I got myself over the major hurdle in the work, once I managed to stop procrastinating toward the end of the week, but I still have the final products to make, so I’m giving myself another week, which is week four of the project anyway, since I started a week late. I’m just shifting the extra week of October’s project into December’s, which will be some miscellaneous life maintenance.
I finished Hidden Wisdom, a survey of esoteric spirituality: Carl Jung, Gnosticism, esoteric Christianity, the Kabbalah, magic, neopaganism, shamanism, alchemy and hermeticism, G. I. Gurdjieff, Sufism, Rosicrucianism and other secret societies, and the New Age. I read it to explore unfamiliar ways of conceptualizing the universe and to get some context for the fragments of esotericism I encounter from time to time, such as this episode of Stuff They Don’t Want You to Know on technology and the occult, which made much more sense to me after the book. Some of esotericism’s ideas I could embrace were reminders of ordinary things that gained new emphasis for me, such as the fact that some things you want to accomplish require a lot of time, effort, discipline, and even some pain and sacrifice. But I also found myself wondering what concepts from esotericism might be compatible with mainstream Christianity but go underappreciated or unrecognized, such as maybe the idea that the sacraments are a rite of theurgy, though that seems outside what mainstream theologians would accept.
I decided to keep going with my philosophical list, so I ended the week on Existentialism: An Introduction by Kevin Aho. It’s fairly short, so after that this week is A Guide to the Good Life, William Irvine’s intro to Stoicism.
I was going to end the list there, but I thought of some others on philosophy of life to add, and then my next list on ethics and personality is really just an extension of this one, though with less of the weird, and I’ll even be returning to literature, so I might as well consider this reading list to be ongoing.
I’m still in a political mood, so I’ve decided to listen to political books alongside my others, though I’ll give priority to the other topics. First up is Craig Unger’s House of Trump, House of Putin, which looks into Trump’s ties to the Russian mafia. I’ll leave you with that provocative thought and save my political ramblings for other weeks.
My Thanksgiving was kind of a dud, since I didn’t end up with any social plans, and I didn’t do much else that day either. I got my Thanksgiving dinner from Boston Market, which had a lot more people than I expected, some of whom were picking up a meal to eat at home, but there were also some couples and families eating in the restaurant. I had my typical car picnic at a forest preserve, and I was planning to take a walk afterward, but I waited too late and it got dark. I did have a good text conversation with my family and a good phone conversation with my online friend Paul, so those were highlights, and the Boston Market food was good.
It was an interesting experience spending Thanksgiving alone, one I’d actually been curious about, but I wouldn’t want to make it a habit, since the next day felt less satisfying than other years because I hadn’t gone through the effort of the holiday, and I knew conversations about the holiday would be awkward. I’ll need a new strategy for making Thanksgiving plans. I don’t like inviting myself, but maybe I can make it known that I’m looking for somewhere to go, which is basically how my siblings each invited me over this year, but by then it was too late for me to feel comfortable making arrangements. At least Thanksgiving is the only holiday that gets tricky for me like this, and this is the first year no plans have really worked out.