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The Aesthetic Astronaut
sonnets by Roger Armbrust
Roger Armbrust
Parkhurst Brothers, Inc., 2009

One hundred twenty-two sonnets that touch on contemporary American popular culture, social trends, and personalities. Poet Roger Armbrust is described by some as a mystic, by others as a spiritualist, and by yet others as a guy who toys with really big thoughts, making them objects both of serious study and of humor.  His sonnets will push you to laughter and meditation: a satisfying literary ride. 

In The Aesthetic Astronaut, Roger Armbrust escorts readers on an insightful journey throughout Earth and beyond. We experience the loneliness and instpiration of "the Aesthetic Astronaut"; cold-blooded calculations of "The Armchair Assassin"; passion and sense of the romantic lover; reflective memories of a gentle heart growing older; ironic vision of an observer to history, and subtle--and sometimes not so subtle--humor of a fellow human involved in our day-to-day challenge of living a worthwhile life. The poet's imagery and attitude. . . may fascinate, thrill, sadden, anger, or push you to laughter or meditation. But you'll find the trip a fascinating literary ride.

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After Foucault
Jonathan Arac
Rutgers University Press, 1988

The essays in this collection assess the impact of Michel Foucault’s work on the conditions of disciplinary knowledge in humanistic studies and speculate on the directions we might take from his work.  They cover a wide range of fundamental concerns: from philosophy of knowledge in both theoretical and applied forms to philology, history, psychoanalysis, feminism, and politics.  The result is a lively debate and further probing beyond disciplinary boundaries.  After Foucault will interest political theorists, feminists, and scholars of history, philosophy, and literature.  

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AFTERLIFE
A GUIDED TOUR OF HEAVEN AND ITS WONDERS
Emanuel Swedenborg
Swedenborg Foundation Publishers, 2008

What happens to us after we die? What is heaven like? How do angels live? In his classic work Heaven and Hell, Swedish visionary Emanuel Swedenborg gives readers a detailed road map to the afterlife, describing the process that our soul goes through after death, the nature of heaven and hell, angels and demons, all in meticulous detail. Afterlife is an abridged version of Heaven and Hell, with passages specially chosen to highlight the essence of Swedenborg's work.

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Agape Love
Tradition In Eight World Religions
Sir John Templeton
Templeton Press, 1999

The tradition of agape, or unconditional love, is not exclusive to any religion. It is a primary underlying principle found in religions worldwide. The concept of altruistic love challenges the spiritual person to "love your enemies" or to "love without thought of return." It is a love that flows out to others through compassion, kindness, tenderness, and charitable giving.

Buddhists have a path of compassion, where caring for others becomes the motivating force behind existence. Hindus have a branch of yoga, the heart-centered path, that leads to enlightenment through an overwhelming love for God that takes the form of loving all humanity. Eastern religions, such as Taoism and Confucianism, see transcendent love as essential to true wisdom.

Love is a universal theme of love found in all religious traditions, Buddhist, Christian, Islam, or others. As we realize that all religions have this spiritual principle of love at their core, we can develop a sense of shared humanity. The religious tradition of agape love examined in this book will inspire those who are learning to grow in compassion and love for all people.

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The Analysis of Ideology
Raymond Boudon
University of Chicago Press, 1989
Distinguished French sociologist Raymond Boudon presents here a critical theory history of the concept of ideology. His highly original and lucidly argued study addresses the core question of any account of ideology. How do individuals come to adhere to false or apparently irrational beliefs, and how do such beliefs become collectively accepted as true?

Boudon begins by providing an exhaustive and subtle critique of sociological explanations of ideology from early conceptions to its current usage in the works of Barthes, Foucault, Habermas, Sartre, and others. He then offers his own interpretation of the origins and emergence of ideological beliefs. In opposition to those views which associate ideology with irrationalism, Boudon shows that ideologies are a natural ingredient of social life; he develops a rationalist theory that helps to explain why certain ideas are believed by individuals and thereby effective in the social world. Finally, he examines case studies of two modern-day ideologies—developmentalism and Third Worldism.

Moving easily across disciplinary boundaries, Boudon's provocative contribution to a subject of growing significance will be of great interest to scholars in sociology and social theory, as well as philosophy, political science, and development studies.
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Ananda
Where Yoga Lives
John Ball
University of Wisconsin Press, 1982

Whenever the subject of communities and communal living comes uo, a variety of doubts and suspicions is usually aroused. The possible brainwashing of impressionable young people is frequently mentioned. Although the idea itself is centuries old, it has yet to be accepted as an approved method of living, even in this so-called New Age.
    Of the many hundreds that have been started, very few have proven successful. The fact that Ananda has done so remarkably well against terrifying odds, and that at every time of crisis help always seems to come in some extraordinary way, invites attention. During his lifetime, which ended in 1952, Yogananda called for the founding of spiritual communities dedicated to world brotherhood and to "simple living and high thinking." Ananda is the first response to this directive. Its remarkable history, and its present expanding horizons, are the subject of this work.

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ANGELS IN ACTION
WHAT SWEDENBORG SAW AND HEARD
Robert Kirven
Swedenborg Foundation Publishers, 1994

Angels live in communities, wear clothes, and have no wings! So said Emanuel Swedenborg, Swedish scientist and seer who, for the last twenty-seven years of his life, visited heaven and hell almost daily and met angels and evil spirits. Swedenborg's visions and the meaning they can have in our lives are explained in this remarkable book. Author Robert H. Kirven also shows how angels work for us from birth through death and how we can be angels on earth.

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The Anti-Witch
Jeanne Favret-Saada
HAU, 2015

Jeanne Favret-Saada is arguably one of France’s most brilliant anthropologists, and The Anti-Witch is nothing less than a masterpiece. A synthesis of ethnographic theory and psychoanalytic revelation, where the line between researcher and subject is blurred—if not erased—The Anti-Witch develops the contours of an anthropology of therapy, while deeply engaging with what it means to be caught in the logic of witchcraft. Through an intimate and provocative sharing of the ethnographic voice with Madame Flora, a “dewitcher,” Favret-Saada delivers a critical challenge to some of anthropology’s fundamental concepts.


Sure to be of interest to practitioners of psychoanalysis as well as to anthropologists, The Anti-Witch will bring a new generation of scholars into conversation with the work of a truly innovative thinker.


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Astronomica
Manilius
Harvard University Press, 1977

Poetry of the sky and stars.

Marcus Manilius, who lived in the reigns of Augustus and Tiberius, is the author of the earliest treatise on astrology we possess. His Astronomica, a Latin didactic poem in five books, begins with an account of celestial phenomena, and then proceeds to treat of the signs of the zodiac and the twelve temples; there follow instructions for calculating the horoscoping degree, and details of chronocrators, decans, injurious degrees, zodiacal geography, paranatellonta, and other technical matters. Besides exhibiting great virtuosity in rendering mathematical tables and diagrams in verse form, the poet writes with some passion about his Stoic beliefs and shows much wit and humor in his character sketches of persons born under particular stars. Perhaps taking a lead from Virgil in his Georgics, Manilius abandons the proportions of his last book to narrate the story of Perseus and Andromeda at considerable length.

In spite of its undoubted elegance, the Astronomica is a difficult work, and this edition provides in addition to the first English prose translation a full guide to the poem, with copious explanatory notes and illustrative figures.

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Attention
Beyond Mindfulness
Gay Watson
Reaktion Books, 2024
A suitably engrossing investigation of attention through many disciplines and ways of life, from neuroscience to surfing.

If there is one thing we are short on these days, it’s attention. Attention is central to everything we do and think, yet it is mostly an intangible force, an invisible thing that connects us as subjects with the world around us. We pay attention to this or that, let our attention wander—we even stand at attention from time to time—yet rarely do we attend to attention itself. In this book, Gay Watson does just that, musing on attention as one of our most human impulses.
           
As Watson shows, the way we think about attention is usually through its instrumentality, by what can be achieved if we give something enough of it—say, a crisply written report, a newly built bookcase, or even a satisfied child who has yearned for engagement. Yet in losing ourselves to the objects of our fixation, we often neglect the process of attention itself. Exploring everything from attention’s effects on our neurons to attention deficit disorder, from the mindfulness movement to the relationship between attention and creativity, Watson examines attention in action through many disciplines and ways of life. Along the way, she offers interviews with an astonishing cast of creative people—from composers to poets to artists to psychologists—including John Luther Adams, Stephen Batchelor, Sue Blackmore, Guy Claxton, Edmund de Waal, Rick Hanson, Jane Hirshfield, Wayne Macgregor, Iain McGilchrist, Garry Fabian Miller, Alice and Peter Oswald, Ruth Ozeki, and James Turrell.
           
A valuable and timely account of something central to our lives yet all too often neglected, this book will appeal to anyone who has felt their attention under threat in the clamors of modern life.
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Authors of the Impossible
The Paranormal and the Sacred
Jeffrey J. Kripal
University of Chicago Press, 2010

Most scholars dismiss research into the paranormal as pseudoscience, a frivolous pursuit for the paranoid or gullible. Even historians of religion, whose work naturally attends to events beyond the realm of empirical science, have shown scant interest in the subject. But the history of psychical phenomena, Jeffrey J. Kripal contends, is an untapped source of insight into the sacred and by tracing that history through the last two centuries of Western thought we can see its potential centrality to the critical study of religion.

Kripal grounds his study in the work of four major figures in the history of paranormal research: psychical researcher Frederic Myers; writer and humorist Charles Fort; astronomer, computer scientist, and ufologist Jacques Vallee; and philosopher and sociologist Bertrand Méheust. Through incisive analyses of these thinkers, Kripal ushers the reader into a beguiling world somewhere between fact, fiction, and fraud. The cultural history of telepathy, teleportation, and UFOs; a ghostly love story; the occult dimensions of science fiction; cold war psychic espionage; galactic colonialism; and the intimate relationship between consciousness and culture all come together in Authors of the Impossible, a dazzling and profound look at how the paranormal bridges the sacred and the scientific.

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