Posts Tagged ‘History’

Wolf Totem by Jiang Rong

Posted: October 8, 2013 in Book Notes
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  • Tengger is the father, the grassland is the mother, and the wolves kill only animals that harm the grassland.
  • War demands patience. Opportunities present themselves only to the patient…
  • The nomadic inhabitants safeguarded the “big life” – the survival of the grassland and of nature were more precious than the survival of people. Tillers of the land, on the other hand, safeguarded “little lives” – the most prescious of which were people, their survival the most important. But as Bilgee had said, without the big life, the little lives were doomed.
  • Half of a Mongol is hunter. If we could not hunt, our lives would be like meat with no salt, tasteless.
  • Chinese write their books to advocate Chinese causes. The Mongols suffer because they can’t write books.
  • On the Mongolian grassland, peace does not follow peace, but danger always follows danger.
  • …we’re farming people, not nomads, and we seek to impose our habits and customs on other people.
  • The grassland had always been a battlefield, and those that survived were the strongest and wisest, the ones best suited to eating and fighting, animals who could eat their fill yet never forget what it was like to be hungry.
  • The most important thing for an overpopuplated race is to stay alive. There can’t be any nutrients left over to feed aesthetic cells.
  • Vagabonding defined:
    • The act of leaving behind the orderly world to travel independently for an extended period of time.
    • A privately meaningful manner of travel that emphasizes creativity, adventure, awareness, simplicity, discovery, independence, realism, self-reliance, and the growth of the spirit.
    • A deliberate way of living that makes freedom to travel possible.
    • Latin-derived term that refers to a wanderer with no fixed home.
    • Vagabonding has always been a private choice within a society that is constantly urging us to do otherwise.
  • This book views long-term travel not as an escape but as an adventure and a passion – a way of overcoming your fears and living life to the fullest.

Research your own experiences for the truth… Absorb what is useful… Add what is specifically your own… The creating individual is more than any style or system. – Bruce Lee

  • Out of insane duty to fear, fashion, and monthly payments on things we don’t really need – we quarantine our travels to short, frenzied bursts. In this way, as we throw our wealth at an abstract notion called “lifestyle,” travel becomes just another accessory – a smooth-edged, encapsulated experience that we purchase the same way we buy clothing and furniture.
    • Ultimately, this shotgun wedding of time and money has a way of keeping us in a holding pattern. The more we associate experience with cash value, the more we think money is what we need to live. And the more we associate money with life, the more we convince ourselves that we are too poor to buy our freedom.
    • In reality, long-term travel has nothing to do with demographics – age, ideology, income – and everything to do with personal outlook.
    • Vagabonding is about using the prosperity and possibility of the information age to increase your personal options instead of your personal possessions.
    • Vagabonding is about looking for adventure in normal life, and normal life within adventure.

[We end up spending] the best part of one’s life earning money in order to enjoy a questionable liberty during the least valuable part of it. – Henry David Thoreau

  • … rooting ourselves to a home or a career and using the future as a kind of phony ritual that justifies the present.
  • Vagabonding is the ongoing practice of looking and learning, of facing fears and altering habits, of cultivating new fascination with people and places.
    • Vagabonding is a personal act that demands only realignment of self.

And they say in truth that a man is made of desire. As his desire is, so is his faith. As his faith is, so are his works. As his works are, so he becomes. – The Supreme Teaching of the Upanishads

Which would have advanced the most at the end of a month? The boy who made his own jackknife from the ore which he had dug and smelted, reading as much as would be necessary for this – or the body who had… received a Rodger’s penknife from his father? Which would be most likely to cut his fingers? – Henry David Thoreau

  • [Trustafarians] Because they never worked for their freedom, their travel experiences have no personal reference – no connection to the rest of their lives.
    • They are spending plenty of time and money on the road, but they never spent enough of themselves to begin with. Thus, their experience of travel has a diminished sense of value.
  • The “meaningful” part of travel always starts at home, with a personal investment in the wonders to come.
  • Work is how you settle your financial and emotional debts – so that your travels are not an escape from your real life but a discovery of your real life.

Wanting to travel reflects a positive attitude. You want to see, to grow in experience, and presumably to become more whole as a human being. Vagabonding takes this a step further: it promotes the chances of sustaining and strengthening this positive attitude. As a vagabond, you begin to face your fear now and then instead of continuously sidestepping them in the name of convenience. You build an attitude that makes the life more rewarding, which in turn makes it easier to keep doing it. It’s called positive feedback, and it works. – Ed Buryn, Vagabonding in Europe and North Africa

  • However you choose to fund your travel freedom, keep in mind that your work is an active part of your travel attitude.

We need the possibility of escape as surely as we need hope; without it the life of the cities would drive all men into crime or drugs or psychoanalysis. – Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire

  • List the job skills travel has taught you: independence, flexibility, negotiation, planning, boldness, self-sufficiency, improvisation.

A lot of us first aspired to far-ranging travel and exotic adventure early in our teens; these ambitions are, in fact, adolescent in nature, which I find an inspiring idea… Thus, when we allow ourselves to imagine as we once did, we know, with a sudden jarring clarity, that if we don’t go right now, we’re never going to do it. And we’ll be haunted by our unrealized dreams and know that we have sinned against ourselves gravely. – Tim Cahill, Exotic Places Made Me Do  It

  • …travel allows you to experience the nuances of the world in a way that mass media never will.
  • Indeed, the freedom to go vagabonding has never been determined by income level; it’s fund through simplicity – the conscious decision of how to use what income you have.
    • Simplicity merely requires a bit of personal sacrifice: an adjustment of your habits and routines within consumer society itself.
    • At times, the biggest challenge in embracing simplicity will be the vague feeling of isolation that comes with it, since private sacrifice doesn’t garner much attention in the frenetic world of mass culture.

Our crude civilization engenders a multitude of wants… Our forefathers forges chains of duty and habit, which bind us notwithstanding our boasted freedom, and we ourselves in desperation, add link to link, groaning and making medicinal laws for relief. – John Muir, Kindred and Related Spirits

… the general demand that they consume production and therefore have to work for the privilege of consuming, all that crap they didn’t really want… general junk you always see a week later in the garbage anyway, all of [it] impersonal in a system of work, produce, consume. – Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

  • … neither self nor wealth can be measured in terms of what you consume or own.

[Seeking happiness in one’s material desires is absurd as] suffering because a banana tree will not bear mangos. – Buddha

  • Despite several millennia of such warnings, however, there is still an overwhelming social compulsion – an insanity of consensus, if you will – to get rich from life rather than live richly, to “do well” in the world instead of living well.

Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune, Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing. – Walt Whitman, Song of the Open Road

By switching to a new game, which in this case involves vagabonding, time becomes the only possession and everyone is equally rich in it by biological inheritance. Money, of course, is still needed to survive, but time is what you need to live. So, save what little money you possess to meet basic survival requirements, but spend your time lavishly in order to create the life values that make the fire worth the candle. – Ed Buryn

Travel can be a kind of monasticism on the move: one the road, we often live more simply, with no more possession than we can carry, and surrendering ourselves to chance. This is what Camus meant when he said that “what gives value to travel is fear.” – disruption, in other words (or emancipation), from circumstance and all the habits behind which we hide. – Pico Iyer, Why We Travel

  • There are three general methods to simplifying your life: stopping expansion, reining in your routine, and reducing clutter.

It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after your own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude. – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

  • Vagabonding is, was, and always will be a private undertaking – and its goal is to improve your life not in relation to your neighbors but in relation to yourself.
  • Indeed, not only does simplicity save you money and buy you time; it also makes you more adventuresome, forces you into sincere contact with locals, and allows you the independence to follow your passions and curiosities down exciting new roads.

My greatest skill has been to want little. – Henry David Thoreau, Walden

A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone. – Henry David Thoreau, Walden

  • Vagabonding is not just a process of discovering the world but a way of seeing – an attitude that prepares you to find the things you weren’t looking for.

It is fatal to know too much at the outset; boredom comes as quickly to the traveler who knows his routes as the novelist who is overcertain of his plot. – Paul Theroux, To the Ends of the Earth

  • The key to preparation is to strike a balance between knowing what’s out there and being optimistically ignorant.
  • The gift of the information age is knowing your options – not your destiny – and those people who plan their travels with the idea of eliminating all uncertainty and unpredictability are missing out on the whole point of leaving home in the first place.
  • The goal of preparation is not knowing exactly where you’ll go but being confident nonetheless that you’ll get there. This means that your attitude will be more important than your itinerary, and that the simple willingness to improvise more vital, in the long run, than research.

Once a journey is designed, equipped, and put in process, a new factor enters and takes over. A trip, a safari, an exploration, is an entity… no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us. – John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley

  • A lot of media information – especially day-to-day news – should be approached with a healthy amount of skepticism. This is because so many media outlets are more in the business of competing for your attention than giving you a balanced picture of the world.

A good traveler has no fixed plan, and is not intent on arriving. – Laozi, The Way of Life

  • Human-centered adventures

When the virus of restlessness begins to take possession of a wayward man, and the road away from Here seems broad and straight and sweet, the victim must first find in himself a good and sufficient reason for going. This to practical bum is not difficult. He has built-in garden of reason to choose from. Next he must plan his trip in time and space, choose a direction and a destination. – John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley

Before the development of tourism, travel was conceived to be like study, and its fruits were considered to be the adornment of the mind and the formation of the judgment. The traveler was a student of what he sought. – Paul Fussell, Abroad

  • … moderate the amount of time you spend online as you travel – since nothing stifles your vagabonding flexibility quite like the compulsive urge to stay connected to the modern world.
  • Vagabonding is not like bulk shopping: The value of our travels does not hinge on how many stamps you have in your passport when you get home – and the slow, nuanced experience of a single country is always better than the hurried, superficial experience of forty counties.
  • Never underestimate your ability to learn and adapt quickly – and don’t waste time fretting about every possibility that might come your way on the road.
    • Simple courage is worth far more than detailed logistics, and a confident, positive, ready-to-learn attitude will make up for any travel savvy you lack at the outset.

Travel, there is no path
path are made by walking. – Antonio Machado, Cantores

  • Buddhists believe that we live our everyday lives as if inside an eggshell. Just a an unhatched chicken has few clues about what life is truly like, most of us are only vaguely aware of the greater world that surrounds us.

Excitement and depression, fortune and misfortune, pleasure and pain are storms in a tiny, private, shell-bound realm – which we take to be the whole fo existence. Yet we can break out of this shell and enter a new world. – Eknath Easwaran

Travel in general, vagabonding in particular, produces an awesome density of experiences… a cramming together of incidents, impressions and life detail that is both stimulating and exhausting. So much new and different happens to you so frequently, just when you’re most sensitive to it… You may be excited, bored, confused, desperate and amazed all in the same happy day. – Ed Buryn

I don’t want to hurry it. That itself is a poisonous twentieth-century attitude. When you want to hurry something, that means you no longer care about it and want to get on to other things. – Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

  • At home, you’re conditioned to get to the point and get things done, to favor goals and efficiency over moment-by-moment distinction.

When you travel you experience, in a very practical way, the act of rebirth. You confront completely new situations, the day passes more slowly, and on most journeys you don’t even understand the language the people speak.. You begin to be more accessible to others, because they may be able to help you in difficult situations. – Paulo Coelho

Did you think you should enter the Garden of Bliss without such trials as came to those who passed before you? – The Koran

  • In other words, tourist attractions are defined by their collective popularity, and that very popularity tends to devalue the individual experience of such attractions.

The practice of soulful travel is to discover the overlapping point between history and everyday life, the way to find the essence of every place, every day: In the markets, small chapels, out-of-the-way parks, craft shops. Curiosity about the extraordinary in the ordinary moves the heart of the traveler intent on seeing behind the veil of tourism. – Phil Cousineau, The Art of Pilgrimage

Bear in mind that the special advantage of vagabonding is the experience not really knowing what happens next, which you can obtain at bargain rates in all cases… The challenges you face offer no alternative but to cope them. And doing that , your life is being lived fully. – Ed Buryn, Vagabonding in Europe and North America

We see as we are. – The Buddha

Those who visit foreign nations, but associate only with their own countrymen, change their climate, but not their customs. They see new meridians, but the same men; and with heads as empty as their pockets, return home with traveled bodies, but untraveled minds. – Charles Caleb Colton, Lacon

We do not need to understand other people and their customs fully to interact with them and learn in the process; it is making the effort to interact without knowing all the rules, improvising certain situations, that allow us to grow. – Mary Catherine Bateson, Peripheral Visions

We need sometimes to escape into open solitudes, into aimlessness, into the moral holiday of running some pure hazards, in order to sharpen the edge of life, to taste hardship, and to be compelled to work desperately for a moment no matter what. – George Santayana, The Philosophy of Travel

Exploration is not so much a covering surface distance as a study in depth: a fleeting episode, a fragment of landscape or a remark overheard that may provide the only means of understanding and interpreting areas which would otherwise remain barren of meaning. – Claude Levi-Strauss, Tristes Tropiques

  • The secret of adventure is not to carefully seek it out but to travel in such a way that it finds you.
    • To do this, you first need to overcome the protective habit of home and open yourself up to unpredictability.

Explore your own higher latitude. Be a Columbus to whole new continents within you, opening new channels, not of trade, but of thought. – Henry David Thoreau, Walden

The man who is truly good and wise will bear with dinginity whatever fortune sends, and will always make the best of his circumstances. – Aristotle

We have no reason to mistrust our world, for it is not against us. Has it terrors, they are our terrors; has it abysses, those abysses belong to us; are dangers at hand, we must try to love them… How should we be able to forget those ancient myths about dragons that at the last moment turn into princesses; perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave. – Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

Life has no other discipline to impose, if we would but realize it, than to accept life unquesioningly. Everything … we deny, denigrate or despise, serves to defeat us in the end. What seems nasty, painful, evil, can become a source of beauty, joy and strength, if faced with an open mind. Every moment is golden for him who has the vision to realize it as such. – Henry Miller

Our eyes find it easier on a given occasion to produce a picture already often produced, than to seize upon the divergence and novelty of an impression. It is difficult and painful for the ear to listen to anything new; we hear strange music badly. – Friedrich Nietzsche

Traveler vs. Tourist

The traveler sees what he sees; the tourist sees what he has come to see. – GK Chesterton

The traveler was active, he went strenuously in search of people, of adventure, of experience. The tourist is passive; he expects interesting things to happen to him. – Daniel Boorstin

Tourists don’t know where they’ve been; travelers don’t know where they’re going. – Paul Theroux

Travelers are those who leave their assumptions at home, and [tourists are] those who don’t. – Pico Iyer

  • With escape in mind, vacationers tend to approach their holiday with a grim resolve, determined to make their experience live up to their expectation; on the vagabonding road, you prepare for the long haul knowing that the predictable and the unpredictable, the pleasant and the unpleasant are not separate but part of the same ongoing reality.
  • In this way, “seeing” as you travel is somewhat of a spiritual exercise: a process not of seeking interesting surroundings, but of being continually interested in whatever surrounds you.

Most people are on the world, not in it – having no conscious sympathy or relationship to anything about them – undiffused, separate, and rigidly alone like marbles of polished stone, touching but separate. – John Muir, The Wilderness World of John Muir

For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move; to feel the needs and hitches of our life more nearly; to come down off this feather-bed of civilization, and find the globe granite underfoot and strewn with cutting flints. – Robert Louis Stevenson, Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes

  • The best way to confront reality is not with a set method of interpretation but with a sincere attitude of open-mindedness.

Luxury, then, is a way of being ignorant, comfortably. – Leroi Jones, Political Poem

  • Cling too fiercely to your ideologies and you’ll miss the subtle realities that politics can’t address.
  • Just as skepticism should not be confused with cynicism, however, embracing realism need not be confused with falling into pessimism.

The evaluation of tourism cannot be accomplished against a static background. Some of what we see as destruction is construction. Some is the result of a lack of any other viable option; and some the result of choices that could be made differently. – Davydd J. Greenwood

  • One particular potent strain of traveler pessimism is the notion that modern influences are destroying native societies, or that certain cultures were more “real” sometimes in the not-too-distant past. According to this assumption, any given society was somehow better twenty years ago, before it was “spoiled.” What such reflexive pessimism overlooks, of course, is that societies have always changed, and that “tradition” is a dynamic phenomenon.
    • … much of concern about the evils of change within premodern culture is less an interest in the quality of local life than our own desire to experience an “untainted” culture.
    • The purest way to see a culture is simply to accept and experience it as it is now.

While I complain of being able to glimpse no more than the shadow of the past, I may be insensitive to reality as it is taking shape at this very moment… A few hundred years hence, in this same place, another traveler, as despairing as myself, will mourn the disappearance of what I might have seen, but failed to see. – Claude Levi-Strauss, Tristes Tropiques

The unreal never is: the Real never is not. This truth indeed has been seen by those who can see the true. – Bhagavad Gita

The drug vision remain a sort of dream that cannot be brought over into daily life. Old mist may be banished, that is true, but the alien chemical agent forms another mist, maintaining the separation of the ‘I” from the true experience of the ‘One.’ – Peter Matthiessen, The Snow Leopard

  • The problem with marijuana, however, is that it’s the travel equivalent of watching television: It replaces real sensation with artificially enhanced ones. Because it doesn’t force you to work for a feeling, it creates passive experiences that are only vaguely connected to the rest of your life.

I never took drugs because I am drugs. – Salvador Dali

  • Strive to be drugs as you travel, to patiently embrace the raw, personal sensation of unmediated reality – an experience far more affecting than any intoxicant can promise.

Often I feel I got to some distant region of the world to be reminded of who I really am… Stripped of your ordinary surroundings, your friends, your daily routines, your refrigerator full of your food, your closet full of your clothes, you are forced into direct experience. Such direct experience inevitably makes you aware of who it is that is having the experience. That’s not always comfortable, but it is always invigorating. – Michael Crichton, Travels

We all have stuck in us deep somewhere a keenness for excitement, a savoring for the kooky, a leap-for-life outlook. From this comes the catalytic impetus, without which all other requirements mean nothing. Everyday types are as likely to have this sine qua non as the obvious icon-kickers. The person who strikes off for himself is no hero, nor necessarily even unconventional, but to a greater degree than most people, he or she thinks and acts independently. The vagabond frees in himself the latent urge to live closer to the edge of experience. – Ed Buryn

  • …what most people consider “paradise” is defined in contrast to the stresses of home.
  • In knowing my possibilities, I also knew my limitations.
  • Aboriginal walkabout – walkabout acts as a kind of remedy when the duties and obligations of life cause one to lose track of his or her true self. To correct this, one merely leaves behind all possessions and starts walking.
    • There is no physical goal: It simply continues until one becomes whole again.

One must not delude oneself that we are all alike or destined to be members of some sort of global family. – Jeffrey Taylor, Ex-Peace Corps worker

  • Acknowledging differences and avoiding superficial cures is not just a valuable lesson of volunteer work – it’s often the first step in actually solving the problems that you seek to fix.

He who stays at home beside his hearth and is content with the information which he may acquire concerning his own region, cannot be on the same level as one who divides his life span between different lands and spends his days journeying in search of precious and original knowledge. – al-Masudi, The Meadows of Gold

People say that we are all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think this is what we’re really seeking. I think what we are seeking is an experience of being alive. – Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth

[Travel as a form of asceticism] is a way of surrendering to reduced circumstances in a manner that enhances the whole person. It is a radical way of knowing exactly who, what, and where you are, in defiance of those powerful forces in society that aim to make us forget. – Kathleen Norris

  • Travel compels you to discover your spiritual side by simply elimination: Without all the rituals, routines, and possessions that give your life meaning at home, you are forced to look for meaning within yourself.
  • Words are symbols, and symbols never resonate the same for everyone.

There is no God but reality. – Sufi saying

  • it is not a declaration of unbelief. Rather, it is a warning to avoid turning inspiration into fetish and tradition into dogma; it is an admonition to never reduce the spiritual realm to the narrow borders of your own perceptions, prejudices, and ideals.

Beauty and grace are performed whether or not we sense them. The least we can do is try to be there. – Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

Posted: August 21, 2012 in Quotes

History is fiction that did happen. Whereas fiction is history that might have happened.

– Andre Gide

Posted: June 2, 2012 in Quotes

History prefers legends to men. It prefers nobility to brutality, soaring speeches to quite deeds. History remembers the battle, but forgets the blood. However history remembers me before I was a President, it shall only remember a fraction of the truth…

– Trailer, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter [2012]

  • Knowledge filter – This is a fundamental feature of science. It is also a fundamental feature of human nature. People tend to filter out things that don’t fit, that don’t make sense in terms of their paradigm or their ways of thinking. So in science you find that evidence that don’t fit the accepted paradigm tends to be eliminated. It’s not taught, it’s not discussed, and people who are educated and scientifically teachings generally don’t even learn about it.
  • It is not necessarily a deliberate conspiracy in the sense of some people getting together in a smoke-filled room and saying we are going to deceive people. It is something that happened automatically within the scientific community. So when a given piece of evident disagrees with the predominate theory, that automatically people won’t talk about it, they won’t report it. That means science fails to progress in a way one would hope.
  • London’s Natural History Museum. It looks rather like a cathedral or a church. In a way, it is what it is. It is a temple to Darwin’s theory of evolution.
    • This representation is a interpretation of the fossils, the interpretation of one group of scientists. There are other interpretations. But you won’t find them in this museum, or any other museums in the world.
  • The missing link – ape and man
  • Hapgood’s Theory of Earth Crust Displacement
  • We are a species with amnesia. We have forgotten something of great importance from our own past. When we recover it, we will realize for a start that our civilization isn’t the apex of the creation, it isn’t the pinnacle towards which everything has been building throughout all of geological time. Rather it’s part of an up and down, a flow, that it is possible for a civilization to reach a very high level of advancement and be wipe out. This is something that we’ve never confront it and we need to confront it.

[The Nine Insights]

  • All that any of us have to do is suspend our doubts and distractions just long enough…
  • Even though we occasionally have the clear insight that something more is going on in life, our habitual way of thinking is to consider such ideas unknowable and then to shrug off the awareness altogether.
  • History is not just the evolution of technology; it is the evolution of thought.
    • By understanding the reality of the people who came before us, we can see why we look at the world the way we do, and what our contribution is toward further progress. We can pinpoint where we come in, so to speak, in the longer development of Civilization, and that gives us a sense of where we are going.
  • Working to establish a more comfortable style of survival has grown to feel complete in itself as a reason to live, and we’ve gradually, methodically, forgotten why we are alive, what we’re surviving for.
    • People can’t slow down because they use their routine to distract themselves, to reduce life to only its practical considerations. And they do this to avoid recalling how uncertain they are about why they live.
    • Propelling it all was the call to progress, the desire of the individual to provide his own security, his own purpose while he was waiting for the truth.
    • We are reaching a climax in our cultural purpose. We are accomplishing what we had collectively decided to do – we have created the means of material security.
      • Now we seemed to be ready – poised, in fact – to find out why we had done it and waking up to something else.
  • The idea was to create an understanding of the universe that made the world seem safe and manageable, and the skeptical attitude kept us focused on concrete problems that would make our existence seem more secure.
    • With this attitude, science systematically removed the uncertain and the esoteric from the world. We concluded, following the thinking of Isaac Newton, that the universe always operated in a predictable manner, like an enormous machine, because for a long time that’s all it could be proved to be. Events which happened simultaneously to other events yet had no causal relationship were said to occur only by chance.
  • The whole of Einstein’s life’s work was to show that what we perceive as hard matter is mostly empty space with a pattern of energy running through it.
  • The human perception of energy first begins with a heightened sensitivity to beauty.
    • When you appreciate the beauty and uniqueness of things, you receive energy. When you get to a level where you feel love, then you can send the energy back just by willing it so.
    • The things that we perceive as beautiful may be different, but the actual characteristics we ascribe to beautiful objects are similar.
      • When something strikes us as beautiful, it displays more presence and sharpness of shape and vividness of color – it stands out; it shines.
  • We humans have always sought to increase our personal energy in the only manner we have known: by seeking to psychologically steal it from others – an unconscious competition that underlies all human conflict in the world.
    • Humans seek to outwit and control each other not just because of some tangible goal in the outside world that we’re trying to achieve, but because of a lift we get psychologically. This is the reason we see so many irrational conflicts in the world both at the individual level and at the level of nations.
      • Individuals can come away feeling strong or feeling weak, depending on what occurs in the interaction.
  • …Unfortunately, when she grows up, because of this early trauma, she will think she has to seize control and dominate others with the same intensity.
  • Occasionally, another person will voluntarily want us to define their situation for them, giving us their energy outright.
    • It makes us feel empowered, but this gift doesn’t usually last. Most people aren’t strong enough to keep giving energy.
    • Humans link up energy and then fight over who is going to control it – power struggle.
  • Humans are stuck in a kind of competition for each other’s energy.
    • When we can get others to acquiesce to our view, they identify with us and that pulls their energy into us and we feel stronger.
  • In order to totally absorb energy in food, the food must be appreciated and savored.
    • Taste is the doorway. You must appreciate taste. This is the reason for prayer before eating. It is not just about being thankful, it is to make eating a holy experience, so the energy from the food can enter your body.
  • You do not make yourself love. You allow love to enter you.
  • When one has already encountered a mystical experience, getting back into this state and raising one’s personal energy level comes much easier.
    • A stronger memory of the experience facilitates its re-creation.
  • When something occurs beyond chance to lead us forward in our lives, then we become more actualized people.
    • We feel though we are attaining what destiny is leading us to become. When this occurs, the level of energy that brought on the coincidences in the first place is instituted in us -> We have become a new person. We exist at a level of higher energy, a level of higher vibration.
  • Everyone manipulates for energy either aggressively, directly forcing people to pay attention to them, or passively, playing on people’s sympathy or curiosity to gain attention.
    • The order of dramas from aggressive to passive:
      • Intimidator, interrogator, aloof, poor me.
  • We are truly free to become more than the unconscious act we play. We can find a higher meaning for our lives, a spiritual reason…We can begin to get clear about who we really are.
  • We can’t progress by using logic alone. We have to attain a fuller consciousness, an inner connection with God, because only then can our evolution toward something better be guided by a higher part of ourselves.
  • Once you get the questions right, the answers always come.
  • The learned manipulations on the child’s part can be avoided if the adults give them all the energy they need no matter what the situation.
    • You should never take responsibility for more children than you can give attention to.

When love first happens, the two individuals are giving each other energy unconsciously and both people feel buoyant and elated. That’s the incredible high we all call being “in love.” Unfortunately, once they expect this feeling to come from the other person, they cut themselves off from the energy in the universe and begin to rely even more on the energy from each other – only now there doesn’t seem to be enough and so they stop giving each other energy and fall back into their dramas in an attempt to control each other and force the other’s energy their way. At this point the relationship degenerates into the usual power struggle.

  • The reason we can become addicted to someone of the opposite sex is that we’ve yet to access this opposite sex energy ourselves.
    • The mystical energy that we can tap as an inner source is both male and female.

Co-dependent relationship: We look like the letter “C.” We are very susceptible to a person of the opposite sex, some other circle half complete, coming up and joining with us – completing the circle that way – and giving us a burst of euphoria and energy that feels like the wholeness that a full connection with the universe produces. In reality, we have only joined up with another person who is looking for their other half on the outside too. The problem with this completed person, this “O,” that both people think they have reached, is that it has taken tow people to make this one whole person, one supply the female energy and one supplying the male. This one whole person consequently has two heads, or egos. Both people want to run this whole person they have created and so, just as in childhood, both people want to command the other, as if the other were themselves. This kind of illusion of completeness always breaks down into a power struggle.

  • Higher-relationship: when we connect romantically with another whole person, we create a super-person. It never pulls us from the path of our individual evolution.
    • First we have to complete the circle on our own. We have to stabilize our channel with the universe.
  • It is the same way with all addictions – one goes through someone or something else to connect with the universe.
  • Whenever people cross our paths, there is always a message for us. Chance encounters do not exist.
    • Once humans grasp this reality, our interaction will slow down and become more purposeful and deliberate.
  • The more we can love and appreciate others, the more energy flows into us.
    • The more we appreciate their wholeness, their inner beauty, the more the energy flows into them, and naturally, the more that flows into us.
  • Covert manipulations for energy cannot exist if you bring them into consciousness by pointing them out.
  • When you are appreciating someone at a deeper level, you can see their most honest self beyond any facades they may put up. When you really focus at this level, you can perceive that someone is thinking as a subtle expression on their face. This is perfectly natural.
  • Learn to interact consciously when in a group – as the members of a group talk, only one will have the most powerful idea at any one point in time. If they are alert, the others in the group can feel who is about to speak, and then they can consciously focus their energy on this person, helping to bring out his idea with the greatest clarity.
  • When we dislike someone, or feel threatened by someone, the natural tendency is to focus on something we dislike about the person, something that irritates us. Unfortunately, when we do this – instead of seeing the deeper beauty of the person and giving them energy – we take energy away and actually do them harm. All they know is that they suddenly feel less beautiful and less confident, and it is because we sapped their energy. Humans are aging each other at a tremendous rate out there with their violent competitions.
  • Sometimes in history one individual would grasp the exact way of connecting with God’s source of energy and direction and would thus become a lasting example that this connection is possible. E.g. Jesus.

  • Long ago we fell from a very high state of consciousness, and the memories are just now beginning to emerge.
  • Everything is connected! There is only one Reality and one God, but there are many, many ways that the one Reality can be interpreted.
  • Pranic energy used to flow through the center of the pineal gland.
  • The left brain does not experience oneness when it looks out into the Reality; all it see is division and separation. For that reason, the male aspect of us is having a difficult time down here on Earth.
  • Physicists, just like archaeologists, will turn their heads away from the truth if it means too much of a change too fast. -> human nature

The best form to see God is in every form. – Neem Karoli Baba (Maharajji)

  • The purpose of alchemy is not to make gold or money, but to understand the process of how mercury or lead changes into gold.
  • Everything in our world is a waveform or could seen be seen as sound.
    • In a spiritual sense this 7.23cm wavelength is Om, the Hindu sound of the universe.
  • The only difference between this dimension and any other is the length of its basic waveform.
    • As you go up into dimensional level, the wavelength gets shorter and shorter, with higher and higher energy.
    • As you go down in dimensional levels, the wavelength gets longer and longer, with lower and lower energy, more and more dense.
  • All of these dimensions are superimposed over each other, and every point in space/time contains them all.
  • The Moon does not rotate around the Earth. The Earth and the Moon rotate around each other.
  • The Four Hindu Yugas (the Journey of the Precession)(Figure)
    • It’s a helical, open-ended pattern like a spring, not a repeating cycle within a circle. Because of that, each time around we fall asleep a little less than the time before and wake up a little more.
  • We do have free will, and we can change the fate of the world simply through our being.
  • Life is whole, complete, and perfect now!

The way to do is to be. – Taoist saying

  • Normally we give greatest credence to the oldest source of an historical event because it is closer in time than a scribe further removed from the event.
  • If you leave a place empty, life will step in and fill it.
  • The Hundredth Monkey Effect
  • Memory is dependent on a steady, living magnetic field.
    • Our memory is held together primarily by a magnetic field that exists around the brain – inside the skull and around the head. That field is further connected to every cell in the brain b individualized magnetic fields within each cell.
  • The definition of eternal life: simply put, you have continuous, unbroken memory.
  • Crystals are alive. They grow and have genders.
  • Carbon can make endless forms and chains and patterns and react chemically with almost anything nearby, thus making carbon a living atom.
    • Silicon has the similar characteristics.
    • So here we are, carbon-based life forms creating silicon-based life forms, and we’re interacting with each other.
  • Phi ratio (Golden ratio)
  • Zero-point technology
  • Dogon people
  • The Strecker Memorandum
  • Dolphin midwife – underwater birthing – Igor Charkovsky
  • A supernova occurs when a giant star, one much bigger than our own Sun, collapses and then spectacularly explodes, releasing in an instant the energy of a hundred billion suns, burning for a time more brightly than all the stars in its galaxy.
  • It’s one of those rare areas where the absence of evidence is evidence.
  • To a physicist, mass and weight are two quite different things.
    • Your mass stays the same wherever you go.
    • Your weight varies depending on how far you are from the center of some other massive object like a planet.
    • On Earth, for all practical purposes, mass and weight are the same.
  • A rusting object doesn’t lose weight.
  • Conservation of mass – if you burned this book now, its matter would be changed to ash and smoke, but the net amount of stuff in the universe would be the same.
  • Energy is liberated matter; matter is energy waiting to happen – They are two forms of the same thing.
  • In essence what relativity says is that space and time are not absolute, but relative both to the observer and to the thing being observed, and the faster one moves the more pronounced these effects become.
In some sense, gravity does not exist; what moves the planets and stars is the distortion of space and time. – Michio Kaku
  • Chemists tend to think in terms of molecules rather than elements in much the way writers tend to think in terms of words and not letters…
  • Atoms are very abundant…They are also fantastically durable…Every atom you possess has almost certainly passed through several stars and been part of millions of organisms on its way to becoming you.
    • So we are all reincarnations – though short-lived ones…Atoms themselves, however, go on practically for ever.
    • Atoms are small, numerous, practically indestructible.
    • Atoms are mostly empty space and that the solidity we experience all around us is an illusion.
  • The number of proton is what gives an atom its chemical identity.
Things on a small scale behave nothing like things on a large scale. – Richard Feynman
  • Lead is a neurotoxin. Get too much of it and you can irreparably damage the brain and central nervous system.
    • Because lead is for ever, Americans alive today each have about 625 times more lead in their blood than people did a century ago.
  • The upshot of all this is that we live in a universe whose age we can’t quite compute, surrounded by stars whose distances from us and each other we don’t altogether know, filled with matter we can’t identify, operating in conformance with physical laws whose properties we don’t truly understand.
The history of any one part of the Earth, like the life of a soldier, consists of long periods of boredom and short periods of terror. – British geologist Derek V. Ager
  • Rich volcanic plains are ideal for growing potatoes, as Idaho’s farmers long ago discovered.
  • The body remains at the same pressure as the surrounding water, and is not crushed at depth. It is the gases inside your body, particularly in the lungs, that cause the trouble in deep ocean.
  • Portions of the Earth on which we are prepared or able to live are modest indeed: 12% of the total land area, and only 4% of the whole surface if you include the seas.
  • It is easy to make any banal situation seem extraordinary if you treat it as fateful.
    • Richard Feynman’s illustration: You know, the most amazing thing happened to me tonight. I saw a car with the licence plate ARW357. Can you imagine? Of all the millions of licence plates in the state, what was the chance that I would see that particular one tonight? Amazing!
  • Sunlight energizes atoms. It increases the rate at which they jiggle and jounce, and in their enlivened state they crash into one another, releasing heat.
    • When you feel the sun warm on your back on a summer’s day, it’s really excited atoms you feel.
  • Wind is simply the air’s way of trying to keep things in balance.
    • Air always flows from areas of high pressure to areas of low pressure, and the greater the discrepancy in pressures, the faster the wind blows.
  • 97% of all the water on Earth is in the seas, the greater part of it in the Pacific, which is bigger than all the land masses put together.
    • Of the 3% of Earth’s water that is fresh, most exists as ice sheets.
      • 0.036% is found in lakes, rivers, and reservoirs.
    • Only about 0.035% of the Earth’s fresh water (0.001% of Earth’s water) is floating around above us at any moment.
  • As The Economist has put it: ” The key to long life, it seems, is not to do too much.”
  • The only time your continuing well-being is of consequence to a pathogen is when it kills you too well. If they eliminate you before they can move on, then they may well die out themselves.
    • Too much efficiency is not a good thing for any infectious organism.
  • Viruses prosper by hijacking the genetic material of a living cell, and using it to produce more virus.
  • For all the trouble they take to assemble and preserve themselves, species crumple and die remarkably routinely. And the more complex they get, the more quickly they appear to go extinct. Which is perhaps one reason why so much of life isn’t terribly ambitious.
The alternative to extinction is stagnation and stagnation is seldom a good thing in any realm. – Ian Tattersall
  • Extinction is always bad news for the victims, of course, but it appears to be a good thing for a dynamic planet. (We are speaking here of extinction as a natural, long-term process. Extinction brought about by human carelessness is another matter altogether.)
Humans are here today because our particular line never fractured – never once at any of the billion points that could have erased us from history. – Stephen Jay
  • Most living cells seldom last more than a month or so, but there are some notable exceptions.
    • Liver cells can survive for years, thought the components within them may be renewed every few days.
    • Brain cells last as long as you do.
  • When, as occasionally happens, a cell fails to expire in the prescribed manner, but rather begins to divide and proliferate wildly, we call the result cancer. Caner cells are really just confused cells…Cells make this mistake fairly regularly, but the body has elaborate mechanisms for dealing with it…Cancer is bad luck in every possible sense of the term.
  • The balance between accuracy and errors in replication is a fine one. Too many errors and the organism can’t function, but too few and it sacrifices adaptability.
Wherever you go in the world, whatever animal, plant, bug or blob you look at, if it is alive, it will use the same dictionary and know the same code. All life is one. – Matt Ridley
Anything that is true of E. coli must be true of elephants, except more so. – Jacques Monod
  • It cannot be said too often: all life is one. That is, and I suspect will forever prove to be, the most profound true statement there is.
    • Remarkably, we are quite closely related to fruit and vegetables. About half the chemical functions that take place in a banana are fundamentally the same as the chemical functions that take place in you.
One of the hardest idea for humans to accept is that we are not the culmination of anything. There is nothing inevitable about our being here. It is part of our vanity as humans that we tend to think of evolution as a process that, in effect, was programmed to produce us. – Ian Tattersall
  • If this book has a lesson, it is that we are awfully lucky to be here – and by “we” I mean every living thing. To attain any kind of life at all in this universe of ours appears to be quite an achievement.
  • What is prehistory, after all, if not a time forgotten – a time for which we have no records?
  • Could it be that the myths themselves are historical records? Could it be that these cunning and immortal stories, composed by anonymous geniuses, were the medium used to record such information and pass it on in the time before history began?
  • In the northern hemisphere the winter solstice, the shortest day, falls on 21 December, and the summer solstice, the longest day, falls on 21 December.
    • In the southern hemisphere, everything is the opposite.
  • The equinoxes are the two points in the year on which night and day are of equal length all over the planet.
    • Northern hemisphere: spring (20 March), autumn (22 September)
  • We are quite fixed on the idea about the linear evolution of civilization.
  • Landlocked people do not as rule become astronomers; seafaring people do. [They observe stars for navigation purposes.]


  • All is possible, faith is possible, even necessary.
  • Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we must be saved by love.
  • It cannot be proven that God exists…one believes in God, as one believe in a friend – or one believes nothing…this whole business depends on faith in God, each reader must be left to wrestle with his own, her own doubts and beliefs.

Moshe (Moses)

  • To God he speaks on the people’s behalf, to the people on God’s behave.
  • In his humility he has been hollowed out like a reed, so that there is nothing in him – no pride or quirk of personality – to distort God’s message.
  • He can serve, therefore, as an authentic medium, a true channel.
  • Who is open enough to hear God’s words and courageous enough to speak it aloud?


  • The Bible is a collection of books, a various library written almost entirely in Hebrew over the course of a thousand years.
  • The Bible is a believer’s history, not a history of art or culture.
  • To go the way one has never gone before, and yet to go home.
    • Joshua leads the Israelites into the Promised Land.
    • The Psalms…are treasure trove of personal emotions from poets acutely attuned to their inner states…
    • The story the Hebrew Bible has to tell is the story of an evolving consciousness, a consciousness that went through many stages of development and that, like all living things, sometimes grew slowly and at other times in great spurts.


  • Cyclical religion goes nowhere because, within its comprehension, there is no future as we have come to understand it, only the next revolution of the Wheel.
  • For the ancient, nothing new ever did happen, except for the occasional monstrosity.
  • For the ancient, the future was always to be reply of the past, as the past was simply an earthly replay of the drama of the heavens: “History repeats itself” – that is, false history, the history that is not history but myth. For the Jews, history will be no less replete with moral lessons. But the moral is not that history repeats itself but that it is always something new:  a process unfolding through time, whose direction and end we cannot know, except insofar as God gives us some hint of what is to come.
  • One come to inner peace by coming to terms with the Wheel.
  • Israel invents not only history but the New as a positive value.
    • The Israelites, by becoming the first people to live – psychologically – in real time, also became the first people to value the New and to welcome surprise.
  • Since time is no longer cyclical but one-way and irreversible, personal history is now possible and an individual life can have value.
  • …immense achievement: mankind’s first attempt to write history, a history that mattered deeply because one’s whole identity was bound up with it.
  • We do not control the future; in a profound sense, even God does not control the future because it is the collective responsibility of those who are bringing about the future by their actions in the present.
  • The past is irretrievable and the future is blank. The one is fixed, the other unknown. For the past, I can have only regret, for the future only anxiety. To live in real time, to live in history, can be a horrible experience – and no wonder that the ancients contrived to escape such torments by inventing cyclical time and the recurrent Wheel, leading only to the peace of death.
  • Present is the intersection of time and eternity, the moment where God is always to be found.
    • To stand neither in the storied past nor the imagined (or dreaded) future but in the present moment.
  • Each moment, like each destiny, is unique and unrepeatable. It is a process – it is going somewhere, though no one can say where. And because its end is not yet, it is full of hope – and I am free to imagine that it will not be just process but progress.

Other Topics

  • The people of the Western world, whose peculiar but vital mentality has come to infect every culture on earth, so that, in a startling precise sense, all humanity is now willy-nilly caught up in this “we”.
  • Avram would have been given the same advice that wise men as diverse as Heraclitus, Lao-Tsu, and Siddhartha would one day give their followers: do not journey but sit; compose yourself by the river of life, meditate on its ceaseless and meaningless flow – on all that is past or passing or to come – until you have absorbed the pattern and have come to peace with the Great Wheel and with your own death and the death of all things in the corruptible sphere.
  • But no one could maintain such pitch of feeling forever. Now that their consciousness has been altered, there must be a return to the business of ordinary life.
  • He seeks the things all sane men seek – pleasure and security – though he hopes for something more, something New.
  • When a human being arrogates to himself the role of God, he must fail miserably.
  • God does not see as human beings see; they look at appearances but YHWH looks at the heart.
  • Leisure is the necessary ground of creativity, and a free people are free to imitate the creativity of God.
  • If God was to speak to human beings and if there was any possibility of their hearing of him, it could happen only in a place stripped of all cultural reference points, where even nature (which was so imbued with contrary, god-inhabited forces) seems absent (i.e. desert).
  • Cultural exchange is seldom a one-way affair.
  • A man who loves a crowd is seldom as effective in intimate relationships as he is in the midst of the throng.
    • The history of politics, sports, and entertainment are replete with such figures, triumphant in public, tragic in private.
  • YHWH is in us, the still, small voice, the murmuring of personal conscious.
  • To serve God means to act with justice. For without justice, there is no God.
    • If you have more than you need, you are a thief, for what you “own” is stolen from those who do not have enough. You are a murderer, who lives on the abundance that has been taken from the mouths of the starving.
  • “Begging the question” – the logical fallacy that assumes as a given the very thing that must be proved.
  • Because of their unique belief – monotheism – the Jews were able t give us the Great Whole, a unified universe that makes sense that, because of its evident superiority as a worldview, completely overwhelms the warring and contradictory phenomena of polytheism.
  • The Jews gave us the Outside and Inside – our outlook and our inner life.
  • The belief system we have come to call Judaism is the origin of the processive worldview.