Saturday, November 29, 2008

Book Review: Pushing Ultimates

Today I received an email advertising Pushing Ulltimates, by "Lew Paz." I don't know why they sent me this email, but I wasn't thrilled.

However, to give it a fair shake, I went to the web site and looked at the publishing house's credentials. They have only Lew's book to their credit. Lew designed the publishing house's trademark. I think they might be rather friendly with old Lew, personally. You know. Friendly.

So I went through the excerpts they had on their site. The book purports to be a modern philosopher's foray into the mind and self awareness. I think. It was confusing. The excerpts show that most of this book is made up of quotes that illustrate the author's point. He uses really big words too.

Here's a sample from the Excerpts page:
From the works of numerous scholars of varied fields, it is clear that a vast proportion of the population is alienated from authentic self-awareness. This alienation has been described as a psychological/spiritual stultification of the evolution of consciousness, brought about by mass subservience toward external socially oriented goals, which disregard knowledge of human spiritual essence. As the great Hindu sage Sri Aurobindo maintained, authentic knowledge begins when we probe beyond appearances, beyond ossified traditional belief systems and sterile scientism. The quality of knowledge this book is concerned with is, as the scholar Henri Corbin wrote, “knowledge that changes and transforms the knowing subject.”

For serious.

Ok, now as a writer, I know how much effort went into this book. I know he thinks it's important. He spent all that time writing, editing, and then promoting his book. Designing the web site probably took an hour or two in itself. And registering the domain must be costing him at least $15. So it's not only time and effort, it's real capital he's invested into this work.

And it might actually help someone. Somewhere. With a large vocabulary. Who is easily impressed by proof-text quotes from alleged spiritual masters they've never heard of.

Me, I wasn't too impressed. But since they took the time to send me an email, I decided to take the time and give it a review based on what they have publicly available.

I think it sucks. I would rather see people go out and do magic than waste a dime or an iota of time reading this kind of self-serving new age crap. Magic is free, the knowledge you need is free, and this dude's insights... Well, let's just say that it's easy to find other people to quote who agree with the author becuase these aren't exactly original.

It's repackaged, sure, and seriously, the guy spent a long time writing it, and that's worthy of respect, but there's a lot of dreck that takes a long time to write available. So hats off for finishing a manuscript, Lew Paz, but next time make it more approachable, drop the quotes, and tell us what you really experienced and think about it.