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Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View (book 12 of 12)

Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View (book 12 of 12)

December 29, 2019
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At long last… I started reading Richard Tarnas’s Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View end of February, and just finished it, completing my Goodreads reading challenge of 2019 (75 books read, this is my 75th) as well as my “12 Swedish and 12 English books to read and blog about” of the year.

Cosmos and Psyche opens doors in the reader’s mind, doors towards the future. Yes, it records, analyzes, and interprets events of the past, but its primary relevance points towards the future. Its thorough research fulfills a function that is central to the genuine, hard-nosed pursuit of human knowledge: ‘the elicitation of disbelief and the celebration of surprise’ (Lewis Thomas). Richard Tarnas dares to be far ahead of conventional thought. He broadens our horizons until we suddenly see with delight vistas and connections we never expected. Here at last is a world view which – in contrast to prevailing ones – has a future.” – David Steindl-Rast

The first half of the book I read with no sense of urgency. The latter… Knowing here’s a book preferably read a chapter at a time, and not one iota more, as it is amongst the densest and rich writings I’ve as yet encountered, and knowing the five-hundred pages had to be read come new years…  Well. Let’s just say, I will be re-reading this book, and I will be mining gold-nuggets and jewels from it that I totally overlooked this first time, of that I am certain. You see, it’s easy to get cheesecaked out when reading Cosmos and Psyche which I think Tarnas (or his editor?) was very much aware of, as the chapters are mostly 8-12 pages long or so; just perfect!

“[One is reminded here of] Niels Bohr’s axiom in quantum physics, ‘The opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth’, or Oscar Wilde’s ‘A Truth in art is that whose contradiction is also true’. What is difficult, of course, is to see both images, both truths, simultaneously: to suppress nothing, to remain open to the paradox, to maintain the tension of opposites. Wisdom, like compassion, often seems to require of us that we hold multiple realities in our consciousness at once.”

Cosmos.
Psyche.

Outer.
Inner.

Without.
Within.

Tarnas gives me tankespjärn to last me a lifetime or two, in the most beautiful language. I am stunned, aha-ed, confused and confounded, at times chocked, now and again in total disbelief and throughout it all, flabbergasted at the amount of meticulous work that has gone into the makings of this work. It’s far from an easy read, one I would never have picked up had it not been for the one and only Mr D (who else…). How lucky I am!

“One is unlikely to discover what one is certain cannot possibly exist.”

Being open – in mind, in heart – is perhaps the single most important insight I take with me, from reading Cosmos and Psyche. With openness, the possibility increases to discover that which does exist, however unaware I am of it.


The book I am blogging about is part of the book-reading challenge I’ve set for myself during 2019, to read and blog about 12 Swedish and 12 English books, one every other week, books that I already own.

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#blogg100 – Observe yourself.

April 12, 2017
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“Do not observe yourself too closely.
Do not draw too rapid conclusions from what happens to you;
let it simply happen to you.”

Yes.

But also – No! A strong and resounding No rising from within the depths of me, reverberating in my entire being.

Perhaps my fervent opposition to Rainer Maria Rilkes two sentences is his use of the words observation and drawing conclusions, without using also the word judgement. Because there is nothing that has helped me as much to Live life as it happens to me, as the ability to observe myself. But here’s the clou: To observe myself, without judgement. Rilkes “rapid conclusions” in my mind is to do with making judgements.

chainsOnce I learned to observe myself (which for me means the ability to bear witness to myself, to all that I am experiencing, while simultaneously seeing what I am experiencing – I am in it, but at the same time outside of it) and fully understood that whatever I am thinking isn’t Truth, but rather a filter which shapes the experience of the world I am in, life changed. Oh how it changed! It became possible for me to let life happen, without me having to fight it each and every inch of the way. No longer shackled to the harsh voices within.

Because simultaneously, my inner Judge and Dictator lost its power over me and my life. He could be shouting at me (I often liken him to a combination of Hitler/Mao/Stalin. Perhaps a bit dramatic, but hey, that’s what it felt like to be me), the same things he’d been shouting at me for years on end, relentlessly, and all of a sudden… I was able to let it be. To avoid engaging with it. To avoid the conclusions stemming from an internal dialogue telling me You are so dumb!, You should have known better! and Why on earth would you ever do something that stupid, haven’t you learnt anything?.

Once I stopped paying attention to the harsh inner dialogue of mine, the tone of it shape shifted, into something that gradually turned into the ability to be gentle towards myself. And from that place, whatever happens to me, as I am living my life, is easier to handle with grace, come what may.

#Blogg100 challenge in 2017 – post number 43 of 100.
The book “Letters to a Young Poet” by Rainer Maria Rilke.
English posts here, Swedish at
herothecoach.com.

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