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Theodore Roszak (born 1933) is an American professor, social thinker, writer, and critic. He chronicled and gave explanation to the European and North American counterculture phenomenon of the late 1960s in his book The Making of a Counter Culture (1970). Later, his writings (e.g., Person/Planet) were often associated with the "alternative," "new age," or "resacralization" movements.
Initially, Roszak was much influenced by thinkers like Alan Watts and Jacques Ellul, and, somewhat later, by Rudolph Steiner. In Where the Wasteland Ends Roszak draws on such historical theorists and poets as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, William Blake (in particular, Blake's critique of 'the industrial spirit'), and what has recently been referred to as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's "holistic science." While staying in touch with many contemporary and emerging thinkers (and historical giants of thought), Roszak seems in his writings to rest more on his own personal experiences. His interest has been drawn strongly in the direction of the import of ecology and the relevance of the environmental movement.
In the more recent The Voice of the Earth Roszak made a big contribution to "ecopsychology" by exploring what he views as a correlation between the degraded condition of the Earth and an uneasy state of the human psyche, which he first took up in Person/Planet.
The kernel of Roszak's outlook is something well articulated by Plato (in Timaeus) many centuries ago—that the cosmos is "a living creature, one and visible, containing within itself all living creatures, which are by nature akin to itself". It is a viewpoint that has had many other spokespeople through the centuries, in the West and the East. For instance, at the beginning of the twentieth century the Canadian psychiatrist Richard Bucke assembled a compendium of excerpts from many authors, both famous and unknown, on the subject. This was because Bucke himself had had a very vivid experience of the cosmos as a "living presence."
Roszak was a teacher in an experimental post-secondary school in London, England in the late '60s. During this period he gained experience as a writer and editor with a peace-activist news bulletin. After this he taught at Stanford University and the University of British Columbia. He was also a professor of history and the chair of General Studies at California State University at Hayward and is now professor emeritus of history at California State University, East Bay.
Roszak, like Aldous Huxley, has frequently written about how, as individuals and as societies, we must look closely and holistically at the technologies we use. He is a lecturer and the author of many books and essays and an internationally renowned social critic.
- The Making of a Counter Culture
- From Satori to Silicon Valley
- Unfinished Animal
- Where the Wasteland Ends
- The Dissenting Academy
- The Voice of the Earth
- The Cult of Information: A Neo-Luddite Treatise on High Tech, Artificial Intelligence, and the True Art of Thinking,In the Search of the Miraculous
- World Beware! American Triumphalism in an Age of Terror (2006, ISBN 1-897071-02-7)
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