God's Debris is a slight, mildly provocative pseudo-dialogue between the protagonist—a delivery van driver—and Mr. Avatar, a mystical know-it-all whoGod's Debris is a slight, mildly provocative pseudo-dialogue between the protagonist—a delivery van driver—and Mr. Avatar, a mystical know-it-all who explains the nature of the universe and of humanity's role within it, all in 130 pages.
The book as a whole was OK. Much of it, including the stuff about quantum mechanics and probability, didn't make a whole lot of sense other than to reiterate similar points made in other books on "quantum mysticism," and I am sure it earned the book some one-star reviews from the Angry Atheists.
That said, the general argument propounded by Avatar, that God created the universe by means of God's self-destruction (hence the book's title) and that the evolution of self-aware human beings is the process of creation rebuilding itself from the debris of creation into God one piece of debris at a time, is surprisingly reminiscent of the Kabbalistic cosmology of Isaac Luria, one of the more internally consistent cosmologies with which I am familiar and one which puts some sort of ethical imperative directly at the heart of creation.
Adams makes some interesting observations about people-oriented versus idea-oriented relationships, and I found myself bridging the gap between the two positions in my own relationships, valuing the tactic of asking small questions about others' lives not only to engage in interesting conversations and to build my relationships with those people but also to learn new ideas and perspectives from them.
I also appreciate the skepticism of Skepticism advocated by the book, and its critique of Occam's razor, a useful tool for constructing parsimonious explanations but not the best, perhaps, at deriving rich meaning for life. At this point in my life (a life filled with crazy coincidences) it should come as no surprise that Scott Adams shared his thoughts on why Americans don't trust science at around the same time that I was reading this book, that I found out about that post because of a post on The Archdruid Report, and that this book echoes (however slightly) a great book I recently read and which I was inspired to read because of comments made by the Archdruid John Michael Greer in yet another of his books. And, of course, Adams approaches this very topic of meaningful coincidence in the context of affirmations and paying attention:
"Most people believe they have goals when, in fact, they have only wishes....Such people are unlikely to write affirmations daily because it would be too much effort. And they are unlikely to be successful in any big way."
"So the affirmations are unnecessary?"
"They have a purpose. Writing your goals every day gives you a higher level of focus. It tunes your mind to better recognize opportunities in your environment."
"What do you mean by tuning your mind?"
"Have you ever had the experience where you hear a strange word for the first time, and then soon afterward you hear the same word again?...A person who does affirmations takes mental tuning to a higher level. The process of concentrating on the goal every day greatly increases the likelihood of noticing an opportunity in the environment. The coincidence will create the illusion that writing down the goal causes the environment to produce opportunities. But in reality the only thing that changes is the person's ability to notice the opportunities. I don't mean to minimize that advantage because the ability to recognize opportunities is essential to success." (116, 118)
The tag line says it all: "What if you had a magical superpower and it hated your guts?" In this surprisingly funny and entertaining comic, an objectThe tag line says it all: "What if you had a magical superpower and it hated your guts?" In this surprisingly funny and entertaining comic, an object of power akin to Thor's hammer Mjölnir inadvertently seeks out as its wielder a 30-something loser who still lives in his mother's basement whilst inexplicably bedding a bookishly sexy girlfriend. And this loser kicks some serious ass; the dude takes on a lich, for fecksake! ...more
No surprises that this book was written by someone in the advertising field, since the book is all style and no substance. I could easily write a simiNo surprises that this book was written by someone in the advertising field, since the book is all style and no substance. I could easily write a similarly trite piece of crap about advertising and PR that boils down to, "Lots of folks wonder why there are ads. I have not done any research or serious thinking about advertising, but I think ads are swell. Here's a cute picture to illustrate my love of ads. I guess ads are just there for some reason. Some folks like ads, some folks don't like ads, some folks even hate ads. Is hating ads a form of loving ads? Can there be a world without ads? Here's another cute picture to illustrate that question. And. Then. The. Conclusion. Will. Be. One. Word. Per. Page. Spread. Against. A. Colored. Background."
Seriously. Arden has done zero research in religious studies, philosophy, science, etc., and apparently has no qualms about charging readers $13 a pop to read his shallow "explanations" of God, religion, atheism, etc. Astonishingly he reveals that the basis of his own faith in God (defined so broadly as to include pretty much anything), aka his being vaguely "spiritual" instead of religious, was watching a particularly beautiful sunset. Nothing substantial here, nothing about, e.g., spiritual practice, applied religious psychology, why there are different religions, why science and religion don't always get along. I would have expected more from my undergraduate religious studies students in their essays.
I might have been easier on this book if I hadn't finished such a stunner, on many of the same topics, immediately beforehand. Alas, this was not to be. Instead, I get to compare the glib musings of an advertising exec with the thoughts of an author whose philosophical button-pushing is backed up by some intellectual and existential weight. If you want serious answers to what used to be considered serious questions, look elsewhere. This is a mediocre undergrad essay, albeit a moderately well designed, modestly visually interesting essay, on "God as whatever is most important to you." ...more
If you want to play in Creative Mode, you really don't need this book. If you plan to play in Survival Mode and don't have your teenager around to ansIf you want to play in Creative Mode, you really don't need this book. If you plan to play in Survival Mode and don't have your teenager around to answer your questions, this is a good volume to have on hand.
This novel is based on story first sketched out a series of blog posts called "How It Could Happen," referring to the collapse of the US empire in theThis novel is based on story first sketched out a series of blog posts called "How It Could Happen," referring to the collapse of the US empire in the wake of peak oil:
Greer extrapolates today's geological, ecological, political, and social trends into the near future to provide a chillingly plausible (probable?) view of a post-American world. Those familiar with Greer's blog and nonfiction work (on peak oil and our responses to the conundrums it lays before us) might not be surprised by the directions in which this story goes, but I am sure they will enjoy it nonetheless. (His strengths as a writer as as evident here as they are in his nonfiction work.) Those who are not familiar with his work in this vein, and the work of others like James Howard Kunstler or Richard Heinberg, might be surprised and even shocked by Greer's vision of tomorrow, but this too is a good thing.
Random thoughts about this book in lieu of a review:
This book came out at the time my wife and I were working at an independent bookstore in San FrancRandom thoughts about this book in lieu of a review:
This book came out at the time my wife and I were working at an independent bookstore in San Francisco. I found the recipe for Spam cheesecake in here and made it to bring to my then-new job at Lonely Planet Publications. Despite the cheesecake, they did not immediately terminate my employment.
One of my favorite comfort foods is the Korean dish budae jjigae. (I'm not sure how Korean food became one of my comfort foods, but it has.) It usually includes Spam among its ingredients, along with hot dogs, bacon, and other USAmerican meat food products. Spam plus kim chee plus gochujang plus rich cakes plus broth equals pure bliss.
Who knew Spam had such a storied history?
Or that so many people around the world share our love-hate relationship with this perpetually pink processed porcine pâté?
Spam is cooked in the can, which means it can be eaten cold without any fear of getting worms. (Told you so, Mom.)
You can also use it as a video game remote.
Because the British had to eat pounds of Spam during WWII, Monty Python made their famous Spam sketch.
Reinvented former-cut-rate superhero now fights for animal rights, Greenpeace, ALF, and dolphins. Morrison's pet themes include deep ecology and peyotReinvented former-cut-rate superhero now fights for animal rights, Greenpeace, ALF, and dolphins. Morrison's pet themes include deep ecology and peyote, Rupert Sheldrake's morphogenetic fields, and David Bohm's notion of explicate and implicate orders. Wraps up with a good dose of metafiction, philosophical speculations on the nature(s) of fiction and of reality, and an attempt to undo the entire Crisis on Infinite Earths unified continuity. Touching and poignant, as well as provocative and entertaining; not at all what I was expecting....more
I remembered reading this book in my junior history seminar in undergrad, along with the Iliad and the Aeneid, but I didn't remember the book itself.I remembered reading this book in my junior history seminar in undergrad, along with the Iliad and the Aeneid, but I didn't remember the book itself. After I re-read it in February 2015 (in part to see the relation, if any, of the eponymous hero to the similarly named hero of Stephen King's Dark Tower series), the reason for not remembering it is obvious—it just isn't memorable.
As other reviewers have noted, this "epic" poem is more or less a placeholder between the larger epics that precede and follow it chronologically, in much the same way that the time period it reflects is seen as something of a placeholder between antiquity and modernity.
The plot of the story is fairly simple: one Christian noble betrays another to Muslim treachery on the borderlands between "Spain" and "France"; the one whom is betrayed, Roland, holds off calling for reinforcements until it is too late; the reinforcements, in the form of Charlemagne (conflated with William the Conqueror in the poem), arrive in time to kick Muslim/Saracen/pagan ass (setting a precedent, at least rhetorically, for the next millennium); and divine justice allows Charlemagne to hold the betrayer and his kin to account.
The poem is interesting in what it reveals about the changing sense of Christian (and national) identity in Middle Age Europe and about the hostility toward and utter lack of understanding of Islam on the part of Christendom (the hostility is somewhat understandable in light of the rapid spread of Islam in the 8th century; the ignorance was downright laughable). ...more
Interesting and stylized art, reminiscent of some of the stuff I saw in Heavy Metal growing up, in the service of a surreal and less-than-comprehensInteresting and stylized art, reminiscent of some of the stuff I saw in Heavy Metal growing up, in the service of a surreal and less-than-comprehensible narrative about political and social revolutions, fathers and sons, alien ancient Egyptian space gods, and a hot blue-haired woman who cries indigo tears. It was originally written in French, he notes, by way of explanation. (And, alas, the film version of the story, Immortal, really didn't help me making sense of things. Like the man said, it's French.)...more
A Cold War parable that retains its relevance well into the days of the War on Terror; after all, although the USSR went away, the various nuclear arsA Cold War parable that retains its relevance well into the days of the War on Terror; after all, although the USSR went away, the various nuclear arsenals did not. In this slender book, which is not exactly a comic but close enough, a couple of doddering Middle Englanders face an impending nuclear confrontation with the same (misplaced) can-do spirit with which they and their families faced earlier bombing campaigns of the Germans during WWII. Clever, tender, and chilling. ...more