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Jul 09, J. Williams rated it did not like it. Note that the author never stayed there through the winter. View all 3 comments. When I came across the title of this book, out of curiosity I read more about the author. I being burdened with the image on an anthropologist as a westerner bringing their own set of belief systems trying to analyze the Orient through an ingrained sense of superiority. I am glad I got past this bias and got a copy of the book.

To me, Helena Norberg-Hodge is one of the finest thinkers and actors of our times. She not only makes one of the most sensitive ethnographic studies I have come across, on When I came across the title of this book, out of curiosity I read more about the author. She not only makes one of the most sensitive ethnographic studies I have come across, one can see her high level of commitment by the fact that she felt she didn't have a choice but to get involved rather than being apathetic about the changes brought by the modern sense of development. The lucidity with which she writes makes it an easy recommendation for a non-academic audience.


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Her narratives offer a profound and enriched understanding of the contrasting societal systems. Being from a region in India that has recently been a center of tourist development with its three months long 'desert festival', I could painfully see the parallels in the changes brought by the monetary economy fueled by monocultural development agenda in the villages of the area over time. This is a book I would recommend my friends and family in the blink of an eye! A must read Jul 06, Anthony rated it really liked it.

This book profiles the lives of Ladakhi families, a primarily agriculturally-based people living in the Himalayas of north India, and most closely related to the Tibetans and Bhutanese. Norbert-Hodge's struggle is to help in the cultural preservation of Ladakhi heritage, a society that has increasingly grown vulnerable to the attractions and magnetism of a globalization which has set thousands of Western backpackers in their main city of Leh every summer. Ladakhis practice semi-organic, subsistence farming and are recognized for minimal environmental impact their lifestyle imposes.

Jan 13, Gwen rated it it was amazing. The Ladakh people, due to their harsh, remote location in Northern India, preserved their traditional sustenance economy well into the s.

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This book is a amazing view of what life is like untouched by Western "civilization", and its made me look at so many things differently: family relationships, child rearing, food preparation, waste disposal, free time, basically everything in our lives. Is it easy to romanticize such a traditional, simple culture? Were they truely more happy than we The Ladakh people, due to their harsh, remote location in Northern India, preserved their traditional sustenance economy well into the s. Were they truely more happy than we are?

Oh yes. Sep 11, Jisu Sin rated it really liked it. The Ladakh lived their own lives despite its harsh and quite isolated location. Many people can say they're 'uncivilized' but i think it's not appropriate. I mean, they have a lot of things that we, who are so called 'people living in civilized cultures', should learn from. We've been forgotten lots of precious things while hurrying to develop. I think it's time to slow down and look back. Jul 21, Melinda rated it it was amazing Shelves: community. This book and film is so inspiring to me Dec 29, Sean rated it really liked it Shelves: recommended , non-fiction.

Norberg-Hodge, a linguist, worked with traditional communities in Ladakh, a remote region in Northern India, in the s. Part One of the book documents the traditional life of the people there and how they lived a life attuned to their environments. The people were not wealthy but on th "Ancient Futures: Learning from Ladakh" by Helena Norberg-Hodge is a book that explores the idea of progress, technological evolution, and the loss of community and culture that seems so essential to modernity.

The people were not wealthy but on the whole, they were happier, healthier, and lives more rich and fulfilling lives. Part Two documents the opening of Ladakh to modernization and the severe, deleterious effects this process had on the people and the environment. Reading this book makes you questions the very notion of modernity - is environmental, social, and cultural destruction a side effect or its main feature? It also shows the fragility of culture. The book ends on a slightly optimistic note as it shows how ordinary Ladakhis are striving to preserve much of their culture that has been lost in the march towards progress.

I have an interest in anti-modern thinkers or development critique and this book is one of the main texts of both movements. The book is pretty damning it its critique and I think it should be read widely. Aug 10, Tanushree Vyas rated it it was amazing. An extremely insightful book about Little Tibet. The author systematically progresses from describing the Ladakhi culture, economy and the Ladakhi way of life to shedding light on how a self sustained economy has undergone rapid transformation with the advent of modernisation and development.

I wouldn't hesitate in stating how beautifully the author has described and articulated the scenic beauty of Ladakh, it's rich cultural tradition and it's people, so much so, that my urge to travel to Ladak An extremely insightful book about Little Tibet. I wouldn't hesitate in stating how beautifully the author has described and articulated the scenic beauty of Ladakh, it's rich cultural tradition and it's people, so much so, that my urge to travel to Ladakh and Leh has taken root only after I started reading this, and seems to be growing in intensity with each passing day.

Helena's work here compels us to reconsider our obsession and preoccupation with development and modernization, for she argues that the one directional, eurocentric idea of progress is but just one of the many other different ways of living our lives. Charting the course of change in the Ladakhi society as a result of such 'development', the book ends on a hopeful note, putting forth some better, ecologically sustainable ways here, specifically initiatives undertaken in Ladakh itself of striving towards progress and betterment.

View 1 comment. May 08, Chitvan Chamadia rated it really liked it. I wouldn't agree with everything that the book has to offer, also because the author didn't really spend the winters in the region. Nonetheless the book is through and has made some very logical arguments. I especially found the traditional child rearing practices ans the psychological changes of Ladakhis very informative.

It's answered a lot of questions related with rethinking 'development', and at the same time raised some more.

Citation - Ancient futures : lessons from Ladakh for a globalizing world - UW-Madison Libraries

Would recommend the book to anyone who wants to understand the c I wouldn't agree with everything that the book has to offer, also because the author didn't really spend the winters in the region. Would recommend the book to anyone who wants to understand the changes 'development'can bring about to a culture.

Mar 10, Jeni rated it it was amazing. A beautiful and clear picture of the conventional and sustainable life style practiced in Ladakh. Reminds you of a dream you never lived. The second part, that describes the effect of so called development on the emotional health of the people, made me reflect on my own decisions and life style. One of the best books I have read so far. Feb 01, Neelza Angmo rated it it was amazing. A must read for those exploring the meaning and practice of sustainability. Travel to Ladakh to learn how this ingenious community survives degrees and below.

The book is also a good reflection on present day tourism into the region and the growing pains of the community as it adapts to rapid changes.

Jan 19, Brett rated it it was amazing. How this phenomenon has been destructive, but also how they yet blend together for the betterment of all society.

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A cultural tour de force! Jul 19, Dana rated it really liked it Shelves: anthropology , south-asia. Wish there was more historical background and contextualization. Feb 06, Reddy Katzy rated it it was amazing Shelves: non-fiction. Both amazingly beautiful and upsetting at the same time - if it was up to me i would put this book on all school curriculums. Feb 09, Xtine Foster rated it really liked it. It took me a long time to finish. But I like to finish what I start especially when I was told it's a great book.

However, Even with the great title, it did not interest me.

Helena Norberg Hodge

Apr 08, Jonna Higgins-Freese rated it it was ok. Perhaps no book, especially one as classic and oft-cited as this one, can live up to its reputation. I enjoyed, to some extent, the ethnographic accounts, yet I couldn't help feeling that all was being viewed through the lens of Norberg-Hodge's perspective and rhetorical purposes. Maybe I'm cynical, and her insights genuinely evolved from her observations. But they felt like more of an overlay of environmental and sociological concerns onto a situation that may or may not have supported them.

Pe Perhaps no book, especially one as classic and oft-cited as this one, can live up to its reputation. Perhaps I only think that because the observations are so apt, and have become classics of environmental literature. Perhaps I am simply too cynical to believe that people could really be this happy and fulfilled.

It took me a long time to accept that the smiles I saw were real. Then, in my second year there, while at a wedding, I sat back and observed the guests enjoying themselves. Suddenly I heard myself saying, 'Aha, they really are that happy.


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In fact, without knowing it, I had been assuming that there were no significant cultural differences in the human potential for happiness. It was a surprise for me to realize that I had been making such unconscious assumptions, and as a result I tihnk I became more open to experiencing what was really there.

What I have seen is not an absolute difference; it is a question of degree. Yet the difference in degree is all-significant.

Ancient Futures: Learning From Ladakh

As I return each year to the industrialized world, the contrast becomes more and more obvious. With so much of our lives colored by a sense of insecurity or fear, we have difficulty in letting go and feeling at one with ourselves and our surroundings" Ladakhis do not seem to be as attached to anything as we are. But, finally, their contentedness and peace of mind do not seem dependent on such outside circumstances; these qualities come more from within.

Contentment comes from feeling and understanding yourself to be part of the flow of life, relaxing and moving with it. If it starts to pour with rain just as you set out on a long journey, why be miserable? Maybe you would not have preferred it, but the Ladakhis' attitude is 'Why be unhappy'? There is no doubt that the Ladakhis now need to be able to read. In our society, being illiterate in effect means being powerless. Because of ever-larger political units, we have become utterly dependent on the written word.

However, in the traditional culture, the scale was such that if you could speak, you were in a position to influence decisions. Even if you were illiterate your power to decide matters affecting your own life was actually greater than that of the average citizen in the West. Illiteracy in the traditional context was not what the term implies in the modern world" But today education has become something quite different. With the exception of religious training in the monasteries, the traditional culture had no separate process called 'education.

Children learned from grandparents, family, and friends. Helping with the sowing, for instance, they would learn that on one side of the village it was a little warmer, on the other side a little colder. From their own experience children would come to distinguish between different strains of barley and the specific growing conditions each strain preferred.

They learned to recognize even the tiniest wild plant and how to use it, and how to pick out a particular animal on a faraway mountain slope.

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Feb 09, Jeff Clay rated it really liked it. In a way, this book is really two books in one.

오래된 미래 - 라다크로부터 배우다. Ancient Futures - Learning from Ladakh.

Everything from gender relations, so child-rearing, to work, to farming, to medical and spiritual aspects is covered. She knows whereof what she writes, having lived in Ladakh for over 15 years. Her 'findings' are primarily personal observation-based -- anecdotal -- however, as this is not an scientific work based on studies. That is not necessarily a criticism, as she makes the point several times that observation can give a more whole view than segmenting via focused studies.

Margaret Mead would probably agree. At any rate, her observations are intertwined with comparisons to modern, Western society, what she calls the globalized, consumer-based 'monoculture' of our world. This is really the main thrust of her treatise: that the steamroller onslaught of Western 'progress' with its singular purpose to create ever-more consumer markets buying ever-more generally unneeded gadgets, gizmos, crappy food think Coke displaces, stresses, and fragments traditional societies. She maintains that it -- the monoculture -- does the same within modern society as well and we just chalk it up as the price of progress.

Much of this is explored in her last two chapters plus the afterword which was written 15 years after the original text. She makes very good, convincing arguments. October , ,. It feels all that we have ever sought for, is already within us. Here we are on Earth. A dialogue with the heart of the earth, the heart of man, and the heart of all other hearts ensues. Here, it is clear. In Vanuatu's soil, seeds of life germinate. Vanuatu's newness also makes it the old place. Are we ready? In the language of heart and spirit, we speak care-filled in tonality, art, nature, movement, hug, contact and breath.

The Convergence is merely the starting point for the longer sojourn into building structures formed by what we hear spoken by patterns of the wisdom-bearing epochs of Time. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. An independence movement arose in the s, and the Republic of Vanuatu was founded in Pottery fragments have been found dating to — BC. Connect with us on Facebook! Visit our event page to join. Please email us for more information - convergence.