busy busy

(Thought I had blogged this already, but maybe it got lost in the shuffle when the server changed?)

Have been on the road working 6 days a week for most of this month. It has been a serious blur, with not much time for most other stuff. Though it has been a fascinating learning process in lots of ways, and I have been thinking a lot in the background.

As far as I know my contract ends at the end of this week. No idea what next, but am open to most things, so if anyone hears of anything, do let me know 🙂

Today I got my first ever passport.

wade davis

is the man.

I blogged one of his TED talks a while back, and since then have explored further. Last year he gave the 2009 Massey Lectures in Canada. They are fucking awesome, and if you snoop around you will probably find the audio available somewhere online (Not sure if it is legit, so not linking; his SALT talk on the same themes is here.) (EDIT: actually, the talks seem I am on about seem to be here fairly legally 🙂 )The lectures are collected into the book The Wayfinders.

His fundamental message – that the diversity of world-views adds to the collective wonder of humanity, and that each of these world-views has astonishing depth and richness and makes a unique contribution to that collective – comes at an incredibly relevant moment in time.

We are facing a cultural mass extinction, and a corresponding impoverishment of the human collective. We face a linguistic catastrophe – around half the languages spoken in the world are going to be dead in a generation. With each language we lose a world-view, a way of understanding and being, a unique set of answers to the questions posed by humans – who are we? what are we? why are we? how do we survive? what does our existence mean?

His grasp of diverse cultures and ability to express them is second to none. His talks are a hell of a ride. Appreciating what is at stake through his examples is literally mind-blowing. The diversity of human belief and behaviour is staggering.

I find it flat out inspiring. There is a massive convergence with my own work on consciousness, belief, and world-views, though from a really different point of entry; and I can see potentials that excite the heck out of me. There is something hugely important here.

more trees, less sheep

that’ s what this country needs.

Reading 2010, vol 4:

Uncle Ramsey’s Little Book of DemonsRamsey Dukes
Fairly fascinating argument for anthropomorphising life’s troubles as demons and engaging with them, from one of modern magic’s great philosophers. Hilarious slaying of any number sacred cows. Incidentally contains the most virulent and vicious offhand Thatcher bashing ever. (eg dropping occasional bombs like “British society is on its deathbed thanks to the Thatcherite cancer rotting its organs while maggots like Blair gorge themselves on the gangrenous residue of her destruction. It is probably too late to save our country, or the world, but this book can at least teach you how to put on a condom and hold your nose before you fuck the corpse.” in what is an another wise witty and genteel ride. 🙂 )

Don’t Sleep, there are snakes! – Daniel Everett
Missionary/linguist went to the Amazon, discovered the tribe he was with were a) unconvertable due to their language/consciousness and b) their language has features which defy Chomskyian grammatical theory.

Hands on Chaos Magic – Andrieh Vitimus.
Best practical book on magic I’ve ever encountered. By miles. To the point that I’d recommend reading some more theory oriented stuff first, just to have more grounding.

The Eight Circuit Brain: Navigational Strategies for the Energetic Body – Antero Alli

20 years on, Alli updates his take on Timothy Leary/Robert Anton Wilson’s 8CB model. The bulk of the book is a practical course dedicated to gaining experiential understanding of the circuits. His key notion of development of the lower circuits being necessary to anchor energetic shocks/experiences on the higher circuits rings true, and accords with my experience. Good shit.

Daemonomania – John Crowley

I am in utter awe at what he is doing. Dude is an absolute master. With this he is now elevated to my pantheon of favourite authors ever, and the Aegypt Quartet (of which this is book 3 (books one and two reviewed back here)) seems like a defining literary event of the age. Of course, it feels like he wrote this just for me…

The Aegypt Quartet is a novel of staggering ambition, split over four novels, that has taken about 24 years to complete (despite the action so far taking up less than a calendar year.) The characterisation and quality of the prose is simply astounding.

This book has given me chills, blown me away intellectually, and scared the crap out of me. For starters. I don’t really have the words to express how impressed I am with what he has achieved; I suspect that will wait until after the final book is read, and I have let it all settle in. But ultimately, what it deals with is the fundamental nature of the mystery of existence, how we create meaning, and the stories we tell ourselves. And it does these things better than anything else I have encountered; uncannily well.

I have the final volume lying around, but am a little afraid to start it.

The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch – Philip K Dick

Felt an urge to read a PKD novel. It happens every now and again. Fun but sort of a let down. Easily one of the weakest of his I’ve read, along with Radio Free Albemuth. The ideas are pretty wild/interesting, and he is using them to explore his usual post-Valis themes, but it somehow didn’t work so well as a narrative – a bit half assed and disinterested.

wheee

Work seems like it will be sending me all over the place for the next month or so, so maybe not around so much either online or in meatspace for the next little while. We’ll see.