Reflections from Shadow Malcolm Watts 310 pages; quality trade paperback (softcover); catalogue #03-1797; ISBN 1-4120-1419-0; US$26.50, C$3Book Reviews:
Reflections from Shadow Malcolm Watts 310 pages; quality trade paperback (softcover); catalogue #03-1797; ISBN 1-4120-1419-0; US$26.50, C$30.50, Trafford 2004
NOW AVAILABLE AS AN E-BOOK FOR $9.99 Trafford.com 2009
Malcolm Watts is a mental health professional; and his understanding of the human psyche is evident in Reflections from Shadow, the story of Jared Clarkson, a young man on a quest for self-understanding and, ultimately, redemption.
As a foster child growing up in Ontario, Jared wonders why he is different from other children. Why doesn’t he live with his real parents? Why isn’t he athletic like other boys? Why is he so talented at writing stories? Why is he so ugly? (Not that Jared is really ugly, but because of a birthmark on his face—made much larger, even grotesque, by his imagination—Jared feels ugly; and feeling ugly is enough.) And, finally, why is he the only one who can see the monster that lurks underneath the cellar steps?
Jared Clarkson is a complicated character, a young man tormented by a sense of self-loathing, as well as visions and lapses in time that he can in no way explain. As he comes of age during the turbulent 60’s, an era marked by anti-war protests, hippies, Rock & Roll, and psychedelics, Jared embarks upon a journey to find the missing pieces of the puzzle of his life. Although unsure of his final destination, he knows he must find the answers; and find them he does, but in the most unlikely of places, and these answers ultimately threaten not only Jared’s sanity but also his very existence. Malcolm Watts is a talented writer—with a gift for imagery, description, characterization, and language—and he has written a story that one cannot easily put aside for a moment or, when finished, easily forget. In fact, Reflections from Shadow will haunt the reader for a long, long time to come.
Professor Carol Culver-Rzadkiewicz Dept. of English (creative writing) University of Phoenix 2008
"I like the psychological aspects...daring subject matter. Writer ambitiously explored deep internal conflicts of main character. Opening chapter set-up is intriguing. Prose clean and clear. Delves deeply into shadow we all repress." Judges Commentary: Writers Digest Self-Published Awards 2004.
"I absolutely loved 'Reflections from Shadow.'" Delores Thorn Marguerite Press Review
"...Intellectual honesty in this work had me cheering from the sidelines." John Schemelefske M.A.
"I purchased your book at the street sale that was held this Sunday past, and started reading it on Monday. I was totally immersed in the book and finished it Tuesday morning before heading off to work. I tend to read an average of one to three books a week depending on my time and how much the book captures me. I truly enjoyed this one. Jared's story keeps you going without ever letting your interest wain as it is totally unpredictable. The reference to past lives and the inner workings of his mind kept me captivated. A remarkable good read. This is one book I will talk about to many as a book well worth reading. Thank you. I am looking forward to reading anything else you have written. I like the way your mind works." Nancy Ewens 2006
Can psychedelic drugs, or entheogens as they are referred to nowadays, play an important role in spiritual awareness or are they merely a ticket to u Can psychedelic drugs, or entheogens as they are referred to nowadays, play an important role in spiritual awareness or are they merely a ticket to unsustainable peak experiences. These are the questions addressed in this wonderful coffee table book.
Many writers in this collection of essays are children of the 60’s who have moved on to Buddhist and other meditative practices. Some now eschew medicinal roads to Satori, while others view them as important components of awakening that opened their eyes to the doors of perception and possibilities offered by non-drug meditative practices. Contributers include Ram Dass – former research partner of Tim Leary at Harvard, founders of the Esalen institute at Big Sur, as well as members of the Zen Center in San Francisco.
Some essays take the form of a dialogue between the writer with editors Allan Hunt-Badiner and Alex Grey asking intelligent questions of clarification.
For those who weren’t there in the 60’s, and those of us who were, the authors review the explosion of hallucinogens in the western world, and how this sparked great interest in eastern philosophies to fill the void left by traditional western religious dogma and materialistic values. Early luminaries such as Alan Watts, Aldous Huxley, Alan Ginsberg, and Carlos Castaneda and their contributions are mentioned.
Of special interest to me was the brief history included of several natural etheogens, lesser known in the west. The place of natural hallucinogens in native cultures that value both the altered state, and the spiritual quest,is explored as well. Indeed, we are reminded that people have used medicinal substances as part of their spiritual quest for thousands of years; Soma, referred to in the Hindu “Ghita,” being one of the earliest references.
The discussion and viewpoints are balanced and informative with potential “psychonauts” advised to proceed carefully using etheogens in a reverent manner including appropriate set, setting, reliable guides, and time in between experiences to incorporate insights gained into ones daily life.
The legal issues are addressed with the view that the war on drugs is a dismal failure of right wing politics. Further, it asserts that it is a human right for adults to be able to use etheogens responsibly for personal quest, to study consciousness, the mind, as well as how these medicines can facilitate processes of psychotherapy.
The book, easily read, is beautifully illustrated with full page colour plates inspired by psychedelic experience and Buddhist tradition. A nice bibliography of related titles is included but no index.
Zig Zan Zen is a wonderful, fun, and informative read that covers the history of medicinal plants from ancient times to ecstacy in the mosh pit. A great gift for yourself, or anyone interested in the history and role of etheogens on the road to nirvana.
Richard Dawkins is a prominent British Scientist who has written many books interpreting Science for the layman. In this latest book he slays the myt Richard Dawkins is a prominent British Scientist who has written many books interpreting Science for the layman. In this latest book he slays the myth of God with both humour and devastating logic as he demolishes, one by one, every major argument for the existence of God. He suggests, quite correctly I think, that ideas such as religious dogma have lives of their own and societies becomes subjected to those ideas.
Generations of people are indoctrinated from childhood with these erroneous ideas. What a breath of fresh air to see in print many things I have thought and struggled with over the years myself in trying to purge my spirit of the evangelical Christian baloney hammered into my skull three times on Sundays from as early as I remember, to the day when I walked away from it at 16 never to return.
Indeed, Dawkins has performed a critical service for mankind by declaring, and proving, that indeed this particular emperor has no clothes on. Truly religion has done more harm than good for humanity and has been instead a continuing source of conflict and hatred over the centuries until our own.
Someday, soon I hope, we will smile as much at the absurd notion of the biblical God as we do when we read of the Gods the Greeks believed lived on Mr. Olympus. At that point we will have taken a large step for human social evolution from unquestioning collective childhood, to that of maturity.
Dawkins also challenges, quite convincingly, the argument that an atheistic society would be one devoid of morality or goodness. He points out that no one ever held a holy war to impose non-belief on others. That is not to say there have not been atheists who were bad people ie Stalin, but their belief (or lack thereof) was not their primary purpose and he points there are just as many religious believers who are also bad people. Thank you Richard Dawkins for pointing all of this out to us and giving mankind this informed passport to a better future.
Artists of all kinds struggle daily, and through their lives in many cases, with having their work accepted by their peers and the public. The starvi Artists of all kinds struggle daily, and through their lives in many cases, with having their work accepted by their peers and the public. The starving artist is not a cliché’ it is a fact for most of us. Reading Irving Stone’s biography of Camille Pissarro, the French Impressionist painter, we understand how this fact of life was serious reality for most artists in the past – yet somehow they soldiered on.
Irving Stone is the master of biography with his impeccable research and style of writing that brings the people to life. In this book, we get to know many of the impressionist artists, and are party to their struggles for artistic acceptance, and literally survival as most of them spent the bulk of their lives sustained not by benefactors, but only on the artistic fires burning within, and the encouragement of their little group. Indeed, the practical situation was that most of them lived on the edge of financial disaster – certainly this was the case for Pissarro who had his wife Julie and seven children to care support.
Along the way there were exhibitions of the impressionists work that not only sold nothing, but incited derision, laughter and scorn from the audience, and spiteful stinging rebuke from the “critics.” In desperation, canvases were often sold for little more than the cost of the paint and the canvas. Ironically, many of these works are now worth many thousands of dollars and in some cases millions.
Irving Stone’s biographies are eminently readable and if you have never read one you are in for a treat – they are all of them outstanding. I read many of them years ago but now have the urge to read them all again…The Agony and the Ecstasy: Michelangelo…Origins: Darwin, and the five year voyage of the Beagle…Sigmund Freud: Passions of the Mind. Stone brings each of these people, and their eras to life, and the only bad part is the reaching the end of the book.
Remember Mr. Natural, Keep on Truckin' and other weird and wonderful characters that peopled Robert Crumbs underground comix in the 1960's. This is thRemember Mr. Natural, Keep on Truckin' and other weird and wonderful characters that peopled Robert Crumbs underground comix in the 1960's. This is the story of Crumb's life and a great collection of his cartoons and illustrations. A lot of his work is edgy and not for the prudish who might misunderstand the context of his work. A lot of it is satirical and way over the edge for many. Its a great read for those nostalgic for their youth. Malcolm Watts
love books that provide a great read, teach you things (based on impeccable research) that you didn’t know before, as well as creating characters you love books that provide a great read, teach you things (based on impeccable research) that you didn’t know before, as well as creating characters you grow to love. Hominids is such a book. Robert Sawyer’s Sci Fi explores the idea of parallel universes that become connected resulting in two worlds meeting. One is an earth with highly evolved and intelligent Neanderthals, the other our own. A laboratory accident sends Neanderthal physicist Ponter Boddit from his world to ours and he nearly drowns in the heavy water of Sudbury Neutrino laboratory that really exists deep in the Inco nickel mine. The ramifications of this event in both worlds is alternatively dealt with by Sawyer with Boddit’s companion researcher in the Neanderthal earth charged with murder when no explanation can be found for his disappearance. On this side, Mary Vaughn, a specialist in Neanderthal man, is brought from York University to Sudbury to confirm Boddit’s genetic heritage and study him. The two become great friends. The books explores issues of incorrect assumptions we hold about others, varying views of the universe and its origins, and challenges our view of Homo Sapiens as the undisputed height of evolution our planet has produced. In both worlds there are ignorant and mean spirited people, but also kind and thoughtful folks. I loved this book and look forward to reading Sawyers sequel, Human’s. Oh, by the way Robert Sawyer is a Canadian writer living near Toronto. He has published many books and has won several international awards for his writing. I give this book 4.5 out of 5. Malcolm Watts BA MSW Malcolm Watts is a novelist, writer, photographer,and reviewer, Visit his website at www.authorsden.com/mnmnalcolmwatts ...more
Few novelists are able to effectively combine the phantasmagoric with a great human story but Audrey Niffenger has certainly succeeded here. EssentialFew novelists are able to effectively combine the phantasmagoric with a great human story but Audrey Niffenger has certainly succeeded here. Essentially a love story, The Time Travelers Wife, takes twists and turns caused by the bizarre genetic defect that causes Henry, our protagonist, to be suddenly propelled without notice, to some other time of his life. As the result, he first meets future wife Clare first when he is in his twenties, and she is only six years old. Over the years the couple grow closer as Clare grows into a women, they meet more frequently as time goes on, and fall in love. The story is well written, the characters well drawn, and we grow to embrace them and the host of secondary characters that comprise their family members, friends, and co-workers. There is humour as well in the dialogue and the complications created by the fact Henry’s time shifts only transport his body which means he leaves a pile of clothing wherever he has been, and arrives naked wherever he is going. Eventually he learns to stash clothing at various places and times where he shows up. There is also tragedy such as when he shows up naked and is beaten up by a group of thugs. And yes, he sees his own death but I won’t spoil the read with details. There is great metaphor and poignancy in the comings and goings that remind us that all relationships are temporary, and that we need to live and love in the moment. The uncertainty of whether they can have a child is finally answered but not until several miscarriages caused by Clare’s body rejecting the genetic abnormality in Henry’s DN occur. You might think the plot sounds contrived but it isn’t at all. The way the author handles the time travel element is quite believable – at least to the extent it doesn’t break the literary dream. As her first novel, this work is astonishing. Obviously Ms. Niffeneger has done a lot of writing previously. Time Travelers Wife is a great read, gift, or even one for your book club to read and discuss. I give it 4 out of 5.
Fundamentalism and libertarianism are locked in an unavoidable conflict that none of us - Al Qaeda, the Christian right, Islam or capitalism can avoi Fundamentalism and libertarianism are locked in an unavoidable conflict that none of us - Al Qaeda, the Christian right, Islam or capitalism can avoid. This is the grim conclusion of Stuart Sim in his important contemporary non-fiction book, Fundamentalist World: The New Dark Age of Dogma.
He sees fundamentalist groups as each having somewhat different emphasis and goals. However, both religious and economic fundamentalists also have much in common such as their propensity for rigid dogma and single-mindedness. He includes eco-fundamentalism in that group as well citing the eco-terrorist destruction of a Vale Colorado Ski resort as one example of how strident, and dangerous even that group is prepared to be.
The intent of the Christian right in the USA and the Islamic fundamentalist movement in the third world and elsewhere, are even more ominous given the single-mindedness of “correctness” and “truth” each presume to possess. Are we going to have a military and economic collision with Islam? Particularly radical Islam with the bomb – think about it people.
This is an important book, arguments are well made and detailed yet straightforward. The overall style is quite readable. This is probably the best Political Science book I have read for some time. Given what this planet is currently facing, or shall shortly do so, I recommend you check this one out. Malcolm Watts BA MSW 2006 Malcolm Watts is a novelist, writer, photographer and reviewer. Visit his website www.authorsden.com/malcolmwatts...more
I love reading about advances in theoretical physics but it has to be a book by someone who can interpret this difficult and sometimes arcane subject I love reading about advances in theoretical physics but it has to be a book by someone who can interpret this difficult and sometimes arcane subject for the layman. Joao Magueijo is such an author and he combines his training and research with great skill writing in a layman friendly way, and even combines a fair bit of insider stuff and humour about the world of theoretical physics.
In particular, he gives a nice overview of the problems and discoveries in theoretical physics from Newton until the present. Much of it focuses upon discoveries in the 20th century made by Einstein and his peers. The focus of the book is the authors long-standing idea that many of the current roadblocks and current problems physicists struggle with today might be explained if we realize that in fact the speed of light has not always been constant, and may not be constant even now under certain very special circumstances. The implications of this idea towards the goal of unification of the various forces into one grand design are profound.
It also suggests that in fact, we may be able to travel faster than light under special circumstances such as pathways adjacent to cosmic strings where the laws of physics are different. Inter-galactic travel may eventually be possible after all within human lifetime if he is correct.
We learn a great deal about the author and his love of Science from an early age.He is an original thinker who struggled for many years with sharing this insight about the speed of light as if flies in the face of several essential givens in physics. I read this book in two days and was sorry to finish. It has enough Science to engage and explain but not so much to drown us. The author uses metaphors and stories to illustrate Scientific points and this helps us make sense of the formulae.
I recommend this book highly if you love Science, Theoretical physics, Cosmology, as well as the inevitable politics and scuttlebutt in the world of Science.
For those not familiar with the works of Hermann Hesse, you might do no better than starting off with this book – easily read in a day this book sets For those not familiar with the works of Hermann Hesse, you might do no better than starting off with this book – easily read in a day this book sets out themes to be pursued further in other works by the author.
Essentially, Beneath the Wheel is the story of a brilliant child, Hans Giebenrath, who finds himself ground and crushed by the expectations of the adults and an educational system that thinks that if an ounce of Homer is good, then a pound will be all the better – even during ones summer vacation in lieu of swimming and fishing. The book details Han’s short path of life, like the arc of an arrow shot into the sky, from the heights of academia, his friendship with a student in the private residential monastery school who refuses to be bent by the system and is ultimately expelled, and the fall of the arrow to the ground with Han’s own academic and personal immobilization and collapse.
This theme is repeated by Hesse, with modifications and complications, in his other works including The Prodigy and Demian. The struggle of the individual with the dark side personified by close friendships with very peers either of the light or darker side, is further pursued in his works such as Narcissus and Goldmund and Steppenwolf.
Hermann Hesse was certainly one of the preeminent writers of the 20th century and the fact his works were centered out for burning by the Nazi’s in the streets ofBerlin is reason enough to have a look. Themes of anti-establishment, personal freedom, and the struggle all men face in their path through life to be themselves in the face of societal, family and other pressures, including intra-psychic ones, to conform rather than being true to oneself provide ample grist for many of his books.
Great explanation and defence of Darwin's theory of evolution through natural selection. I challenge fundamentalist Christians who believe the creatioGreat explanation and defence of Darwin's theory of evolution through natural selection. I challenge fundamentalist Christians who believe the creation story in the bible to read this....more
Book Review: C.G.Jung: The Haunted Prophet Paul J Stern ISBN 0-8076-8011-4 George Braziller New York 1976
An easy read about Carl Jung is welcome andBook Review: C.G.Jung: The Haunted Prophet Paul J Stern ISBN 0-8076-8011-4 George Braziller New York 1976
An easy read about Carl Jung is welcome and Stern’s book is certainly this. He writes well and provides an excellent overview of Jung’s life - professional and personal – as well as insight into Jung’s complex personality. Stern brings Jung down from the pedestal and shows us his warts and shortcomings along with his brilliance. Stern carries a healthy skepticism regarding Jung’s world-view that seems related more to magic and alchemy of past centuries as opposed to the world of science and modern psychology. He pokes sticks into the eyes of some of Jung’s ideas such as the collective unconscious and finds them wanting. Still, he communicates a certain admiration for the man and his attempt to delineate an entirely new view of man and mind. Perhaps the most valuable achievement of this book is to remind us again that all great men, are, after all, just people in many ways like the rest of us with their inconsistencies in thought and behaviour, and with the potential not just for genius but also for rudeness and unkindness. We see Jung, in part, as a narcissist who tends to use those around him until he can squeeze no more from them. At the end of the book we realize that Jung was essentially an isolated man who lacked much ability to sustain relationships. Marrying a wealthy woman allowed Jung to pretty much do as he pleased in life and he did so with little regard to family or other obligations. With regard to dogmatism, he accused Freud and others of such faults but really was little better himself. Perhaps anyone developing a model of mind is destined to be dogmatic otherwise one would be unlikely to persist in the search for the grail of truth. His strength in the end is not that of an airtight theory of psyche or psychotherapy but rather that we are, all of us, a complex blend of many facets. In terms of godliness, this quality resides within us and must be cultured but is not really related to outmoded concepts of Yahweh – the all powerful being of the old testament who Creates mankind, then threatens him individually and collectively with annihilation. Haunted Prophet is a good read for those interested in a good overview to the personality and life of Carl Jung if not his ideas. Malcolm Watts MSW
Great summary of PSI phenomenon and the limitations of traditional experimental method in understanding such phenomena. Written in a readable style yeGreat summary of PSI phenomenon and the limitations of traditional experimental method in understanding such phenomena. Written in a readable style yet has extensive references to the research and appendix of journals of parapshychology and extensive citations of articles on the subject.