Sunday, 23 August 2015

Which are the best books to read first?

Which of Etienne de L'Amour and H.M Forester's novels are best read first?

• Etienne de L'Amour

The best book to begin reading is Escape From the Shadowlands or the next book, In Search of Destiny. Although they are preceded by two prequels, they stand on their own and are pretty much self-contained.

Escape From the Shadowlands book cover
(a) Escape From the Shadowlands by Etienne de L'Amour is a soft scifi / mystical adventure ebook available for the Kindle at just $2.99 (or the nearest permitted equivalent outside the US).

☆☆☆☆☆ "Astounding, dizzying journey! Entertaining, enlightening."

If you like Doris Lessing's Shikasta; James Hilton's Lost Horizon; the writer, thinker and Sufi teacher Idries Shah, or the legendary Sarmoun Brotherhood, then give this book a try.

Amazon US Amazon UKGoodreadsBlog post

If you haven't got a Kindle, check out free Kindle reading apps.

In Search of Destiny book cover
(b) In Search of Destiny is set in the disparate realms of the Outlands; Sher Point, the metropolis of the so-called Freelands, and the mystical kingdom of Narayana in the East.

It tells the story of Conrad Harper, who sets out one day to search for his destiny and heart's true desire; of the help offered him by a mysterious organization known simply as the Network; his journeys with the Master of the Tradition, Tenzing Jangbu Rinchen, and of his finding romance and ancient knowledge.

And it shows how ordinary and everyday experiences, which we tend to take for granted and often do not value, can be brought into service and woven together into a rich tapestry with an altogether higher purpose.

☆☆☆☆☆ "The story rocks along as any good adventure story should, but with an added bonus of the sprinkling throughout of bits of wisdom, guidance offered to readers ... I highly recommend you read this most interesting and enjoyable book!" (Amazon US)

☆☆☆☆☆ "If you have ever wanted more in life than programmed work, entertainment, economy-worship, and political sideshows, you'll love this book ... I got my copy free as a review copy, but I would have paid for it easily knowing what I know now!" (Amazon US)

Although In Search of Destiny is book 4 in the Shadowlands series, feel free to read this first.

Amazon USAmazon UKGoodreadsBlog post

If you haven't got a Kindle, check out free Kindle reading apps.

• H.M. Forester
Game of Aeons: A short novel by H.M. Forester stands on their own and is self-contained, so that's as good a book as any to read first.

Game of Aeons book cover
Game of Aeons is a soft scifi / virtual reality, available as an ebook for the Kindle at just $2.99 (or the nearest permitted equivalent outside the US).

When do games become reality? Or is "reality" a game?

☆☆☆☆☆ "Very readable. Humour, wisdom about the human condition and the meaning of reality." (Amazon US)
☆☆☆☆☆ "Thought provoking; enjoyable; fascinating idea that a game could be a means of self development" (Amazon UK)
☆☆☆☆ "A good read, indeed. Topical themes, perennial questions." (Goodreads)

Amazon USAmazon UKGoodreadsBlog post

If you haven't got a Kindle, check out free Kindle reading apps.


• By Etienne de L'Amour ~ Google+

Friday, 30 January 2015

The Protocol of the Elders of OpenID

OpenID logo
I had a dream the other night, brought on by a rather elusive and stubbornly intractable software problem I'd been tussling with in my mind for some time (for the developer, that's where the issues so often lay), accompanied by questions – indeed pleas – along the lines of “Why me? What have I done to deserve all this grief? For God's sake, beam me up or something! Get me out of here!” which alternated with half-hearted assertions (that are actually true for solutioneers in a majority of cases) that “There must be a solution to, and a logical reason for this. I just haven't found it yet.”

In the dream, I became aware that there was a stream of information or a channel involved that I had not factored in, as I had not appreciated that it was a part of the system that I was attempting to diagnose. In a certain sense (and this is how I pictured it in my dream), there was something “going right over my head” and I'd been oblivious to this reality.

Is there such a thing as free will?

And then my mind turned to the question of whether there is any such thing as free will (following on from me questioning whether I was fated or doomed to tussle with these problems or if I could simply walk away)? And the answer that was presented to me was both “The matter is out of your hands” and simultaneously “The matter is in your own hands”, and “It's all a matter of protocol.”

Friday, 9 January 2015

[Technical] An off-the-grid networking project

Alternate Net is a project that I've been working on for some time. It will allow people to create a network of web sites independent of the ICANN regulatory body that is responsible, amongst other things, for managing the Internet's domain name system (DNS). While ICANN works with regular domains like ".com", Alternate Net will bypass the regular network of DNS name servers and use the custom top level domain ".altnet".

home.altnet, the home of Alternate Net.

This has been done before, of course, and it's popularly called “The Dark Net” since the web sites and other resources in such private networks do not show up and cannot be accessed from web browsers and other devices that are tied to the official DNS servers. If someone types in a domain like "some-site.altnet" into their web browser, regular DNS servers will send back an NXDOMAIN response (domain not found). Unfortunately, the Dark Net has acquired a very poor reputation, since it hosts all manner of unsavoury, illicit and illegal content and activities – and that is the last thing we want.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

RIP Spanish journalist Julio Rivas-Pita (5 August 1952 – 2014)

I received sad news in the mail today, that Spanish journalist Julio Rivas-Pita has recently died in tragic circumstances. In the past, Julio had contributed to the Idries Shah / Sufi-related groups The Caravansarai and The Tenth Donkey at yahoo!, and briefly at Facebook. He and his family had been beset by all-manner of difficulties in Caracas, Venezuela and were forced to flee the country after being made homeless, a necessary move that sadly compounded his family's difficulties.

Spanish journalist Julio Rivas-Pita (5 August 1952 – 2014)

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

The prodigious Work of the Sufis: Book review

The Sufis (2014) by Idries Shah
The Sufis by Idries Shah offers a wide overview of the historical development of the Sufi Way, through the works of individual masters (many of whom were highly successful polymaths), schools and orders, and through a whole host of fields in which they were engaged or through which their work was projected, such as religion, ethics, learning, science, the arts, traditional psychology and (not least) humour. Though it came to maturity in the classical Islamic era, the Sufi Way (which may be thought of in part as the esoteric heart of [exoteric] religion), it is said to have been a vital "yeast" or leaven in societies since time immemorial.

The Sufis shows the extraordinary and largely unknown or unsuspected influence and shaping of society, of what some term the "Ancient Teachings" or the "Secret Doctrine", not only in the East but also gradually diffusing throughout Medieval Christondom, a process which continues to this day, being re-presented as ever in accordance with the needs of time, place and people.

There's little point in reading out a list of the many topics covered by the chapters in the book, but suffice it to say that the Sufis influenced or were behind a great many of our institutions, or that these institutions are relics of previously dynamic Sufic operations. At random, then, we can see this Sufic influence in our poetry; literature; mythology; magic; alchemy; freemasonry; and in the Troubadour movement (with the concept of chivalry, romantic love and hence much modern music that has come along in its wake).

Saturday, 16 August 2014

21st century Sufism meets Self-realization?

In a promotional review of Irving Karchmar's Master of the Jinn, which I recently read, the reviewer writes: 'There is an added social component in the novel: the modernization of Sufism. At the beginning of the 20th century, Muhammad Iqbal wrote Asrar-e-Khudi (The Secrets of Self), a Sufi love poem which argued that negation (fana'), the longstanding obsession of the mystic, had to be replaced with affirmation (khudi). Without it, Sufism would become irrelevant in the modern world.'

Delving a little deeper into Muhammad Iqbal's biography yields a little more about his thinking:

'In the development of this dynamic philosophy, which is expressed in Bergsonian vitalistic terms (although unlike Bergson, Iqbal regards God as being outside the process of history), the key role is played by the twin terms khudi ('self') and 'ishq ('absorbing love' or elan vital). The goal of this ethical dynamism is to expand and fortify the self (which is the only way to individual survival after death), since only when an enlarged and fortified self is realized can a meaningful community of the faithful be launched on earth as the prophet Muhammad was able ...'

~ The Hole Pitcher.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Free review copies of Etienne de L'Amour and H.M. Forester's ebooks

Review copies of all the current ebooks by Etienne de L'Amour and H.M. Forester, published by Sher Point Publications, UK, are now no longer available except on an individual basis. Sorry.

King's Fellows Garden, Cambridge, England

However, you can still buy the books at just $2.99 each from Amazon (or the nearest permitted equivalent outside the US).

For more details see the blog post: "Which are the best books to read first?" I'd particularly recommend In Search of Destiny (mystical adventure) and Game of Aeons (soft scifi / virtual reality).

Above all else, enjoy!

• By Etienne de L'Amour ~ Google+

Image: Sculpture by Barbara Hepworth in Cambridge/U.K. (King's Fellows Garden).
Photographic credit: Attila Malarik from Cambridge, United Kingdom.
Image source: Wikimedia Commons: