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, are described as 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;  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 født på.”

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

“Når et menneske snakker, er faren at det skal gå til grunne av sorg, allerede halvveis overvunnet.”

“Mennesket går med åpne øyne i døden.”

“Og da tankene hans først hadde sprengt den trange livssirkelen som den skjebnebestemte maktesløsheten satte opp, så ble det også lidenskapeligere.”

The Class Struggle – (the daily left-wing newspaper).

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Something has to be seriously wrong with our society when a newspaper “founded in 1969 with a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist platform,” proves to be a remarkably good read 😮 Yes I know … I found this paper on the floor next to the entrance door of my residence in Bergen while I was there for work. The paper had been opened and folded in such a way that an article comparing “the reformation” to Islam was visible, of course I had to read what pro-Islamist non-sense this was. The article that caught my attention was cringe worthy as would have been expected, but the rest of the newspaper contained a lot of fantastic articles actually. Who would have thought?

The paper includes several Islam-critical entries in the front. They are well-tempered and encompass the difficulties faced by those who try to reform the religion and no promises that these attempts at “reform” will result in some sort of Utopia. The newspaper is also critical towards “Islamsk Raad” (Islamic Council) appointing a Nikab wearing woman to one of their positions; the hiring has led to a “schism” within Norway’s main Muslim organisation. The newspaper celebrates those teachers who stood up against the Norwegian Nazi Party under “the occupation,” offering an uplifting read and important points. Yes Norwegians should learn more about WW2, of course, such as the fact that a lot of those active in the resistance were … (drum roll) communists.

The newspaper is also clearly supportive of the idea of “bringing jobs back home.” Standing up against outsourcing to other countries is something that Nationalists and Patriots normally promote, with those on the left shrieking about “the global village.” One of the articles voices concerns regarding Norwegian Electricity export, as Norwegian citizens are taken for a ride financially. What’s really surprising though is Klassekampen’s criticism of the “fake news” narrative. Yes you read that right. The article is one of the best I’ve read in a very long time. It is remarkably soberly written from a centrist perspective, offering the viewpoint that appointing three major media outlets in Norway to monitor “fake news” is ridiculous.  Not only is it biased to assume the “moral authority” of state-owned NRK, or the two popular-lefties newspapers Dagbladet and VG, it would also be impossible for the three giants to get to the “bottom of things,” as Scientists go on and on about the same issues only for it to result in “inconclusive” findings and/or solutions a lot of times. The article is honest about how “the people” don’t trust journalists and how easy it is to create “echo-chambers.” The article is written by Bjoern Vassnes and is worthy of a translation to English so that more people can enjoy it.

The newspaper also offers a very interesting article authored by Oddbjoern Magne Melle, concerning NATO and how both leftie Olav Oksvik and righty C.J.Hambro were opposed to Norway becoming “trapped in the NATO feudalism.” Klassekampen also writes about how the fragmentation of Great Britain can become the result of Brexit, offering some interesting historical facts and perspectives. Nowhere can the “Marxism” be sensed until you reach the “chronicle & debate” section … here it flourishes like a spreading fungus initiated by a feminist assault on “the traditional woman.” The idea of “women being homemakers” is of course very “triggering” and militantly fought against at all levels. It is not all doom and gloom however as Stein Foerde and Frode Barkved stand up to defend Rudolf Steiner, a man who is constantly under fire in Norway, as the pop-media are on an endless witch hunt, against “the cultish Waldorf School.” I’m happy to see that some do their best to defend the reputation of Steiner, as Steiner Schools in Norway offer affordable private schooling. Yes, they are “alternative” but why the outrage? Maybe because the mainstream wants all Norwegian kids to be indoctrinated in the exact same way? The  article is a cleverly, sophisticated assault on the fabrication of facts by Ebbestad Hansen who is completely “owned” by the two criticising him. The newspaper concludes with a news story about Turkey’s desire to shut down a “Kurdish” tv-channel in Norway. I had no idea there even was such a thing….

So what do you say when a Marxist newspaper proves to be so very interesting? Maybe it appealed to me due to the lack of “an overarching narrative” so transparently displayed in New Scientist: Secret Map Of The Brain., maybe I enjoyed it due to the diversity of viewpoints? Sure I disagreed with a number of the articles, the cultural Marxism was on full display in terms of “the art” they promoted, but overall I felt that this was one of the most balanced, well-nuanced papers I have read in a very long time, if ever. I don’t know if this speaks volumes about our times  or whether Klassekampen has become less “revolutionary” and more moderate. Whatever it is, they’ve certainly collected an impressive arsenal of writers.

 

 

 

 

New Scientist: Secret Map Of The Brain.

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Overarching narratives. That’s what becomes obvious when reading New Scientist. Don’t get me wrong I love “the concept” of a Science Mag but I ask myself why there is such limited diversity when it comes to ideas? From reading New Scientist, with their variety of contributors, one would think that climate change caused by humans is canon. Nowhere in the Mag and in fact in none of the issues that I’ve ever picked up, are “sceptics” represented so as to offer an alternative view. The same can be said of the apparent furore over Trump. It is obvious that his administration is perceived as the greatest threat to Science since Old-European theocracy, same with Brexit, even though Alex Halliday on p.47 points out that matters may not be as serious as people would like to think in terms of getting funding and working in a post-Brexit Europe. The editorial in this issue displays hostility towards “new media” as it celebrates that ” British MPs last week grilled Google, Facebook and Twitter representatives over their ineffectual efforts to police their platforms for abuse and hate speech. A draft law in Germany has threatened huge fines if they don’t improve how they operate.” If you look beyond the various articles you can sense an overarching political narrative which makes New Scientist no better than those who they would probably refer to as “unreasonable” … as they themselves are obviously true believers and guardians of certain values. Values that would clash with anyone believing that the internet should remain free, for example. Which is a pity. The issue offers a couple of interesting book reviews, which made me curious. I intend to check out the following:

  • The Vaccine Race: How scientists used human cells to combat killer viruses (Meredith Wadman)
  • The Imagineers of War: The untold story of DARPA, the Pentagon agency that changed the world (Sharon Weinberger)

My last comment is that the letters provided by the readership of NS present an impressive vocabulary and are in some cases better written than the main articles in the Magazine. Maybe NS is fascinating due to their readers, they certainly display a superior word-use in contrast to those who are paid to write for the Magazine, so make sure that you check out the last few pages.

Patron Saints of Europe.

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I was looking  for a symbol that could represent Europe besides the EU flag. On my quest for this I came across the following Saints listed below … I guess I was thinking of Athena, patroness of Athens while I was searching for a “unified Europe symbol” I couldn’t really find much besides what I’ve listed ↓

  1. Saint Benedict.
  2. Saint Catherine of Siena.
  3. Saint Ansgar. The patron saint of Scandinavia.
  4. St. Teresa Benedicta of The Cross.
  5. Bridget of Sweden.
  6. Saint Cyril & Saint Methodius
  7. Saint Scholastica, the twin sister of Saint Benedict.
  8. Jan Hus. A very interesting read about one of the “predecessors” of Martin Luther.
  9. Christina, Queen of Sweden. An interesting read about the “tomboy Queen” who converted to Catholicism & abdicated her throne.
  10. Eternal King and Patron Saint of Norway: Saint Olaf.
  11. Saint Magnus Erlendsson. A patron Saint of Norway.
  12. Religious Retreats.
  13. Croatian Hand Tattoos.
  14. What the KKK and the & Catholic church have in common.
  15. Odin.

 

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

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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 Løke 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 Løke, they were fed to be sturdy sportsmen/women.

Heidi describes an ideal Norwegian upbringing … before technology made us all too busy to just go and knock on the door of our peers …. 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,  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 😛 … (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.  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!