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earth. Blend until flavors combine, and uniform texture and consistency are achieved. Spread liberally on psyche until the resulting product is a “seamless spirituality that [is] centered in the earth and the universe.” Voilaa tasty mixture of environmental renewal, personal growth and good karma. But in order to retrieve the lost gospel, we must understand where it had gotten off to in the first place; Hayden uses extensive history lessons, and a formidable library of citations, to explicate what turns out to be the green version of Adam’s Fall. After that whole debacle in the Garden of Eden, this hunk of rock and water we call Home faced a big problemnamely, us. Put another way: in the beginning there was Genesis, and things went downhill from there. As organized religions replaced polytheism and animism, objects of worship relocated from earth to sky. The earth was no longer sacred, and we no longer felt any sense of obligation toward it or need to protect it. Jump forward a few centuries to the European boat people who claimed North America for their very own. When set tlers reached the East Coast they encoun tered a forbidding wilderness, full of angry _ natives and unforgiving land. But with god on their side, they set out to conquer, to __ make their new world livable. Relying upon those snippets of scripture that give humankind dominion over the earth \(and over ing and generally developing their surroundings. That attitude stuck like a BandAid. As Hayden would have it, with us still is that patently colonial notion of reshaping our environment to meet our needsusually financial, and usually with an attached argument that can somehow be traced back to Genesispost-Fall Genesis, that is. Another fine mess we’ve gotten ourselves into, losing that gospel. Hayden studiously chronicles the thenand-now, how we got from there to here. He doggedly sells the lost gospel idea from page one, so earnestly that it’s almost heart-wrenching. His shoes are caked with mud from the road to Hell, but his good intentions just don’t cut it. Hayden’s little lapses might be more forgivable were the book more interestingly written, but that intimidating bibliography soon turns into a nightmarish collection of sources, citations, authors. Paragraphs are loaded with tiny factoidsCliff’s Notes versions of obscure workswithout any perceivable correlation or order. After a single chapter of this hammering method of belaboring the point, the book begins to read like the academic equivalent of gos sip-column name-dropping. Witness this passage, in which Hayden traces a precipi tous path from Niccolo Machiavelli’s fif teenth-century political treatise, The Prince, to nineteenth-century Karl Marx: Machiavelli’s concept of politics as the achievement of equilibrium among inter est groups foreshadowed the second great influence on American constitu tional debates, the idea of government as a machine, fostered by the scientific gi ants of the early seventeenth century. The discovery of America occurred as Johannes Kepler published his New As tronomy in 1606. Galileo’s telescope had already uncovered the satellites of Jupiter, and his vision of a geometric universe greatly influenced Thomas Hobbes’s work on statecraft, Leviathan tion and rest, Hobbes asserted that “life is but a motion of limbs….” Isaac New Principia, argued an axiom that became central to political theory, that “every body continues in its state of rest….” The image of the state as a vast machine balancing contending in terests became pervasive, from the atom istic marketplace of Adam Smith, to the checks and balances of pluralistic democracy, and eventually to the dialec tical materialism of Karl Marx. Under the conditions of Hayden’s selfimposed premise, pedantry may well nigh be unavoidable, but it still doesn’t make for a compelling read. \(At one point, Hayden describes the wonder-at-breathing he found through martial arts. He then proceeds breathlessly to translate the word “breathe” book ever really avoid the sticky feel of a unwelcome memoir, present from the very beginning. After a few rounds of “For nearly all of my life, I was unconscious of the act of breathing” and “I never paid much attention to water,” The Lost Gospel of the Earth sounds more and more like The Lost Gospel of Tom. The result is that The Lost Gospel, although apparently intended to generate minor epiphanies with every subject heading, instead inspires a persistent wistfulness, the sentimental reflection that “it’ s-a-niceidea-but….” In order for his book to do its assigned work, Hayden would have to reach and activate somebodyanybody. Some vocal,’ motivated faction of society would have to be moved to the point of looking under the couch cushions, in the backyard vegetable garden, or in a national campgroundfor that missing gospel, find it, and proselytize the world about it. It ain’t likely. Conservatives will inevitably pan the book for its namby-pamby, tree-lovin’ ardor. Despite his pleas for the reuniting of politics and spirituality, radical rightists will point at Hayden’s animism and issue a Pagan-Alert. And liberals, understandably gun-shy these days about statements like “We need to be ‘born again’ in nature,” are likely to feel alienated by Hayden’s ideas, as sketchy as they are. Even hardcore environmentalists might have qualms about adopting Tom Hayden as their spokesperson; turning to sacred texts for answers to the environmental movement’s problems is a bit like opening the Bible to resolve homophobia or sexism. Thirty years ago, when Tom Hayden came of age, political lines seemed more neatly drawn; today politicians try to make everyone happy. Hayden was once \(and Great Liberal Hope, and it would no doubt be a great boon for the fractured environmental movement to have a well-placed Pied Piper. But much of The Lost Gospel reads like just another politician’sany politician’ scampaign speech: overburdened with tales of personal triumph, desperate with sentiment, highly polished but fundamentally empty. And like too many campaign platforms today, The Lost Gospel restates The Problem until all that’s left is a handful of rusty metaphors, a mantra of accusation, and a catch-phrasebut it falls woefully short of offering any real solution. Amanda Toering, the Observer’s ,circulation manager, is an unpresuming member of Generation You-Know-What. 28 THE TEXAS OBSERVER SEPTEMBER 13, 1996