Tuesday, 14 October 2014

The prodigious Work of the Sufis: Book review

The Sufis (2014) by Idries Shah
The Sufis by Idries Shah offers a wide overview of the historical development of the Sufi Way, through the works of individual masters (many of whom were highly successful polymaths), schools and orders, and through a whole host of fields in which they were engaged or through which their work was projected, such as religion, ethics, learning, science, the arts, traditional psychology and (not least) humour. Though it came to maturity in the classical Islamic era, the Sufi Way (which may be thought of in part as the esoteric heart of [exoteric] religion), it is said to have been a vital "yeast" or leaven in societies since time immemorial.

The Sufis shows the extraordinary and largely unknown or unsuspected influence and shaping of society, of what some term the "Ancient Teachings" or the "Secret Doctrine", not only in the East but also gradually diffusing throughout Medieval Christondom, a process which continues to this day, being re-presented as ever in accordance with the needs of time, place and people.

There's little point in reading out a list of the many topics covered by the chapters in the book, but suffice it to say that the Sufis influenced or were behind a great many of our institutions, or that these institutions are relics of previously dynamic Sufic operations. At random, then, we can see this Sufic influence in our poetry; literature; mythology; magic; alchemy; freemasonry; and in the Troubadour movement (with the concept of chivalry, romantic love and hence much modern music that has come along in its wake).

Saturday, 16 August 2014

21st century Sufism meets Self-realization?

In a promotional review of Irving Karchmar's Master of the Jinn, which I recently read, the reviewer writes: 'There is an added social component in the novel: the modernization of Sufism. At the beginning of the 20th century, Muhammad Iqbal wrote Asrar-e-Khudi (The Secrets of Self), a Sufi love poem which argued that negation (fana'), the longstanding obsession of the mystic, had to be replaced with affirmation (khudi). Without it, Sufism would become irrelevant in the modern world.'

Delving a little deeper into Muhammad Iqbal's biography yields a little more about his thinking:

'In the development of this dynamic philosophy, which is expressed in Bergsonian vitalistic terms (although unlike Bergson, Iqbal regards God as being outside the process of history), the key role is played by the twin terms khudi ('self') and 'ishq ('absorbing love' or elan vital). The goal of this ethical dynamism is to expand and fortify the self (which is the only way to individual survival after death), since only when an enlarged and fortified self is realized can a meaningful community of the faithful be launched on earth as the prophet Muhammad was able ...'

~ The Hole Pitcher.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Free review copies of Etienne de L'Amour and H.M. Forester's ebooks

Review copies of all the current ebooks by Etienne de L'Amour and H.M. Forester, published by Sher Point Publications, UK, are now no longer available except on an individual basis. Sorry.

King's Fellows Garden, Cambridge, England

However, you can still buy the books at just $2.99 each from Amazon (or the nearest permitted equivalent outside the US).

For more details see the blog post: "Which are the best books to read first?" I'd particularly recommend In Search of Destiny (mystical adventure) and Game of Aeons (soft scifi / virtual reality).

Above all else, enjoy!

• By Etienne de L'Amour ~ Google+

Image: Sculpture by Barbara Hepworth in Cambridge/U.K. (King's Fellows Garden).
Photographic credit: Attila Malarik from Cambridge, United Kingdom.
Image source: Wikimedia Commons: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cambridge_Secret_garden.jpg

Saturday, 8 March 2014

What do you make of Katie Hopkins?

Katie Hopkins is a British tabloid newspaper columnist and television personality who has become notorious for her controversial opinions on the woes of modern society. She is especially active on the social media network Twitter, where she appears to be waging a crusade or a psychological and ideological warfare campaign, under the Twitter handle @KTHopkins.

For her part, Katie Hopkins maintains that she is 'telling it like it is'; giving voice to opinions that she believes society really thinks but is afraid to or too politically correct (PC) to openly talk about; and that it's 'all panto'. I'll let you decide.

Katie Hopkins' twitter profile

Like Marmite (a popular brand of yeast extract), some love her for bravely stating and standing by her beliefs, and for what they see as her brutal honesty and for her wit; while others hate her for what they in turn see as attention-seeking, narcissistic, monochromatic and inflammatory right wing views. She is nothing if not provocative and divisive.