I am a computer programmer by day and philosopher by night. I post once or twice a week. I aim to prevent blogging from taking to much time, while allowing time to develop each idea before posting it. Each has some reference to human, universal, or societal truths, while presented in an organized, understandable & consise way -- this is the plan anyway. Results may very as what rings true for one may seem false to another. Also becuase sometimes I get things wrong.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Island by Aldous Huxley

The first Huxley book I ever read was the ever popular Brave New World (BNW from now on). I read BNW while in high school, we had to choose to read a book that was specific to a time period (20's I think). In some ways I see Island as being similar to BNW in many ways.

BNW is about the worst in Capitalism meeting the worst in Communism to create a mentally lethargic society of non-thinkers and non-questioners. It tells about the evils of over indulgence in drugs, sex and other entertainment. The estrangement of human beings from that natural world.

Island is about an island called Pala where the inhabitants have made it their purpose to bring the best of spirituality and technology to their people. The people of Pala have created their own utopia. It portrays the rest of the world as greedy, selfish, deeply in pain and ultimately self destructive. Pala has a deep spiritual life that is the opposite of the dystopia in BNW. The society of BNW turns out to be hollow and empty.

Pala's spirituality a mix of Buddhism and something else, Tantra I think. I am not familiar, but it sounds like another offshoot of Hinduism. The book plays out like a comparison of the western way of living exemplified by Will Farnaby (main character), the ruler of Pala (the Raja) and her son versus Huxley's eastern ideal expressed by the various citizens of Pala that Will encounters. The Raja has spent much time away from Pala and has her own spirituality if you could call it that.

Much of the story examines Will's efforts to end the suffering he has been going through most of his life. It seems that he is still suffering the pain of the loss of many deaths. His efforts all seem to point in the wrong direction. The people of Pala that Will encounters help him back on course. As do the "Notes on What's What," which begins like this:

Nobody needs to go anywhere else. We are all, if we only knew it, already there. If I only knew who in fact I am, I should cease to behave as what I think I am; and if I stopped behaving as what I think I am, I should know who I am.

...takes a couple seconds or minutes to sink in.

Like BNW, Island is an attempt at saying something so the plot really isn't very interesting nor is it the point of the book.

There are a couple other reviews I found to help me think about the book:

1. Short but a good summary
2. Excellent overview of the book including much of the early plot
3. I got a chuckle out of this one, that is all

I look forward to providing a review of the Power of Now by Eckhard Tolle in the future.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

How To Stay Young

I got this as an email from a friend. I don't like to send chain like email, but I thought this was worth sharing here.

1. Throw out nonessential numbers. This includes age, weight and height. Let the doctor worry about them. That is why you pay him/her.

2. Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down.

3. Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever. Never let the brain idle. " An idle mind is the devil's workshop." And the devil's name is Alzheimer's.

4. Enjoy the simple things.

5. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath.

6. The tears happen. Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person who is with us our entire life, is ourselves. Be ALIVE while you are alive.

7. Surround yourself with what you love, whether it's family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever. Your home is your refuge.

8. Cherish your health: If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable, improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.

9. Don't take guilt trips. Take a trip to the mall, to the next county, to a foreign country, but NOT to where the guilt is.

10. Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity.


Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.