. Hararri takes us through our wild and random past, makes astonishing connections to the present, and predicts thoroughly researched scenarios of our future. It’s an overwhelming amount of seemingly disconnected data that magically gels for frequent moments of epiphany. At times as terrifying as it is enlightening, Homo Deus consolidates the greatest threats and accomplishments of the human race into a dense, mind-bending narrative that offers both a much-needed reality check and pragmatic solution to the contemporary human condition.

4. The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert

With all the political squabbling, falsely dramatized reality TV, and a popular culture built on instant gratification, it’s easy to forget that we actually live on a sphere of space dust flying through a solar system fueled by a giant ball of gas. Elizabeth Kolbert is here to wake us from our closed-minded slumber and provide some much-needed perspective on the fragile nature of our existence. Our planet has had five major extinction events throughout its history (that we know of), and Kolbert makes a persuasive argument that we are in the midst of the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid that ended the age of the dinosaur. How has this not made its way into common knowledge? Maybe it’s the same reason why it’s happening.

5. The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell

There are few writers or filmmakers unfamiliar with the work of Joseph Campbell, a man who dedicated his life to finding patterns in the stories humans have told each other throughout human history. Without Campbell’s illustrious insight, it’s unlikely we would have Star Wars or any of the epic, myth-inspired films that so prominently define this period of storytelling. Why do the same stories connect with us century after century? The Hero with a Thousand Faces taps into the primal urge to understand ourselves through the hero’s journey. In the process, it awakens the realization that we are connected to all of those who lived and died before us.

Filmmaker. Writer. Artist. Entrepreneur. www.TheCultureMonster.com

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