Showing posts with label Philosophy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Philosophy. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 17, 2015




This inspiring book by Rudolf Steiner offers a wealth of knowledge on the path of esoteric initiation. Included is much information on the higher body, higher planes of existence, and the spiritual encounter with the 'Guardians of the Threshold, as well as basic information on the mystical belief system. This book would be an excellent addition to the bookshelf of anyone with an interest in the subject. Contents Include : How is Knowledge of the Higher World Attained?; The Stages of Initiation; Some Practical Aspects; The Conditions of Esoteric Training; Some Results of Initiation; The Transformation of Dream Life; The Continuity of Consciousness; The Partition of Human Personality During Spiritual Training; The Guardian of the Threshold; The Great or Second Guardian of the Threshold.



Manly P. Hall

It is a masterful compendium of esoteric teachings of all time. It is a summation of hidden wisdom from the arcane and mystical teachings of Druidic, Mithraic, Christian, Gnostic, Odinic, Gothic, Eleusinian, Orphic, Bacchic, Dionysian, Platonic, Atlantean, Cabric, Hermetic, Zodiacal, Astrological, Chaldean, Delphic, Orphic, Dodonean, Pythagorean, Numerological, Hiramic, Paracelsian, Mosaic, Qabbalistic, Sephirothic, Rosicrucian, Alchemical, Masonic, Islamic, Native American, Mayan and Neo-Platonic traditions. I learned much from reading this massive work (over 2.5 pounds). But there were four main ideas that I drew from it. First, no philosophy, mythos or religion can stand alone. None came into existence on its own. The later ones evolved from the earlier ones. They all borrowed from or were influenced by the others. Second, none can lay a valid claim to either exclusivity or primacy. Any attempt to do so can only lead to contradiction and confusion. Wisdom is a fabric and all the threads are inseparably woven together. Third, I found there to be a validation of Hamlet's oft quoted observation from Act I, Scene V, "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." It is folly to lay claim to a completeness of understanding. There is always much more beyond the cloud of unknowing. Finally, I came away with a greater understanding of the adage, "Those who say, don't know; and those who know, don't say." Understanding has as much to do with the heart as with the head. Much of wisdom has traditionally been hidden, awaiting to be passed on to those who have grown in spiritual preparedness. It seems to be more experiential than cerebral. In the words of Reikichi Kita and Kiichi Nagaya, "To one who has had the experience, there is no need to explain it. To one who has not, there is no way to explain it. What to do but exclaim."

The Power of Now: A Guide to SPIRITUAL ENLIGHTENMENT By Eckhart Tolle

The Power of Now: A Guide to SPIRITUAL ENLIGHTENMENT By Eckhart Tolle

The Power of Now:
 Eckhart Tolle

Much more than simple principles and platitudes, The Power of Now takes readers on an inspiring spiritual journey to find their true and deepest self and reach the ultimate in personal growth and spirituality: the discovery of truth and light. In the first chapter, Tolle introduces readers to enlightenment and its natural enemy, the mind. He awakens readers to their role as a creator of pain and shows them how to have a pain-free identity by living fully in the present. The journey is thrilling, and along the way, the author shows how to connect to the indestructible essence of our Being, "the eternal, ever-present One Life beyond the myriad forms of life that are subject to birth and death." Only after regaining awareness of Being, liberated from Mind and intensely in the Now, is there Enlightenment.

This is not just another candy-ass elementary level celestine prophetic conversation supposedly with God clone. It is fresh, revealing, current, new inspiration. Power of Now is written from a depth of a person who has considered suicide, gone through his dark night of the soul and has come out the other side into his very personal and ecstatic enlightenment. If you are considering getting back in touch with your soul this book is a great companion.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Philosophy of Tai Chi Chuan

Philosophy of Tai Chi Chuan

The Tai Chi Chuan Ching (Cannon) 
Tai Chi (the Supreme Ultimate), 
It was born from Wu Chi (No Ultimate).
 It produces both movement and stillness,
 It is the mother of Yin and Yang

Tai Chi Chuan is a Chinese form of exercise derived from Taoism, one of China's oldest belief systems. The practice of Tai Chi Chuan is beneficial to health and it is also a subtle, sophisticated and scientific method of self-defence. Since this system of exercise is suitable for people of all ages and requires little or no special equipment, it has gained an enthusiastic reception all over the world.
Tai Chi Chuan evolved to help people improve their physical health, equip them to defend themselves against wild beasts and bandits, and also improve their powers of meditation. In other words, Tai Chi Chuan enables people to survive through fitness and self-defence.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Conquest of Illusion - J.J. van der Leeu

The Conquest of Illusion - J.J. van der Leeu

The Conquest of Illusion
 J.J. van der Leeu

In 1710, George Berkeley, Bishop of Cloyne, argued that there is no such thing as matter. What we take as matter, what we take to be "the world" are but our perceptions of some unknown reality. This line of thought became known as "idea-lism" and has been a thread in the history of Western philosophy since then. But this line of thought is very ancient. Plato expressed it in his well-known allegory of the cave, in which the world we perceive is but a shadow of something else, something of which we are generally completely unaware. Such a line of thought is extremely well developed in Eastern thought in such philosophies as Sankhya, Vedanta, and in the practical works of Raja yoga.

This general line of thought has fallen out of favor over the past several centuries in the West, due in large part to the rise of science, and the underlying philosophy of materialism, that has since morphed into the philosophy of physicalism, the dominant, if generally implicit paradigm of the modern world.

In spite of being eclipsed by the dazzling successes of the physical sciences in the West, it is a completely undeniable fact that our conscious awareness forever serves as an intermediary to what ever it is that is being represented as "the world" in our awareness. However, particularly in modern times, this general fact of our experience is neglected in our considerations of the world.

In Conquest of Illusion, van der Leeuw begins from this premise. But he does not construct philosophical arguments. No. This book is about his first-hand experiences from his advanced practice of yoga, exploring both the nature of consciousness and the nature of this thing we call "the world" that appears in our consciousness. van der Leeuw describes the >>result<< of successfully achieving the main goal of yoga, which is direct awareness of the eternal that underlies this "thing" we call existence.

The book is profound in every conceivable respect. In spite of the exponential growth of our current understanding of the material world, including the brain and the cosmos, this book is still apropos. It describes the eternal veritas underlying time, space, the mind, and our relative existence.

Perhaps the single most important quote of this book is:

"The mystery of life in not a problem to be solved, it is a reality to be experienced."

It is clear to one informed in such matters that van der Leeuw is describing in a lucid and (relatively) easy to understand fashion what has been described for centuries in Eastern, and specifically Indian philosophy, and in particular in the Kashmiri Shavism school of Indian thought.

The relevance of this book will only continue to grow over time as thinkers again begin to recognize in ever greater measure the implications that the "world" that exists, and this "world" as it appears in our conscious awareness are by no means identical.

Mind Beyond Death - Dzogchen Ponlop

Mind Beyond Death Dzogchen Ponlop

Mind Beyond Death
 Dzogchen Ponlop

Mind Beyond Death is an indispensable guidebook through the journey of life and death. Using humorous analogies and his profound understanding of the Western mind, Rinpoche makes the mysterious Tibetan teachings on the bardos--the intervals of life, death, and beyond-- completely available to the modern reader. Drawing on a breathtaking range of material, Mind Beyond Death shows us how the bardos can be used to conquer death. But the bardos also apply to taking control of life, and learning how to live with fearless abandon. Walking skillfully through the bardos of dream, meditation, and daily life, we then travel deep into the mysterious death intervals and become familiar with their dazzling mindscape. This tour de force gives us the knowledge to transform the greatest obstacle of death into the most powerful opportunity for enlightenment. With nuts-and-bolts meditations and brilliant illumination, Mind Beyond Death offers a clear map that will safely transport the reader through the challenging transitions of life and death

The Art of Dreaming by Carlos Castaneda

The Art of Dreaming by Carlos Castaneda

The Art of Dreaming
 Carlos Castaneda

Carlos Castaneda tells how, under don Juan's tutelage, he gained control over his dreams and used dreaming as a launching pad to a pervasive but unseen realm of ancestral spiritual forces, good and evil. He goes through tunnels, enters into the consciousness of trees, meets scouts, emissaries and form-changing blobs of energy. Aided by don Juan's companions and fellow apprentices, Castaneda penetrates a realm of "inorganic beings" who set traps for him and attack him, as if to illustrate don Juan's teaching that consciousness is compelled to grow through life-or-death confrontations. For believers, Castaneda's quest offers a tantalizing glimpse of alternate worlds beyond the rational parameters of our mundane reality. 

The Book of Splendours: The Inner Mysteries of Qabalism: Its Relationship to Freemasonry, Numerology and Tarot - Eliphas Levi

The Book of Splendours: The Inner Mysteries of Qabalism:  Its Relationship to Freemasonry, Numerology and Tarot

The Book of Splendours: The Inner Mysteries of Qabalism:
 Its Relationship to Freemasonry, Numerology and Tarot
Eliphas Levi

This is the first part of Eliphas Levis's last great discourse on the mysteries of occultism that was continued and concluded in `The Great Secret'. In it, Levi examines with great precision and insight the inner meanings of Qabalism and their relationship to the occult sciences.

Part One is a commentary on the Siphra Dzeniuta by Simeon Ben-Jechal, which includes an examination of the affinities between Qabalism and Freemasonry. Part Two pursues the correspondences between Qabalism, Numerology and the Tarot.

This edition includes an appendix by Papus (Dr. Gerard Encausse) summarizing Levi's doctrines and teachings and supplying some fascinating information on some of the master's many disciples"

This is not an easy book to review, perhaps because there are so many topics discussed. However, if your looking for practical exercises or a how to, you wont find it here. The book has a lovely section comparing the story of Krishna to Jesus. Also, the Masonic legends of Solomon, Hiram and the building of the temple are also truly wonderful. I'd recommend the book on these points alone.

The first part of the book deals with Judaism struggling to come to grips with a God of wrath. The conclusion is that the God of love slept while God's shadow did not. This does not work for me. From reading this book you discover that Levi's belief is that masonry is a truer Catholic Church. I wonder what he would think of masonry in its present form?

Personally, I don't recall reading much on the Tarot as stated in the review on the back cover of this book. This book is 191 pages long. The appendix by Papus starts at page 143. However, I did find this next quote in the appendix, which is a true diamond, "As long as love is only desire and pleasure, it is mortal. To become eternal it must become a sacrifice,"

Pages 127-142 contain `The elements of the Qabalah in ten lessons'. These are letters of Eliphas Levi to one of his students. I don't really remember much of what I read in these letters. I could say that the Qabalah is really deep and that I need to further digest these pages. I'd rather say that I got a lot more out of reading Mystical Qabalah -- by Dion Fortune.

On the whole I did not mind reading this book, as it gave me further insight into Eliphas Levi's work, while also discovering some nice gems.

The Paradoxes Of The Highest Science - Eliphas Levi

The Paradoxes Of The Highest Science by Eliphas Levi

By the time of his death in 1875, Eliphas Levi was recognized in both Europe and America as the greatest occultist of the 19th century. In life, his work was the inspiration for Albert Pike's Morals and Dogma, the most influential American Masonic book of its day, and in death, it proved to be a seminal influence on figures as diverse as Madame Blavatsky, A.E. Waite, and Aleister Crowley but during his lifetime none of his writings appeared in English. The Paradoxes of the Highest Science first appeared in 1883 in Calcutta as a pamphlet in the Theosophical Miscellanies series. In it, Levi makes an appeal for a balance between science and religion by addressing seven paradoxical statements including Religion is magic sanctioned by authority, liberty is obedience to the Law, and reason is God. Included in this edition are the extensive and illuminating footnotes that were added to Levi's text. Some of these are by the anonymous translator, and some by the 'Eminent Occultist' who seems to have been Madame Blavatsky herself. Levi could have asked for no better commentator upon his work.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Do_OBE How to lucid dream, astral project and have out-of-body experiences By Donald J. DeGracia

Do_OBE How to lucid dream

Do_OBE How to lucid dream, astral project and have out-of-body experiences
 Donald J. DeGracia

DO_OBE teaches how to LEAVE YOUR BODY! Using straight forward, common sense language, DO_OBE is a guide to the inner realms of which our visible world is just the surface. Intelligent, fun and unpresumptuous, this book has been time tested and proven to be effective at teaching beginners the essential techniques to achieve the eluisive "out of body experience".


Can you really leave your body? What can one expect to find in the inner realms of the mind? How do I do it??? It's all here!!!. This book is for all curious seekers who sense that there is more to reality than meets the eye, or the senses, or the world of our everyday life.

Beyond Good & Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future By Friedrich Nietzsche

Friedrich Nietzsche

Beyond Good & Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future

Friedrich Nietzsche

Nietzsche's mature masterpiece, Beyond Good and Evil considers the origins and nature of Judeo-Christian morality; the end of philosophical dogmatism and beginning of perspectivism; the questionable virtues of science and scholarship; liberal democracy, nationalism, and women's emancipation.

The Second Law of Life: Energy, Technology, and the Future of Earth As We Know It By John E.J. Schmitz

The Second Law of Life: 

Energy, Technology, and the Future of Earth As We Know It

John E.J. Schmitz

In this compelling, and important book, John Schmitz brings order to the world of chaos that surrounds us. The Second Law of Life refers to the second law of thermodynamics, entropy, which is an omnipresent force that quietly and crucially determines every aspect of our society, culture and daily lives. Unless we come to understand entropy, future generations will face consequences of the unstoppable laws of physics.

Entropy explains the amount of energy no longer capable of doing work; in other words, wasted energy or heat loss. Each moment of every day, we lose irreplaceable energy and ômodernö technology is not helping. In fact, it is accelerating the problem at a catastrophic rate. û And we will ultimately face a heat death crisis and utter destruction of the Earth. 

Even actions we take to improve the environment may actually do more damage than good. For example, recycling is considered environmentally, socially and politically correct. Under the influence of entropy, however, it is a prolific waster of energy; we must look at entire systems, not just parts.

It is critical that we find ways to reduce energy loss. Seeing the problems with greater clarity will lead to solutions. This fascinating and accessible journey through the second law of thermodynamics is a step in the right direction.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Cause, Principle and Unity: And Essays on Magic - Giordano Bruno

Cause, Principle and Unity:
And Essays on Magic 
Giordano Bruno

Giordano Bruno's notorious public death in 1600, at the hands of the Inquisition in Rome, marked the transition from Renaissance philosophy to the Scientific Revolution of the seventeenth century. In his philosophical works he addressed such delicate issues as the role of Christ as mediator and the distinction, in human beings, between soul and matter. This volume presents new translations of Cause, Principle and Unity, in which he challenges Aristotelian accounts of causality and spells out the implications of Copernicanism for a new theory of an infinite universe, and of two essays on magic, On Magic and A General Account of Bonding, in which he interprets earlier theories about magical events in the light of the unusual powers of natural phenomena

The Tao of Physics - Fritjof Capra

The Tao of Physics Fritjof Capra

The Tao of Physics
Fritjof Capra

Quote from book - "I also hope to find among my readers many physicists with an interest in the philosophical aspects of physics, who have not come in contact with the religious philosophies of the East. They will find that Eastern Mysticism provides a consistent and beautiful philosophical framework which can accommodate our most advanced theories of the physical world"

Originally published in 1975 this book was the first of its kind, and its findings still apply some thirty years later.

Fritjof explores eastern mysticism in the from of Hinduism, Buddhism, Chinese thought, Taoism and Zen, with devoting many pages to introduce them and provides the reader with a good insight into these religions.

Fritjof does not inject much humour into his work, but does have quite an interesting take on discoveries in that discoveries, most often come to people in an almost daydreaming state, as did this book come into being. His writing is clear and at times concise, at others, elaboration on the subject is very well included and there is little in this book to get bored with.

What Fritjof does is take excerpts from the different schools of thought and shows how this correlates with scientific findings of the 20th century; he does this with ease and grace. The main thing to be taken away from this book is the idea that some of those things were written 1000's of years ago, and science has been playing `catch up' with the mystics. Definitely worth reading if you like science or not, but more so if you like science. 




By Austin Osman Spare

Quite simply the most important contribution to the western esoteric tradition during the 20th century. There are those who will claim Crowley was the best - but among many circles he is regarded as a showman, not a shaman.
The work of Austin Spare has never been allowed to shine because it nestled in Crowley's shadow, but his work is outstanding - he is the 'Real Deal'


Friday, December 10, 2010




Probably written by a student of Aristotle, The Athenian Constitution is both a history and an analysis of Athens' political machinery between the seventh and fourth centuries BC, which stands as a model of democracy at a time when city-states lived under differing kinds of government. The writer recounts the major reforms of Solon, the rule of the tyrant Pisistratus and his sons, the emergence of the democracy in which power was shared by all free male citizens, and the leadership of Pericles and the demagogues who followed him. He goes on to examine the city's administration in his own time - the council, the officials and the judicial system. For its information on Athens' development and how the democracy worked, The Athenian Constitution is an invaluable source of knowledge about the Athenian city-state. 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Problems of Philosophy by Bertrand Russell

The Problems of Philosophy  by Bertrand Russell

The Problems of Philosophy 
Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell was one of the greatest logicians since Aristotle, and one of the most important philosophers of the past two hundred years. As we approach the 125th anniversary of the Nobel laureate's birth, his works continue to spark debate, resounding with unmatched timeliness and power.
The Problems of Philosophy, one of the most popular works in Russell's prolific collection of writings, has become core reading in philosophy. Clear and accessible, this little book is an intelligible and stimulating guide to those problems of philosophy which often mistakenly lead to its status as too lofty and abstruse for the lay mind. Focusing on problems he believes will provoke positive and constructive discussion, Russell concentrates on knowledge rather than metaphysics, steering the reader through his famous 1910 distinction between "knowledge by acquaintance and knowledge by description," and introducing important theories of Descartes, Kant, Hegel, Hume, Locke, Plato, and others to lay the foundation for philosophical inquiry by general readers and scholars alike.


The Bomb and Civilization by Bertrand Russell

The Bomb and Civilization  by Bertrand Russell

The Bomb and Civilization 
Bertrand Russell 

 Russell's first response to the news of the devastation caused by the first atomic bomb. Though written hurriedly, and in a frantic moment of history, it announces themes that will dominate Russell's political programme for years to come. The article announces the urgency of the search for a structure of world peace, and it reiterates his faith in scientific progress and his hope that the United States will assume leadership in creating the global structures that are necessary for the survival of the human race. Russell's mood is one which combines the composure of the sage and the panic of the prophetic Cassandra. As a man of science he wishes to reassure the public concerning the scientific achievement. He advises his readers that "The atomic bomb embodies the results of a combination of genius and patience as remarkable as any in the history of mankind," that the men whose work made this bomb possible were for the most part "both high-minded and public spirited" and finally that we should not look upon the bomb as a punishment "for impiety in inquiring too closely into the hidden secrets of nature". On the contrary he reaffirms his faith that "Science is capable of conferring enormous boons"




Formally this book doesn't contain groundbreaking insights, or better: it doesn't say anything that isn't already under your eyes. Its biggest accomplishment, however, is in the very act of showing how sometimes we don't see what's under our eyes for a sort of mental laziness.

Russell forces us to move away from this laziness and reconsider what we take for granted about ourselves, and does so with his enjoyable style. He seems to possess the rare skill of finding the minimum amount of words and concepts needed to explain (and solve) the problem clearly and accurately. He will never forget to define precisely all the terms needed in the discussion, or to question the limits of the premises in order to understand the scope of the conclusion.

In each chapter he considers a facet of what we call mind and explores it both from the point of introspection and of external analysis of observable behavior. Introspection gives use informations impossible to obtain with other methods, and it is what gives meaning to the problem of mind in the first place, but it has the intrinsic problem of an instrument trying to measure itself. So Russell keeps on correcting this "view from the inside" and the delusions it can create with the stick of behaviourism and objective observation.

On a less technical side, I highly appreciate the intellectual honesty of someone who can freely use the words "contrary to what I once stated".

The only minus I can think of is that after one has understood the method of analysis employed he can probably predict how it will be used by the author to investigate the remaining items of his enquiry. While I was reading the second half of the book I often found myself anticipating his reasoning, and thinking that those last chapters could have been thinner. However the author's highly readable prose makes this a very small problem, and I suggest this book to everyone interested in the subject (anyone should be!)


Friday, September 10, 2010

The Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci

The Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci

Leonardo Da Vinci, arguably the central figure of the Renaissance, has long been considered by many a man of mystery. This is in spite of the fact that we have an unparalleled set of documents which illuminate his thought processes, interests, and deepest beliefs. We have access to hundreds of pages of his notes, jottings, sketches, doodles, and musings, including lists of books he read and even scraps of financial records. All of the known Da Vinci papers as of the mid-19th century are included here in this magnificent collection. What emerges is the picture of a rationalist. For instance, Da Vinci was one of the first to question the Biblical account of the Flood. He saw the fossils of sea creatures on the tops of mountains and concluded that these could not have been deposited in a forty day flood. He looked at river valleys and did the math; they could only have been eroded over huge horizons of time. Da Vinci put as much thought into his art as he did his science. Practically half of the writings here relate to detailed studies of the natural world which informed his work as an artist.


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