Books

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Henry Miller, a Cultivator of Characteristics

It felt a little strange to write about Henry Miller as an advocate for communal meditation. Tropic of Cancer, perhaps his best known work, has a reputation not only for hedonism and explicitly described escapades, but is also an anthem for rebellion, anti-authoritarianism, and the severing of spiritual ties (“I have found God, but he is […]

May 13th

Unplugging to Ponder Henry Miller’s “The Hour of Man”

In his essay “The Hour of Man,” Henry Miller begins by recounting highway walks with his co-worker Walker Winslow, walks that led Winslow to this idea: “I want to see the radio or television turned off for an hour a week, the paper or magazine laid aside, the car locked safely in the garage, the […]

May 6th

Byron Katie and “A Thousand Names for Joy”

Not long ago, I commended Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now for its uplifting conception of life lived in the present, but I criticized it for oversimplifying many aspects of said life. Byron Katie’s A Thousand Names for Joy also exudes this simplicity, and includes a similarly empowering thread, but proposes some additional, possibly more […]

April 29th

Want Your Mind Blown? Read “Godless Environmentalism”

The nature of reality is that God, for our own good, simply will not consent to be severed from the world. This quote, as disconcerting as it is comforting, hit me hard as I began reading Godless Environmentalism by David Page. On one hand, it implies that we, as humans, need protection or else we will perish […]

April 25th

Charles Fourier, Turning Daily Drudgery Into Lemonade

After mentioning Peter Lamborn Wilson’s interesting approach to Nerval, I ended up re-visiting some of Wilson’s other writings about religion and spirituality, including “Fourier! – Or, The Utopian Poetics.” In it, Wilson applies poetic treatment to another eccentric 19th-century character from France, Charles Fourier, who variously fit the following titles: Utopian philosopher, equal rights crusader, […]

April 18th

Bringing Dreams to Life With Gérard de Nerval

When accused of having no religion, Gérard de Nerval, the wonderful French writer and poet, shot back: “I, no religion? I have seventeen at least.” One could interpret this account, as told by Nerval’s good friend Théophile Gautier, in different ways. Gautier himself chalks it up to Nerval’s “curiosity and reverence” for all religions. An […]

April 11th

“Steppenwolf” and Its Nature-Driven Spirituality

Many readers have enjoyed Herman Hesse’s Steppenwolf since its publication in 1927. But as Hesse himself has claimed, many readers have also misunderstood the book, seeing only its tragic aspects. The novel, like the character it describes, consists of many different pieces. This is not to say that Steppenwolf is overly complex or difficult to read, […]

April 2nd