Thoughts on: “The Journey to the East” by Hermann Hesse

This short and sweet books became the next stop for my Hermann Hesse obsession.

—-

The story has magical, almost mystical feel to it. Almost impossible to understand at times, but we are being warned, that the story about to be told about the journey to the East, is an untellable story. It’s not just a journey in space, but also in time. It’s is also both biographical and fictional.

—-

The main character, H.H, loses touch with himself, his Being and his previously natural creativity. In an attempt to re-live past days of glory he sets out to write an account of his greatest adventure; his journey to the East with The League.

—-

The League is a secret society that he ones where part of, with roots going back thousands of years. Famous members including both real and fictional hotshots like Plato, Mozart, Pythagoras, Don Quixote, Puss in Boots, and the ferryman Vasudeva (from Siddhartha) just to name a few.

—-

”But no account of David (note: King David that is.) can prove to me that life is not just a game. That is just what life is when it’s beautiful and happy —- a game! Naturally, one can also do all kinds of other things with it, make a duty of it, or a battleground, or a prison, but that does not make it any prettier? Goodbye, pleased to have met you!”

– Leo to H.H in Journey to the East.

—-

It’s an honest and personal story about the cycle faith gained, lost and regained. The unending search for enlightenment.

—-

It didn’t grab me right away but when I got into it I couldn’t put it down before I reached the last page. Beautiful book!

—-

What should be my next Hesse book? 🤔Btw. Just ordered The Stranger by Camus. So expect more classic fiction going forward! 😊

——

4/5

Get the Book!

 

Check out my reading lists for more great books!

 

The Bible of Fake News. Thoughts on “Trust me, I’m Lying”.


This book left me humbled. I thought I was on top of my media game and was able to separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. I was wrong.

I knew the situation was bad, I even quit following “the news” 3 years ago because I thought it misrepresented reality to a larger degree than it represented it (and for the sake of my own my wellbeing), but Ryan Holidays confessions from his career as a media manipulator paints a darker picture than I could ever imagine.

—-

📝 The constraints of blogging create artificial content (shamings, planted stories, sensational speculations etc..), which is made real and impacts the outcome of real world events.

—-

📝 Trading up the chain: How to turn nothing into something! Send stories to small traffic hungry blogs with non-existing editorial standards and have them being picked up by bigger and bigger outlets until your fabricated story is national news.

—-

📝 “The world is boring, but the news is exciting. It’s a paradox of modern life.”

—-

📝 Top stories all polarize people. Threaten peoples belonging, belief or behavior and you will have a hit that will spreads!

—-

📝 The economics of the web has made it impossible to portray the complex situation of Detroit accurately. Photographs of abandoned houses was shared like crazy while photos of the same houses with it’s despairing residents included was “too sad to share”, creating less incentive for media. Simple narratives > complex realities.

—-

📝 On User Engagement: Provoke a person enough for them to be motivated to leave a comment. In the process of registering to be eligible to comment, a user has to go through up to 10 pageviews. That’s a lot of ads (and ad revenue!).

—-

⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

Sensational and fearmongering headlines has always made me sad. Understanding the structure and constraints of click-based media is essential. These structure explains almost everything they do. It’s the nature of the system.

——

4/5

Get the Book!

Check out my reading lists for more great books!

Thoughts on: “The Wisdom of Insecurity” by Alan Watts

I’m focusing on notes this time around!

——

Watts does a really great job at explaining ideas that seem to be at the core of most religious and spiritual teachings.

——

📝 The Law of Reversed Effort. ”When you try to stay on the surface of water, you sink; but when you try to sink you float. When you hold your breath, you lose it— which immediately calls to mind an ancient and much neglected saying, “Whosoever would save his soul shall lose it.”

——

📝 There is a contradiction between the desire of being secure and fact of change. We want to be separate from the life of flux and change to feel secure and that, paradoxically, create the sense of loneliness and fear. “The desire for security and the fear of insecurity are the same thing”.

——

📝 “You want to escape the pain, but the more you struggle to escape, the more you inflame the agony”.

——

📝 “Look!”

——

📝 Money is as a token for wealth. “In somewhat the same way, thoughts, ideas and words are “coins” for real things”. They represent them but are not those things. Words are fixed while what they represent change.

——

📝 “When each moment becomes an expectation life is deprived of fulfillment, and death is dreaded for it seems that here expectations must come to an end”.

——

📝 “So long as there is the motive to become something, so long as the mind believes in the possibility of escape from what is at this moment, there can be no freedom”.

—-

🤯 Is the brain really good for us? Or is it taking on a destructive evolutionary specialization by our focus on trying to predict the future?

—-

⚖️ This book is a given in the library of the spiritually minded reader, alongside modern classics like the works of Eckhart Tolles, and timeless classic like Bhagavad Gita and Tao Te Ching.

—-

5/5

Get the Book!

Check out my reading lists for more great books!

Thoughts on: “Long Walk to Freedom” by Nelson Mandela

This book was really really hard for me to get into. I had a hard time to relating to the his story, and the politics and courtroom drama was a snooze for me. The only thing keeping me going with this book was that I felt is was important for me to familiarize with Nelson Mandela’s achievements in the lifelong struggle against apartheid. He was an extraordinarily man to say the least.

——

📝 “Habit makes everything look bland; it is sleep-inducing. Jumping to a different perspective is a way of waking oneself up again.” This quote reminds me of Montaigne, who loved this perspective switching trick all the time in his writing.

—-

📝 “A freedom fighter learns the hard way that it is the oppressor that defines the nature of the struggle.” After using all the tools of non-violent resistance – only to be beaten down hard – the AMC had to turn to violence and fight fire with fire.

——

📝 After a successful term as president, he declined not to run again, this was to set an example of power being turned over to the next generation.

——

⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

Resilience, Forgiveness and Perseverance. These are the traits I associate with Mandela. “We should forget the past and concentrating on building a better future for all”. His focus on the future and forgiveness – rather than revenge – hastened the abolition of apartheid, I think.

—-

I’m not regretting pushing myself through this tome of a book, quite the opposite, I feel like another missing puzzle piece in my history education is found and put in place.

——

What booked bored you, but you felt reading it was important enough to keep going? 🤔

——

3/5

——

Photo credit: @ildarabbit (Instagram)

Get the Book!

 

Check out my reading lists for more great books!

Are you Man Enough? Thoughts on: KING WARRIOR MAGICIAN LOVER

Do we face a crisis in masculine identity? This books claims that’s the case. The disintegration of traditional family systems being one reason – but it’s not whole story.

——

There are two other factors:

——

Lack of initiation into manhood leaves modern society to a dominance of Boy psychology.

——

The other factor is patriarchy which is the expression of the immature masculine. What today is called patriarchy is really “puerarcy” (I.e the rule of boys) – like Lord of the flies! An expression of boy psychology and the shadow (crazy) side of mature masculinity. The authors see patriarchy as an attack on both masculinity and femininity in its fullest. Boys fear women and boys fear real men.

——

So how do we deal with this? In lack of rituals we have to each find our own way to Man psychology and that’s the purpose of the book. To help us on our way by showing how to access the mature masculine energies.

——

📝 For initiation rituals to work there needs to be a death. Effective, transformative initiation slays the ego. This is not the case for our modern initiations (I.e military, criminal gangs).

——-

📝 The Patriarchal male does not welcome full masculine and feminine development. The more beauty, maturity, creativity and generativity we display the more envy, and hate we generate in superiors and peers.

——-

📝 King, Warrior, Magician, Lover being the dominant masculine archetypes. We have all archetypes within us. Like board members we need to make all of them heard.

——

📝 We can only admire others if we have a sense of our own worthiness.

——

📝 Kings in the ancient world was often ritually killed when their ability to live out the King archetype began to fail.

——

📝 If we are not secure enough in our inner structure, we will rely on our performance in the outer world to bolster our self confidence.

——

TAKEAWAY:

By learning about the archetypes and their shadow versions we can assess them in ourself. I have a hard time imagining anyone reading this book without getting an aha- moment for sudden insights, whether it’s about yourself or people around you. Loved it!

——

I posted my full notes on my site. (LINK IN BIO.)

——

5/5

——

Archetype are you most aligned with?

Get the Book!Extended Notes

Check out my reading lists for more great books!

Thoughts on: “Improv Wisdom” by Patricia Ryan Madson

I picked up this book because it was recommended in #StevenPressfield s book Turning Pro. The idea is to use techniques from Improvisational theatre to enhance spontaneity and spiritual satisfaction in everyday life.

——

I’m quite stuck in my ways of doing thing and thought it might help me loosen up a bit.

——

The ideas where not mindblowingly original but still holds true:

🔸Make mistakes!

🔹Act Now!

🔸Gratitude!

🔹Enjoy the journey!

🔸Show up!

🔹Start from where you are!

🔸Be average!

🔹Pay attention!

🔸Face the facts!

——

📝 “Improv is like tai chi for the soul” wrote a former student”…”it provides a workout that helps to shake loose rigid patterns of thinking and doing”.

——

📝 Charles Darwin: ”In the long history of humankind (and animalkind,too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most efficiently have prevailed.”

——

📝 Be Average! There is a paradox that when we are trying hard the result is often disappointing. Take the pressure off! When we try too hard our performance get jinxed.

——

📝 “Make the decision to be a person who notices and remembers names, and then start learning them”.

——

📝 “Beyond all other freedoms our greatest liberty is to choose our attitude”.

——

⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

There is an opportunity cost for books that only reinforce concepts that you already are familiar with (I.e you could spend that time on something more challenging). To remedy this I did something I usually not do. I did the accompanying challenges that came with the book – and that what provided me with lasting value. They where quite simple but could be quite eyeopening. I learned that it’s hard to really pay attention, I was reminded that saying “yes” usually takes you more interesting places than saying “no” and how devoting yourself to others can be quite rewarding.

——

3/5

——

Do you ever do the “try this”, “challenges” sections of Howto-books? 🤔

Get the Book!

Check out my reading lists for more great books!

Thoughts on: “Tao te Ching” by Lao Tsu

I can see a possible scenario in the future, where I’m a greying old man, and I praise this book as profound and monumental. But let’s face it, It did not do much for me right now.

——

I enjoyed it quite a bit and something tells me this book is special, but I don’t feel I have access to all its layers yet. It feel pointless to put a number on a book like this and therefore I won’t.

——

The book is lightweight with it’s 81 aphorisms of Chinese wisdom – most of which doesn’t even cover half a page in the book. But it demands reflection. ——

📝 The oldest version excavated was dated back to 400 years BC.

——

📝 “The truth is not always beautiful, nor beautiful words the truth.”

——

📝”A man with outward courage dares to die; a man with inner courage dares to live.”

——

📝 ”To understand the limitation of things, desire them.”

——

⭐️ Takeaway:

Non-Attachment, non-Judgment and non-Resistance. We have heard it all before. These principles are easy to understand intellectually but so hard to master.

——

My current plan is to get more editions (with different annotations) of Tao te Ching and keep going back to it every other year or so.

——

What’s your relationship to this book?

——

?/5

Get the Book!

Check out my reading lists for more great books!

Thoughts on: “Demian” by Hermann Hesse

The story revolves around young Sinclair and the difficult task of finding ones self. Growing up in a protected and pious middle class home he eventually has to face the real world. Sinclair gets a new mysterious classmates, Demian, who guides him to detach and revolt from the superficial world of form and awaken to his true self.

——

📝 Abraxas: A deity combining the godlike and the devilish.

——

📝 “All I really wanted was to try and live the life that was spontaneously welling up within me. Why was that so very difficult?”

——

📝 “When we hate a person, what we hate in his image is something inside ourselves. Whatever isn’t inside us can’t excite us.”

——-

⭐️ Takeaway:

About the previous quote: If that’s the case – and by observing this phenomenon for a while I believe there is some truth to it – then even when someone irritates us, we can use that as an opportunity to learn more I out ourselves. I kinda like that quote for that reason.

——

📊 My Amateur Jungian Analysis: Sinclair is the “Ego”, Kromer his “Shadow” and Demian the “Self”. Lady Eve is the “Anima” (the unconscious feminine side of a man). One of Jungs anima levels is even named “Eve”. By opening up to Lady Eve, Sinclair becomes complete. He and Damien become one.

—-

⚖️ Verdict:

This a mysterious and short (100 pages!) coming of age story for philosophically minded reader. Pauses for contemplation are needed between each chapters. The best 3$ spent this year!

——

For those who read already: What do you think Demian did to get Kromer of Sinclair’s back?

——

What short book blew your mind recently?

——

4/5

Get the Book!

Check out my reading lists for more great books!

Thoughts on: “Nonviolent Communication” by Marshall Rosenberg

Rosenberg teaches you practical skills for getting your needs met in a peaceful way. “Nonviolent communication helps us create a more peaceful state of mind by encouraging us to focus on what we truly wanting rather than what is wrong with ourself and others.”

——

Mediocre writing and terrible narration aside (for the audio version that is), this gem of a book is likely to change the way speak to yourself and others in a profound way.

——-

📝 “When my consciousness is forcused on another persons feelings and needs, I see the universality of our experience”.

——

📝 In cultures that judge, violence is more prevalent.

——

📝 It’s important that we take responsibility for our feelings, and that we in no way imply that what others say and do makes us feel the way we do.

——

📝 J. Krishnamurti: “Observing without evaluating is the highest form of human intelligence”.

——

📝 It might be worth trying to pull out of people what they really mean with what they are saying to find out what needs aren’t met. Your initial interpretation might be wrong! And It’s not our fault, society has not conditioned us to express ourself properly.

——

📝 When you find you inner critic getting on your case about something you did, then ask yourself – What unmet need of mine is being expressed through these statements?

——

⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

We need to be precise in our speech.

——

“Non-Violent Communication” is the perfect compliment “Crucial Conversations”. Read them both and master the principles (easier said than done!) and you will have saved yourself and the people around you from a ton of unnecessary suffering.

——-

If you could add one more book to create the holy trinity of communication books, which one would that be? 🤔

——

4/5

——

Photo credit: @monica.bitar (instagram)

 Get the Book!

Check out my reading lists for more great books!

Thoughts on: “In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts” by Gabor Maté

Dr. Gabors is specialized in the study and treatment of addiction. His book offers portraits of his patient lives, stories about his own addictive behaviors, it examines the causes behind addiction and it breaks down the path to recovery.

——

He opposes the weight that’s been put on the genetic component of addiction and points at stresses in early childhood (even pre-natal stresses) as the main risk factor. He is a big proponent of more compassion in society’s view of addicts and explains the futility of the “war on drugs”.

——-

An excellent introduction to the complex problem of addiction!

——-

📝 “As a rule, whatever we don’t deal with in our lives we pass on to our children” -Our unfinished emotional business becomes theirs.

——

📝 Addiction = Fear of emptiness.

——

📝 Proximal separation: Physically there but mentally absent when parenting. Children experiencing this look to use external couping mechanisms like thumb sucking or tuning out. These kids have great chances of seeking refuge in drugs later on in life.

——

📝 Gabors recommends the teachings of Eckhart Tolle and the book Rosenberg’s book “Non-violent Communication” (I just got it!)

——

📝 Circumstances for brain development differs. Some have had positive experiences that others have been deprived of. Think about this before you judge.

——

📝 Parents, and mothers in particular, are getting less and less of the suppport they need during their children’s early years. This is a cultural breakdown of cataclysmical scale. Therefore the raise in adhd.

——

📝 “All problems are psychological, but all solutions are spiritual”

——

📝 “Only healthy nurturing relationships with adults will prevent kids from getting lost in the peer world. A loss of orientation that leads rapidly to drug use.”

——

⭐️ TAKEAWAY: Regardless of your degree of addiction or whether your drug of choice is heroin, TV, food or shopping – reading the stories and research presented in this book will help to shine a light on your own addictive tendencies.

——

My struggles have been with nicotine and refined carbohydrates. What’s your addictions? 🤔😀

——

PS: The audiobook version of this book is excellent!

——

5/5

Photo credit: @darcy_renea_lalimo (Instagram)

 

Get the Book!

Check out my reading lists for more great books!