By day, Anthony Weston is a Professor of Philosophy at Elon University in North Carolina , where he teache...moreBook By Anthony Weston
Review by Tedi Elliott
By day, Anthony Weston is a Professor of Philosophy at Elon University in North Carolina , where he teaches Ethics, Environmental Studies, and “Millennial Imagination.”
Ethics and Environmental Studies could be your run-of-the-mill college courses, but… what about this one on Millennial Imagination? That’s the first hint that we might have a rather radical thinker on our hands. Once you start to peruse this book, that sneaking suspicion is confirmed: Professor Weston’s ideas and his classes, are not likely to induce much snoring.
His book is basically a guide to jump-starting one’s creative imagination in order to make some needed improvements in the world around us. Oh, you’re not creative? Not a creative bone in your body? This is your book and the Professor will have none of that negative thinking, so don’t even go there. Filled with examples of how it’s done, this book really does provide usable tools to help you begin to think in different ways, to create some brand new neural-nets in the old gray matter. You find that once you get the hang of it, it’s like a game to try and push beyond old ways of thinking. Then once you think you’ve got it, Weston shows you you’re just beginning…why stop there? Keep going!
Here’s a quote from the beginning of the book that piqued my interest:
“Radical imagination begins with a move beyond complaint and resistance, beyond reactive tinkering or hunkering down or cynical accommodation. The first big move is to an alternative picture of how things could be instead.”
Doesn’t that precisely sum up our usual approaches to what we perceive as problems, obstacles, or challenges…the things we’d like to change? In my experience, there is great whining and throwing up hands, or digging in of heels, and surprise!...nothing changes at all. Weston gives simple, practical examples of how to think differently than you ever have before, in ways that can really change the world. Not only can we improve the world around us, but thinking in new ways improves the brain within our skull as well.
Here are just a few examples of how Weston thinks, and how you can too:
“Stretches - When you want big ideas and big new steps, deliberately take them…”
Why settle for inching up the fuel efficiency of cars – why not make them five or even ten times as efficient as they are now? Don’t ask how to reduce the workweek by just an hour or two - go an order of magnitude farther. Why not cut it by half? Stretch those ideas, exaggerate them. Instead of just making a few more bike paths and narrowing a few roads, what if we took out the roads entirely? What if we turned the roads into bike paths and walkways? Why don’t we make New Orleans into a floating city to protect it from flooding? And don’t stop there, and don’t even think of saying “that’s impossible” or “that can’t be done.”
This little book is about 140 pages long, comes in paperback, is small in size but chock-full of Big and New. Get yourself a copy, read it in one night, then put it in your pocket and start changing the world. It’s already happening. You might as well join in, and besides, it beats whining!(less)
Once I heard a group of people talking about a tragic, fatal accident, in which a small child had been ki...moreBook By Robert Schwartz
Review by Tedi Elliott
Once I heard a group of people talking about a tragic, fatal accident, in which a small child had been killed when a garage door closed on him. They were trying to come to terms with why such inexplicable things happen in life and spoke of how horrible it was and how heartbreaking this must be for all those close to the child. Someone wondered why God would allow such an awful thing to happen. I wondered why too, and started in on a thought process that went a little something like this:
First, I pictured an uncaring, disinterested God, (long, white beard… sitting on a cloud) randomly picking out accidents and tragedies and illnesses for whoever happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Even worse, what if God actually punishes people this way? What if there is no God? Are these simply the natural consequences of living life on Earth? Is it just that accidents happen? Do we all have to be constantly on guard at all times to avoid these disasters? How could I possibly cope if something so horrible happened to me?
In his excellent first book, Courageous Souls, Robert Schwartz plants the seed of a very compelling idea on how and why our great life challenges come about: that we, ourselves, make intricate plans before we are born into the physical plane, about the kinds of experiences we want to have in order to assist our growth on the soul level. In making our plans, we have lots of help from our spirit guides and various discarnate beings. These beings love us a great deal and act in our best interest in all things. In fact, love is the basis for this entire idea.
What we come here to learn (or remember) is that we are love, that we are never disconnected from each other, and that we are eternal. We agree in advance to have these challenging life experiences and nothing is forced on us or decided for us by anyone else. Although specific plans are made, free will always remains available to us during our lives so that when choices present themselves, we may opt to continue with our plans or not.... to read the rest of this review, check out http://www.bleepingherald.com/aug2008...(less)
Whether you’re an expert on everything ‘Mayan calendar’ or you’ve never heard of it, this book has something guaranteed to blow your mind.
It is a comp...moreWhether you’re an expert on everything ‘Mayan calendar’ or you’ve never heard of it, this book has something guaranteed to blow your mind.
It is a compendium of writings and essays by a tremendous variety of renowned mystics, poets, scientists and thinkers who walk you step by step through the facts and theories surrounding our impending date with destiny…December 21, 2012. Not only are you thoroughly brought up to speed on how the Mayan’s came up with that crazy calendar, you are given specific practical instructions on how to prepare for and participate in what is coming.
And what, exactly, is coming? Will 2012 mean the utter annihilation of the planet, or will it usher in a new and wonderful golden age? Are we doomed, done for, SOL…or are we being given the opportunity to save ourselves and make everything better? I don’t want to ruin it for you, but I have to say: when the current state of affairs in this world gets me down, I flip through the pages of this book, and I am filled with hope. But time is short.
I now own three books written by Byron Katie. I leave them lying around the house out in plain view, because her picture on the front is always a hand...moreI now own three books written by Byron Katie. I leave them lying around the house out in plain view, because her picture on the front is always a handy reminder to question my stressful thoughts. Is that true? Can you absolutely know that it’s true? How do you react when you believe that thought? Who would you be without that thought? Turn it around. Ah, that’s better. In each of her pictures on these book covers, there is something about Katie that tells you she is authentic and she is authentically happy…and she’s just like you. Read the full review here: http://www.bleepingherald.com/may2008...(less)
Every once in a while a book comes along that seduces you away from reading about brain chemistry and chaos theory. Plus it’s spring, and the whole wo...moreEvery once in a while a book comes along that seduces you away from reading about brain chemistry and chaos theory. Plus it’s spring, and the whole world is in love with itself. Just the time to pick up a delightful bit of fiction that will enchant the spirit and warm your heart.
The Gypsy Chronicles is first and foremost a love story about love. It follows the reminiscences of Gitana, a gypsy woman and natural born matchmaker who falls in love with Tzigany de Torres, the local maker of Matrimonial Beds. Even if Tzigany did not place a potent charm for a lifetime of passionate love making (not sex mind you, but love making) on each one of his beds, his and Gitana’s marriage would have been an excellent match. But Tsigany would hardly miss the opportunity to charm his own bed. And so his life and love for Gitana is enchanted from the moment they meet.
In 1985 Jeremy Narby was an eager, 25 year-old anthropology student doing fieldwork for his doctorate in anthropology from Stanford University. For tw...moreIn 1985 Jeremy Narby was an eager, 25 year-old anthropology student doing fieldwork for his doctorate in anthropology from Stanford University. For two years he lived amongst the Ashaninca natives in the community of Quirishari in the Peruvian Amazon’s Pichis Valley. "My training had lead me to expect that people would tell tall stories," relates Narby. "I thought my job as an anthropologist was to discover what they really thought, like some kind of private detective."
The only "tall story" Narby heard however, was a consistent one. In conversations about plants, animals, the forests, herbal remedies, and all things related to Nature, Narby was told over and over again that the source of all the native’s deep knowledge was gained by the work of ayahuasqueros, the shamans who would drink a hallucinatory preparation of the ayahuasca vine. "Each time, I would ask myself what they really meant when they said this," he says.
The subtitle to this book "A Doctor's Revolutionary Research into the Biology of Near-Death and Mystical Experiences" fails to capture the dynamic sto...moreThe subtitle to this book "A Doctor's Revolutionary Research into the Biology of Near-Death and Mystical Experiences" fails to capture the dynamic story of Rick Strassman's research, and the richly diverse experiences of the 60 volunteers who participated in the DMT study he conducted at the University of New Mexico between 1990 and 1995.
Considering that DMT is one of the most powerful psychedelics known to science, very little - let alone a subtitle - could capture the essence of its impact on human beings and encapsulate the extraordinary journeys of Strassman's volunteers who were injected with varying doses of clinically pure DMT during the New Mexico study. Even though DMT, known in clinical circles as N,N-dimethyltryptamine, is a naturally occurring substance manufactured by the pineal gland of our brains, and even though it is also produced by many plants in this world, very little is known about its properties. Even less is known about DMT's psychological and physiological effects. Absolutely nothing, up until Strassman's research, has been understood about its presence and purpose in our bodies and our lives.
For many years now I've considered "The Great Debate" to be whether or not there is a reality beyond the physical. On the one hand are the hard core m...moreFor many years now I've considered "The Great Debate" to be whether or not there is a reality beyond the physical. On the one hand are the hard core materialist reductionist scientists who are adamant that there is nothing beyond the physical - time, space, matter, energy, end of story, and when you die end of story also. In fact the sense that there is a "you" is just a brain phenomenon. You're a machine.
On the other hand there are the religious adherents. This widely varied group goes from the strict Biblical set: creation by God in seven days and the Universe is around 4,000 years old, to believers who are vaguely uncomfortable with the strict religious story, yet who still toe the line in hopes of good Heavanic placement in the hereafter.
Out of all the numerous underlined and highlighted passages in my dog-eared copy of 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl, the above paragraph was the one...moreOut of all the numerous underlined and highlighted passages in my dog-eared copy of 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl, the above paragraph was the one that raised the hairs on the back of my neck. For it answered a many decades-old question I’ve had about Western society’s apparently blind and indifferent rush towards self-extermination.
When Five Wishes by Gay Hendricks arrived, I started at the foreword by Neale Donald Walsch and the book swept me to page 63 before other work demands...moreWhen Five Wishes by Gay Hendricks arrived, I started at the foreword by Neale Donald Walsch and the book swept me to page 63 before other work demands forced me to put it down with great reluctance. I finished it the next day, followed the action steps he lays out, and suddenly my life was very clear. I knew what was absolutely of primary importance to me and what wasn’t, and had a pretty fair idea how to actualize the things that were important. The rest would take care of itself, falling away as needed.
I need to start off this review with a disclosure: I'm a nerd. It will become apparent later why that was/is necessary. I was traveling in Europe a fe...moreI need to start off this review with a disclosure: I'm a nerd. It will become apparent later why that was/is necessary. I was traveling in Europe a few months ago, had finished my books, and was in a part of Tuscany where English books were as prevalent as Buffalo Wings when a copy of this book arrived in my hands. (From the "leave one — take one" shelf at the hotel.)
Unless meditation is achieved, love remains a misery. Once you have learned how to live alone, once you have learned how to enjoy your simple existenc...moreUnless meditation is achieved, love remains a misery. Once you have learned how to live alone, once you have learned how to enjoy your simple existence, for no reason at all, then there is the possibility of solving the second, more complicated problem of two persons being together. Only two meditators can live in love — and then love will not be a koan. But then it will not be a relationship, either, in the sense that you understand it. It will simply be a state of love, not a state of relationship.
Peace Pilgrim, as she was known in later years, started her mission in 1953 when she stepped out in front of the Rose Bowl parade, dressed as simply a...morePeace Pilgrim, as she was known in later years, started her mission in 1953 when she stepped out in front of the Rose Bowl parade, dressed as simply as she appears on the cover, and began her pilgrimage with the vow she held for 28 years: “I shall remain a wanderer until mankind has learned the way of peace, walking until I am given shelter and fasting until I am given food”.
Think about that. Get up and walk out your front door, your only possessions from now until you depart this world: what you are carrying on your back. No money, no cell phone, no address, no plans, ever.
She ended up walking across the country many times, logging over 40,000 miles. As the pilgrimage progressed she did many interviews, talked to schools and citizens groups, and gave, gave, gave to everyone she could. And as she often remarked that because of that, she received, received, received.