Humanity Is Trying

Experiments in Living with Grief, Finding Connection, and Resisting Easy Answers

by Jason Gots

On Sale: 03/01/2022

Humanity Is Trying

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Humanity Is Trying

Experiments in Living with Grief, Finding Connection, and Resisting Easy Answers

by Jason Gots

On Sale: 03/01/2022


About the Book

“A truly beautiful, wise, raw, subtle book." —Robert MacFarlane, author of Underland

My sister and I are driving south toward Graceland in her beat-up red Saturn, both in need of refuge, both running from different things. Her bumper sticker reads “Humanity Is Trying.” It’s a triple entendre, she explains: Humanity is exhausting. Humanity is struggle. Humanity is doing the best it knows how.

Humanity Is Trying is several books in one. It’s a memoir about the love and the loss of a sister and a best friend. It’s the story of a series of escape attempts—cowardly, courageous, harmful, and hopeful—experiments in freedom from the stories that limit us. And it’s a record of spiritual, intellectual, and emotional growth with the help of friends, psychedelics, art, and spiritual practice.

From Jason Gots, creator of the podcasts Think Again and Clever Creature, comes a philosophical love letter to the slow, messy work of building a life and living with your dreams in the face of reality.

Critical Praise

“A truly beautiful, wise, raw, subtle book. It glides effortlessly from thoughts about a moment in the author’s childhood to vast cosmic questions, and back again. There are many, many dog-eared pages in my copy; moments I wanted to remember and go back to. Like a good memoir, it lets us live Jason’s life with him, but does much more than that too; to adapt a phrase of George Eliot’s, it ‘expands the range the soul has to swim in.’”—ROBERT MACFARLANE, author of Underland
“One part great grief, one part intellectual autobiography, one part spiritual growth, Humanity Is Trying is that best of written strivings: a book the author had to write. Gots brings every ounce of his being to every page, with results that are riveting, edifying, and true.”—GISH JEN, author of The Resisters
“Jason Gots offers us an intimate look into his life with all the varied roads travelled to self-discovery. Humanity Is Trying is a touching memoir woven through with stories of awkward early love, family relationships, deep abiding friendship and the pain when people are lost along the way.”—SHARON SALZBERG, author of Lovingkindness and Real Happiness
“I read this book in a single sitting and found it in many ways remarkable. It is a book that puts love right at the heart of religion, without any sentimentality. Gots’ relationship with his sister Meri and his friend John, I felt, were his route to the divine and to kenosis, the emptying of self. Instead of seeking salvation through belief in obscure doctrines and the quest for personal salvation, Gots found what we call the sacred in two remarkable but deeply human beings. In achieving this, I feel he grasped the essence of religious life.”—KAREN ARMSTRONG, author of A History of God
Humanity Is Trying is a curio—an intensely personal memoir shot through with hard-won wisdom (creative, sociopolitical, spiritual) offered in a spirit of complete wonder and humility. A few pages in I asked, 'Who is the audience for this book?' A few pages later I declared, 'The audience is me.' I lost count of the number of times I felt a thrill of recognition in its pages. I was lucky to be interviewed by Jason for a podcast during a highly stressful era of my creative life. Afterward I said to a friend: 'I felt weirdly disarmed and seen by him.' I felt it again reading Jason’s wonderful book: disarmed and seen."—ANAÏS MITCHELL, creator of Hadestown
“Beautiful and heartbreaking."—JONATHAN LETHEM

“With a skeptical eye on pop spirituality and the wellness industry, he explains what otherwise abstract Buddhist concepts really look like in the life of an ordinary American adult, demonstrating that suffering has to be faced and mourned. Gots is unabashedly real about his own trauma, and part of what makes this so bold is that he acknowledges his background of significant privilege. Far from undermining the pain less-privileged people have experienced, his dialogue opens up the possibility of having compassion for everyone’s suffering, without comparing them.”Lion’s Roar

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9781335652942
  • ISBN 10: 1335652949
  • Imprint: Hanover Square Press
  • On Sale: 03/01/2022
  • Pages: 320
  • List Price:34.99 CAD
  • BISAC2 : BODY, MIND & SPIRIT / Inspiration & Personal Growth
  • BISAC3 : SELF-HELP / Death, Grief, Bereavement

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