Empathy and the Mind

2017-12-15T19:33:20+00:00 15/12/2017|

Thinking about thinking and empathy An important characteristic which distinguishes the work of Idries Shah from that of many other 20th-century exponents of Eastern thought is the emphasis placed on behaviour, ideas, stories and jokes which encourage flexible thinking Flexible thinking is alien to most belief-systems, which insist on how things have to be, [...]

Doris Lessing and The Sufis

2017-12-09T18:30:58+00:00 09/12/2017|

Doris Lessing’s personal letters indicate that Idries Shah’s re-presentation of Sufi teaching was a turning point in the later period of Lessing’s life and work. The Sufis was published early in 1964, and Lessing sent her first letter to Shah, the book’s author, shortly after reading it (8 April 1964). ‘I’ve been going through the [...]

Some thoughts on polymathy

2017-12-06T19:22:55+00:00 06/12/2017|

Robert Twigger, author of Micromastery, interviews Richard Martin, freelance writer and editor (indalogenesis.com/about/) and co-author of The Neo-Generalist Why is polymathy shunned in many public educational areas? Why do writers on polymathy prefer to avoid the term? I wonder if one of the issues is about the definition of the [...]

The Brain: Reflections

2017-11-29T02:15:12+00:00 29/11/2017|

In the 1950s and 60s, research by Roger Sperry and Joseph Bogen, seemed to show conclusively that the human brain was not just shaped into two halves physically, but also that each half has a different way of seeing the world, a different way of processing sensory inputs. Experiments on patients whose corpus callosum - [...]

Borges: Influence and Coincidence

2017-11-21T01:50:57+00:00 21/11/2017|

By Sergio Missana On a visit to Buenos Aires a few years ago I was privileged to spend an afternoon in the library of Jorge Luis Borges. The hours flew by as, completely absorbed, I flicked through the author’s books. None of them were catalogued in any seeming order; rather they were arranged in what, [...]

The Resurrection of Sir Richard Francis Burton

2017-11-10T02:48:07+00:00 19/11/2017|

By the 1960s, most people associated the name Richard Burton with a famous movie star, not an eccentric English explorer. If Sir Richard Burton was remembered at all it was for being the translator of an obscene(ish) version of The 1001 Nights and the Arab sex manual A Perfumed Garden. His entry in disguise [...]


2017-11-18T02:35:05+00:00 16/11/2017|

Yahia Lababidi is a poet and aphorist of Egyptian-American heritage; he is the author of seven critically acclaimed books including Where Epics Fail, his most recent book of aphorisms https://unbound.com/books/where-epics-fail Hereunder, he answers some questions about his work as a poet and aphorist What do you hope people take away [...]

Where an idea came from

2017-11-10T02:50:05+00:00 13/11/2017|

When I first started to read the books of Idries Shah, about thirty years ago, I hoped they would help me figure out how to live a better life. His work was much admired by my favourite author, Doris Lessing, and I was curious to see why. I reasoned (reasonably, I think) that if [...]

On Real Maple Syrup…

2017-11-09T02:56:05+00:00 09/11/2017|

  ... and My Interest in the Sufi Writing of Idries Shah Someone asked me about how I became interested in the Sufi writing of Idries Shah, back in the 1970s.  Here’s what I wrote: I don’t have a comprehensive, or even coherent, narrative about my interest in Sufism (as presented by Idries Shah), but [...]

On Chivalry

2017-10-31T01:22:02+00:00 31/10/2017|

Military ranks in different countries mirror one another to a large degree: the various grades within individual armed forces are largely the same, from ‘private’ to ‘general’. The military in Spain, Argentina, Chile and several other Latin American countries, however, have a rank which is unique. This is an Alférez, sometimes translated as ‘second lieutenant’. [...]