Henry FitzGerald “Gerald” Heard (1889 – 1971), author, philosopher, and historian of consciousness and its evolution, took honors in history at the University of Cambridge. He began lecturing at Oxford University in the 1920s. Heard’s 1929 book The Ascent of Humanity won the British Academy’s prestigious Hertz Prize. From 1930 to 1934 he served as the BBC’s first science commentator, receiving accolades from the likes of H. G. Wells.
In 1937 Heard came to the United States with Aldous Huxley. In the 1940s he founded and directed the coeducational, visionary Trabuco College, which advanced interfaith studies and practices. In the 1950s his main activities were writing and lecturing. Heard’s broad philosophical themes and scintillating oratory style attracted and influenced many people.
A prolific writer, Heard penned some 38 books, including his pioneering academic works, several popular devotional books, and, as H. F. Heard, a number of mysteries.
5/29/23 update: Back in print after nearly 60 years! Sky Parlor Publications is pleased to reissue Gerald Heard’s magnum opus, his January 1964 masterwork, The Five Ages of Humanity (a revised and retitled edition of his The Five Ages of Man). With a new foreword by noted educator Thomas Armstrong, Ph.D., and with two new, notable endorsements, and edited by John Roger Barrie, The Five Ages of Humanity promises to reach a new generation of readers with its endless wealth of ideas.
In his foreword, Dr. Thomas Armstrong praises Heard’s book as, “This incredible synthesis, this rich feast, this sumptuous festival of ideas. … Heard argues that historical consciousness progresses along a course that mirrors a similar pattern in individual development. Taken as a guide to the human life cycle, The Five Ages of Humanity includes a staggering range of progressive ideas and practices for the optimal development of each stage of life from birth to old age.”
Praise for Gerald Heard’s The Five Ages of Humanity:
“Wonderfully rich, full of brilliant insights, and a great pleasure to read.” —Joseph Campbell
“Gerald [Heard]’s The Five Ages of [Humanity] [is] where he can be seen as the savant, the repository of the most encompassing cosmology of his generation.” —Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, a founder of the Jewish Renewal movement
“A deeply informed and wide-ranging psychological interpretation of world history … I hope this new reissue of Gerald Heard’s The Five Ages of Humanity will find many readers.” —Sissela Bok, Ph.D., moral philosopher and author of Exploring Happiness: From Aristotle to Brain Science (2022 endorsement)
“The most important work to date of this challenging and brilliant philosopher, a volume which in scope and daring might be the ‘Novum Organum’ of the 20th century.” —Robert R. Kirsch, L.A. Times book review, Jan. 5, 1964
“I applaud this newly reissued edition of The Five Ages of Humanity, Gerald Heard’s magnum opus, which offers a sweeping and optimistic view of humanity’s future.” —William H. Forthman, Ph.D., Professor of Philosophy Emeritus, California State University, Northridge (2022 endorsement)
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