The sequel to the “Spiritual Enlightenment: The Damnedest Thing” turned out to be quite entertaining but less well written. Frankly, at times it felt like one of those sequels written purely for the sake of money, knowing that the folks that bought the first one will likely buy the next one. There are some interesting stories but the book feels on one side very commercial while on the other rather undercooked. If the first book left no doubt that the person can be trusted, the second raises the question of whether we are in for some bullshit. That’s the feeling I get, anyway.
Still, towards the end the book things seem to clear up a lot and it gets interesting. Especially I liked the discussion of the essence of the fight for enlightenment:
Fear vs. Hate. Fear of No-Self vs. Hatred of False-Self.
That about sums it up for me. And the other quite interesting discussion was related to the attitude towards death:
That’s what death is, guaranteed absolution; freedom and forgiveness all in one. If you understand the fact of your own death, that it’s always here with you and that it’s a certainty, then you’re free. That’s liberation; knowing that nothing is yours or can be yours, knowing that you have nothing to lose.Other people push death away, deny it, but we don’t have that luxury. We have to pull death close, embrace it, carry it in our hearts and minds. I don’t mean like a college kid getting stoned and having a one-night stand with existentialism, I mean like something you carry in your pocket and always have one hand on.
This looks just like Castaneda’s definitions and discussions. Might be coming from there, might be just true. Anyhow, this state of taking in the death as your friend seems a pretty powerful weapon if you dare take it up.
Overall, less enjoyable than the first book, probably still worth a read.… --> continue reading →
“Have Space Suit – Will Travel” is another wonderful book from one of my favorite authors, Robert Anson Heinlein. It is classified as science fiction, as, I think, all of his books are. There is science fiction in it all right. However, as it is usual for Heinlein, there is quite a bit of adventure and a serious amount of political and societal wisdom in the book. Adventure is thoroughly enjoyable and a couple of times takes completely unexpected turns. What piqued my attention though was the end of the book.
Nearly at the end, there is a court of sorts that judges whether Earth would present a danger to the survival and well-being of the existing system in the future. It is a “Security Council” of sorts, for the three participating galaxies.
“The facts have been integrated. By their own testimony, these are a savage and brutal people, given to all manner of atrocities. They eat each other, they starve each other, they kill each other. They have no art and only the most primitive of science, yet such is their violent nature that even with so little knowledge they are now energetically using it to exterminate each other, tribe against tribe. Their driving will is such that they may succeed. But if by some unlucky chance they fail, they will inevitably, in time, reach other stars. It is this possibility which must be calculated: how soon they will reach us, if they live, and what their potentialities will be then.”
The book is written in 1958 and the United Nations Security Council had its first meeting in 1946. Apparently, Heinlein saw quite clearly the danger of the organization: such an overarching organization of powerful nations is charged with keeping the world “stable” and may destroy other nations that threaten the status quo. Both organizations are charged with keeping the peace but the one in the book easily destroys whole planets and civilizations for the sake of safety. What does the one we know in our world do? What will it do in the future?
Anyway, even besides this obvious political twist to the story, the book is quite amazing. It has a very romantic story, in fact, without ever mentioning anything about love. It is rather about romantic friendship and I nearly forgot that the friendship can be romantic. It is so good that there are authors like Robert Heinlein to remind me.
“The best things in
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Another great book by Robert Anson Heinlein, “Citizen of the Galaxy”, takes us on a miserable planet where slavery is the order of the day. The boy is sold at a local slave market to a beggar, marking a beginning of a truly exceptional relationship and a remarkable story of raising a free spirit in the world full of misery, slavery and deceit. Once the boy grows up and comes back to his home land, he meets the same deceit and slavery under different names there and cannot help but enter the fight again. A great story in memorial of the free spirit of men from a great author. Highly recommended.… --> continue reading →