Episode 11 – The Upanishads (Part One)

Thousands of years ago, using techniques of deep meditation, Indian mystics conducted investigations into the powers of the universe and the nature of human consciousness, developing ideas about a single supreme god, the eternal soul, and the relationship of individuals to the spiritual cosmos. Their flashes of insight were passed along orally for hundreds of years before being recorded in written form sometime around 900 B.C. The best of these are now called the Upanishads, and their teachings have provided a philosophical tradition to hundreds of millions of practitioners of the Hindu religion as well as many other seekers of wisdom and truth. In this episode, host Jacke Wilson introduces his project to investigate the nature of the Upanishads and see what these ancient texts might (or might not) be able to provide to a modern-day seeker.

 

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The Magic of Storytelling

Any writer who heads out into the marketplace soon realizes that the marketplace is carved up into sections, organized by genre. Is your book science fiction? Fantasy? Steampunk? Women’s fiction? Literary fiction? Romance? Creative nonfiction? Biography? Historical fiction?

Roughly you can think of this as “Where would you look for this in the bookstore?”

This can be frustrating. Many authors of science fiction will claim, rightly, that their books have the same devotion to character and language that “literary fiction” does.  And authors of literary fiction will say that their books have enough mystery, or romance, that they shouldn’t be lumped in with the highfalutin’. Most if not all authors believe that their books have at least a couple of these elements, and can appeal to readers accordingly.

Aha, you say. Bookstores are no longer physical spaces! We don’t need to choose one shelf on which to place a book. Online, every book can be in multiple categories!

But that’s not how it works. Online bookstores organize things into lists. Forums dedicated to books and reading focus on particular genres. Reviewers have preferences for genres they like to read. And most importantly, readers look for books in their genre (or avoid ones they don’t like). For an author, declaring a genre serves a purpose in a) getting readers to consider your book and b) setting their expectations for what they will find.

I don’t know if this will ever change. I’m just saying that it hasn’t yet.

All of this is a lengthy prelude to what I really want to say. Because there is a different way to think of this. There is hope, people! Continue reading