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New Age "Asiatic" thought ... is establishing itself as the
hegemonic ideology of global capitalism. (Zizek)

Friday, May 9

300: prepare for glory

Following up on my I Can Get It For You Wholesale post of a couple-three days ago, no sooner had I hit the send key on that sucker than some Valued -- now elevated to 33rd Degree Most Highly Valued and Esteemed -- Reader paypal'd me $68 to buy the entire set (pictured again here in the right column). Steve Jones totally blew my mind when he did that. Dude! And so I immediately went and bought the entire Library of World Bullshit off my own Amazon wish list. It arrived today!

As promised, I'm looking forward to getting many engaging and insightful posts out of this fabulous set. But I need to work on bridling my enthusiasm. I need to p a c e  m y s e l f.

In that spirit, no pun intended, I am going to give you just one gem of wisdom from 50 Spiritual Classics: Timeless Wisdom from 50 Great Books on Inner Discovery, Enlightenment and Purpose. And it is simply this: that the third Spiritual Classic -- after #1: Muhammad Asad's Road to Mecca; and #2: St. Augustine's Confessions -- is none other than (but you probably already guessed it) Richard Bach's Jonathan Livingston Seagull.

Take special note that, unlike Richard Bach, neither Muhammad Asad nor St. Augustine of Hippo has yet to see his magnum opus reworked into DVD format. And let's not even mention the Grammy-winning score from Neil Diamond!

I was so overwhelmed with supernal joy at this discovery, on merely dipping my metaphorical baby toe into 50 Spiritual Classics, that I had to stop right there and contemplate the wonder that is God. I had to close my eyes and breathe a little prayer of gratitude that my heart could be so deeply touched by this perky little beach bum of the air. I had to -- and quick! -- find another book.

Such is the Quantum Mystery of Life that I didn't have long to wait. I walked into the Boulder's Barnes & Noble store this afternoon -- after discussing 50 Spiritual Classics with a local client over lunch -- and almost immediately ran into 50 Signs of Mental Illness: A Guide to Understanding Mental Health. Here was the homeopathic hair of the seagull I so needed!

It has lines like "When you are psychotic, and therefore not thinking clearly..."

LOL, yeah, I know what you mean. Like it's really a trip when...

Oh, I'm sorry, was I writing something?

That's in the section on Hallucinations, which explains that hearing voices can make you feel as if you're going crazy. Which is probably because, if you're hearing voices, technically, you are crazy. "On the other hand," the author says, "if you have experienced hallucinations for a long time, you may grow accustomed to seeing or hearing them every day."

LOL, yeah, I know what you mean. I was serenely independent and content before we met. Surely I could always be that way again, and yet... I've grown accustomed to... your... trails.

Never mind. Inside joke. Way inside the Beltway of the Mind, you could say. Curiously, the book doesn't seem to have a chapter on Inscrutable Private Jokes You Nonetheless Think Are Worth Blogging About. Unless it's the chapter on Mania. "Mania is a term psychiatrists use," says our guide, "to describe a state of elevated mood, rapid speech, grandiose thinking and agitation..." LOL, I know what you mean, it's like when my fly-by-night familiar has suffered a traditional game played with the knucklebones of sheep and the fish of your memories out of a living horse. I would kill to become the first man to die in a balloon over scenic Morocco. The world's number-one fingerprint, picture my dream: charter buses lined up along Route 66, lost Apache gold in Tuscaloosa, pagan oracles and tortoiseshell clarinets, a three-ton box of black-and-white photographs. I am real! My shoes are real!

That sort of thing, I imagine. Readers may find this roughly familiar territory.

The Yale University Press page for the book lists only about half of the 50 signs of mental illness, here ticked off to indicate the ones I "have."

  • antisocial behavior
    appetite disturbances
    compulsions
    deceitfulness
    delusions
    denial
    depression
    euphoria
    fatigue
    flashbacks
    grief
    hallucinations
    identity confusion
    intoxication
    jealousy
    mania
    memory loss
    mood swings
    nonsensical speech
    obsessions
    panic
    paranoia
    self-mutilation
    sexual preoccupations
    sleep problems
    sloppiness
    suicidal thoughts

As you can see, I'm doing pretty good on my intoxication and self-mutilation scores. So far. But let me tell you, the sloppiness / euphoria combo is a real bitch.

My plan at this point is to develop a comprehensive conceptual mapping scheme tying together the 50 Signs of Mental Illness with the 250 Classics from the other five books. This is a life's work, of course, and I can only hope that I haven't found my Purpose too late. Wish me luck.



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