Sunday, November 28, 2010

Books I am Reading Right Now...

I read too many books at once, and I always want to do reviews of them, but never get around to it. Actually, sometimes I can't even remember the beginning of a book once I get to the end cause it may have been a year or so since I started it. Seriously. It's not from lack of interest, it is just that I will suddenly decided I want to read one thing or another and jump around, so I figured maybe I would just comment on some of the stuff I am reading now.

Lost Cities of North and Central America (The Lost City Series) by David Hatcher Childress. You can see David as a regular on Ancient Aliens currently (History Channel I believe), and I really have to say I love his books. He is a story teller and explorer. He is not out to prove anything, and he is no armchair theorist. He has traveled the world, and his books relate those travels with both personal stories, legends, theories, and just pure speculation. His books are just filled with crazy amounts of information about ancient cultures, and legends of pre-history, and, well, fun. He will often just run off on rides of wild speculation, and they are enjoyable rides. I am about halfway through this book, and the first half deals mostly with Central America as David travels about and explores ancient ruins, and relates legends about them. He often spends time off the beaten path trying to track down some of the more obscure legends, and never fails to enlighten me to something that I have never heard of before. That is one of the things that most books fail to do, and when an author can repeatedly do such a thing to me, they quickly become one of my favorite authors, as David Hatcher Childress has.

Our Haunted Planet net by John Keel. Published back in 1971, the late John Keel is easily one of my favorite authors. Like Childress, he has traveled the world, has related odd legends and little known information, and is a fantastic story teller. What sets them apart is that Keel does have theories that he supports, and they were way ahead of his time. His primary focus has always been the UFO Phenomenon, but he is one of the very early proponents of the idea that UFO does not mean Extra-terrestrial. Keel very much believes that UFO's are Ultra-Terrestrial, and may very well not be benevolent. Over the years I find myself agreeing with Keel less than I used to, and in some cases it is just a matter of time having proven some of his theories wrong. On other things however, he has shown himself to be dead on. Our Haunted Planet is a collection of strange events and research. Keel is never one to shy away from High Strangeness, and instead feels that the key to things lie in the strangest accounts, not the more 'acceptable' one. This is the second time I have read this work of his, and I find that I am enjoying it the second time through far more than the first for some reason. I lent my first copy to someone and they never returned it, so getting my hands on another I felt it deserved a re-read, and it has been well worth the time to do so.

DMT: The Spirit Molecule: A Doctor's Revolutionary Research into the Biology of Near-Death and Mystical Experiences by Rick Strassman, M.D. I haven't gotten very far in this one, but my interest was peaked while reading Graham Hancock's Supernatural. So far, this is a fascinating book talking about the odd properties of DMT, and recounting the history of research into psychedelic drugs. Very thorough and interesting as Rick relates the accounts of DMT experiments that he was able to conduct, and his theories on what they may really mean. DMT is particularly interesting in that it is produced in the human body, and yet still an illegal substance. Even slightly higher than normal doses of DMT have been shown to cause hallucinogenic states. The question that Rick eventually starts to address, is if these states may have some reality of their own, and not just be in the mind. His theory is akin to retuning a Television set from what he calls 'Channel Normal' to another channel using drugs like DMT. Since DMT is also produced in the human body, another theory is that people who are 'sensitive' may already have slightly elevated levels of DMT, allowing them to tune into alternate realities while still connected to a normal consciousness level. As I said, haven't made it too far into this book, but so far, well worth the read.

The Murder of Christ by Wilhelm Reich. A truly brilliant man. I have never read any of his stuff before. Published back in 1953, Reich was highly persecuted in his time, eventually dying in prison and having all his books burned. Reich suggested that there is another energy field called Orgone, and it is powered, in essence, by sexual energy. In the 1950's, you can see why this may not have gone over so well. He had various experiments proving his theories, and his history and ideas are well worth checking out. This book, however, is not so much about that. In a deep, and slightly hard to read way, Wilhelm explores the life of Christ through his eyes, seeing the repression of sexuality and other psychosis as the main problem in today's society. A view WAY ahead of it's time. The Murder of Christ is the repression of the life force, which Christ wanted us to revel in, not repress as our Western culture in particular does to such a huge degree. Reich was a strange man, and his work is fascinating. I haven't read very far into this yet, in part because it's not such an easy read, he writes in a slightly tedious manner, but it is worth slowly working through so far.

Invisible Residents: The Reality of Underwater UFOs by Ivan T. Sanderson. The Reality of Underwater UFO's is the subtitle to this book, originally published in 1970. USO's as they have often been called are a little known variation of the UFO Phenomenon. There are actually a very large number of UFO sightings where the UFO has been seen to come from or go into the water. Ivan recounts many variations of these, and theories as to what it may mean. It is a bit tedious at times, but interesting none-the-less. The book opens relating a story of an Antarctic expedition where a long silvery object suddenly burst through "no less than 37 feet of ice" causing huge chunks of steaming ice to come crashing down all around them and the water from whence it came to boil. There are quite a lot of interesting stories, and Ivan's theory that there may be a vast underwater civilization that pre-dates ours seems a bit outrageous at first glance, but you never really know. I mean, we have explored so little of our oceans, that we really don't know what is down there. And if there was a civilization down there, and they wanted to not be found by us, they may be able to hide well, especially if they have such a high technology. I don't personally think that is the answer to the UFO mystery, but I also find the idea worthy of thought. This is considered a classic and has been republished by David Hatcher Childress' book company, Adventures Unlimited Press.

A Secret History of Consciousness by Gary Lachman. Gary is the former bass player for Blondie. He is also a intriguing author. I picked this up not sure what to expect, and have been blown away by the novelty of information contained. On the one hand, it is an exploration of the history of theories on the nature of consciousness, but on the other hand, it takes a different turn and looks at the idea that perhaps consciousness was not always what it is today, and where it may evolve to. In parts it suggests that consciousness has evolved in ways we can't even imagine, and not in far antiquity, but even in the last few thousand years. For example, perhaps the reason we can not understand the way the pyramids were built, relates more to the consciousness that built them, not just the technology. It is fascinating and unique. A pleasant surprise for something that I picked up spontaneously at Borders one day. Some of the book reminds me of metaphysics that I have not read in 20 years, and other stuff I have never encountered before. Until I read this, I had all but forgotten the theories of Immanuel Kant, but the reminder was refreshing. I would say, though, there was more stuff here that I have never heard of before than stuff I have. Awesome book.

This isn't all of them. but these are the books I am reading most recently. I may do a full review when I finish them, or maybe just another blog of this sort as I start reading more, or pick up some that I have neglected lately. I also signed up as an Amazon affiliate, so if you think you may buy any of these through Amazon, please use my links.