Tag Archives: books

Candle of Vision

… but the ancients spake of a divine vision to be attained while we are yet in the body. The religion which does not cry out: “I am to-day verifiable as that water wets or that fire burns. Test me that ye can become as gods.” Mistrust it. Its messengers are prophets of the darkness.

From A.E.’s Candle of Vision, chapter 4 – Meditations.

Interesting quote I came across today, looks like a book I may have to read more of.

Backpacker Classics


An interesting list assembled from someones experience and a large discussion thread on some forum (yeah scientific!) anyway its an interesting list of books.

I am not sure which books backpackers carry with them these days so this list may be a little out of date. The concept of backpacker books goes back to the days of the hippy trail when travellers would carry such classics as the I Ching, the Tibetan Book of the Dead or anything by Herman Hesse. A backpacker classic should have an element of profundity, preferably mystical -if not it should have cult status or be a statement about who you really are. There is an element of self discovery in setting off – the path to enlightenment, the journey inwards…A backpacker book is not a ‘beach read’–the book must be worth the weight and space it takes up and should be reverentially handed on to other travellers or left in a hotel or bus station for another seeker to chance upon. I have garnered this list from my own experience of buying books from travellers, various lists on the web (one at Amazon) and an enormous thread about which books people would leave on a bus.

Does anyone know what I’m talking about?

When I was younger I read a random sci-fi story which featured an alien race who had created faster than light travel, they gave lifts to other species, include humans, but kept them in suspended animation since they thought the FTL would kill them. As part of the plot a human disguises himself as an alien and infiltrates the crew of a ship.

Can anyone name the book?

Surreal comedy and the Culture

Well firstly I’d just like to link you to a surreal comedy show linking aerobics with learning English (specifically about what to say if you get mugged).

Now thats done I’d like to ramble a little about The Culture and Woolworths. Now theres a lovely bit in at least one of the Culture novels where Banks, via his characters, asserts that “Money implies poverty” or similar wordings and indeed I got that impression again yesterday.

Being in town and thirsty I proceed to stroll into Woolworths since I know they would sell me my beverage of choice, upon selecting a bottle of said drink I noticed that again they had a 2 for 1 sale on it, literally even though I wasn’t thirsty enough for two it made no economic sense for me to not take two. I may drink the other bottle today, maybe tomorrow, it’ll keep, but thats no the point, I didn’t need it then and really felt no need to deprive another of the available resource but since it cost me none of my shiny tokens I thought I may as well walk off with it (as it would cost me more later should I want it and not take straight away).

Without the driving motivation of shiny tokens I feel small wasteful situations like this could be avoided, although I’m going to be the first to admit that you can only ignore money when your culture is post scarcity I think, I’m not sure theres a better way of divvying up resources amongst the world then to make them trade tokens for what they want (including the hiring of other people for said tokens).

Still, in a few hundred or thousand years if we’re lucky our society (well, what started as our society and since grew in strange and unimaginable ways) will work out some crazy way of becoming closer to post-scarcity and we can hopefully start to throw off the shackles of money, I’ll never see it, and indeed I reckon my brain is too closely molded to the current model to get on with living in such a way, but I feel its worth pondering.

Books and Houses

Excellent, although rushed this morning I’d consider today a success already.

Firstly I had a rather good meeting with my supervisor about how things were going, after which I accumulated some fine texts I had on order from the dept. These including a copy of The Camel to live in my office (its something I dislike lugging about) and also Graham‘s ANSI Common LISP. Tasty :)

Still waiting for a shiny new copy of K&R to show up, then I feel I’ll have all the books one really needs (Well, I was also tempted by the Big Book of Postfix, Perl Best Practices, Applied Cryptography, The Jargon File on paper, a complete run of Lovecraft, a new Principia Discoridia, Illuminatus! and other inspirational works, but I thought I’d best not take the piss, that and I don’t want to have a discussion with my supervisor about why knowledge of Fnords will help me get some code and papers written :).

In other news, whilst waiting to collect said books of joyfilled joyfulness I got a call asking me when I wanted to move into a house, since I’ve apparently managed to pass the intimate background checks required.