Reading this book is like setting a stone under running water and hoping to see a change. Water is absolutely different than a stone and this book is...moreReading this book is like setting a stone under running water and hoping to see a change. Water is absolutely different than a stone and this book is absolutely different than anything I've encountered before. I know that when I finish it, my thoughts will change and I will have a better grasp on reality.
The premise is simple: the founders of western thought (pre-Socratic philosophers) were actually shaman and we're ignoring their full legacy by looking only at their logic. The premise is not what makes this book unique, its been said before by Plato, neo-Platonists, and any school of thought that leans toward the mystical.
What makes this book unique is Kingsely's scholarship. He has archeological and linguistic evidence. He can read the Greek texts without adulterating them. He has facts, where everyone before had stories.
However, it is tedious. Each chapter is the same, but somewhat different. Its a slow reading and rereading of ancient texts. If I were a stronger reader, I'd finish this book, but I'm not. I suspect that even though the premise is simple and the scholarship strong, the true message of the book is harder to grasp. I can intellectually see that those who helped from my intellectual environment were shaman, but a mere intellectual understanding seems like a dishonor to their mystical legacy. Perhaps the tedium of this book is a meditation to help open the mind to that legacy. (less)
I picked this up because of Blake's Marriage of Heaven and Hell.
It is very, very interesting. Based on Blake's criticism of the work, I expected a bor...moreI picked this up because of Blake's Marriage of Heaven and Hell.
It is very, very interesting. Based on Blake's criticism of the work, I expected a boring work of scholarly theology. It definitely is not.
Swedenborg claims to have spoken with the angels and visited the many levels of heaven and hell. He claims that he was given this privilege because people on earth have forgotten the spiritual realms and we need to remember them.
These are big claims. The book comes through in a big way. It is coherent and well written. Swedenborg know his theology and is able to eloquently tie his experiences with theological concepts. If you pick up the work and read it, you'll see its not a work of fiction. He definitely experienced what he expressed.
I was willing to write this off as, perhaps, a hallucination until I recognized the similarity between Swedenborg's methods and Jung's 'active imagination'. Its clear they're both tapping into the same reality.
That's whats interesting about this work. Swedenborg is tapping into the same level of reality as Jung in his Red Book or Blake in any number of his poems. They just describe it differently. Blake can criticizes Swedenborg for being too good and for letting his morality get in the way of his visions.
Most enjoyable bit of Gnostic literature I have read in a while, also, the most incomprehensible. You probably need a straight edge and compass to kee...moreMost enjoyable bit of Gnostic literature I have read in a while, also, the most incomprehensible. You probably need a straight edge and compass to keep track of the cosmos.(less)
One of the unfortunate things about being interested in lucid dreaming is the lack of literature on the topic. Actually, the lack of intelligent, thou...moreOne of the unfortunate things about being interested in lucid dreaming is the lack of literature on the topic. Actually, the lack of intelligent, thought out, and well written literature. On a whole, lucid dreaming books have too much of the author's own opinion and not enough research, in addition to mediocre writing. What I want is a well researched, well written, and scholarly book that doesn't read like the author's dream journal.
This book almost fulfills my wish. It is well written. The author is scholarly and has spent years researching the subject. There are more examples of other people's dreams than the author's. I read it all the way through.
However, it doesn't break free of my stereotype of lucid dreaming books. While its the best I've encountered in its class, it is still in that class. It is not scholarly, nor is it well researched, even though the author himself is those things. It is more like a conversation with a smart and knowledgable person on the subject, rather than a treatise.
Wikipedia shares more information on the subject in a more concise fashion. If you're interested in the facts and history of lucid dreaming, go there. However, if you're interested in the opinions and impressions of an intelligent, well-read, and experienced lucid dreamer, then read this book.(less)