University of Hawaiʻi–West Oʻahu Professor of Political Science Louis G. Herman published Future Primal: How our Wilderness Origins Show us the Way Forward, a stunning book that responds to the multiple crises of globalized humanity by recovering the classical project of political philosophy—the truth quest as “the search for the best way to live.” The story of the philosopher’s personal search becomes an entry into “big history”—the epic narrative of contemporary cosmology, of the emergence of creative, self-reflective humanity from a southern African wilderness, on an evolving planet within an evolving universe.
Born in an orthodox Jewish community in apartheid South Africa, Herman’s earliest memories were of “wilderness rapture” intoxication with the rugged beauty of the South African bushveld and beach.
At 12 his family moved to England, where he went on to study at Cambridge University. He received degrees in medical sciences and the history and philosophy of science. Disillusioned with academia he gave up a medical career, sought out his “tribal” roots, moved to an Israeli kibbutz and volunteered for military service in a combat infantry unit. His wartime experience confronted him with two hard realities. One was the long ignored, obvious fact that Arabs were also indigenous to the land; the other was the absurdity of war as a long term solution to political conflict. He felt compelled to go back to the beginning of politics, to ask the Socratic question—How should we best live?
After studying political philosophy at the Hebrew University and completing his PhD at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, he found the two tracks of his search—the personal and the political—led him back to southern Africa, the birthplace of modern humanity. Connections became revelations, converging increasingly with the wisdom of the oldest culture on earth, the San Bushmen. Future Primal represents the culmination of this search.
For the past 20 years at UH West Oʻahu, Herman has developed a political science curriculum based on the principles of the primal truth quest. Future Primal is also the scholarly foundation for an in-development feature film.
—A UH West Oʻahu news release