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THE FREEMASONS: What They are, What They do, What They are Aiming at
THE FREEMASONS: What They are, What They do, What They are Aiming at
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4.0 out of 5 stars It was a sad chapter in human history, December 27, 2014
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Written in 1869 by Bishop Louis Gaston de Ségur in France, "The Freemasons: What They Are, What They Do, What They Are Aiming At" is a historically very important source document in unveiling the "devious" plan of a "secret" organization, Freemasonry, that was first rose up in the European continent and later advocated by the British. One cannot deny that it was based upon the treatise in this book, written in an authoritatively manner, the Catholic Church excommunicates and condemns the organization, its members and anyone who associates with them.

In this little short book, Segur identified the source of Freemasonry was closely affiliated with the Order of Knights Templar, which was originally created by the Pope to defend the faith in the Holy Land. Subsequently, the envy of the Order's wealth and fame by many, including the Royal Court of France, caused the confiscation of the Order's assets and suspicious of overthrowing the state and government. It was a sad chapter in human history in which battle was not only fought materially, but extended to spiritual world.

The battle has died down largely after the Second World War. With the economic shake-ups in many parts of the world, it seems that the tide is turning and Freemasonry is again exposed to the spotlight. If you are interested in the (anti-christian) conspiracy theory, this book is a very good start towards your further study.

It is horrifying to read Segur's statements (and there are plenty) like "...(the Templars) they fled to Scotland, where they constituted themselves a secret society, vowing implacable hatred and undying vengeance against Popes and Kings." It is virtually considered a counterbalancing force to the existing order, both religiously and administratively. "The impious Masons,...., who deliberately work to destroy Christianity, Church and Society...." If this is so, the world would be in trouble again.

It is equally confusing when one reads the Freemasonry's many fraternal slogans of brotherhood and beneficence. Segur considered that there are "exterior" Freemasonry, deluded people who are isolated from their family and religion, and there are "interior" in the "Back Lodge", who are secretive with ulterior motives, typically "revolutionary people, ideologists in search of the Unknown." Man's spirit of rebellion was hence fanned by Freemasonry, as Segur allowed, whereas it was disguised by the feeling of vanity, which was used to identify themselves together in a progressive and philanthropic society. If it is all true, one would be surprised by how far the advance of Freemasonry had turned all the people into such a materialistic but feeble society.

Segur further decrypted that Freemasonry is traced to the sun-worship in the ancient Egypt. The worship of Nature, or Grand Architect of the Universe, is its purpose. He went on to explain many Masonic practices, like oath taken, ritualistic trials, the first three degrees in the order, the higher degrees, the other public masonic organizations, etc. Despite the coverage of the book, some ambiguities still remain after all the attacks made by Segur as to their validity. Nonetheless, it is still a very enlightening work to study, whether you are pro or con to the Freemasonry. For the fans of Dan Brown, this is a sense of wonder and a must-read book.

The Virtue of Selfishness
The Virtue of Selfishness
Offered by Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Price: $7.58

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rationalistic Individualism vs. Intellectual Collectivism ~ Ayn Rand's masterpiece on Ethics, December 27, 2014
A foundational reading of Ayn Rand's Objectivist's philosophy, in my view a must-read, for understanding today's America and modern world's consumerism and individualism. This is also a very important book on clarifying a lot of the mythical issues about ethics, equality, rights, role of government, virtues, etc. They should be read in the context of what ideology Ayn put forward in the first place - Objectivism. The term may seems to be strange to read and understand in the East but in fact, millions and millions of people in the West have already bought in Ms Rand's arguments about what and how the world should be constructed.

The arguments are no doubt fascinating to read and absorb. The book is a collection of 19 essays, in which 14 were written by Ayn Rand herself and the remaining by her "close" associates, Nathaniel Branden, with whom they were once in love with each other. Ayn Rand later declined Mr. Branden's involvement in her philosophy and turned to Pleinkoff for further elaborations and applications of her philosophy system. One point to note is that I was reading the Chinese translation of the book and Chapter 11. - The Monument Builders was left out entirely for unknown reason. Other than this, I am confident that the book is generally well-translated and true to the spirit and style of Ayn's writing.

The title of the book might suggest misunderstanding to many readers but it is really a mere thought-provoking way to arouse interests from them. The choice of virtues, Ayn vehemently postulates, should be selected independently with an aim to be of value to one's individual welfare. This choice should not be made by others, not the government, the legislators, nor missionaries, while unsuspectingly, Ayn Rand is an atheist, a survivalist, Darwinist, Aristotelian. Whether you like or agree with her or not, she is one who integrates different fields of study, from ethics and psychology, societal developments and public administration, to economics and philosophy superstructures, into a whole seamlessly and convincingly.

The book is a page-turner and I completed reading the book quickly. While it is written in plain language, it is much better to digest if you have some basic understanding about economics and history. Many of the concepts are "common sense" and Ms. Rand really reinforces them nicely and is unabated to defend individualism vs. intellectual collectivism. An excellent and great book that is worth to read many times. Highly recommended.

Annie Besant An Autobiography
Annie Besant An Autobiography
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4.0 out of 5 stars Out of Everwhere into the Here - Story of a Founding Theosophist, September 21, 2014
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Annie Besant, a female disciple who puts Theosophical theory to work, a way to practice, after receiving teachings from "Master" H.P. Blavatsky, wrote about her life, and her life-changing events; from a girl overly protected by her mother, struggling through hardened life after loss of her child and divorce, somewhat ironically, from a clergy spouse, to the first-hand experience of the poor through atheist devotion to socialistic cause and continuous struggle in court trials, defending freedom of belief and speech, to final conviction in Theosophy, a system of philosophy that God is universal and one in Being. Theosophist is, thus, "one who claims to have a knowledge of God, or of the laws of nature by means of internal illumination." And Mrs. Besant further explains, "An Atheist certainly cannot be a Theosophist. A Deist might be a Theosophist. A Monist cannot be a Theosophist. Theosophy must at least involve Dualism."

There are not many touches on Theosophy per se in the book as one would have expected or look for internal explanations from Mrs. Besant, which would have required reflections of complicated contemplations anyway, other than the first meeting with HP Blavatsky in her residence in London in the very last chapter. Rather, the socialistic struggle along with her Atheist and political partner Charles Bradlaugh receives a lot of coverage in several chapters. This might be a let down and a bit boring to some readers but then perhaps Theosophy can't be told in passages at length enough in a book such as Mrs. Besant's own autobiography.

Mrs. Besant wanted, as she claimed, to throw light on some of the typical problems that are vesting the souls of man's contemporaries in troublous times, stretch out a helping hand to some brother who is struggling in the darkness, and so bring him cheer when despair has him in its grip. This, if you observe, is a matter of humility to mankind, of wisdom sinking into vortex of universe, of service to humanity, that is still needed today as much as in the past. A must to anyone who is interested in Theosophy and who likes to investigate further about its key persons and development.

The Study of The Federal Reserve and Its Secrets
The Study of The Federal Reserve and Its Secrets
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Central Bank an Enslaving Machine of Humankind, August 19, 2014
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Financial crisis after crisis, people are starting to rethink and reflect everything - from political superstructure to financial and social infrastructure. One thing that people tend to forget time and time again though is that the same thing has been done more than 90 years ago and that the question has been answered. The problem is the establishment of America's Central Bank - Federal Reserve.

In his book of 16 chapters, which were originally published in 1952, Eustace Clarence Mullins explained the origin of the Federal Reserve Act, produced evidence after evidence about the objective of the Federal Reserve, the secret plans that the Federal Reserve was designed to accomplish, and those men behind the plans, etc. In summary, Mullins pointed out that the Federal Reserve was the problem that caused, not the solution to resolve, the economic crisis and panics after WWII.

The Federal Reserve was, contrary to many believe, a privately owned corporation, a bank of banks. It is not a governmental organization although it appears to be because of the fact that the Chief is appointed by the President. This is of course an art to make that the Federal Reserve is accountable to the public while the fact is that it is only accountable to those who created it.

It is created by elite group of international financiers, or its agents/ front men, to compete and eliminate other financial lenders, mainly those operated in the rural communities for the agriculture and the general populace outside the headquarter city of New York.

The American people fought for long about a Central Bank - "there had until 1896 been a continuous struggle against a totalitarian domination of financial resources". They didn't want it. It was imposed on them and once money was created out of liquidity and lending, people were chained and became slaves. The American Civil War and the First World War were created out of the needs of the international financiers. The entire nation's financial resources are mobilized with credits mortgaged on the U.S. people and their future, generation after generation. The Congressional power to coin money and regulate thereof was once and for all delegated to private interests by the Federal Reserve Act.

It is a book startling to read like a page-turner thriller story. Even though we might have known some of the facts, we don't know the whole picture of them. They need to be put into context for examination and complete understanding. Mullins' works is one great place to start with when people ask why.

Mind Slaves of the Rosikrucian Collectorum - Part 1- Mayhem on the Astral Highway Illustrated
Mind Slaves of the Rosikrucian Collectorum - Part 1- Mayhem on the Astral Highway Illustrated
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Triumphant Awareness, August 19, 2014
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Roger Bloomfield (not Michael Bloomfield as in the foreword by the author for his persona inside the book. His father was Sergent Mickey Bloomfield, a NYPD Narcotics Division agent...interesting to see the author made such mistake upfront) wanted to become an actor in New York and so he enrolled in NYU Drama School on student loan. While he was earning "horrible grades", he met Rebecca Towne, a red-head classmate, incredibly beautiful as the scultpure of some antique Greek goddess. Her handbag was decorated with "small shiny metallic bangles and dark black beads", which was not only richly colorful but immense and exotic.

Rebecca told Roger that he had the most dazzling "aura" she had ever seen. Soon after some meeting and dinner, this mysterious girl started to invite Roger to her cult organization "HAMOORC" - Holy Ancient Mystical Operations Organization's Rosikrucian Collectorum", what a lengthy and lofty name for an organization. The "Collectorum" was an ethereal paradise, "where the souls of the elite wait for manifestation in the physical world".

She introduced him to the Imperatrax, who is the only one, along with his Holy Court, who can touch money which is very so "sacred" that the Imperatrax "sacrificed" and offer himself to it for the people. Soon after the first time experience inside the anteroom of the Collectorum, Roger was fascinated with the Order's cashier machine that allows him to conduct "astral" travel and he decided to sneak in one at home, knowing that he didn't have the money to continue the galaxy travel, nor did he possess enough "Triumphant Awareness"...his parents thought he was heavily drugged.

This is a very short story, kind of like introductory story to the author's own past journey into a cult organization. There are many more new and novelty terms that I haven't mentioned but played a large part in moving the plot. For those who are interested in the Ancient Order of Rosicrucian, this is not a book about them. Since the book is written in simple, easy-to-absorb English but largely in a cynical manner about the cult, so don't expect it like the next Dan Brown's works as serious as the study can be.

Studies in Occultism; A Series of Reprints from the Writings of H. P. Blavatsky No. 1: Practical Occultism-Occultism versus the Occult Arts-The Blessings of Publicity
Studies in Occultism; A Series of Reprints from the Writings of H. P. Blavatsky No. 1: Practical Occultism-Occultism versus the Occult Arts-The Blessings of Publicity
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4.0 out of 5 stars One with the Universal ALL - An introduction to Occultism and Theosophy by Blavatsky, July 28, 2014
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H.P. Blavatsky, the guru of Occultism in the western world, gave an account of what it is in essence and what it stands for. For anyone who is interested in pursuing an esoteric knowledge, this book is a good start.

Blavatsky defined the term by the words of Lucifer: "Occultism is the science of life, the art of living.", and this life is "first, sacrifice, and second, renunciation." Explosive thinking? Take a look at her meaning of Theosophist: "...(who is of) pure, unselfish life, who finds more joy in helping his neighbor than in receiving help himself; one who is ever ready to sacrifice his own pleasures for the sake of other people; and who loves Truth, Goodness, and Wisdom for their own sake,not for the benefit they may confer—is a Theosophist." Theosophist, as she holds, is one side of the coin and Occult science on the other.

Having read these definitions, one's mind is unavoidably ignited for seeking further. Although one might not able to understand all of the "Master" saying, even after reading this book, there are plenty of "new" perspectives of looking at the world. This short book, with only 31 pages, is a very good and quick introduction to the "Sacred Science".

The book touches lightly on what ultimately the state of being a true Theosophist: "It (the heart) must be full of the feeling of its non-separateness from the rest of beings as from all in Nature;" and thus "One with the Universal ALL." It is certainly not as easy as Blavatsky claimed to become a true Theosophist. Becoming ONE whole, as the author pointed out with the influence from the Oriental thinking, is effective to combat the long-established western educated instinct of dualism, emulation, strife, friendly rivalry, etc.

The notion of "Man Know Thyself" is the beginning of "New Age Movement", a movement which seeks a spirit of absolute unselfishness and devotion to Truth; then follow self-knowledge, self aspirant and self-mastery. Looking at today's currents of thought, the shadow of Blavatsky's messages is lurking everywhere when men encounter enormous difficulties and challenges. The messages echo in a very high and advanced state in the last century, when majority of the people won't have a clue about what it is.

It might not be the last book for the Theosophist. You won't find all the details here. But it is a perfect introductory book into Occultism, if one wishes to study the "Science" further with Blavatsky other more lengthy works.

Interlude (1965)
Interlude (1965)
DVD ~ Alan Webb
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5.0 out of 5 stars Time is Like a Dream....., July 20, 2014
This review is from: Interlude (1965) (DVD)
The movie was found because of Gerorge Deleure's (a French) alluring soundtrack composition and Yuri Tomo's (an Italian) magical voice in the main theme "Time is like a Dream". A classic movie from the 60's, a time full of love, passion and purity. Perhaps the movie was underrated deeply in a conservative society like England (the story happened in London) as it was talking about a love affair between a married, wealthy conductor Stefan Zelter (Oskar Werner) and a young, well-mannered reporter Sally (Barbara Ferris). It was featured, I believe, too soon at a time not yet as open and non-dogmatic as today.

The story is told in a step-by-step, simple manner, very British-style - calm, peaceful, subtle but hot-passion inside every man and woman. Director Kevin Billington just brought us to a journey, an interlude between two people. The movie is richly illustrated with harmonious colors, while contrasting the subversive affections. The crisscross of feelings, colliding and underpinning, seems to be under control at times. Yet, in the end, it is grudgingly silent after an outcry for the suppression of feelings.

It is definitely a movie made with all the essential elements. Highly technical and detailed, the Director hides himself behind everything and let them perform. It's very much in good contrast with that of French's acute feeling towards love. An immersive, engrossing, enthralling movie experience. I was totally absorbed into it.

A Letter to American Workingmen
A Letter to American Workingmen
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4.0 out of 5 stars Our duty to quell the resistance of the exploiting class, June 24, 2014
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"The great law of capitalism in all wars; that he who is richest and mightiest profits the most, takes the greatest share of the spoils while he who is weakest is exploited, martyred, oppressed and outraged to the most." This is what Lenin appealed to the American workingmen for a revolution after the four years long of World War I. Lenin asked: shall we place the integrity and safety of this fatherland (he was referring to U.S.) created by the bourgeoisie over the interests of the international socialist revolution?

Lenin's usual no nonsense style of writing is motivational, straightforward, and incitant. His speech called for revolution in America to end the "capitalist wage slavery", just like their forefathers in the Civil War to end the slavery, and to overthrow the rule of the bourgeoisie, in a classical Marxist class struggle analysis.

To the oppressed, Lenin's encouragement was gospel-like that brought hope to the new world. For example, "the greater the bitterness and brutality they (the proleteriat) sow, the nearer is the day of the victorious proletarian revolution."; "that a successful revolution is inconceivable unless it breaks the resistance of the exploiting became our duty to quell the resistance of the exploiting class. We are proud that we have done it, that we are doing it."

There are more statements like this in this pamphlet that readers nowadays might be awed. But if you considered the degree of suffering that the average workingmen were under at the time, that they echoed what Lenin said, you might be horrified by the history of the struggle of mankind. Nonetheless, history was not written the way Lenin conceived. Overall, a great little pamphlet.

Of Myth and Magic
Of Myth and Magic
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "I would not worship the gods; I would be one.", June 23, 2014
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This review is from: Of Myth and Magic (Kindle Edition)
A very short essay by Brines on a subject which should have required discussion at length. Instead, the title of the chapter suggests that the author wants to talk about it more - What is the Purpose of Life?

Brines thought that mankind through fear of the unknown or lust for power sought the secrets of power, influence and control over nature. Philosophers have been seeking the answers but they value logic above faith and require evidence. By contrasting that with the religious, nothing causes itslef; the cause of anything lies outside. Whatever caused this world to be, whatever might explain our purpose, must lie outside it; logically any answer must lie beyond the realm of the supernatural. Other observations and discussion on the science on material world and the religious study on harmonizing with God's will are engaging and absorbingly thoughtful.

Brines' proposition brings about a shocking but fundamental viewpoint: both science and religion pursue the same goal only by different route - they are selfish attempt to bend the rulers of the univese to mankind's will and through them to gain control of the universe. A practitioner of magic proclaims that the gods do have power that comes through knowledge denied to ordinary mortals. Mankind should not to attempt to influence those who hold that power but to learn their secrets and wrest that power from their hands. In his own word, "I would not worship the gods; I would be one." Thus begins the "New Thoughts Movement".

The essay does not dwell further and deeper from that point on, however. It comes to a sudden closing, which is a bit off, by talking about the only way to achieve true peace is to just let go, vaguely suggesting the religious control over mind of the mankind and that the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was not inherently magical but that the eater could break a rule the Creator had made. A slight attack on the Christianity, Brines did not explain further about it nor the "alternatives" in this little book. Rather, one should see this as an introduction to what the author's propositions in more details contained in other works.

Guerrilla Warfare
Guerrilla Warfare
by Ernesto Che Guevara
Edition: Paperback
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Until the Eternal Victory, May 30, 2014
This review is from: Guerrilla Warfare (Paperback)
A short but deep book by an enigmatic and charismatic revolutionary leader of the world - Ernesto Guveara or Che by his nickname. In this book Che theorized the nature, strategy and tactics of guerrilla warfare, and to an amazing degree, getting out some of the very details. For examples, the nature of the guerrilla warfare is one of the people that doesn't require all the revolutionary conditions ripe to fruition, that these conditions are but derived from the ongoing energy of guerrilla warfare being conducted, and that can win unconventionally. Che emphasized that the war itself was built on the basis of salvation of the people, from the ground up to free them from the oppression and suppressive societal structure, dominated by the oligarchy and international monopolizing businesses. Ultimately, the main goal of the struggle is all about the changing of the land ownership and the mode of the society. An important role of the guerrilla fighters is they are virtually the land reformers. They are not defending the ideals but the realization of them.

The book gave the details of the importance of mobility of the revolutionaries, i.e., hit and run tactics, supply of ammunition and food, the sources of fund, the role of female fighters or assistants, types of war industry, sabotage activities, etc. When I read the book, it was so vivid that as if I was in Che's room following for a mission briefing.

The book might get a little bit bored later on with chapters on the structure and organization of the revolutionary army, training and education of the people and soldiers, medical problems, etc. They drag a little but they are quite essential to the reading and fitting to the overall context of the book.

Recommended reading for anyone who is interested in the revolutionary warfare in Latin America and in the man Che himself. He is really one of the guy who works out his vision, not just with theories, but with courage and actions. Whether you buy in Che vision or ideas, he is a respectable person to anyone on earth.

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