Click to see close-up of book cover
Read an excerpt from this book


Civilization and the Transformation of Power
by Jim Garrison

Paraview Press, 2000
ISBN: 1-931044-00-7
History, 414 pp
Trade Paperback: $19.95 

Order Now

This visionary new book takes readers on a stimulating journey through history, and examines the spiritual, cultural, and evolutionary changes that brought humanity to its current predicament--namely its critical imbalance with Mother Earth. 

"Jim Garrison's CIVILIZATION AND THE TRANSFORMATION OF POWER is the most interesting book that I have read in ages. It is a call to awakening, to sanity: the way of wisdom. History is voiced as it relates to potential. Garrison challenges the imagination and will to venture into new domains of consciousness. He teaches the relationship between antinomies which shocks one into a new awareness of Reality. Liberation seems to be the successful harmony of masculine and feminine as knowledge and wisdom lived in the nirvana of mind. Garrison has captured history and placed it in a web of intriguing composition. What a wonderful opera his story would make set to the music of a Verdi/Wagner talent! One can hear the melodies of a Verdi brought into harmony with the thunder of Wagner connecting with the Cosmic Consciousness."
- Ken Wallace

"Civilization and the Transformation of Power is an absorbing, provocative, scintillating account of the 'interiors' of western history-that is, the psychological and spiritual forces that historians often ignore in favor of reporting merely the exterior historical 'facts.' Jim Garrison is one of the great visionaries of our time, and his account not only traces the rise of western culture, it points beyond it to a more integral, gracious, compassionate world, drawing on the best of both East and West, feminine and masculine, to paint a picture of a more caring tomorrow." 
- Ken Wilber, author of A Brief History of Everything

"Here is paradox played out on the high stage of history. Here are the mythic underpinnings of civilization in its contents and discontents. Here is the tragic and transformative dialectic between Mother Mind and Father Force. And here too is the sacred psychology of God rising to be known in the unfolding of psyche in time. Within the compass of this remarkable book Garrison has garnered an understanding of emergent consciousness, the drama of the World Soul and the redemption of the higher dream." 
- Jean Houston, author of Jump Time

"Jim Garrison has created a work that could not have been written until the very end of the millennium, because it is in fact a comprehensive summary of the historical movements that have brought us to our present world situation. But in Civilization and the Transformation of Power he does something that has been done by no culture historian nor philosopher before him: To analyze both the transformations of human culture, and the invisible presence we call "God," from the viewpoint of the "antinomial reality"--the presence of opposites, of paradoxes in everything we do and say. He adds to this a trenchant analysis of gender politics inflected through mythology that is absolutely brilliant, and shows how the suppression of the archetypal feminine has led us to the brink of world catastrophe.

"Civilization and the Transformation of Power is an education in itself. The fifteen years Garrison says he has taken is entirely believable in both the scope and the detail of his treatment. Familiar terrain to the historian and the mythologist are visited--but with new eyes. From the epic of Gilgamesh, which he rightly interprets as the beginning of the masculine hegemony in world religion, Garrison shows how, again and again cognitive fundamentalisms that assign categories such as "good" and "evil" cause their own catastrophes, and prevent us from being a more tolerant and paradoxically wise species. this is a book to take on a long retreat--and study closely.

"If those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it, it seems to me that the best introduction to the serious seeker who wishes for the New Age would be to read Jim Garrison's book. It is both a broadly sweeping historical treatment, and a minute analysis of the pivotal cultural trends that have brought us to our current world impasse. I could easily see it as required reading for the possible human of the new millennium. It provides an education not only in culture history, psychology and theology. It trains the mind in the art of paradoxical thinking--and our own inevitable mythmaking tendency.

"Like his inspirational mentor, Blaise Pascal, Jim Garrison offers us an alternative to the deadly Cartesianism that seems to have paralyzed our age: A revival of the "logique du cour"--the "wisdom of the heart," that can lead us out of the impasses our heads are always getting into. The addition of Sophia, feminine wisdom, and the integration of the archetypal gender perspectives makes this a truly wise and balanced book. Rather than quailing before our accumulated history as "a nightmare from which we struggle to awaken" (Joyce), Jim Garrison has given us some useful tools for analyzing the dream and learning its psychological meaning. Highly recommended; an education in itself."
- Stephen Larsen, Ph.D. is the author of The Shaman's Doorway, The Mythic Imagination, and with his wife Robin, A Fire in the Mind: The Life of Joseph Campbell. The Larsens have just finished a new book on gender politics and spiritual partnership: The Fashioning of Angels: Partnership as Spiritual Practice. 


JIM GARRISION was born of Baptist missionary parents in Szechuan Province, China, in 1951. From 1953-1965, he lived with his family in Taiwan. His early experiences set the stage for a life of engagement in international issues and social activism. By the time he began university, he had traveled in over forty countries worldwide and was active in the anti-Vietnam war and environmental movements. As a Ph.D. student at Cambridge University (1975-1982), Dr. Garrison became engaged in the citizen diplomacy movement to reduce the nuclear tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union, founding two organizations dealing with the nuclear power issues, and publishing two books
on the topic. 

Throughout the 1980s, Dr. Garrison refined his skills at facilitating private discussions among leaders across national boundaries and disciplines, directing programs that engaged in private sector diplomacy with Soviet counterparts in a variety of sectors. In 1991, he founded the International Foreign Policy Association in collaboration with Georgian President Edward Shevardnadze and former Secretary of State George Schultz, focusing on providing humanitarian relief for children in the former Soviet republics. In 1992, at the behest of Mikhail
Gorbachev, Dr. Garrison founded and became the President of the Gorbachev Foundation/USA.

These two organizations set the stage for the establishment, in 1995, of the State of the World Forum, a San Francisco based non-profit institution created to establish a global network of leaders, citizens and institutions dedicated to discerning and implementing those principles, values and actions necessary to guide humanity toward a more sustainable global civilization. The Forum has convened roughly 4,000 people from over 100 countries to its annual sessions, which have launched and directed a number of action oriented strategic initiatives across a spectrum of areas.

Garrison’s degrees include: B.A. World History, University of Santa Clara;M.T.S., History of Religion, Harvard University; and Ph.D., Philosophical Theology, Cambridge University. He has written six books concerning the historical and theological implications of the advent of the nuclear age. 

Film Rights & Sub Rights



Back one page         Back to top of page


Transforming the World One Book at a Time