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Reality Paperback – April 1, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Kingsley (In the Dark Places of Wisdom) attempts to restore the meaning of reality by focusing on the fragmentary writings of Parmenides. In simple and direct language, free of philosophical cant, the author argues that modern translations of this sixth-century B.C. philosophers work "bear little real relation to the meaning of his original Greek." This revisionist view may not persuade everyone, but students of mysticism will find plenty of food for thought. Theres an extensive notes section at the back for the more scholarly inclined. FYI: Kingsley is an honorary professor at the University of New Mexico and at Canadas Simon Fraser University.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“It would be difficult not to conclude that, through his research into our past, he has found the key to the modern world impasse.” —Robert A. Johnson, author, He: Understanding Masculine Psychology
“Reality contains the purest and most powerful writing I have ever read.” —Michael Baigent, author, Ancient Traces
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He goes on to say that scholars have misunderstood their teachings, and offers plenty of evidence in prolific notes at the back to justify his claims.
The primary aim of the book is to guide the reader through the poems written by Parmenides and Empedocles. Peter offers not only a new translation of the texts based on knowledge of Greek, but guides us to their esoteric meanings, in the hope that these will influence the seeker in a way to help them to come to a realization of Truth or Reality as he calls it.
Peter offers the view that these two were teachers in a long line of esoteric teachers whose access to higher understanding started even before the Greeks; came through the Greeks, to the Egyptians, then the Romans and others, then to Islam where it is currently embodied in Sufism. Today Sufism has a Western component as well as the Islamic version. However, some organizations are genuine, some are not.
For me, it was a thoroughly good read, even if a little long at 559 pages not including the notes! I would recommend the book to those who are seeking either to get some direction in their spiritual search, or to those who are interested in the above two characters, and need fresh insight into their teachings.
The incubation process as transporter to another world is an experiential one, and like many who have turned to the arts when having difficulty in the translation of experiences that lie outside the parameters of our consensus reality, Parmenides turned to poetry to faithfully portray and animate this inner world. But his poem was not simply to be appreciated for its clever prose and beautiful form. Instead it provided an enticing invitation to the reader to share the experience that bore it and heed it's challenge to Truth.
Centuries have passed, and the invitation lay unanswered.
Enter Peter Kingsley, an accomplished, credentialed scholar who has managed no small miracle - to bring these ancient mystical experiences into a modern day consciousness. Or perhaps it is more accurate to say that Kingsley takes our modern-day consciousness to the ancient mystical world of Parmenides.
Regardless, it is a powerful cultural exchange.
This book is revolutionary in it's bold mastery of that feat alone as evidenced by the stir it has caused among Kingsley's academic peers. He adheres to the proper dress code by donning the cloak of academic acceptibility through extensive research, a hefty bibliography and a broad historical contextual knowledge of cultural influences that animate Parmenides' world.
Yet Kingsley's revelations do not seem entirely of this world.
They instead seem to have been born of the deep conviction and heartfelt dedication to Truth of one who must surely have bridged this gaping hole in our philosophical/mystical lineage through his own incubation-like experiences, however brief his glimpse behind the veil. And perhaps this, more than academic credentials imparts the powerfully transcendent Truth that resonates throughout his thesis.
At least it seems unlikely that Kingsley's vantage point could have been achieved simply by intellectual means - through research alone - no matter how comprehensive the material or insightful the interpretation.
Given that our culture's topsy-turvy academic criteria for establishing Truth does not value such experiences in it's formulation, but instead relies on separation from experience, an objectification that is untarnished by the imperfections of our common humanity, it would seem unlikely that any academically trained author would call attention to this 'imperfection'. But the folly belongs to those who assume such a separation could provide a reliable reflection of Truth, let alone be achievable within the natural laws which bind us all.
If this hunch about Kingley's experiences is correct then there may be important implications in the very existence of Reality (the book) for our culture. I wonder if such a book could have been written and received without a broad experience in common with Parmenides and his connection to divine consciousness?
If, in order to reap the benefits of Kingsley's writings, one must first hold a similar vantage - at least some awareness derived of experiential knowledge that provides the foundation upon which Kingley's interpretations can take root and illuminate the ancient precident laid out by Parmenides - then who is his audience?
The book is clearly not meant for those who measure the unmeasurable with leaden weights and circular intellects.
In that context this is the most encouraging and remarkable revelation of all! Kingsley's revelatory interpretations of ancient text and poems could not have been so well received within the collective were its message unrecognizable. Instead it has struck a chord in empathetic resonance with a shared and transcendent knowledge.
So perhaps despite itself our culture has, in however limited or clumsy a way, made itself ready to at last receive this dormant seed. Perhaps we have, in subtle and imperceptible ways, been fertilizing an inner landscape made barren by centuries of neglect and ignorance. Lands that can nurture closer union with divine consciousness through the careful cultivation of the inner stillness at the core of the process described by Parmenides and the embrace of holistic principles within a non-dualistic reality. Kingley's work seems to offer an important confirmation of this readiness, while providing a reunion with our profoundest roots. He is an Alex Haley for the colorless intellect in search of a soul.
Could it be that Kingsley has provided 'empirical proof' that our inheritance survives still in a centuries old seed?
But as someone who is very familiar with the tradition of The Fourth Way (G.I.Gurdjieff, P.D.Ouspensky etc.) I had no problem recognizing what this book is all about. Those old Greeks were teaching the same thing. RS.