Philosophy & Psychology

A review of Eckhart Tolle’s ‘A New Earth’

The philosophical/spiritual writer Eckhart Tolle has had success beyond most writers’ wildest dreams.

His first book, The Power of Now, made the New York Times best-seller list and was published in 30 languages. A subsequent book, A New Earth, was published in 44 languages, while an in-depth webinar with Oprah Winfrey has been viewed more than 35 million times.

Writers in this field know that they can expect criticism. Thus, they are careful and cautious in what they write. Not Tolle.

Tolle makes bold assertions. For example, in A New Earth he writes: "What is the mind of God? Consciousness. What does it mean to know the mind of God? To be aware. What are the details?” Your outer purpose is, he writes elsewhere, "to bring the light of consciousness into this world and so use whatever you do as a vehicle for consciousness.” Being forthright has helped him.

What he offers is a powerful statement of Zen Buddhism. One of his foremost concerns is to abolish the ‘egoic’ view of the self – a demolition which extends over many pages in A New Earth.

The ‘egoic’ self is not the same as the egotistical self. The ‘egoic’ self is a mistaken apprehension of what the true self actually is, but it is the version of the self which we all assume to be true. The demolition of the everyday sense of self is what most of the book is about.

Tolle asserts, without any evidence, that this naturally assumed view identifies the self with the thought stream, or the voice inside the hea...

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