The Map of Heaven – by Dr. Eben Alexander & Ptolemy Tompkins.

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This was an interesting read written by a Neurosurgeon who experienced a near-death experience. He is obviously very well read as he quotes a great arsenal of influential philosophers and whatnot. The book is easy to read (but not too much); you’ll race through it in no time. My only critique is that it gets a bit repetitive at times.

Dr. Alexander is one of those people who don’t believe in organised religion but rather thinks that we are all united in describing the same phenomena but in slightly different ways. The book contains several letters sent to the author where people describe all sorts of “paranormal” experiences/behaviour.

The bottom line is that hell doesn’t exists; all you feel when you step over to “the other side” is endless love; you’ll also meet your loved ones once again, if you are open for it. When I shared this with my brother, he revealed to me that there are plenty of stories of unpleasant near-death experiences out there, something that surprised me as I’ve certainly never read or seen anything like that. Who knows? Maybe it sells more to write about unconditional love without any rules of conduct to obtain it…

It is interesting that the superior “beings” (angels?) from not just Dr.Alexander’s experience but other ones as well, describe clouds of light, or beings that are just light – makes me think of something else I’m currently reading – hmmmm…*cough* *cough* … the Bible….

According to Dr.Alexander you can get in touch with the creator-force of this universe by immersing yourself in binaural beats and meditation. It is obvious that the Doctor feels that his message is an important one; as we all need to understand that we all come from the same life-force and will be re-united with it on this “other” spiritual plateau of existence after death; maybe even before if meditating and “Ommmmmm”-ing enough.

Love is the message of this book. Be kind and don’t worry. The end is nothing to be afraid of. You are not alone. You are loved. Amen.

 

 

Memed, My Hawk by Jasjar Kemal.

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After having read so much serious and factual material it felt strange to embark on a work of fiction. In many ways it reminded me of watching a piece of drama while downing popcorn which is something I seldom do. The book feels long and is probably of interest to those who enjoy easy escapism into a distant slightly altered reality. Kemal offers a very amusing portrayal of “the people;” meaning the wavering of opinions and general dodging of uncomfortable confrontations – even if it results in the imprisonment of an innocent. The work features a villain who abuses the villagers under his command; rather than a cry for political reform (which could have been his intent), the author offers an excellent assortment of different characters with opposing temperaments and traits, a talent that will always stand the test of time as social structures and how they are applied are merely a reflection of “the tribe” inhabiting and operating said system rather than a total result of “capitalism” or “feudalism”or any other structure in and of itself – unless the social construct is the design of said group in addition. In which case the whole package reflects the ethnicity behind it a 100%. One must be careful to blame religion for example as the sole catalyst for warfare historically, which is an absolute incorrect assumption many hold. The only way that war, conflicts or suffering could potentially/theoretically be avoided would be through the drastic genetic alteration of “man,” which goes to show you how awkward it is to believe in a “peaceful state of nature.” The State of Nature is violent and brutal; Β injustice is therefore something that we should expect, as even a “just society” where everyone reaps what they’ve sown will be fundamentally unequal. Something to think about for those who believe that the simple removal of capitalism, for example, with the introduction of absolute communism will create some sort of utopian state….

This book came into my possession thanks to my grandfather, who insisted that I had to take it with me last time I visited him. The work literally smells like my granddad’s old apartment so it has a personal, nostalgic value for sure. My copy of “Memed, My Hawk” has been translated from its original Turkish to Norwegian – which is important for me obviously, since I live abroad speaking and writing in another language! My copy was published in 1971 by Aschehoug. There seems to be some text missing in the middle of the work, I assume this must have fallen out during the translation/printing. There are also some very apparent typos in this section as well, but these obvious flaws are reserved for a relatively small portion of the book.

Some quotes I enjoyed from these 294 pages:

“Ethvert menneske vokser til og utvikler seg i overensstemmelse med den jordbunn det er fΓΈdt pΓ₯.”

“Bare drΓΈmmene levde. Den menneskelige innbilningskraft kjenner ingen grenser, uansett hvor snevert synsfeltet er.”

“NΓ₯r et menneske snakker, er faren at det skal gΓ₯ til grunne av sorg, allerede halvveis overvunnet.”

“Mennesket gΓ₯r med Γ₯pne ΓΈyne i dΓΈden.”

“Og da tankene hans fΓΈrst hadde sprengt den trange livssirkelen som den skjebnebestemte makteslΓΈsheten satte opp, sΓ₯ ble det ogsΓ₯ lidenskapeligere.”

Gi Aldri Opp! “Never Give Up!” by Heidi LΓΈke.

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This was a very straightforward and easy read authored or co-authored by one of the world’s best handball players. Heidi comes from a very atypical Norwegian family by today’s standards. If I remember correctly they were 7 siblings in total, raised by very religious and traditionalist parents. Maybe it was to counter this that the opening of the work was so very vulgar … the book is off to a shocking start where it is described how LΓΈke was trying to make her genitalia more like a penis, as a child, in order to be more like her brothers … (straight up the alley of any post-modernist in other words)….after this opening the book goes on to reveal a “good Christian girl” from a very respectable family of good standing in the community without neither divorce or any other official scandals.

Her brother played on the National team for male handball players and is refered to as her big hero; she writes about all of her siblings in detail and ultimately dedicates her book and her victories to her parents who were very involved with all of their children, despite her father working several jobs. I’m assuming that her mother was a homemaker as no profession is mentioned. It is described how she would cook several meals from scratch everyday, to provide every child with what he or she wanted. According to LΓΈke, they were fed to be sturdy sportsmen/women.

Heidi describes an ideal Norwegian upbringing …Β before technology made us all too busy to just go and knock on the door of our peers ….Β They were not wealthy, but were certainly an extremely close-knit family, with Heidi moving home to her mum and dad on several occasions despite being in her 20s. Considering how Norwegian society emphasises independence at all costs, it is certainly encouraging to read about a more old-fashioned family.

Heidi reveals some of the hardships that professional athletes have to cope with, Β but I regret that she doesn’t go more in-depth in regards to her injuries, etc; It is especially shocking to read the sequence dealing with her coach in Hungary, where yelling at the players and weighting them in front of the entire team was the norm. Abusing athletes psychologically goes against anything I’ve ever read about successful coaching, Heidi also writes in her book that the experience certainly made her aware of how well you are treated as a sports person in Scandinavia. Still it certainly raised my eyebrows when I read about how she was treated as “replaceable” by her Norwegian club before she went on to become a living legend. It is especially interesting that she had to supplement her income when playing for a professional team in Norway and that she was pretty much “taken for a ride,” since her value as a player increased without her salary reflecting this until she fought for a raise….

One would think that athletes would be treated with a little bit more respect…especially if active on the national team……

As I said the book was extremely easy to get through. It only took me an evening. It would have been interesting if the book went a bit deeper, describing in detail how she prepares herself for her matches, etc; It gives off the air of being a superficial read, but I’m guessing that she didn’t want to bore her fans with too many “geeky” details.

If anything, the book could be used as an argument as to how important it is to have the support of a close-knit family and how family values needs to be more prioritized in our “fractured” modern progressive society.

 

 

Live Better & Longer by Michel Cymes.

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This book was really good actually. I came across this one in January, when all the self-help books were displayed right by the main entrance in the book store, to entice and lure all of those who feel like changing their lives for a couple of weeks when the new year kicks in πŸ˜› … (the majority of people out there forget about their new year’s resolution before January is even over :O )

Of course all of this was right up my alley as I’ve been reading about mental-training etc, since 2010/2011, I meditate everyday and lead a very healthy life-style too. To my disappointment though it turned out that some of my purchases weren’t that good … but it is advisable to read lots of different authors and their take on the very same topic in order to get a good, balanced overview of things.

I enjoyed Cyme’s work because if was precise. What you get are proper lists with in-depth descriptions telling you what is good for you and what is not. It is being sold to you in a credible way that makes sense if you’ve read other “well-being” articles and mental training books, etc; Nothing of what is discussed is unreasonable and of course the work instantly bears more weight as the author is/was a doctor. Β There was some information that was totally new to me so I certainly learned some new things.

The work is written in a very light manner but without being dumb. It is a genuine page turner, which is a rare find when it comes to these type of books!

If you are up for some no-non-sense truths written by a guy who knows how to convey his knowledge very well , then spend some bucks on this one. You will not regret it!

 

L’ Art De La SimplicitΓ© By Dominique Loreau.

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As I read through the English translation of this work I often found myself wondering if I was reading a collection of social media “wisdom” posts bundled into one giant literary fortune cookie.

I don’t mean to be rude in kind of way, but I certainly understand why serious scientists become nauseated by the “self-help-industry.”

This book is at times self-contradictory, and without any kind of bibliography, which means that you just have to believe what the author is presenting you with.

It’s interesting how these type of works are perceived and marketed as “revolutionary” and eye-opening. When the value of a bible has been dethroned we crown new-age philosophers as our saviours. Pretty funny in a way. Just makes me think of all of these wonderful “International Holidays” we have. They seem to multiply by the hour. Today it’s International Theatre Day & Muslim Womens Day in case you weren’t aware of it. Who needs Saints when the UN can create an abundance of unifying global celebrations.

L’Art De La simplicitΓ© does offer some good advice. The main issue here is if you are a critical reader and you notice discrepancies and pseudo-science.

Throughout the book Loreau repeats how poverty is deprivation of what enriches the soul, whereas materialistic richness is true destitution. It’s better to not have anything in your house that could attract a burglar as this would only add stress to your life.

According to Loreau ” An open, alert mind is more important than the quality of our comprehension.”

She also argues that ” A person who depends on others to get what he or she wants is a beggar.”

” Tell yourself you are not a creative person, and you will never become one.” She also says, which is a false claim. Creativity is a state of being, regardless of circumstances, self-doubt or age. Imagination and the ability to express it manifests itself at an early age.

“‘Successful’ people … never doubt their own ability to obtain the things they aspire to.” This is probably why performance psychology is so popular in sports among top athletes……..as everyone knows CEOs are always confident, same thing with artists.

“Impoverished when we allow ourselves to be caught up in the relentless machinery of competitiveness.” Much if not all advancement has been the result of competition, even people picking up books like these might do it to beat their peers. Life is about competition. Getting the resources, getting the best spouse, getting the dream job, etc; Nature=Competition, competition for survival.

” It also means not making them feel jealous, bitter, or envious.” The work speaks about how we are all responsible for our own thoughts and actions, so how can it then be my fault if someone “chooses” to be envious of me?

“In an ideal society, where no one seeks to accumulate wealth and riches, there are no thieves.” Such a society does not exist in the real world. Even if a society was impoverished you would see people getting killed over poultry and herbs. This sentence contradicts the very basis of human nature. It is not our inclination to share or be grateful, these attributes have to be taught to self-centred children. We have to be socially conditioned to share.

” No one can hurt us unless we allow them to. Hurt only occurs when we interpret the facts of what has occurred in our own minds.” Not true. Constantly obsessing over negative experiences will not make you happy and can easily lead to a depression. But if someone says or do something hurtful there will be an instant reaction, you’ll instantly be hurt there and then, especially if there is an association to similar situations in the past.

On page 149 it says: ” The real you is there inside, not in the image you offer to the world through your personality. Close your eyes, relax, take your time, then visualise your ideal image, life-sized. Make it exactly as you wish … This is your real you. The body you have today will gradually mould to the shape of the image you have visualised.”

On page 151: “Work on your affirmations” followed by a long list of mantras.

But on page 194 it says: ” We play the roles of people we would like to become, but these are false by definition. Don’t just recite empty life maxims and affirmations.” I’m all for the re-invention of the self but what I’ve pasted in above is self-contradictory. We project a “publishable” friendly public image of ourselves when we are up and about. This is not the entire truth but it is still you, even though it is just a part of you. Just because you want to enhance certain aspects of yourself doesn’t mean that you’ll abandon the memory or traces of how you used to be. Also, if you have an internal picture of who you really are or who you wanna be, then it can be argued that you are trying to “play a role.” Human beings usually have role-models that they try to emulate or rules that they try to live by, such as the suggestions presented in this book.

There are also some very glaring typos in this work. I’m just pointing it out since this is a book that has been published and according to the front cover is an international bestseller.

As I said above there are some good things in there, the curse is upon those who always question, refraining from blindly accepting claims from others….

The Chimp Paradox.

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I’m almost done with Prof Steve Peters’s book.

After reading the first chapter I was planning on criticising his work for its limited, repetitive, simplified vocabulary. This book is a shockingly Β easy read which may leave you feeling underestimated as a reader. Considering what an impressive CV Peters has I expected something very, very heavy, but as this work is intended for the masses I guess it was decided to make it Β u-n-d-e-r-s-t-a-n-d-a-b-l-e… (So try not to feel insulted by that and prepare to feel like someone is talking to you like you are an idiot). It is also obvious that Peters is terrified of being a controversial character as he continuously makes sure that he doesn’t generalise, almost apologising for scientific facts as he literally tries to wear a literary bullet proof west in an attempt to not offend anyone. It seems like this book was first published in 1988, then re-published in 2012, so if I’m correct it was originally written way before the SJW craze, which makes me wonder if the SJW mentality has always been a problem…..

The book is good and picks up after chapter 1. It ties in with other mental training books especially Willi Railo’sΒ work Β as Peters explains how you can re-program your mind to fulfil your potential. The work becomes increasingly brutal as you go deeper into it with Peters delivering one hard truth after another. “The chimp” is nothing but brilliant as it highlights comical behaviours which evokes hilarious Β associations with your inner “chimp” and its irrationality. Prepare to chuckle your way through several of the chapters.

I certainly had some questions answered by reading this book, so even though the language is simplified it delves further into the mind than a lot of other “similar” works. It is of course always advisable to read this type of literature with a pencil or marker at the ready as no mentality-change will ever happen over night. If you want to exert your full potential you have to be committed.

A Book About Warfare.

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According to the preface in this book strategy and knowledge of military history used to be “mandatory.” I certainly learned nothing about warfare during my years in various schools besides the fact that war sucks.

  1. During grammar school we had one page in our history book dedicated to WWIIΒ (this was in Italy btw).
  2. In Norway we visited a former nazi-camp and were guided by a former captive. We did not learn anything else.
  3. At an international IB school in Italy and at a state funded school, in either France or the US, I learnt about the Vietnam war; the domino effect, America’s communist fear, protestors “Make love, not war” and the fact that America lost out to the Viet Cong. The education offered at the IB school was more profound as we had an entire book only about the conflict, at the State Funded school the topic was dealt with superficially. Yet none of the institutions would teach any of the many lessons one can learn by reading about actual warfare and specific battles.
  4. Twice, (one of them in Norway) I learned about the cold war, how horrible it was with the arms race and how wonderful it was when the wall came down.
  5. During my short stint in the IB programme at an American state funded Β high school I was actually given a book to read that dealt with the intricate circumstances leading up to WWI. That was actually very intriguing as WW1 in its entirety is usually only blamed on the Germans without any mentions of the complex landscape during that specific time. As I wanted more flexibility to focus on my art & music I dropped out of the IB voluntary and was accepted into AP art instead which made me happier but exposed me to an inferior education, as “in-depth knowledge” is obviously kept to the few. The majority of the population will not have access to the curriculum offered through the IB programme as you have to qualify through tests or will be exposed to it automatically if enrolled at a private school. In a normal state funded school setting, even double honour programmes, will be limited in terms of the vastness and diversity of their curriculum. Which means that knowledge has to be pursued independently.

This sums up any education I ever received regarding warfare. No mention of logistics, no mention of strategy, no real insight into circumstances leading up to war, nothing really besides: “war stinks.” One can draw the conclusion that neither the US, Norway, Italy, France nor the UK ( as my siblings attend school here) are particularly interested in the general population gaining any knowledge whatsoever about the circumstances of conflict. Only those who have relatives of a military background, those who pursue a degree or a well-balanced perspective on history independently and/or those who play specific video games will ever be introduced to the wisdom hidden within the winning or losing of battles.

Here are a few interesting lessons from the book I just completed:

  1. Make use of supplies wherever you come.
  2. Don’t let your soldiers know what your objective is.
  3. Don’t engage in prolonged warfare as it impoverishes your nation.
  4. If the option is to fight or die, your men will thrive.
  5. You have to know the territory.
  6. Be quick.
  7. Don’t start a pointless war.
  8. Military personnel in the field cannot wait for instructions from a sovereign far away.

Now look at these 8 lessons and think about the current wars we have been and still are fighting…. Do you see what I see? Our modern leaders are either exceptionally incompetent or fantastically corrupt.