What are you currently reading?

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Re: What are you currently reading?

Post  RChMI on Sat Jul 25, 2009 3:11 pm

amandachen wrote:As a Chinese woman, I find it laughable that his books are marketed as historical fact.
While historical facts are utilized within the context of the book to propagate Menzies' potential time-frame revisional outlook, it is still regarded and marketed as a theory. Some retail outlets may be perplexed as to what section to place the book in, and therefore by default may place it either on the shelves of their World Events or History sections. That placement does not necessarily define it as historical fact or History, it merely indicates that the store may need to expand its scope of category as to product placement. BTW, I found my copy of 1434 in the Controversial Knowledge section of my local bookstore.

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Re: What are you currently reading?

Post  RChMI on Sat Jul 25, 2009 3:25 pm


Currently reading One To Nine: The Inner Life of Numbers by Andrew Hodges,

From the Book's Blurb.....
In this remarkable book, Andrew Hodges takes apart the numbers 1 to 9 and gathers up the pieces. Inspired by Sudoku --and millennia of human attempts to figure things out -- he takes a fresh and witty approach as to what lies at the heart of musical harmony, the chemistry of sunflowers and the behaviour of sub-atomic particles. He shows us that numbers are everywhere.
In a wonderfully engaging and readable style, Andrew Hodges unveils a universal language that has its roots in antiquity and connects us with the far reaches of the universe.

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Re: What are you currently reading?

Post  ankh_f_n_khonsu on Sat Jul 25, 2009 6:12 pm

amandachen wrote:As a Chinese woman, I find it laughable that his books are marketed as historical fact.

Care to elaborate?
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Re: What are you currently reading?

Post  ankh_f_n_khonsu on Sat Jul 25, 2009 6:19 pm



In the epic trilogy His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman unlocks the door to worlds parallel to our own. Dæmons and winged creatures live side by side with humans, and a mysterious entity called Dust just might have the power to unite the universes--if it isn't destroyed first.



This one has been on my list for some time...
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Re: What are you currently reading?

Post  neutralrobotboy on Sat Jul 25, 2009 6:56 pm

HOW TO READ EGYPTIAN HIEROGLYPHS:

http://www.amazon.com/Read-Egyptian-Hieroglyphs-Step-Step/dp/0520239490/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1248569585&sr=8-1

Tried to get into hieroglyph reading before, and I'm finding this book keeps my attention and presents it in an easily-comprehended way. Actually, I wonder if it's been submitted yet... I'll have to check that one of these days.

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Re: What are you currently reading?

Post  ankh_f_n_khonsu on Sun Jul 26, 2009 9:26 am

neutralrobotboy wrote:Tried to get into hieroglyph reading before, and I'm finding this book keeps my attention and presents it in an easily-comprehended way. Actually, I wonder if it's been submitted yet... I'll have to check that one of these days.

Nice, handy skill! Are you practicing on paper, sand, ???
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Re: What are you currently reading?

Post  Khephra on Wed Aug 19, 2009 4:06 pm

Somewhat appropriate, given the recent discussion on Theosophy...



Around the turn of the century, renegade Russian aristocrat Madame Helena Petrovna Blavatsky declared herself the chosen vessel of the wisdom of the East through her reputed contact with a dematerializing Tibetan master, who unveiled a Hidden Brotherhood located in the Himalayas and Egypt. The Theosophical Society, which she cofounded in 1875 in New York City with Civil War veteran Col. Henry Olcott, attracted a wide following with its amalgam of Hinduism, Buddhism and occultism. In this enormously entertaining, witheringly skeptical, highly colorful chronicle, British journalist Washington deflates the self-mythologizing and woolly philosophizing of theosophists and rival schools and gurus, including flamboyant Armenian-Greek mystic George Gurdjieff, Austrian philosopher/holistic healer Rudolf Steiner and Jiddu Krishnamurti, Indian ex-theosophist turned California sage. Those who came under their influence include Aldous Huxley, Katherine Mansfield, Christopher Isherwood, W.B. Yeats and Frank Lloyd Wright, making this a heady intellectual adventure as well as a clear-sighted saga of human foibles, charlatanry, bizarre antics and genuine spiritual hunger extending to New Age cults from the 1950s to the present.

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Re: What are you currently reading?

Post  ankh_f_n_khonsu on Thu Aug 20, 2009 10:29 am

Khephra wrote:Somewhat appropriate, given the recent discussion on Theosophy...
I've heard that was a good read!

Here's what I just started digging into:




The authors have been collaborators for many years, during the human potential movement of the 1960s, and most recently regarding women’s studies (Alstad) and yoga (Kramer). This book, which is about "authoritarianism," grew from a few chapters "mainly for friends" into the present 385-page, 20-chapter paperback. There is a 9-page preface, a 6-page introduction, and a 13-page section called "Authority, Hierarchy, and Power" before the book itself begins. An impressive and thorough index is a helpful aid to readers, but there is no bibliography of sources.

This book delivers what it promises in the preface and introduction, describing the many settings and situations in which overt and covert authoritarianism can intrude into social, political, and religious beliefs and interfere with normal personality development. Part I examines destructive relationships between one person and others, the guru-disciple dynamic broadly applied not only to political and religious leaders but also to parents, close friends, and lovers. Part II explores subtle, indirect forces in values and beliefs both personal and global concealed in what people assume and take for granted, most of the time unknowingly.

The Guru Papers continues in the vein of the exposition of such writers as Packard (The Hidden Persuaders), Hoffer (The True Believer), and Sargant (The Battle for the Mind). It is a worthy addition to these other sources. It provides continuity with useful information about current negative influences and destructive forces. It does so without injecting the authors’ bias or beliefs, seeking only to increase awareness and sharpen perception, objectively and in the spirit of freedom that is espoused as a goal of the book. That it does so merits wide readership; The Guru Papers, therefore, is highly recommended. (International Cultic Stuies Association)
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Re: What are you currently reading?

Post  ankh_f_n_khonsu on Thu Sep 10, 2009 11:24 am



Why do fools fall in love? Why does a man's annual salary, on average, increase $600 with each inch of his height? When a crack dealer guns down a rival, how is he just like Alexander Hamilton, whose face is on the ten-dollar bill? How do optical illusions function as windows on the human soul? Cheerful, cheeky, occasionally outrageous MIT psychologist Steven Pinker answers all of the above and more in his marvelously fun, awesomely informative survey of modern brain science. Pinker argues that Darwin plus canny computer programs are the key to understanding ourselves--but he also throws in apt references to Star Trek, Star Wars, The Far Side, history, literature, W. C. Fields, Mozart, Marilyn Monroe, surrealism, experimental psychology, and Moulay Ismail the Bloodthirsty and his 888 children. If How the Mind Works were a rock show, tickets would be scalped for $100. This book deserved its spot as Number One on bestseller lists. It belongs on a short shelf alongside such classics as Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life, by Daniel C. Dennett, and The Moral Animal: Why We Are the Way We Are: The New Science of Evolutionary Psychology, by Robert Wright. Pinker's startling ideas pop out as dramatically as those hidden pictures in a Magic Eye 3D stereogram poster, which he also explains in brilliantly lucid prose.


So far, IMO, this isn't Pinker's best...
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Re: What are you currently reading?

Post  Khephra on Thu Sep 10, 2009 5:09 pm



Gay Watson, Stephen Batchelor,and Guy Claxtonhave compiled a wide-ranging and penetrating selection of articles on the relevance and application of Buddhist philosophy and practice in the modern Western world. Divided into four parts, the book explores the philosophical issues in Buddhism and the contemporary mind; the scientific perspective of Buddhist concepts of the development of body, mind, and spirit; Buddhism and psychotherapy; and practical applications of Buddhism in contemporary life. (Amazon)
A collection of works bridging the Buddhist view of mind and its contemporary application by psychologists and scientists.

This work includes: Foundations of a Buddhist Psychology of Awakening by Geshe Thubten Jinpa; the Agnostic Buddhist by Stephen Batchelor; Unfolding the Dharma Implicit in Modern Cognitive Science by Francisco Varela; Buddhism, Cognitive Science and the Mystical Experience by Guy Claxton; Waking from the Meme Dream by Susan Blackmore; Realisation and Embodiment by John Welwood; a Buddhist Perspective on Wholeness by Mark Epstein; Licking Honey from the Razor`s Edge by Maura Sills; Zen: the challenge of Dependency by John Crook; How Does Liberating Self-Insight Become Tacit Understanding by Leslie Todres; Inquiry into Awakening by Christopher Titmus; I, Mine and Views of the Self by Gay Watson; Subjects Without Selves by Fred Pfeil; Compassion in the Age of Global Economy by Helena Norberg-Hodge; the Development of Personhood and the Brain by Terence Gausen; Buddhist Psychotherapy by David Brazier; Indra`s Net at Work by Jon Kabat-Zinn; the Structures of Suffering by James Low; Lucid Dreaming by Tarab Tulku; Contemporary Breathwork Techniques by Joy Manne; Hospitality Beyond Ego by Karen K Wegela; and the Four Noble Truths for Counselling by Eric Hall. (Wisdom Books.com)

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Re: What are you currently reading?

Post  Khephra on Thu Sep 10, 2009 5:19 pm

ankh_f_n_khonsu wrote:So far, IMO, this isn't Pinker's best...
Yeah, I didn't like How the Mind Works much, either. In fact, I thought he came across as a bit of a twit... which I thought was a shame, because I found The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language exceptionally provocative.

He definitely has a huge fan club among progressive Canadian academics. ... for whatever that's worth. Neutral

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Re: What are you currently reading?

Post  Hadrianswall on Fri Sep 11, 2009 12:05 am

I have always found Pinker a bit of a twit. I wouldnt mind a lot of his speculative stuff if he wasnt so keen on sticking the boot into people for exactly the same. (sometimes on the same page).

Been a long time since I read any of his stuff though, but the little I do stumble across these days still stinks of self reverence.

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Re: What are you currently reading?

Post  Khephra on Fri Sep 11, 2009 8:56 am

Hadrianswall wrote:I have always found Pinker a bit of a twit. I wouldnt mind a lot of his speculative stuff if he wasnt so keen on sticking the boot into people for exactly the same. (sometimes on the same page).

Been a long time since I read any of his stuff though, but the little I do stumble across these days still stinks of self reverence.
Agreed. It seemed to me that he presents speculative arguments as thoroughly authoritative.

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Re: What are you currently reading?

Post  Khephra on Thu Oct 01, 2009 8:56 am

Not much attention to this paradigm these days, but I hear they're making a "political resurgence" in Iraq...


Written in 1919 by Isya Joseph, "Devil Worship: The Sacred Books and Traditions of the Yezidis" remains the most comprehensive and informative volume ever written about the Yezidi, a legendary tribe of Devil worshippers that have existed in the Middle East for over a thousand years. This volume contains, as the title suggests, all of their once secret holy texts as well as detailed accounts of virtually every aspect of Yezidi life and culture.
See Wiki Source for a nice djvu version. Smile

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Re: What are you currently reading?

Post  ankh_f_n_khonsu on Fri Oct 02, 2009 7:12 pm

After the lambasting my selection got last time, I'm almost hesitant to venture back into the fray... j/k Wink

Anyway, after finally trodding through How the Mind Works, I'm following a similar tangent: teleology.


In The Cosmic Serpent, anthropologist Narby hypothesized that Amazonian shamans can "gain access in their visions to information related to DNA" comparable to what molecular biologists know. In this intriguing treatise, he carries his project of syncretizing all forms of knowledge a step further, arguing that animals and plants exhibit intelligence comparable in many ways to that of humans. His shaman friends heartily endorse the idea, regaling him, over a friendly pot of hallucinogenic ayahuasca brew, with conversations they have had in the trance state with animal and plant spirits. For further confirmation, he talks to Western scientists who have done remarkable research on cases of nonhuman intelligence, like bees with abstract reasoning, crows that manufacture standardized tools, pigeons that distinguish between the works of Van Gogh and Chagall about as well as college students do, octopuses that break out of and into their tanks and slime molds that solve mazes. Scientists may find Narby's ongoing efforts to assimilate shamanic mysticism to Western science - he associates, for example, Amazonian legends about humans turning into jaguars with Darwin's theory of evolution - naïve and illogical. But Narby has done his homework - the endnotes themselves make excellent reading - and his well-researched and engagingly presented account of the "braininess" of even literally brainless creatures raises fascinating questions about the boundaries between man and nature.
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Re: What are you currently reading?

Post  ankh_f_n_khonsu on Mon Nov 02, 2009 10:03 am

Enjoyed bits of Narby's Intelligence in Nature, so I hunted up his more scholarly analysis:



Surprisingly little appears to have changed in shamanic practices throughout the world in the last 500 years. Most rely on plant hallucinogens to communicate with otherworldly spirits for guidance and for enhanced perceptions of diseases and the identities of enemies. And most can choose whether to direct their energies for good or for evil purposes, an ability that provoked much hostility among their early observers. Scholarly treatments of shamanism, however, have changed dramatically over the centuries. In this excellent volume, anthropologists Narby (The Cosmic Serpent) and Huxley (Affable Savages) have collected observations about and interviews with shamans from more than 60 missionaries, botanists, anthropologists, ethnographers and psychologists spanning from 1535 to 2000. The contributors convey everything from fear, suspicion and condescension to respect, fascination and adulation. Many contemporary anthropologists lament shamanism's recent popularization and its likely degeneration in global culture. Anthropologist Michael F. Brown writes, "Tribal lore is a supermarket from which [New Age Americans] choose some tidbits while spurning others." As an example of shamanism-as-commodity, British anthropologist Piers Vitebsky cites a dumbed-down version of traditional healing that is part of a compulsory course for schoolchildren in northeast Siberia, where 50 years ago shamans were put to death. On the positive side, ethobotanist Glenn H. Shepard believes that shamans will become the ethnobotanists of the future.
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Re: What are you currently reading?

Post  Khephra on Tue Nov 03, 2009 10:44 am

Cheers for resurrecting this thread, AfnK!





Google Books


A belief in magic is one of the most powerful and enduring traits of the human race, surviving from the dawn of time to the present day. Mysteries and Secrets of Magic documents the science of the occult and the supernatural as practiced throughout the world - including Babylon and Ancient Egypt, and among Celts and Arabs, Hindus and Japanese.

Magical spirits have been described as riding on storm clouds, or 'creeping like a snake on their bellies,' whilst the devil - 'the hairy one' - was said to stalk the earth. The ancient art of necromancy revealed the future through communion with the dead; the most infallible charm for unrequited love was to draw down the moon; and the fallen angel Azael brought women the art of witchcraft - along with the use of cosmetics!

Spells and curses, the Black Mass and the Evil Eye, Druids and jinns, demons and oracles and mysterious initiations - this book encompasses them all, giving a valuable insight into a fascinating and important subject.




This is the third of Thompson's books that I've read, and it probably won't be the last. His ouvre encompasses a wide array of practice, history and philosophy.

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Re: What are you currently reading?

Post  Khephra on Wed Dec 23, 2009 7:40 pm

If someone were to stumble upon this thread for the first time, they might think this community suffers from a lack of readers... which seems a little ironic. Suspect




Since my late teens I've been fascinated by De Sade. Having devoured Justine, Philosophy in the Bedroom & Other Writings, 120 Days of Sodom & Other Writings, and Juliette, I've gotten a good insight into his psychopatholgies. Nevertheless, good biographies are few and far between, and most that are available suffer from a certain ... unnecessary degree of prejudice. In contrast, Francine Du plessix Gray's At Home with the Marquis De Sade: A Life, is superb:


Lending his name to the term sadism, and synonymous with pornography and sexual perversion, the infamous Marquis de Sade was inarguably mad, bad, and dangerous to know. But the very qualities that were repellent in the man make for fascinating reading in Francine du Plessix Gray's biography, At Home with the Marquis de Sade. The pitfalls of writing about such a scandalous subject are obvious: Sade is so completely associated in the modern mind with extremely degrading sexual escapades that any book about him risks being tarred with the same prurient brush--how does one discuss the Marquis without mentioning such loaded topics as whipping, sodomy, masturbation, blasphemy, or orgies, for example? The answer is, one doesn't; but Gray's focus in this biography is less on Sade's sexuality than on his relationship with the two most influential women in his life: his wife, Pélagie, and his mother-in-law, Madame de Montreuil.

It seems even a sadist can love, and in his own way, the Marquis de Sade loved his wife. Even more remarkable is that Pélagie apparently returned his affection devotedly for many years, despite frequent scandals, jailings, and even an affair with her own sister. Gray draws extensively on letters written by Sade, his wife, and his mother-in-law to paint a vibrant picture of an unorthodox marriage, a period of great political upheaval, and a complicated bond between mother and daughter. Gray also places the Marquis's writing in a context that, while forthrightly characterizing it as "the crudest, most repellent fictional dystopia ever limned, the creation of a borderline psychotic whose scatological fantasies have grown all the more deranged in the solitude and rage of his jail cell," also acknowledges its "recklessness and daring" as well as its influence on later writers from Swinburne and Baudelaire to Octavio Paz and Luis Buñuel. Sex, art, religion, and politics--At Home with the Marquis de Sade addresses them all with the intelligence and insight one has come to expect from Francine du Plessix Gray. (Amazon)

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Re: What are you currently reading?

Post  ankh_f_n_khonsu on Mon Dec 28, 2009 11:10 am

Khephra wrote:If someone were to stumble upon this thread for the first time, they might think this community suffers from a lack of readers... which seems a little ironic. Suspect



Wink cheers




Here's what I'm finishing up 2009 with:


When Rudolf II was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 1576, he quickly filled his castle with artistic and scientific treasures. Marshall returns repeatedly to Rudolf's attempt to create a "theatre of the world" in Prague Castle and how it transformed the city into the last great cultural center of the Renaissance. Rudolf himself is relegated to the sidelines for much of the book's middle section, as the focus turns to the brilliant minds attracted to Prague's climate of intellectual openness. The emperor, says Marshall, had a sincere but undiscriminating thirst for knowledge, open to both "fact and fantasy"; thus the community deftly sketched includes alchemists and prophets like John Dee as well as scientists like Kepler and Brahe and artists like Arcimboldo. Marshall, a cultural historian (The Philosopher's Stone), also explores Rudolf's apparent madness, concluding the emperor suffered from manic-depression, and while "eccentric and insecure," he was not insane. The final chapters depict the dwindling of Rudolf's kingdom, as he sank further into melancholy; prolonged conflict with the Vatican over his tolerance of "heretics" (such as Protestants and Jews) led to political intrigues against him. Yet, Marshall argues convincingly, his intellectual legacy bridged the gap between the medieval and modern worlds. (Amazon)
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Kabbalah, Magic and the Great Work of Self-Transformation

Post  MysteryStudent on Fri Jan 08, 2010 1:52 pm



Advancing to higher levels of ritual magic with purpose and power requires an exaltation of consciousness-a spiritual transformation that can serve as an antitode to the seeming banality of modern life.

Based on Kabbalistic techniques, the teachings of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and an Hermetic tradition spanning nearly two thousand years, this innovative new work introduces the history of the Golden Dawn and its mythology, the Tree of Life, Deities, demons, rules for practicing magic, and components of effective ritual.

A comprehensive course of self-initiation using Israel Regardie's seminal Golden Dawn as a key reference point, Kabbalah, Magic and the Great Work of Self-Transformation guides you through the levels of the Golden Dawn system of ritual magic. Each grade in this system corresponds with a sphere in the Kabbalistic Tree of Life and includes daily rituals, required reading, written assignments, projects, and additional exercises.

Knowledgeable and true to tradition, author Lyam Thomas Christopher presents a well-grounded and modern step-by-step program toward spiritual attainment, providing a lucid gateway toward a more awakened state.

I'm currently reading (studying, participating in) this gem by Lyam Thomas Christopher. It's a complete course based on the Golden Dawn system. I really like it because he emphasizes discipline, limitation and perseverance. I'm big on courses and systems, of course. There's such an immense amount of occult material out there, it's nearly impossible to decide where to begin. I began with Modern Magick, but I like this one a lot better. Some don't, because of its "social commentary". I don't mind it. It's a workable curriculum that gradually and effectively introduces the aspirant to the magic and energies of the Golden Dawn.
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Re: What are you currently reading?

Post  neutralrobotboy on Sat Jan 09, 2010 12:57 am



From http://www.philipkdickfans.com/divine.htm :
The Divine Invasion is an epic story about the battle between the forces of good and evil ripe with religious symbolism. Written in 1980, near the end of his life, this novel was originally conceived as a sequel to Valis. It deals with many of the same issues Dick addressed in Valis but places them in a very different context.

So far I'm enjoying this work. Valis was actually my introduction to gnostic christianity, a classic work that combines real-life autobiography with science fiction and some simply bizarre ideas.

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blarrr.

Post  SoyCello on Sun Jan 10, 2010 11:15 pm

which is an old fav. of mine and another winter favorite and on recommendation anyone got a suggestion? bounce
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Re: What are you currently reading?

Post  neutralrobotboy on Mon Jan 11, 2010 4:04 am

The Transmigration of Timothy Archer



Another Philip K. Dick book, often considered the third of the Valis trilogy (though that was supposedly meant to be The Owl in Daylight, a novel he didn't get to write before he died). I've just started, seems like another bizarre venture into PKD's personal gnostic outlook. PKD was a writer unlike any other. His prose may not have been the greatest, but his ideas were larger than life. Other science fiction attempts at posing questions about "what is real and what is fake" seem, to my eyes, childish by comparison. I know of no other author in any genre who has explored the matter so thoroughly.

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Re: What are you currently reading?

Post  Khephra on Tue Jan 12, 2010 11:08 am

Yummy PKD! Have fun with that! Very Happy

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Re: What are you currently reading?

Post  ankh_f_n_khonsu on Tue Jan 12, 2010 7:27 pm

Yay! More readers! Very Happy study
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Re: What are you currently reading?

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