Carl Frankel begins his book with a deeply personal tragedy: the brutal murder of his parents during a robbery. He then takes us on a journey of illumination that shines a light not just on our own personal suffering and striving, but on that of the entire planet.
Out of the Labyrinth is both personal quest for understanding and general commentary on the state of humanity in the current culture of chaos and confusion. The subtitle sums up both the direction and intention of this profound book – “Who We Are, How We Go Wrong and What We Can Do About It.” How did we, as a species, become so lost and out of touch with the deepest part of who we are? And how do we get back that lost connection?
Describing in detail both a materialistic and spiritual system out of balance, Frankel, a journalist and nationally-known speaker and consultant specializing in sustainable living, offers up some paradigm-shifting concepts about how that imbalance is occurring. Using a system he calls Triad Dynamics, he describes how we as humans basically live in three worlds, and how we tend to favor and ignore one or more of the three. These three worlds - the objective domain, the social domain, and the least understood and most ignored depth dimension - make up the foundation of our humanity.
The author shows through various examples how we live in a culture that tends to favor either the objective, the social, or both, while mostly ignoring, denying or vilifying the depth dimension, where Frankel sees the most potential for true healing and empowerment. Because of our focus on the material world and our social interactions, we often forget we have a deeper life, one filled with light and shadows, that tends to be set aside entirely as we race to keep our conscious (and materialistic) outer-focused mind filled and satisfied (or at least numbed and dumbed into thinking it is satisfied).
Until we break out of, as Frankel puts it, our “dark enchantment” and confront the depth dimension individually and collectively, we will see the world around us continue to thrive on violence, destruction of the planet, hatred, division and turmoil. This book is a powerful wake-up call to pay closer attention to the imbalances within as well as without.
But all is not hopeless, for we are given plenty of useful information on how to live with more integrity and how to demand that our government and corporate leaders become equally responsible to this integral way of life, so that balance can be restored and we can find our way out of the labyrinth and into the clear light of day. My favorite chapter discusses the personal and political aspects of living with a deep integrity, and how many companies are striving to do just that.
Both social commentary and inspiring visionary guide for those who give a damn, Out of the Labyrinth is a thoughtful and moving book that will stay in your mind long after you finish, mainly because you begin to see evidence of your own dark enchantment, and your own longing for a more intergral life. This new perception, this paradigm shift, is proof that the author has done his job well. I highly recommend this enlightening book.