13.8.14

Books That Couldn't be Finished.

SUPERNATURAL: Meetings with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind
by Graham Hancock 
This book started fine, with Hancock giving his descriptions of a life changing experience with a mind altering psychedelic. That laid up nicely into a few in depth and detailed descriptions of cave paintings before coming to a conclusion that the paintings were made while indigenous cultures were under the influence of natural psychedelics. This theory was fine, considering the amount of research that was given on the style, form, and similarities between the paintings and visuals that occur when tripping on psychedelics. For me, his chapters about cave paintings were exciting and wonderful - however that was the last portion of this book that I enjoyed, because that's where his evidence ran dry. Hancock then started speaking of the similarities between UFO sightings, fairy sightings, and other fantasy lore. What was so frustrating about these topics, was that his writing style was painfully obvious, in that he was clearly trying to argue that all of these supernatural experiences were the by product of psychedelic experiences.  I decided not to finish this book, not because the content was uninteresting, but mostly because the style in which this book is written is so obviously persuasive. What was exceptionally beautiful about The Cosmic Serpent (a text that Hancock used as a reference), was that Jeremy Narby's tone did not try to be convincing. Narby didn't need to be, because the quality of his research spoke for itself.  The same could be said of Sacred Economics, Charles Eisenstein did not try to sway his reader into belief, he wrote about potentially world altering economics with evidence and history.  Hancock made way too many arguments based on the subjective experiences of himself and his friends - none of which I could really get behind.  

The Flight of the Dragon
Laurence Binyon
The last reprint of this book, from my edition, was June 1959. I found this essay at Powell's Books in Portland, OR for about $6. Maybe I should have taken that as a sign that this book was not that valuable.  This essay is essentially one long romanticized notion of what art in the east was like, described by a western man.  It's bad enough that Binyon clumps art from Japan and China together, as if both are exactly the same, but I got tired when he started speaking about India and other Asian countries as well.  Any references he did use (which were few), were to other books about Asian culture written from a Western perspective.  It felt a little too racist, so I couldn't finish reading it, but at least his tone seemed sincere. 

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