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Peter FYFE (Erskineville, Sydney, Australia)

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Wolfgang Rihm: Et Lux
Wolfgang Rihm: Et Lux
Price: £15.13

3 of 32 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars intolerable, 20 Dec. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Wolfgang Rihm: Et Lux (Audio CD)
Strictly for intellectual listeners with at least two post graduate degrees is cacophony studies (what we used to call music) only.

Warning: the preview samples aren't representative - it's gets dire really quick;y.

Lament of the Dead: Psychology After Jung's Red Book
Lament of the Dead: Psychology After Jung's Red Book
by James Hillman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.99

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The end of psychology as we know it?, 24 Sept. 2013
Join two remarkable men in the psychological thriller of the century as they explore the mystery of Jung's Red Book and its meaning for psychology (whatever the hell that is!).

Shamdasani is the editor and leading historian of the Red Book and Hillman, it emerges, is the unwitting exponent of its legacy (so much so Shandasani had presumed Hillman must have read one of the mysterious copies that circulated over the years - Hillman hadn't). It's hard to imagine two men more up for to the mammoth task of exploring this mammoth tome, or at least willing to give it a red hot go (as we say Down Under).

And give it a red hot go they do, in an utterly compelling sequence of 15 conversations. They speak of Jung opening the mouths of the dead with the Red Book, and in doing so being completely psychological without psychological concepts. We learn how the concepts and conceptualisation of Jung's psychology came after the experiences of writing Red Book, and how those concepts can be viewed as providing a context for this profound work Jung was never really sure if he could or should show us (despite its being the most carefully worked of all of his writings). As they chat on, we discover how Jung was not satisfied merely to descend into the underworld, but was driven by a need to return and bring something back, and then to find a way to share it ( through his conceptualised psychology that the authors seem to agree has little of the life or Imaginal possibilities of the Red Book in which it was birthed). All this... and much, much more! Along the way we catch some revealing personal glimpses of the two great men themselves, and their own wrestling with psychology sic], Jung, and the Red Book.

To my jaundiced eye, this is the best book "not" about psychology I've ever read and one I could not put down. It reinforced my prejudice for a psychology (or even a personal cosmology) that is not limited to concepts, endless introspection, ridiculous empty jargon, fifty minute "ours" and me being all about me. Hooray! For it seems psychology after the Red Book can be none of those things, and that's a welcome relief... apparently all we have to do to work out what psychology really is, restore the voices of the dead, and allow ourselves to be lived by powers we pretend to understand. Simple really. :)

PS: There's also a great sadness: this book reminds us of the treasure we lost in 2011. RIP JH.

The Life and Ideas of James Hillman: The Making of a Psychologist: 1
The Life and Ideas of James Hillman: The Making of a Psychologist: 1
by Dick Russell
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £30.00

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Warning: may contain soul making!, 26 Jun. 2013
Join Dick Russell as he tells the first half of the story of James Hillman, a man hell bent on restoring soul's rightful place in our lives, the world... oh, and the therapy rooms of post-Jungian psychology. Through a careful mix of historical sources, letters, books, and interviews with Hillman and his friends and family, the remarkable story of this remarkable writer slowly unfolds.

As we might expect from the biography of the man who encouraged us to read our own lives backwards (in his 1996 book "The Soul's Code"), Hillman and his biographer interpret this story of a life in the terms of the soul-making world view that emerges from it. We see key moments in Hillman's life and how they influenced Hillman's thinking and awakened him to his daemon's hand. It's theory bought to life by the story of a life.

The book covers the first half of Hillman's life from its ancestral beginnings in 1926 to his departure from Zurich in 1967 under a cloud but not in one. This gives its subject time to grow down [sic!] in the boardwalk empire of Atlantic city, serve in the army, stumble around the world, land in Zurich and train as a Jungian analyst, write some books and give some lectures that upset the old guard, get himself in trouble, and emerge with the foundations of an archetypal psychology, his calling, tantalising in place but not yet fully realised.

Whether psychologist, Hillmaniac, myth maker, soul seeker, or just lover of a good story, there's something for you in this tale of a life well told. I expect you'll have trouble putting it down, as I did, and will join me in urging its author to hurry up with the sequel!

PS: Given the subject's love of the aesthetic, I find it ironic that the physical object of this book [US first edition] is so ugly: Commercially set for maximum page count and printed on nasty paper (with no acid-free assertion), compare it to the beautiful Hillman Uniform Edition... and weep.

C. G. Jung: A Biography in Books
C. G. Jung: A Biography in Books
by Sonu Shamdasani
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £45.00

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Let the books do the talking, 17 Feb. 2013
So I'm thinking, I've been shocked by Shamdasani's bio-killing "Jung stripped bare", been severely shaken by his misconception-crushing cubist biography "Jung and the making...", and nearly drowned in the scholarly lake on which he sailed the good ship "Liber Novus": am I up for another assault by the Chief Inspector of the Jung History Thought Police?

The answer is yes, for my fears were in vain. This is a gentle (by comparison) and beautiful book that takes us through some key aspects of Jung's scholarly journey with a slow, revealing wander though Jung's library (and one of his neighbour). Full of pictures of Jung's books and manuscripts and the books (and manuscripts of books) Jung read, this is the story told from the book's view.

Perhaps, like me, you'll recognise a kindred spirit as you glimpse Jung's underlining and marginalia, turn ever so-slightly green at those treasured inscriptions from author-friends that no-one's heard of like James Joyce, or be quietly relieved to discover Jung's manuscripts are no neater than your own! You may also start to grasp the enormous amount of work CGJ had to do to write just one volume of the CW.

This is a personal journey, or at least as personal as the whispers from the objects in a library permit it to be, and for me, the most moving. Fellow bibliophiles, writers, and the artistically insane are sure to enjoy!

Religion for Atheists: A non-believer's guide to the uses of religion
Religion for Atheists: A non-believer's guide to the uses of religion
by Alain De Botton
Edition: Hardcover

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Asking the right questions, 17 Feb. 2012
It's refreshing to read a book by an atheist that acknowledges religion isn't a complete waste of time and space and may in fact offer much that enriches human experience and helps us live together nicely (if only we could leave out the ridiculous stories and exploitative hegemonies!).

With deftness, wit, and a wry tone, de Botton explores some of religion's greatest hits, including wisdom, community, kindness, tenderness, perspective, education, architecture, and art. He shows us how effective religion is at what we might call a customer-centric approach to presenting itself and suggests many secular institutions like universities, art galleries, and museums might be much more effective at engaging us with our culture if they borrowed a few tips from the assorted god squads. My favourite is his suggestion that we order human knowledge and learning in easy to grasp thematic ways (stuff about love, loss, marriage etc) rather than the dull, inaccessible academic boffin way (19th century x-ism, early 20th century z-ism etc) we're all so fond of.

What's implied here is that we have a soul (psyche, imagination, heart, whatever) that used to be fed and sustained by religion, a soul that is now starved and in need of sustenance, a soul that needs regular doses of meaning and wisdom so we can make it through the day, a soul we ignore at our peril, a soul that rewards those who care for it, if only we could remember how to do that.

It's not all plain sailing, and some of de Botton's suggestions ring the "yeah, right" bell. But even when his answers are a big wobbly, the questions are smack on the money and must be asked, pondered, and contemplated. So read on, as I did, and dare to imagine how we as a secular society can better meet our great need for a life filled with soul, perhaps with a little help from religion's vast experience.

The Red Book: Liber Novus (Philemon)
The Red Book: Liber Novus (Philemon)
by C. G. Jung
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £152.00

138 of 143 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Journey to the centre of [a] man, 26 Nov. 2009
If you are of sound mind, stout heart, and good character, join CG Jung on the most intrepid and exhilarating journey imaginable: the journey to the centre of [a] man (that is if you can pry this book from the cloying grip of the academics and fundamentalists long enough to enjoy it for what it is and have the grace to let it be just that).

Be warned: it's tough going. You'll be exposed to primordial figures that may remind you of some of your own. You'll be thrown into a bewildering desert of early-twentieth century Swiss-protestant metaphysics (heavily spiced by Goethe, Nietzsche, and assorted mythologies). You'll see some of the complexes and neuroses of a great man exposed in all their horror and occasional hilarity. You'll marvel as big ideas find their first voice in a seemingly unwilling recipient. You may even share a little of the horror and pain as Jung fails to see the joke his own psyche is playing on him, or perhaps even occasionally misses the point? Best, you'll see many symbols and wonders of the soul that, whilst being all too familiar, remain elusive, beckoning, and truly awesome to behold. Yep, it's your basic esoteric hero's journey, writ large, for all to misinterpret.

The Red Book is a beautiful, rare, and unique artefact of someone else's process. It's almost like a travel book, documenting CG's personal and idiosyncratic journey across the great undiscovered country within. Like its author, it's a book that will draw out and amplify each reader's deep psychological prejudices (you may have already glimpsed some of mine). And it reveals that author and his psychology in a way his [or anyone else's] more conventional works never have.

If you love exploring the human soul, I'd be surprised if you didn't find this the most fascinating, exasperating and incredible book you've ever read, as I have. Enjoy, but be warned: you may loose some sleep over it!

PS: As befits the subject, the standard of scholarship and presentation of this book is exhaustive, exhausting, and without parallel.
Comment Comments (8) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 8, 2015 4:22 AM BST

The God Delusion
The God Delusion
by Richard Dawkins
Edition: Hardcover

23 of 57 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars No smell of hope here..., 1 Jan. 2007
This review is from: The God Delusion (Hardcover)
"Some questions simply do not deserve an answer. What is the colour of abstraction? What is the smell of hope?" [p56]

Richard Dawkins is what I'd call a rationalist bully. His world view appears to be that anything he can't make sense of doesn't make sense and should therefore be ridiculed or defamed without compassion. The rationalist mote in his eye prevents him seeing or even asking why someone might hold such a belief or what benefit such a belief might afford the believer. To my view, these questions are an essential part of the empirical data that would be required to build a scientific theory of the existence of god, which the author claims to want to do. I would argue taking belief and believers out of the investigative loop is equivalent to taking the observer out of a twin slit experiment. Believers and belief are fundamental to the system being examined. He also appears to ignore the enormous volume of scholarshop in this area. As a result, it's hard to view this book as a serious book about religion or "god", nor as a book of science.

If Richard Dawkins proves anything with this thinly veiled mudsling, it is that "Is there a God?" is a question that "simply doesn't deserve" such an unreasonable and unreasoned answer.

But do read it, if only to see where a lack of poetry and an absence of compassion can take you in a field where such elements are so strongly indicated. You might giggle at the factual inaccuracies (e.g. the Jung exploding book story), amuse yourself with the thinness of the arguments and scant scholarship, marvel at Dawkin's lack of understanding of comparative religious concepts such as syncretism (e.g. as demonstrated by his discussion on polytheism), question how he justifies his self-acknowledged religious hostility because it "is limited to words" [p281] while repeatedly condemning the same actions in others, be justifiably outraged at his many well-told examples of religion's excesses and failings, and find yourself concluding that hope neither ends with religion nor begins with reason, as I did.

PS: I suggest hope smells like the wind that brings rain, and the colour of abstraction is corduroy.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 9, 2008 4:24 PM BST

Jung Stripped Bare: By His Biographers, Even
Jung Stripped Bare: By His Biographers, Even
by Sonu Shamdasani
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Scholarship as a blood sport, 16 Mar. 2005
This small but deadly book might have been titled "Jung strips bare his biographers" for in it, historian of psychology Sonu Shamdasani takes Jung's own words, meticulously researched and documented, and uses them to expose the factual inaccuracy of nearly every biography of Jung ever written. It's a challenging book because as each fabrication is unearthed we get closer to the facts about Jung but further from his truth. It's a shame Shamdasani doesn't go on to explore why Jung the man generates so many unsupportable stories, but speculation isn't Shamdasani's style. He prefers to use scholarship as a deadly weapon, which he does with devastating precision, leaving behind a staggering body count of reputations. If you have read a biography of Jung, read Shamdasani and find out how little you really know, as I have.

Jung and the Making of Modern Psychology: The Dream of a Science
Jung and the Making of Modern Psychology: The Dream of a Science
by Sonu Shamdasani
Edition: Paperback
Price: £34.99

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Meet a man you thought you knew..., 24 Nov. 2004
Shamdasani's "cubist history" of Jung's core projects places them in their historical and intellectual context. His meticulous research incorporates an extensive review of the writing of Jung's contemporaries, Jung's own papers, Jungian commentary, and even some of Jung's personal marginalia. The scholarship alone is staggering.
Be warned: this is no anecdotal hagiography for the converted but a serious exploration of the man and his thinking. Shamdasani's style takes no prisoners. If you are heavily invested in Jungian ideas, or those allegedly attributed to Jung, you may discover the intellectual rug pulled out from under you without ceremony. Brace yourself.
But do engage, as I dared to. By his apparent scepticism of all psychologies and patent love of opening once tightly sealed black boxes, Shamdasani allows you to re-discover Jung and marvel at the unparalleled breadth and depth of the work of one of our great minds. If you square up and look this author and his subject in the eye, I'd be surprised if you are not profoundly shaken or at least significantly stirred, as I have been.

Wholeness and the Implicate Order (Routledge Classics)
Wholeness and the Implicate Order (Routledge Classics)
by David Bohm
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

70 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As easy as wrestling a hologram!, 21 May 2004
At its heart, David Bohm awe-inspiring book explores a deceptively simple and [I think] very old idea: everything in the universe that we can observe, measure, describe, and come to understand is connected, even if we cannot observe, measure, describe and come to understand that connection (Bohm's "implicate order"). It's not for the faint hearted. You'll be confronted with a devastatingly beautiful philosophical insight that completely undermines our post-"enlightenment" western tendency to divide, conquer, fragment and isolate everything we attempt to understand. You may need to skip the mathematical chunks and do some background reading into Quantum physics to survive the rigours of the argument. You'll probably get frustrated at Bohm's winsome ability to be mathematician and physicist one minute and philosopher and mystic the next. But if you hang in there, you'll find yourself returning again and again to contemplate this profound contribution to occidental thinking, as I have.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 3, 2016 10:28 PM GMT

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