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IN/FORMED BY WRITINGS

"That's what the world is, after all: an endless battle of contrasting memories."

Haruki Murakami, 1Q84

Don Miguel Ruiz - The Four Agreements

Sit at the foot of a native elder and listen as great wisdom of days long past is passed down. In The Four Agreements shamanic teacher and healer Don Michael Ruiz exposes self-limiting beliefs and presents a simple, yet effective code of personal conduct learned from his Toltec ancestors. Full of grace and simple truth, this handsomely-designed book makes a lovely gift for anyone making an elementary change in life, and reads in a voice like one would expect an indigenous shaman to sound. The four agreements are these: Be impeccable with your word. Don't take anything personally. Don't make assumptions. Always do your best. It's the how and why one should do these things that make The Four Agreements worth reading and remembering. --P Randall Cohan

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Carlos Castaneda - The Art Of Dreaming

The Art of Dreaming describes the steps needed to master the control and consciousness of dreams. The Toltecs of Don Juan Matus' lineage believed that there are seven barriers to awareness, which they termed The Seven Gates of Dreaming. In The Art of Dreaming Castaneda describes extensively how a state called Total Awareness can be achieved by means of dreaming.

According to Castaneda there are 7 Gates of Dreaming, or obstacles to awareness, which when overcome yield total awareness. Four of the Gates of Dreaming are discussed in The Art of Dreaming. What follows is not so much a technique in achieving lucidity, but rather the practical application of lucid dreaming. By acting a certain way while dreaming, one can cause psychosomaticchanges in one's being, including an alternate way of dying.

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Eknath Easwaran - The Bhagavad Gita

The Bhagavad Gita ( "The Song of God"), often referred to as the Gita, is a 701-verse Hindu scripture that is part of the epic Mahabharata (chapters 23–40 of Bhishma Parva), dated to the second century BCE. It is considered to be one of the main holy scriptures for Hinduism.

The Gita is set in a narrative framework of a dialogue between Pandava prince Arjuna and his guide and charioteer Krishna, an avatar of Lord Vishnu. At the start of the Dharma Yuddha (righteous war) between Pandavas and Kauravas, Arjuna is filled with moral dilemma and despair about the violence and death the war will cause in the battle against his own kin. He wonders if he should renounce and seeks Krishna's counsel, whose answers and discourse constitute the Bhagavad Gita. Krishna counsels Arjuna to "fulfill his Kshatriya (warrior) duty to uphold the Dharma" through "selfless action". The Krishna–Arjuna dialogues cover a broad range of spiritual topics, touching upon ethical dilemmas and philosophical issues that go far beyond the war Arjuna faces

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Vatsyayana - Kama Sutra

The Kama Sutra ( 'Principles of Lust') is an ancient Indian Sanskrit text on sexuality, eroticism and emotional fulfillment in life. Attributed to Vātsyāyana, the Kama Sutra is neither exclusively nor predominantly a sex manual on sex positions, but written as a guide to the art of living well, the nature of love, finding a life partner, maintaining one's love life, and other aspects pertaining to pleasure-oriented faculties of human life. It is a sutra-genre text with terse aphoristic verses that have survived into the modern era with different bhāṣyas (exposition and commentaries). The text is a mix of prose and anustubh-meter poetry verses. The text acknowledges the Hindu concept of Purusharthas, and lists desire, sexuality, and emotional fulfillment as one of the proper goals of life. Its chapters discuss methods for courtship, training in the arts to be socially engaging, finding a partner, flirting, maintaining power in a married life, when and how to commit adultery, sexual positions, and other topics.The majority of the book is about the philosophy and theory of love, what triggers desire, what sustains it, and how and when it is good or bad.

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Jostein Gaarder - Sophie's World

The book begins with Sophie receiving two messages in her mailbox and a postcard addressed to Hilde Møller Knag. Afterwards, she receives a packet of papers, part of a course in philosophy.

Sophie, without the knowledge of her mother, becomes the student of an old philosopher, Alberto Knox. Alberto teaches her about the history of philosophy. She gets a substantive and understandable review from the Pre-Socratics to Jean-Paul Sartre. In addition to this, Sophie and Alberto receive postcards addressed to a girl named Hilde from a man named Albert Knag. As time passes, Knag begins to hide birthday messages to Hilde in ever more impossible ways, including hiding one inside an unpeeled banana and making Alberto's dog, Hermes, speak.

Eventually, through the philosophy of George Berkeley, Sophie and Alberto figure out that their entire world is a literary construction by Albert Knag as a present for Hilde, his daughter, on her 15th birthday. Hilde begins to read the manuscript but begins to turn against her father after he continues to meddle with Sophie's life by sending fictional characters like Little Red Riding Hood and Ebenezer Scrooge to talk to her.

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Karel Čapek - War With The Newts

War with the Newts (Válka s Mloky in the original Czech), also translated as War with the Salamanders, is a 1936 satirical science fiction novel by Czech author Karel Čapek. It concerns the discovery in the Pacific of a sea-dwelling race, an intelligent breed of newts, who are initially enslaved and exploited. They acquire human knowledge and rebel, leading to a global war for supremacy. There are obvious similarities to Čapek's earlier R.U.R., but also some original themes.

Only the last four of the book's 27 chapters deal with the eponymous war. The rest of the book is concerned with the discovery of the Newts, their exploitation and evolution, and growing tensions between humans and the Newts in the lead-up to the war. The book does not have any single protagonist, but instead looks at the development of the Newts from a broad societal perspective. 

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Antoine de Saint-Exupéry - The Little Prince

The story follows a young prince who visits various planets in space, including Earth, and addresses themes of loneliness, friendship, love, and loss. Despite its style as a children's book, The Little Prince makes observations about life and human nature.

The narrator begins with a discussion on the nature of grown-ups and their inability to perceive "important things". As a test to determine if a grown-up is enlightened as a child, he shows them a picture depicting a snake which has eaten an elephant. The grown-ups always reply the picture depicts a hat, and so he knows to only talk of "reasonable" things to them, rather than fanciful.

The narrator becomes an aircraft pilot, and, one day, his plane crashes in the Sahara, far from civilisation, where he is unexpectedly greeted by a young boy nicknamed "the little prince". The prince has golden hair, a loveable laugh, and will repeat questions until they are answered. The narrator has an eight day supply of water and must fix his aeroplane.