The Four Winds. The Shaman’s Odyssey into the Amazonas by Alberto Villoldo

My review:

If we look at models of society which show that living in harmony with the environment is possible, then we will inevitably concern ourselves with matriarchal, indigenous peoples and their worldview. Pivotal to these societies are the role of Shamen in bringing mystic wisdom for the purposes of healing and development to their people. The spiritual reverence for mother Earth and the life she bestows is upheld and nurtured through shamanistic traditions. The concept of giving back to nature, something which is notably absent in Western culture, is fundamental here, as is the understanding of unity, finding one's place in the universe and connecting with all there is. If this is what we call primitive, then we need to find our way back to our primitive origins. Without a spiritual view of our natural world, we are only left with mechanical explanations, scientifically based statistics, which leave us feeling incomplete or cold to the truth of our inherent responsibility.

The Four Winds. The Shaman's Odyssey into the Amazonas by Alberto Villoldo is an insightful lesson in the discovery of what is lacking in the Western understanding of nature and life in its essence, and how the subconscious can be tapped into redress the imbalance in order to reconnect.

It is an account of an American psychologist, educated in a typical Western, academic mindset, and his search for greater knowledge of cognitive science through personally encountering shamanistic voyages into the subconscious, led and aided by a master Shaman in Peru. Starting from a “rational" standpoint, his motivation and meetings lead to a spiritual awakening with its many surprises and revelations. We are taken through the Medicine Wheel – a four-point process involving departure from old, incomplete or illusionary beliefs in the South; to overcoming the fear of death – the greatest fear of a belief system centred in the physical – in the West; to retrieving pure spiritual messages in the North of a new path to be taken, and finally to the East where the hardest task is presented of determinedly putting these messages into new actions and habits. There are plenty of parallel perceptions here to modern therapeutic approaches that focus on becoming a fulfilled human being, it is simply a different set of symbols and more usage of them.

There are many poignant passages in the book. What particularly stood out for me, were the references of the shaman – also a philosophy lecturer at Cuzco University – to the western doctrines of a patriarchal church that so ingrained the notion into our psyche of humans being cast out of the Garden of Eden. Could it be that this image led to nature being perceived as an enemy, and therefore that would explain why the Earth is treated so abysmally? Is it a fear of nature which has subconsciously been carried through generations from a distorted religion, into a "new" scientific, reductionist, mechanistic view of nature which perceives so much competition, aggression and survival of the fittest?

Another enlightening point made was that delusionary mental illness is not regarded as such in Peruvian, Amazonian indigenous societies. It is seen simply as what it is: a trip into the subconscious, which is actually encouraged to take place, with the guidance of a more grounded person of experience, rather than to be blocked off, numbed or bottled up with medicine. In this way, crazy dream imagery becomes a source of learning and new wisdom, rather than something to be fearful of.

This frank, moving and honest account by the American author reveals a gem of universal understanding to be learned from by an ailing, separatist world model. It reads like it good novel and the colourful imagery and symbolism makes for a worthwhile accompaniment to the most important core message of the book.

Feinstoffliche Erweiterung unseres Weltbildes von Klaus Volkamer

Klaus Volkamer ist ein bahbrechender Physiker, der einen wesentlichen Anteil an einem neuen, holistischen wissenschaftlichen Paradigms erschaffen hat. Dieses Buch ist aber sehr wissenschaftlich und teils mathematisch fundiert.

In seinem Buch "Feinstoffliche Erweiterung der Naturwissenschaften" legte der Autor eine bemerkenswert umfassende experimentelle und theoretische Grundlage zu einer heute wissenschaftlich noch völlig unbekannten, aber ganz realen und alles durchdringenden, lebendigen Feinstofflichkeit. 

Im vorliegenden zweiten Buch zu diesem Thema werden weiterführende Experimentalbefunde zum Nachweis und zur Charakterisierung der Feinstofflichkeit vorgelegt und zusammen mit den wichtigsten Grundlagen aus dem ersten Buch in prägnanter und allgemeinverständlicher Form dargelegt. 
Es resultiert ein umfassend erweitertes feinstoffliches Weltbild in einer ganzheitlichen Schau, die sich vom Ursprung des Lebendigen, über die Raum-Zeit-Geometrie bis hin zum Entstehen von Materie aus einer feinstofflichen und Bewusstsein tragenden Basis spannt. Danach trägt jedwede Existenz im Universum einen heute wissenschaftlich unbekannten Lebenskeim in sich und die Erscheinung sogenannter toter Materie wird eher zur Ausnahme als zum Regelfall.

Avoid Typing Strain and Create Faster Documents With Speech-Recognition

If you have to use a computer for word processing on a regular basis, have to spend much time typing longer texts, are not good at typing or have repetitive strain injury or other kind of inflammation that hamper your work – then a good speech-recognition programme could significantly ease your suffering!

Because of an inflamed shoulder, which was aggravated by keyboard-typing, I was forced to look such programmes if I was to continue using my computer in the most productive way.
After some researching it appears that Dragon Dictate for the Mac, and NaturallySpeaking for the PC, are the best products on the market.

I have been using Dragon Dictate now for about a year, and it has become integral in my workflow. It converts speech into text amazingly fast, and can also be used for all the typical commands in the popular Mac applications, as well as globally for many programmes. There is also a fair amount of programming flexibility for new commands. It can also be used for different languages! Although it is very capable “out of the box", it does require training to get used to an individual's voice. The bulk of this training is accomplished with some short exercises, but it is to be expected that the process will continue for some time on a lower level until an optimal result is achieved.

Despite this investment of time, it has aided me massively in avoiding further physical strain, and has speeded up the writing process considerably.
I have heard that NaturallySpeaking is even better on the commands side of things!

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