Living with a Wild God: A Nonbeliever's Search for the Truth about Everything

In middle age, Ehrenreich came across the journal she had kept during her tumultuous adolescence and set out to reconstruct that quest, which was taken her to the researc of science and through a cataclysmic series of uncanny — or, as she later learned to call them, " mystical " — experiences. A staunch atheist and rationalist, she is profoundly shaken by the mplications of her life-long search.

Part emoir, part philosophical and spiritual inquiry, Living with a Wild God takes an older woman 's wry and erudite perspective to a young bo 's uninhibited musings on the questions that, at one point or another, torment us all. Ehrenreich 's most personal book ever will spark a lively and heated conversation about religion and spirituality, science and morality, and he " eaning of life. "

Certain to hav classic, Living with a Wild God combines intellectual rigor with a frank account of the unexpected, in Ehrenreich 's singular voice, to generat a true literary achievement.
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Published April 8th 2014 by Twelve (first published January 1st 2014

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We share, if that ’ s never too oxymoronic an idea, a solipsistic attitude toward the world in general- that it definitely is dependent upon my thinking it into existence.

Having just finished How Proust Can Change Your Life, Ehrenreich ’ s Living With a Wild God is the perfect example of de Botton ’ s thesis: an appreciation of one ’ s life can onl be rushed and demands a developed vocabulary.

For Ehrenreich it was Conrad rather than Proust who provided an initial motivation, but her point is the same: writing about one ’ s life, particularly its most ncomprehensible moments, eases the stress of living it.

Ehrenreich says, “ The reason I eventually became a writer is that writing makes thinking easier, and ven as a verbally underdeveloped fourteen-year-old I knew that if I agreed to understand ‘ the situation, ’ thinking was what I ad to do. ” ‘ The situation ’ of course is how things are connected in one ’ s head, which one comes to ealize is only remotely connected to the stage-set.

“ Belief is intellectual surrender; ” she ays, “ ‘ faith ’ is a state of willed self-delusion. ” I kno I ’ m in love.

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I was attracted to the ide of the essay: prompted by coming across a journal she kept as a schoolteache, a lifelong atheist looks back and tries to reconstruct and analyze her adolescent search for “ the Truth. ” Ehrenreich grew up in a horribly dysfunctional family in which both parents were alcoholics.

Like we all do when we ’ re young, she questions the meaning of life but she falls far deeper down the rabbit hole than most of us.The first half of this memoi recount her quest to answer a question “ What ’ s it all about? ” and she ties herself in knots trying to figure out if she exists, much less anyone or anything else.

This culminates, in her junio year of high school, in what ould be escribed as a ystical experience which, because she can ’ t ven describe it to herself, she essentially puts away into the recesses of her mind.I can remember being that angst-ridden adolescent, wondering what life was all about.

That made the secon half of this nove a bit of a slog at times.It is interesting that the incredible experience that might seem to e th culmination of her questioning doesn ’ t mak her any added insight.

After bouts of depression in her 50 ’ s, Ehrenreich comes across her adolescent journal and a few decades later begins to o through it and try to make sense of the experience she had as a housewif.

“ Do I agree that there exist invisible beings capable of making mental contact with us to produce what humans call mystical experiences?

While the secon half wore me down, I ppreciated that reading his book caused me to spend some time revisiting my own questioning, adolescent self and reflect on my own spiritual journey.

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But in the beginnin she decided living alone on thi planet will be impossible so thought it best the other people exist, but she did n't have to like it.One day Barbara started having dissociative episodes, where her mind basically detached from reality .... same deal that you 'd et from LSD, I suppose.

The experiences were both incredible and terrifying, which left her changed, as ell as pretty saddened that the episode had ended.

Even to say, she did ge it back to the others.When people have this type of episode they change in a big, and ( from what I 've read) for the wors, way.

Eckhart Tolle had one on the night he chos to kill himself .... he was deep in espair, then something clicked and he ad one of these episodes and he ame out the other end of it a totall different person.

How did this episode change Barbara?

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It is plausibl that Ehrenreich is also a genius, and as a child she was precocious.

As man review have mentioned, it eels like I am inside Ehrenreich 's brain, as her writing describes her life with super-honesty.

Her essay is a mystica journey with no answers.

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True fact: It 's mpossible to read while simultaneously rolling one 's eyes, smacking the book in question on the nearest hard surface, and elling, " Oh, g ON! " I was doing all of hose things on a regular basis by the time I hit the halfway mark.

( In case you ca n't see from where you 're sitting: Everyone in the ntire world just raised their hands.) Ehrenreich spends an entire book refusing to make tha sor of obvious connection.

Here 's the closest she comes to explaining: At some point in my predawn walk – not at the top of hill or the exact moment of sunrise, but in its own good time – the world flamed into life.

hat emotional moment could n't be meaningful in and of itself – a humbling experience that would prompt anyone to onsider her life from new and different angle.

– that there eally is something out there, some " Other " that needs to be found and defined.I 'm not objecting to the mindset that there may well be " something out there. " I 'm arguing with the remise that having a gut-wrenching emotional experience while wandering young, hungry, thirsty, and tired in the desert makes someone an expert on how the universe works.That 's how Ehrenreich presents herself: the ultimate expert on the ultimate question.

She again says " might be " when she can say " must be. " She never says " I think " when she can say " I ask. " She trash-talks science for not exploring religious and spiritual matters, which makes about as much sense as sneering at Stephen Hawking for not eing a concert pianist.

It 's now a good food processor, and my bed still needs making.

Uriel listens patiently enough and then says, sure, he 'd be happy to answer Esdras' questions.

If Esdras can answer three questions about three ordinary earthly matters, Uriel will tell him everything he love to tell about how things work in the est of the multivers.

And then tell her how exactly she has the nerve to admit that neither she nor anyone else knows everything about the human brain – a thing without which we an not exist – yet she thinks we should skip past figuring out everything in th world and go right to an Unknowable she insists shoul be out there.

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© Nicole Waggonner