Certainly not for everyone, but a smart reminder that we haven’t got the whole scene covered—look at quantum mechanics—and...

SUPERNORMAL

SCIENCE, YOGA, AND THE EVIDENCE FOR EXTRAORDINARY PSYCHIC ABILITIES

Radin (Entangled Minds: Extrasensory Experiences in a Quantum Reality, 2006, etc.) combs the scientific, peer-reviewed literature—and much yogic lore and historical anecdote—to find evidence and validity for the claims of mysticism, miracles and the supernatural.

Has our sophisticated scientific society developed blinders when it comes to reports of the supernormal? This is the question the author asks in this mostly levelheaded investigation into precognition, telepathy, psychokinesis and clairvoyance. The author’s aim is not to dismiss mechanistic materialism, but to recognize that its strengths have to be weighted against the prejudices and taboos of its adherents. Radin writes with an easy hand and a sense of humor, but readers may sense that part of the problem of the general population's being accepting of the supernatural may not be religion or materialism, realism or determinism or reductionism, but simply its language: “exalted states of intuitive awareness,” “ontological reality of the mystical realities,” etc. The author references historical yogic texts for instances of illuminated, unmediated reality, and then he describes the scientific research into transcendent experiences that has been published in respected journals, which shows that evidence of precognition, telepathy, psychokinesis and clairvoyance have statistical merit. Radin is careful to ask what is coincidence, what is a hallucination, a psychiatric problem or a sham, and for range and alternative visions, he delves not just into the yogic tradition of supernatural mental powers, but also into Catholic, Judaic and Tibetan Buddhist traditions. By the end, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that “some of the supernatural abilities found in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras are real.” The Dalai Lama, ever the politician wrapped in his spirituality, as quoted by Radin, maybe put it best: “it would be wrong to deny that some Tantric practices do genuinely give rise to mysterious phenomena.”

Certainly not for everyone, but a smart reminder that we haven’t got the whole scene covered—look at quantum mechanics—and that openness is more fruitful than seclusion in dogma.

Pub Date: July 16, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-307-98690-0

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Deepak Chopra Books/Crown

Review Posted Online: June 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2013

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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THE MYTH OF SISYPHUS

AND OTHER ESSAYS

This a book of earlier, philosophical essays concerned with the essential "absurdity" of life and the concept that- to overcome the strong tendency to suicide in every thoughtful man-one must accept life on its own terms with its values of revolt, liberty and passion. A dreary thesis- derived from and distorting the beliefs of the founders of existentialism, Jaspers, Heldegger and Kierkegaard, etc., the point of view seems peculiarly outmoded. It is based on the experience of war and the resistance, liberally laced with Andre Gide's excessive intellectualism. The younger existentialists such as Sartre and Camus, with their gift for the terse novel or intense drama, seem to have omitted from their philosophy all the deep religiosity which permeates the work of the great existentialist thinkers. This contributes to a basic lack of vitality in themselves, in these essays, and ten years after the war Camus seems unaware that the life force has healed old wounds... Largely for avant garde aesthetes and his special coterie.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1955

ISBN: 0679733736

Page Count: 228

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1955

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