Sunday, 21 April 2019

Rewild Britain now to avert impending environmental and human catastrophe

North York moors, Yorkshire, England.
North York moors, Yorkshire, England.

Remnants of the Wildwood


Britain’s vast areas of wild and wuthering moorland and heath certainly have their appeal, and some of the land, such as the North York Moors, has been designated as National Parks. While many upland areas are devoid of all but heathland shrubs and grasses, thankfully there are still many fertile valleys and man-made plantations managed by the Forestry Commission.

However, if we look further back in history, we can see that what we are now left with are – by comparison – a few grotesquely-stunted remnants of a great and diverse, natural “wildwood” that covered much of Britain.

Sunday, 14 April 2019

In Search of Destiny (2019) by Etienne de L'Amour

The mystical adventure, In Search of Destiny, the second book in the series which I wrote ten years ago under the pseudonym Etienne de L'Amour, has been revised, edited, reformatted and has now been republished for the Kindle on 14 April 2019.

Although preceded by the mystical sci-fi adventure Escape from the Shadowlands, this is a stand-alone book and may be read first.

The book is available for download at:
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B007ATPCUM
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B007ATPCUM

In Search of Destiny is set in the disparate realms of the Outlands; Sher Point, the metropolis of the Freelands, and the mystical kingdom of Narayana in the East.

It tells the story of Conrad Harper, who sets out one day to search for his destiny and heart’s true desire; of the help offered him by a mysterious organization known simply as the Network; his journeys with the Master of the Tradition, Tenzing Jangbu Rinchen, and of his finding romance, ancient knowledge, unfettered awareness and wholeness of being.

And it shows how ordinary and everyday experiences, which we tend to take for granted and often do not value, can be brought into service and woven together into a rich tapestry with an altogether higher purpose.

Any help with spreading the message would be an enormous help and greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Sunday, 10 March 2019

The Battle for Hearts and Minds: Skepticism, Woo, Wikipedia and Beyond

Let me state from the outset that I very much appreciate the utility of, and need for, healthy skepticism – at Wikipedia, in the world at large, and in my personal life – especially in areas where practises and ideologies may be medically, personally, socially or culturally harmful. The emphasis here, however, is very much on the word "healthy", in both camps. A self-confessed libtard, I write, having played minor working roles in the fields of physics, electronics and computing, and having an amateur interest in the study of Eastern action-philosophy as applied in the modern West, and both traditional and modern psychology.

In December 2013, things came to a head at Wikipedia – though not for the first time and certainly not for the last – between adherents of certain fields that are considered by mainstream scientific consensus to be pseudoscience, and skeptics: "After what appears to have been several years of trying to skew Wikipedia coverage of their field to something more favourable, the Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology (ACEP) took it upon themselves to petition Wikipedia founder, Jimmy Wales to change Wikipedia policy." The petition at change.org called for "fair-minded referees".

In response to this, on 23 March 2014, Jimmy Wales replied:

"No, you have to be kidding me. Every single person who signed this petition needs to go back to check their premises and think harder about what it means to be honest, factual, truthful.

"Wikipedia's policies around this kind of thing are exactly spot-on and correct. If you can get your work published in respectable scientific journals - that is to say, if you can produce evidence through replicable scientific experiments, then Wikipedia will cover it appropriately.

"What we won't do is pretend that the work of lunatic charlatans is the equivalent of 'true scientific discourse'. It isn't."

This gave rise to an essay on Wikipedia entitled "Lunatic charlatans", which continues, and takes up the challenge:

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Game of Aeons: A short novel, republished for Kindle

Again with a little less hoo-hah than Brexit, I'm delighted to reveal that the mystical sci-fi adventure, Game of Aeons: A short novel by H.M. Forester has been revised, edited, reformatted and has now been republished for the Kindle.

Young Robin Hargreaves is looking for something to occupy his time and spice up his life. Apparently by chance, whilst perusing the wares in a second-hand shop, he is introduced to Game of Aeons, a computer simulation.

In the game, he meets up with a young lady, Ellie, who takes him under her wing. Despite her youth, Ellie has risen to the ranks of a veteran in the game and as well as a loving heart, she has a wise head on her shoulders.

Robin soon discovers that like life itself, Games of Aeons is not all beer and skittles. As he becomes more and more involved and immersed in the game, it becomes increasingly real and at times frightening. But by the time he realizes this, it is too late to back out and there is too much at stake – not only in-game but also in what we commonly and mistakenly think of as the Real World.

As it turns out, though Robin initially has no inkling of this, the game leads Robin to the greatest open secret that the world has ever known.

Sunday, 25 November 2018

“This is the Home Service calling”: The Sufi Way

“This is the Home Service calling; Home Service calling. Are you receiving us?”

We live in a world inundated with information – of fact and fiction, opinion masquerading as fact, misinformation, disinformation, and misguidance, and we exiles from the Real World are in constant and growing danger of drowning in it, and of being buried and lost, like a hidden treasure, beneath an ever-growing mountain of egotism and globalized sham-materialism.

Perhaps we are not in a position to do much, at the present moment, about the all-pervasive beast of sham-materialism, but as the wise saying goes, “If you want to change the world, first change yourself”. As a part of that more manageable, but nevertheless difficult task – not least the question of how to get in touch with our own self at our authentic core and discover its real needs (as opposed to its desires) – we can turn our attention to how we communicate – with ourselves, with others, and with something transcendent that has risen above our own miserable difficulties.

So, we turn first to facts.

Of course, facts are very useful as correctives to misconceptions or misguidance (if we can sift out fact from opinion, falsity and fake news), and to provide pointers to remedial material and growth – I don't doubt that for a minute. But it needs to be emphasized that knowing a fact such as “Apples are nutritious” is not at all the same thing as actually eating, digesting and deriving nutritional benefits from a fruit. As Alfred Korzybsk is reported to have once said, the map is not the territory, or more accurately in his own words: “A map is not the territory it represents, but, if correct, it has a similar structure to the territory, which accounts for its usefulness.” So the fact that certain fruit are nutritious might be useful in getting us to actually research nutrition and locate and consume suitably nutritious foods; though its limitations would be disclosed if it were to lead a person instead to binge on crisps and chocolate biscuits and eventually become obese.

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

The inspired self, and intuition: The Sufi Way

“How will I know if I'm being inspired and intuitive?”

Mind brain connections.
“How will I know if I'm being inspired and intuitive?”

In individual instances, you may every now and again realize that something you've thought, or said, or done, was in some way inspired, and you may congratulate yourself on what you take to be *your* inspiration, or you may assign congratulations to some “other”, perhaps someone who has influenced you, or to a psychic Muse.

Overall, however, you may not think “I'm inspired” or “I'm intuitive” and label yourself as such, in the early stages of such mastery. These instances may be few and far between, apparently random, or sporadic, and the process may well be prone to error.

Let's move on a few years, though, and say that one of your interests is computer programming, which most people would take to be a logical or “left brain” task. After that time, you may be able to look back, and see that in the initial stages, the tasks you set yourself were all very mechanical, approached in a very logical and methodical way, and perhaps that you surrounded yourself with a wall of reference books that you frequently consulted, out of necessity, to “borrow” material, or “just to be sure”. But now, years down the line, instead of being unsure about your abilities, when you are presented with a task, you may know instantly that some way or other the project is feasible, and even if you don't yet know how to complete it, you know whether or not you're likely to be able to find a solution either by yourself or with the aid of others who have already completed similar tasks. While initially it was more a matter of theoretical “know what” (which you can now see is “ten a penny”), now the primary approach is practical “know how”, and you can rest on the assurance that you have successfully completed similar, complex tasks before, and at the same time you realize that you may have to attempt several different approaches to the task, and often hit “brick walls” that you cannot get over, before you eventually complete the task.

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Being How to Be: The Sufi Way

Whisperings of Love.
In the course of his lifetime, the thinker and teacher in the Sufi mystical tradition, Idries Shah wrote many books, including Learning How to Learn (a preparatory stage of study); Seeker After Truth; The Commanding Self; and Knowing How to Know. Some of these works alternate between more-didactic passages and narratives, poetry, and specially-designed teaching stories which, like an onion, contain layers of deeper meaning. Other works such as Tales of the Dervishes are collections of traditional teaching stories.

"Learning how to learn", "seeing how to see", and "knowing how to know" are abilities to develop and goals along the way, I would say, toward a more distant and yet immanent goal experienced in the here and now, which is "closer than your jugular vein", as the Sufis would say — awakening and "being how to be", which is a way of Being.

One of the tales first introduced in Shah's seminal work, The Sufis features the wise-fool Mulla Nasrudin, who is tasked with ferrying a pedant across a stretch of water.

Never Know When It Might Come in Useful

Nasrudin sometimes took people for trips in his boat. One day a fussy pedagogue hired him to ferry him across a very wide river.

As soon as they were afloat the scholar asked whether it was going to be rough.

‘Don’t ask me nothing about it,’ said Nasrudin.

‘Have you never studied grammar?’

‘No,’ said the Mulla.

‘In that case, half your life has been wasted.’

The Mulla said nothing.

Soon a terrible storm blew up. The Mulla’s crazy cockleshell was filling with water.

He leaned over towards his companion. ‘Have you ever learnt to swim?’

‘No,’ said the pedant.

‘In that case, schoolmaster, ALL your life is lost, for we are sinking.’