Showing posts from September, 2011

Review of 'Reality' by Peter Kingsley

Reality, by Peter Kingsley A book the size of a housebrick-and-a-half, called 'Reality: now there's an author who's not lacking in confidence. In a nutshell? A 550 page commentary on two pre-Socratic 'philosophers', Parmenides and Empedocles, rooted in a passionate critique of the origins of so much of our culture and its limitations; origins that Kingsley claim lay in a hatchet-job done by Plato on the pre-Socratic mystical traditions. This book was a roller coaster ride for me. Right from the start, it got on my tits, with its attitude of 'your life is a pile of shit because you are not enlightened', the same superior cosmic style that I reacted to so negatively when I first encountered mysticism in my teens. ...Even though I find the idea of a radical deconstruction – no, scratch that, a radical rejection – of normal reality absolutely irresistible. In the language of this book, I still linger at the three-ways

Chap-ism: an appreciation.

Seldom have I ever been accused of sartorial elegance, and most of those few occasions have fallen in the last year, since I decided I was just too old to go on getting away with being... casual? louche?... no, just plain scruffy. Not that I was ever really scruffy - at least I always shaved. The current fashion, for neither having a beard nor not, gives us the unedifying spectacle of 50-something Oxbridge academics desperate to deny their age and just ending up looking like they could use a bath; but I have had a chequered relationship with the fashions that ran alongside my life. As a 60s teen I was a proto-punk anarchist, a bright soft tie worn as a headband in ironical reference to hippie style. I wore my hair down to my shoulders and felt I was part of a youth vanguard. A year later I cut it short, when I woke up to the fact that longhairs were not guaranteed to espouse radical, countercultural ideas, and so the longhair gesture was meaningless. In the 70s I sported a leathe