A Map of my Mind, Part 1: Fifteen Books

Sooner or later, one gets the feeling that introspection does not necessarily lead to self-knowledge. Answers to questions like “Who am I?” are far from apparent from a cursory inspection of our own consciousness. On the other hand, the unexamined life is not worth living. So we need to be a bit more sophisticated in exploring our own inner geography, for which, a map of the psychic cosmos would come handy. Now, a good atlas of the earth gives us different kinds of information: data about cities and countries details the spatial distribution of human inhabitation and political boundaries, contours of the earth’s surface show us the distribution of mountain tops and oceans trenches and maps of minerals and vegetation give us the distribution of natural and organic substances.
What would be a corresponding map of the inner world? What would make it easier for the explorer of the psyche to find his or her way through the jungle? As a bibliophile, the first thought that comes to my mind is that the books I read are the best landmarks to start this inner exploration. With that thought, here are fifteen books I have read recently and that have left a positive impression. They are distributed into five categories: Fiction, History/Biography, Religion, Philosophy and Science.

Fiction.

Borges: Collected Fictions

Dostoevsky: The Brothers Karamazov

Desani: All about H.Hatterr

History/Biography

Raab: Five Families : The Rise, Decline, and Resurgence of America’s Most Powerful Mafia Empires

Wilentz: The Rise of American Democracy

Montefiore: Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar

Philosophy

Garfield: The Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way : Nagarjuna’s Mulamadhyamakakarika

Gardner: Routledge Philosophy GuideBook to Kant and The Critique of Pure Reason

Raju: Structural Depths of Indian Thought

Religion

Panikkar: The Vedic Experience

Cleary: The Blue Cliff Record

Ricard: The Life of Shabkar

Science

Bortoft: The Wholeness of Nature : Goethe’s Way Toward a Science of Conscious Participation in Nature

Gibson: The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception

Johnstone: Sketches of an Elephant: A Topos Theory Compendium

All the links are to Amazon’s listing of the book in question. They are not paying me, but since I use their website as an unofficial bibliographic database all the time, I thought I should acknowledge them as the source of many a citation.

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