2023 Gold Nautilus Book Award winner! - top prize in the category "World Cultures' Transformational Growth & Development."

Escaping Maya’s Palace

An ancient myth’s hidden meaning launches a mind-bending inquiry into the madness of modern civilization.

A celebrated saga from ancient India tells of a young king who mysteriously shifts character and gambles away his kingdom. By unraveling this legend’s secret meaning, Escaping Maya’s Palace launches a sleuthing expedition into a distortion in psychological and spiritual growth that lies buried deep at the root of modern civilization. Today this undetected malady contributes to woes ranging from opioid addiction to social alienation, the rise of authoritarian populism, and environmental catastrophe.

Informed by long-lost wisdom from the Mahabharata, one of the great epics of world literature, award-winning author Richard Sclove explains how our civilization descended into this blighted condition. Integrating a missing psychological dimension into social theory and world history, this intellectually daring and engrossing work clears a path for remaking modern politics and economics, social movements, and daily life. This book’s profound insights offer renewed hope to a world in crisis.

Formats available: Paperback, Ebook, Audiobook

First published: 14/06/22

Publisher: Karavelle Press

ISBN: Paperback - 978-1-7354533-0-9 / eBook - 978-1-7354533-1-6 / Audiobook - 978-1-7354533-2-3 / Audiobook ASIN B0BTZN8TTR

Reviews for Escaping Maya’s Palace

“This is a stunning and audacious work of grand social theory. It is utterly fascinating, vigorously argued, and as evidence based as one could ever imagine. Sclove exposes modernity as a covert struggle, stretching out over four centuries, between economic growth and psychospiritual self-realization. . . . An intellectual tour de force with momentous implications.”

Penny Gill, Professor Emeritus of Politics, Mount Holyoke College, and author of What in the World is Going On

“Mind-blowingly insightful. . . . Sclove’s book unmasks fatal defects in economic thought together with surprising opportunities for social and environmental salvation.”

Richard B. Norgaard, Professor Emeritus of Ecological Economics, University of California, Berkeley, and author of Development Betrayed

“Escaping Maya’s Palace is profound, powerfully original, and politically and spiritually sophisticated at a level that is very rare. It could be life-changing for many people and a catalyst for integrating deeper psychospiritual awareness into social-change movements!”

Sally Kempton, author of Meditation for the Love of It

“By unearthing buried insight within one of the world’s oldest and most revered works of philosophical and spiritual wisdom, Sclove illuminates a toxic flaw at the core of modernity. His suggested remedies are generous, far reaching, and distinctly practical.”

Langdon Winner, Professor Emeritus of Political Science and Humanities, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and author of The Whale and The Reactor

“An amazing and soul-nourishing book that courageously defies the taboo against integrating spiritual wisdom into modern scholarship. Sclove’s revelation of the deep structure of the Mahabharata is a major contribution to the scholarship on this foundational Indian epic. His ensuing critique of modern society is profound and pointed.”

Frédérique Apffel-Marglin, Professor Emerita of Anthropology, Smith College, and author of Subversive Spiritualities

“Richard Sclove is a Renaissance man for our times, weaving insights from a dozen disciplines into a dazzling string of revelations. His book presents a compelling new rationale for creating more self-reliant and culturally progressive local economies.”

Michael Shuman, economist, attorney, and author of The Local Economy Solution

“Escaping Maya’s Palace is a remarkable book. Sclove argues that “We should seek to evolve equal and ample opportunities for realizing our psychospiritual potential.” He explores that principle by providing an original interpretation of a psychologically insightful myth (ancient India’s Mahabharata), a social-theoretic examination of how social dislocation has intensified egoism, and a psychosocial study of the unhappy consequences of intensified egoism for human well-being. If you are open to considering fundamentally different ways of thinking about the largest human challenges, Sclove’s book will give you a truly thoughtful and deeply informed point of entry.”

Joshua Cohen, Marta Sutton Weeks Professor of Ethics in Society and Professor of Philosophy and Law, Emeritus, Stanford University, and Co-Editor, Boston Review

“This profound book presents a paradigm for others to follow in reconstructing a holistic study of society. It should be read by all historians and by everyone interested in understanding how we reached this point of impending social and environmental catastrophe. It’s a masterpiece.”

Gerald Friedman, Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and author of Reigniting the Labor Movement

“An enlightening feast of psychological and social insight that only the rare intelligence of a scientist turned social theorist and spiritual seeker could dream up.”

Chellis Glendinning, psychologist and author of My Name is Chellis and I’m in Recovery from Western Civilization

“Through in-depth historical analysis, psychological inquiry, and sharp critical theory, Richard Sclove unpacks some of the world’s deepest problems with a sobering and truthful clarity. Filled with wisdom, Escaping Maya’s Palace is a handbook for healing.”

John Zorn, saxophonist, composer, and producer

“Drawing on many disciplines, Sclove argues that the intensity of craving in humans has been shaped by historical forces writ large. It’s a provocative and fascinating thesis! The book should be of interest to all who care about the future development of individuals and the fate of our world.”

Robert Roeser, Bennett Pierce Professor of Caring and Compassion and Professor of Human Development and Family Studies, Penn State University

“This wonderful book engages many disciplines—including psychology, history, anthropology, eastern spirituality, social theory—to disclose the depth of difficulties confronting contemporary societies. It offers ways to move us to a more benign, more spiritual, and more psychologically and politically healthy world.”

Ervin Staub, Professor Emeritus of Psychology, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and author of The Psychology of Goodness and Resistance to Evil

Illustrations from the book - a sampler