Friday, 28 December 2012

What would Idries Shah think of social media?

Someone across at Idries Shah's Facebook page recently asked what the late writer and thinker would have made of social media like Facebook.

I'm sure Shah would have had many things to say about on-line social networking: some rather positive about the way the internet can bring people together from far-flung places and help disseminate information (as well as misinformation and disinformation), and doubtless he'd also make some rather astute and less complimentary observations.

I wouldn't like to second guess the man, however, but there are some things in our own fields of expertise that we are perfectly capable of working out for ourselves. We don't need to be advanced Sufi mystics to ask ourselves why, for example, over 900,000 people at Facebook would fall for a scam like the R.I.P. Morgan Freeman Facebook page and not bother to check reliable sources elsewhere to find that the actor is in reality still very much alive; or – better still – why we might have fallen for such a patent falsehood. Or why, in their wisdom, Facebook has still not deleted the page, in spite of thousands of Facebook users reporting it as a distasteful scam. Perhaps because the inalienable constitutional right to free speech outweighs harm done or outweighs the simple common sense that we were once born with?

Anyhow, shortly after that question was posted, someone followed me across at Twitter, and rather than simply click to follow them back, I had a look at their public profile.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Etienne de L'Amour: An interview with myself

Q: What prompted you to write the books in the Shadowlands series?

Etienne: The roots of the idea go back a long way ... indeed such things perhaps go back further than we might imagine?

One early influence, which prompted the idea of the mystics and their mountain retreat at babs chu, was the 1937 film, Lost Horizon, which I watched as a child, much of which was set at a mythical place called Shangri-la in the valley of the Blue Moon. Another was reading the explorer Alexandra David-Neel's With Mystics and Magicians in Tibet. Much later, as a young adult, I studied the original 1933 novel Lost Horizon by James Hilton, as part of a creative writing course. By that time I'd also found an interest in esoteric traditions and spiritual ways such as Buddhism and Zen; and I was intrigued by the possibility that there might be more to the world than met the untutored eye. Something far more subtle, hidden and largely forgotten.

Another major influence was a nervous breakdown I experienced in the mid-1980s, which I'd describe as “blowing my mind on God”. It was a rememberance or awakening of sorts that went awry, and one for which I was at that time utterly ill-prepared.

Monday, 17 December 2012

In the age of information ...

“In the age of information, ignorance is a choice.”
~ Donny Miller.

• By Etienne de L'Amour ~ Google+