The book was entertaining and hard to put away. Not a life changing work, and not one I am likely to read repeatedly, but I am tempted to get the rest...moreThe book was entertaining and hard to put away. Not a life changing work, and not one I am likely to read repeatedly, but I am tempted to get the rest of the series. The Kindle version had some clerical errors; I see this a lot lately. Not enough to change the verdict, but may I recommend getting a retired English teacher to look through your manuscripts before publishing?
For us with some interest in Alternate History, the book is a welcome break with the obsession with "What if Nazi Germany won WW2?" The Big One offers a perhaps more realistic scenario, one in which the war drags out long enough to fall definitely within the Atomic Age, to that giddy moment in time before Mutually Assured Destruction, when there was only Assured Destruction and America alone held that power.
Could it have happened? Could America really have bombed a white nation back to the Stone Age, killing tens of millions of people? The book describes a world where this happens, and the ordinary people in it are no different from here. The big decisions are made by people behind big desks, thinking coldly and practically about what is best for their own country. Well worth reading, I think.(less)
Before the New Age, there was George G. Ritchie, a med student and rather ordinary Christian, who was declared dead for 9 minutes, most of which he se...moreBefore the New Age, there was George G. Ritchie, a med student and rather ordinary Christian, who was declared dead for 9 minutes, most of which he seems to have spent racing around in his astral body without knowing he was dead. Then he met a man of intensely bright light, whom he identified as "the Son of God".
Ritchie seems to represent a transition from the classical Christian tradition of the temporarily dead getting elaborate tours of Hell and Heaven, to the modern fairly brief Near Death Experience where only suicides get to experience Hell, while the rest have a fairly upbeat experience, if any at all.
Ritchie sees a hell of our own making, souls locked in hate or regret or addiction or uncontrollable lust, immaterial bodies clawing at the material world or at each other, unable to connect yet unable to let go. He sees a peaceful selfless world of Higher learning, but beyond that a glimpse of a heavenly world so bright that he was only allowed to watch it at a great distance for a very short time. He sees the Light, and identifies it as the Son of God; when he sees a great number of these Lights, he speculates that maybe Jesus was in all these locations at once. He does not see deceased relatives showing up to welcome him, although two figures from the heavenly realm try to approach him just as he is sent back.
Ritchie himself admits that his visions did not quite match the descriptions in the Bible. Having read the Bible extensively in my youth, I agree. This is more similar to Buddhist and neo-religious concepts. For instance, I was repeatedly reminded of the animated movie "The Laws of Eternity" by Happy Science / Ryuoho Okawa. Some of the scenes there could have been lifted straight out of the book.
Like that movie, the book is inspiring me whether or not I believe in it in any literal sense. I feel that whether or not it represent an afterlife, it represents our invisible life - the world of the mind - while we are here on Earth. All too easily we can get trapped in a hell of our own making, unable to let go of that which only hurts us, when there is a much brighter place (state of mind) open for us.(less)
Most of this book will probably be useful for as long as humans have brains, although the last chapters will age less gracefully as they refer to cont...moreMost of this book will probably be useful for as long as humans have brains, although the last chapters will age less gracefully as they refer to contemporary software and Internet services.
The book is a toy chest of memory enhancement techniques, with the basic science behind them. It may lack in inspiration and vision, but it is easy to read and practical. You probably buy it because you experience a need, and it will likely fill that need. There is no magic button and the book does not pretend to have it, but as a toolbox it is quite good.(less)
A rather short, rather inexpensive and rather amusing partial memoir of a technophile literature professor, reminiscing about the winding road his lif...moreA rather short, rather inexpensive and rather amusing partial memoir of a technophile literature professor, reminiscing about the winding road his life has taken from one bookshelf to another. The style could, I believe, be called "charmingly whimsical". This little book drives home the fact that the future is hard to predict and the present is hard to understand, while the past sometimes makes sense. (less)
Actually, you probably can't read it, even if it is in English. You may recognize most of the words. Even many of...moreThis book is amazing. Don't read it!
Actually, you probably can't read it, even if it is in English. You may recognize most of the words. Even many of the sentences may make sense. Once you try to combine those into paragraphs, however, it will probably not gel. And if it does, you'll probably want to throw the book away and wish you had never seen it.
This is not a novel, and not a textbook, and there's not much poetry either. It is more like holy scripture, except not for any particular religion. By all accounts, Schuon believed in a wide range of religions simultaneously.
Schuon thinks that Heaven would from time to time start a new religion tailored to the mindset of people living in that area. After a while, people would have made that revelation into an institution and most would no longer understand it, but they would preserve enough of the revelation that it still had the power to save souls. In much the same way that electricity works pretty well even if you don't understand it, so also religion. But Schuon writes for those who want to understand it, the spiritual engineer student so to speak.
And that is why, if you are religious, you will probably find Schuon explaining how you have misunderstood your religion, not to mention the other religions. If you are not religious, he will dismiss you as more stupid than an animal. So, not a mass market book.
I have found that I just can't read this as a textbook, although I am pretty good with textbooks. I have to stop and listen to my heart all the time. Sometimes he says something that resonates there, as if it made me remember something that I knew very long ago. And when it does, I understand. And when I understand, I remember ... or rather, I don't even need to remember anymore. It changes how I see things, probably permanently.
Madness is not the only danger in books. There is also the danger that something may be understood that can never be forgotten. Read with caution, if at all.(less)
Because of the title, people might expect this to be an exceptionally pleasurable book to read. That may be stretching things a bit. It is an easy eno...moreBecause of the title, people might expect this to be an exceptionally pleasurable book to read. That may be stretching things a bit. It is an easy enough read, and Prof. Jacobs has a nice turn of phrase, but it is not exceptional or even meant to be so. This is not a book to kindle the first flame of love for reading, but a gentle reminder to those who used to find themselves absorbed in a book and recently have lost that experience. A reminder that the strict and goal-oriented reading of our colleges and universities is not the only form of reading: There is also reading on a Whim, which is poorly explained but seems to be a trust in our own subconscious as a chooser of literature. It seems a reasonable proposition to me.
The book seems kind of haphazardly put together, and I give it a black mark for picking a fight with my hero Mortimer J. Adler. On the other hand, it is very easy to read for something written by an intellectual. Recommended for all who miss their younger days when they could spend all evening with their nose in a book.(less)
To the modern reader, the name of this book is likely to mislead. It does not at all compromise with atheists or those who approach the Divine in an a...moreTo the modern reader, the name of this book is likely to mislead. It does not at all compromise with atheists or those who approach the Divine in an abstract way. As in classical Christendom, "meditation" here refers to imaginative thinking about the Gospel. It has nothing to do with the Buddhist, New Age and scientific concept of the same name, in which one seeks to free the Self from the activity of the mind.
If you are a Christian who wants to bridge the gap in time and culture between the modern world and the human Jesus Christ who wandered the dusty roads of ancient Galilee, you may find this book valuable, particularly if you are at home in the Catholic Church with its focus on the Mass. Other Theists may also find in it some inspiration, I believe, for their own religious practice. It reminds me somewhat of the Bhaktivedanta practices of vividly retelling the stories of their Avatar's life on Earth. I can see some potential for interfaith inspiration in that regard, but I don't encourage the simple believer to explore that option.(less)
I only learned of this book a few years ago, probably because I have never lived in an English-speaking country. It was a bit weird reading it, becaus...moreI only learned of this book a few years ago, probably because I have never lived in an English-speaking country. It was a bit weird reading it, because some of the more sci-fi world-building part was disturbingly similar to what I had come up with some three decades before I heard of it. Almost makes one believe in the "morphic fields" hypothesis! Although my stories - sadly never marketable - were not religious at all.
Be that as it may, this book is valuable for its insight into recent Christian thinking. As a novel it is too preachy for anyone but the choir, I would think, and Lewis is simply not on the same level as his good friend Tolkien when it comes to plot, world-building and the sheer love affair with the English language. He has creative ideas and does a passable job of getting them into writing, but that's it. Unless those ideas grab you, the book probably won't. But at least it is short and to the point.(less)
Most people think they don't have a chance at greatness because they lack the special inborn talent that only a few lucky souls are given. Colvin argu...moreMost people think they don't have a chance at greatness because they lack the special inborn talent that only a few lucky souls are given. Colvin argues convincingly that this is not the case. Rather, we don't have a chance at greatness because we don't have enough time left for grueling practice, and (except for the 1%) not enough money to hire the expert coaches who can tell us what we need to practice and the very special way to do it.
The book is written in such a tone that it comes across as optimistic and encouraging. Yet on reflection, most of the optimism is on behalf of the young rich, who probably don't need it most of all. (less)
This is very valuable insight into one of the most important matters in human life. If it is described better elsewhere - or even described elsewhere...moreThis is very valuable insight into one of the most important matters in human life. If it is described better elsewhere - or even described elsewhere at all - I am unaware of it. Recommended for humans and all who interact with humans.(less)
In this book, Ryuho Okawa integrates his more recent UFO teachings with his good old religious philosophy based on Love, Wisdom, Self-reflection and P...moreIn this book, Ryuho Okawa integrates his more recent UFO teachings with his good old religious philosophy based on Love, Wisdom, Self-reflection and Progress. He also moves closer to Christianity, in the sense that he refers more to Christian sources, focuses more on miracles, and addresses an international audience. Perhaps he has begun to see what Jesus Christ noticed, that a prophet is scorned in his own country. Okawa even accepts the bodily Resurrection of Christ, although crediting space aliens from Vega with the actual medical intervention is unlikely to endear him to traditional Christians.
Master Okawa is the founder and Messiah of the Japanese new religion "Happy Science", and for any member this book is sure to be a treasure. Most Westerners will probably have a hard time reading this as non-fiction, although his psychological insights and moral philosophy sets him far apart from the usual cult leaders. I enjoyed the book, but realistically I don't know anyone else who would.(less)
I began reading this book, but realized that I no longer have the interest for science fiction that I used to have. It is not a judgment of the book,...moreI began reading this book, but realized that I no longer have the interest for science fiction that I used to have. It is not a judgment of the book, which seems excellent and to be recommended for those who still enjoy the genre.(less)
1986. This book was written in 1986. I could not see it back then, the way everything was moving faster and faster, as we approach the singularity, or...more1986. This book was written in 1986. I could not see it back then, the way everything was moving faster and faster, as we approach the singularity, or perhaps the physical laws that will eventually put a stop to our new Tower of Babel. Either way, that is not really where the book shines. Surprisingly, its strength is as a crime mystery. I had not expected that from a maths professor. The mystery of the Singularity is not solved, of course; but a number of others are, enough to make for a very satisfying end.(less)
A classic Christian text, using numerous citations from the Bible (especially the poetic parts of the Old Testament) to outline the various reasons wh...moreA classic Christian text, using numerous citations from the Bible (especially the poetic parts of the Old Testament) to outline the various reasons why people may love God. The saint then place these various motivations in an ascending order, from selfish to divine, presenting them as a path which anyone can start and that leads to perfection in love. The text is fairly short and stays well on topic.
Thinking of love as a process of spiritual evolution should be fairly acceptable to the modern reader, although the frequent use of Bible quotes may freak out some non-Christian readers.(less)
I seem to be writing this disturbingly often lately: "This book was amazing, don't read it!" Never more so than today.
Reviews of Mouravieff's books of...moreI seem to be writing this disturbingly often lately: "This book was amazing, don't read it!" Never more so than today.
Reviews of Mouravieff's books often point out how they are a mixture of deep timeless wisdom and madness. It seems to me that the "madness" part is in each case that which the reader has not experienced himself. I also have found in this book revelations that I until then thought I was alone to have, usually more clearly than I had seen them myself. If those are madness, then, they are madness discovered independently at different times and places. And, like every other reader I have seen, there are parts of the book that make no sense at all to me. But I am not sure they are the same parts that made no sense to the others.
Certainly this book has the capacity to induce insanity, pure life-destroying psychosis, in fragile souls. I have no doubt about that. It views the world and the mind from a place so far outside the consensus reality that it will be hard, if at all possible, to see things the same way again.
But by the same token, because of the unusual perspective, some things become visible that used to be hidden. I have learned a number of very important things from this book, but there is no one I would dare recommend it to, and in the final reckoning I can still not say whether it has helped me or hurt me. But interesting, it certainly was. More than almost anything I have read. When I put it aside again and again, it was not for being boring, but for being dangerous.
This is a the book formerly known as "The Laws of Eternity", with some small variations. It is not necessary to buy it if you already have the older v...moreThis is a the book formerly known as "The Laws of Eternity", with some small variations. It is not necessary to buy it if you already have the older version. Actually, it is not necessary to buy it at all, but if you want to understand the new religion Kofuku-no-Kagaku ("Happy Science"), this is one of their most central texts, after "The Laws of the Sun". It gives a comprehensive overview of the various levels of the spirit world and how these relate to our life in this world. The various Heavens and Hells are not geographical locations, but more like states of mind. It is implied that the state of mind that makes up the core of your being is where you will go next once you die. So in this religion, you cannot cheat your way to Heaven by having experts pray for you and perform rituals while you retain your ugly personality. Unless religion causes your mind to change and become expansive, light-filled and loving, you're doing it wrong. From a practical point of view, the world would probably be a better place if people believed this, rather than hating each other and then trying to magick their way into heaven.
That said, building temples for the author seems a bit of an overkill. (less)