Books are not what they used to be.

Been posting a few items about books here.  Very casual. Hardly posted a thing this year, and see post on Evernote below re that. Feel some motivation coming on.

The motivation is to post book covers and snippets because I am loving my ebooks – have for years.  I don’t really want the paper books anymore.  But I miss the affordance of the stacks of books lying around unread.  They are now just a line of links on a screen and sometimes I can’t even recall why I have the book sample or who recommended it.  There are so many samples, just a list! So I’ll post unread books here, awaiting reviews.

Once paper books are read they can go on a shelf somewhere.  Even the pile in the garage.  I can look at them when I tidy up, and think, oh yes I remember that.

OK, so there is a purpose for the blog, to notice what I have in my ebook library in some sort of meaningful way.  So out with Evernote for books – and onto the blog with them.  Expect more flimsy post with cover pictures.

I will update posts too, I often do that here, they need edits and additions as they go up very rough.

I tried Goodreads for this purpose, however for some reason I am more attracted to my own blog, at least first. Social media can come later, if at all.

~

There is already plenty here in the blog to stir reminiscences.  There are references to books back to 1999.  As I went back to look I found a dead link to this item

Malcolm Gladwell on Blockbusters and books.  Collaborative filtering!

Just six
authors–John Grisham, Tom Clancy, Stephen King, Michael Crichton,
Dean Koontz, and Danielle Steel–account for sixty-three of the
books on the list. In a world more dependent on collaborative filtering,
Grisham, Clancy, King, and Steel would still sell a lot of books. But
you’d expect to see many more books like “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya
Sisterhood”–many more new writers–make their way onto the best-
seller list. And the gap between the very best selling books and
those in the middle would narrow. Collaborative filtering, Hagel
says, “favors the smaller, the more talented, more quality
products that may have a hard time getting visibility because
they are not particularly good at marketing.”

It seems he was wrong though.

Must revisit, interesting. What has happened 15 years later to those lists?

web.archive.org/web/20000301085403/http://www.gladwell.com/1999_10_04_a_sleeper.htm

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Joseph Boyden — The Orenda

I’m gripped at about 20% into the book.

This Item puts me off a bit, though it also provides extra food for thought.

So far I think the author presents the world a world animated with the spirit of life in a sympathetic way and the Catholic view to the contrary is almost mocked, thus so far so good.

Amazon

the orenda

Enjoyed the CBC video about writing the novel, here:

Screenshot

Later – upon finishing the book — Thursday, 18 December 2014

It was horrendously violent – and it is hard to believe that such cruelty is possible. However I don’t agree with the article linked to above that is biased towards the priests or the against the Iroquois.

I finished it a few days ago and the book is still with me, it had an impact, not just the violence, but the characters, and particularly the sense of the soul of things and people – the orenda – that gives the book its title.

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The Peripheral – William Gibson

I just heard there was a new William Gibson book out, and pre ordered it on Amazon

In the meantime I’ve enjoyed this interview in The Guardian by Ned Beauman here are the last two paragraphs:

I understood perfectly well before reading The Peripheral that our planet is beginning to roll down a very steep slope. And yet there was something terrifying about finding it here, perhaps because I’ve been absorbed in Gibson for most of my lifetime. His previous dystopias, with their overflowing slums, feel jolly by comparison; here, even Gibson’s hackers and mercenaries and television personalities are bereaved by climate change. It’s as if Gibson’s work is a city, and I have lived in that city since I was a teenager, and now that city is being drowned before my eyes. Before I left, Gibson admitted that his own story “surprised me with its grim matter-of-factness. I wasn’t fully aware of the implications, at the start. Though in my personal model of writing fiction, one never really is.”

All the same, this shouldn’t discourage anyone from reading The Peripheral, which is not, in fact, a remotely grim book. First of all, books that are as frantic with imagination as Gibson’s books, as frantic with the appetite to see what happens to us next, cannot be grim; second, Gibson’s famous weakness for happy endings has not been entirely suppressed here; and third, the details of our fate are mostly confined to that one scene towards the end, when Netherton, our descendant, explains what happened before he was born. As we read it, we ought to be like Flynne, who sits under the oak in her front yard and listens without hysterics as she hears the story of a world in which “everything, however deeply fucked in general, was lit increasingly by the new.”

Screenshot NewImage

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My review of James Hillman biography – Goodreads

Archetypal Psychology (Uniform Edition of the Writings of James Hillman)Archetypal Psychology by James Hillman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Loved the book, learned so much. Finished up disliking him more. Never liked him, always awed by his genius, and impacted. His attitude to his affair and his relationship with women is not just of its time – it is callous and a-psychological, out of touch and this is so disappointing. It shows a flaw in his professional as well as personal life, not one that I can forgive. I sort of knew this but here it is laid out – blatant. Even though the author seems to be sympathetic, colludes.

So I rate the book 5 for illumination and remove stars for an ultimate disdain for the character.

View all my reviews

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My Review of The Golden Notebook – Goodreads

The Golden NotebookThe Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing

I’m now about 20% into the book. I like it because have lived some of this life she describes. Middle class intellectuals in some colony. I see other reviewers don’t like hearing the privileged ruminate about their agonies. But we are a select bunch! For everyone one of us who entertain marxist ideals of a change in the system there are hundreds who don’t. It takes a modicum of privilege to even read stuff. So to hear how thes commies and fellow travellers carried on in the fifties is of interest to me. But I can see you had to be there perhaps to get it.

But then I was not there. I’m a generation older. It may not be common knowledge but there was a small wave of Marxist revival in the late sixties and early 70s. I imagine all round the world. It grew out of the vietnam war protests and the countercultural movement. It dawned on some of us liberals that we did not just want Peace. We want the Viet Cong to win. The imperialists needed to be defeated, and they were. It became clear too that national liberation was a viable and worthwhile step in the march of progress. Maybe that was not so clear to Lessing in her time? And the communes and alternative endeavours did not really work, not as a way of changing the system. It may sound crazy but I, along with many thought the “Times were a’ changin”. But really, no. And then China was in a stage before the cultural revolution disasters. It was easy to see there was something to be learned from the communists.

And there was! And then there was not!

Why did she get a Nobel Prise for her work? I think of Obama getting the peace prize – do you have to be a phoney to get it? I don’t think Lessing is a phoney. However she may have been mistaken for someone who is anti communist. It is very different to be a disillusioned to being anti. Jesuit priests apparently do not need to believe in god, they need to be searching for god. I wish there was some sort of world order of people searching for the marxist line of out time. And a Doris Lessing of our time – or at least one for baby boomers. Perhaps Marge Piercy? Is there anyone like her today, filling that niche she filled in 62?

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Evolution of emotional literacy

Kevin Kelly (What does Technology Want? p196) quotes George Lucas:

Evernote Snapshot 20121129 225558

Just maybe that is about to change (Perhaps on December 21?? 🙂

I think we are in a rapid change right now. It will be more visible soon. I think the feminist consciousness, the decline of religion, urbanisation, education are all leading to a shift in consciousness that means there will be ever more psychotherapists.

See also:

http://psyberspace.walterlogeman.com/2012/evolution-of-consciousness/

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The Couch and the Stage: Integrating Words and Action in Psychotherapy — Robert J. Landy

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Amazon

The Couch and the Stage: Integrating Words and Action in Psychotherapy
Robert J. Landy

Continue reading

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PEP Web – The Origins and History of Consciousness: By Erich Neumann.

Another snippet, scouring the web without actually reading the book! (see last post)

PEP Web – The Origins and History of Consciousness: By Erich Neumann.:

“In his Introduction the author writes: ‘It is the task of this book to show that a series of archetypes is a main constituent of mythology, that they stand in an organic relation to one another, and that their stadial succession determines the growth of consciousness. In the course of its ontogenetic development, the individual ego consciousness has to pass through the same archetypal stages which determined the evolution of consciousness in the life of humanity’ (p. xvi). ‘The individualized conscious man of our era is a late man, whose structure is built on early, pre-individual human stages from which individual consciousness has only detached itself step by step’ (p. xx). Hence, Part I deals with ‘The Mythological Stages in the Evolution of Consciousness’ in three sections: A, ‘The Creation Myth’; B, ‘The Hero Myth’; C, ‘The Transform”

I’m thinking of my 18 month old granddaughter – she is certainly developing her own sense of self. Stages makes sense, but what is the sequence.

The relational paradigm is surely a higher stage, but it includes individuation, and can’t be attained without it.

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The Origins and History of Consciousness: Erich Neumann

Further to my exploration of participation mystique in the last two posts I’m led – as some may expect – to:

Amazon

The amazon page has excellent reviews, the description of the book is at the end of this post.

Below are a couple of quotes that give me the sense that he thinks the participation mystique is of a primitive or childlike state of unity that is lost.

This is interesting as it might relate to attachment theory and Moreno’s notion of the matrix of all identity. The idea that it is a primitive state (presumingly leading to individuation) might skip the importance of adult attachment as Susan Johnson talks about it.

Is adult attachment really a stage of not being quite grown up. Schnarch might say that?

Here is a quote by an anonymous reviewer on Amazon:

An interesting side effect of this view of consciousness is the resultant synthesis of linear and cyclical notions of Time. To Neumann, Time is an open-ended linear progression (development) which is recursively cyclical. The recursion occurring in the subject self’s perception of time: That the individual’s subjective perception of time in an early part of his development, corresponds with the Human’s perception of Time in a corresponding earlier point in history.

For example, using Neumann’s framework, one can see the ‘mythological’ persona and teachings of Jesus (and his semi-contemporary Buddha) as the collective expression of the coming ‘personal’ transcendence and autonomy of the Ego (as in: “The Kingdom is in You!”).

Perhaps we are moving forward (and backwards) to the relational paradigm?

Quotes I found from the book follow:

This integration was not necessarily anything mysti-
cal, as the rather nebulous term participation mystique might
lead one to suppose. All it means is that, in the original group,
the solidarity of the group members is to be conceived more on
the analogy of an organ in relation to the body, or of a part in
relation to the whole, than of a part in relation to the sum, and
that the whole exercised a paramount effect, so that the ego
could only free itself very slowly from the tyranny of the group.
This late birth of the ego, consciousness, and the individual is
an incontestable fact.

~~~

PSYCHOLOGICAL STAGES IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF PERSONALITY – 295

Originally it was impossible for the ego
to distinguish the source of these images, for at the stage of
participation mystique an outside could not be perceived as distinct from an inside; the two sets of images overlapped, so
that experience of the world coincided with inner experience.

This original phase, when consciousness was a sense organ,
is marked by the functions of sensation and intuition, i.e., the
perceptive functions 84 which are the first to appear both in the
development of primitives and in that of the child.

Description.

The Origins and History of Consciousness (Bollingen Series,42): Erich Neumann,R. F. C. Hull,C. G. Jung: 9780691017617: Amazon.com: Books: “Book Description
Publication Date: 1970
The first of Erich Neumann’s works to be translated into English, this eloquent book draws on a full range of world mythology to show that individual consciousness undergoes the same archetypal stages of development as has human consciousness as a whole. Neumann, one of Jung’s most creative students and a renowned practitioner of analytical psychology in his own right, shows how the stages begin and end with the symbol of the Uroboros, or tail-eating serpent. The intermediate stages are projected in the universal myths of the World Creation, Great Mother, Separation of the World Parents, Birth of the Hero, Slaying of the Dragon, Rescue of the Captive, and Transformation and Deification of the Hero. Throughout the sequence the Hero is the evolving ego consciousness.”

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In the Beginning Is the Relation by Edward Hirsch

Following on from the last post the idea of the primacy of the relationship is beautifully expressed by Edward Hirsh. This time in relationship to poetry.

In the last post with the passage from “A Bridge to Unity” the idea of participation mystique comes up in the context of shamanism.

Moreno’s tele however is universal it is not a special event – not shamansm or poetry. Tele is ever-present and the stuff we work with in relationships.

Edward Hirsh puts it beautifully though:

Amazon

This is an excerpt from his book:

How to Read a Poem: And Fall in Love With Poetry By Edward Hirsch

I found it on the wonderful

PoetryFoundation site:

“In the Beginning Is the Relation
BY EDWARD HIRSCH

The message in the bottle is a lyric poem and thus a special kind of communique. It speaks out of a solitude to a solitude; it begins and ends in silence. We are not in truth conversing by the side of the road. Rather, something has been written; something is being read. Language has become strange in this urgent and oddly self-conscious way of speaking across time. The poem has been (silently) en route—sometimes for centuries—and now it has signaled me precisely because I am willing to call upon and listen to it. Reading poetry is an act of reciprocity, and one of the great tasks of the lyric is to bring us into right relationship to each other. The relationship between writer and reader is by definition removed and mediated through a text, a body of words. It is a particular kind of exchange between two people not physically present to each other. The lyric poem is a highly concentrated and passionate form of communication between strangers—an immediate, intense, and unsettling form of literary discourse. Reading poetry is a way of connecting—through the medium of language—more deeply with yourself even as you connect more deeply with another. The poem delivers on our spiritual lives precisely because it simultaneously gives us the gift of intimacy and interiority, privacy and participation.

Poetry is a voicing, a calling forth, and the lyric poem exists somewhere in the region—the register—between speech and song. The words are waiting to be vocalized. The greatest poets have always recognized the oral dimensions of their medium. For most of human history poetry has been an oral art. It retains vestiges of that orality always. Writing is not speech. It is graphic inscription, it is visual emblem, it is a chain of signs on the page. Nonetheless: ‘I made it out of a mouthful of air,’ W. B. Yeats boasted in an early poem. As, indeed, he did. As every poet does. So, too, does the reader make, or remake, the poem out of a mouthful of air, out of breath. When I recite a poem I reinhabit it, I bring the words off the page into my own mouth, my own body. I become its speaker and let its verbal music move through me as if the poem is a score and I am its instrumentalist, its performer. I let its heartbeat pulse through me as embodied experience, as experience embedded in the sensuality of sounds. The poem implies mutual participation in language, and for me, that participation mystique is at the heart of the lyric exchange.

Many poets have embraced the New Testament idea that ‘In the beginning was the Word,’ but I prefer Martin Buber’s notion in I and Thou that ‘In the beginning is the relation.’ The relation precedes the Word because it is authored by the human. The lyric poem may seek the divine but it does so through the medium of a certain kind of human interaction. The secular can be made sacred through the body of the poem. I understand the relationship between the poet, the poem, and the reader not as a static entity but as a dynamic unfolding. An emerging sacramental event. A relation between an I and a You. A relational process.
Originally Published: January 12, 2006

BIOGRAPHY
Poet and author Edward Hirsch has built a reputation as an attentive and elegant writer and reader of poetry. Over the course of eight collections of poetry, four books of criticism, and the long-running  ‘Poet’s Choice’ column in the Washington Post, Hirsch has transformed the quotidian into poetry in his own work, as well as demonstrated his adeptness at explicating the nuances and shades of feeling, tradition, and craft at . . .

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