Challenge: spot the single thematic thread running through these two videos.

By the way, that ant fungus is 100% creepy, man…


Conversations With God: An Uncommon Dialogue, Vol. 1Conversations With God: An Uncommon Dialogue, Vol. 1 by Neale Donald Walsch
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don’t remember where I first heard about this book. I think it was High Existence and one of their many articles/lists on the books that will “violently shift your perspective” or some such. What sealed it for me was when I listened to a podcast (Positive Head Episode #12) where the site’s founder, Jordan Lejuwaan, was invited. When he was asked to name a book he’d take with him on a deserted island, he replied with little hesitation: “Conversations with God.” The best part? The host agreed with him!

Now, these are people who are very much against religion as we understand it and the way we talk about it in public discourse. When I first heard of this book, I recall that I, too, was very skeptical, just judging by the title: “who is this guy with this frankly messianic, banal idea of speaking to God and transcribing the conversation?” It seemed silly, like something belonging to the Middle Ages, certainly not our supposedly progressive-thinking world. Mind you, I’m trying to offer you what had been my automatic thoughts, which I might not actually agree with on a more conscious, rational level.

Having read a badly converted .mobi version of the .pdf I managed to find online on my Kindle—just another hi-tech mode of delivery—, I can now confidently say the following:

If somebody told me: “man, this book contains the words of God”, if I could somehow be certain that they were speaking the truth, and if I did put my prejudices aside, my prejudices that come from growing up in a society built on soul-crushing organised religions that are deadly serious and strict about what God is supposed to be, the contents of this book are close to what I would ideally expect to find. In that way it leaves nothing to be desired. It has a certain something that truly feels divine, superhuman, an oriental or pagan worldview that does not deny people (of all sexes!) our body and all the fun things we can do with it. Here we have God joking around, pronouncing hedonism and all kinds of sex as holy, right next to unconditional love and our calling to be Who We Really Are, which as I understand it means that we become God by creating with our lives the best, most fulfilling, creative and loving version of ourselves.

This book wasn’t pretentious, nor dogmatic, nor close-minded. It was nothing of what you’d come to expect from what we call religion. It does have a lot of common points with Jesus Christ’s teachings as they have reached us today (which are pretty much the same across the board and across historical and famous spiritual teachers), but the book is certainly not Christian, which is a good part of the reason why you needn’t look farther than other reviews of this book on Goodreads to see Christian followers denouncing the book left and right, flat-out refusing to read it because it will supposedly challenge their faith. People, if you want to be devout and pious, at least try to do it right.

I don’t know who or what it was who spoke to Mr. Walsch. I have no idea if it was God, whatever God is or might be. It could be the writer just talking to himself, but why would that make it impossible it to have been God speaking through him? It all depends on how we define God. I’m a realisation of God writing this review right now, you are a realisation of God by reading it, and you are a realisation of God no matter what your response to it is.

I’ve recommended this book to many people already, and I recommend it to you too. It really doesn’t matter what your creed is or what you might be proud of calling a lack of one; contrary to my strong thoughts on what ancient organised religions believe we should be doing with our lives, I cannot see a reason why following this book’s advice would make your life anything but better. Even if you’re an atheist who believes in scientism, I do think that reading this book would do you good. In fact, I’d say that rejecting it without thought would just prove a certain amount of closed-mindedness in you and make you dangerously similar to those aforementioned hardcore “Christians” who feel proud of themselves for refusing to read a book. Doesn’t that make you uncomfortable?

While we’re at it, let me share with you a closing thought that came to me yesterday. We accept that organised religion is a powerful entity—much less so now than in the past, but let’s say that they still have no problem of capturing the imagination of billions. Now, organised science, what we’d call the mainstream scientific dogma—just follow the money—they have power not only over the minds of billions, but also actual power, mainly expressed through the activities of huge techno-corporations that have been setting the rules and the paradigm. Both organised religion and organised science are supposed to be superhuman, and therefore have a duty to be neutral and above the petty realm of “human weakness”.

We know that organised religion is full of scumbag priests and other subcategories of clergy. So what is it exactly that protects organised science from similar “infiltration”? Both fields promise mountains of money and prestige. How can one safely rest his or her faith with one over the other as the ultimate representative of an accurate and objective world theory? It seems to me that what it takes to be religous is faith and an ability to reject the proof that lies in the material world, it takes an equal but opposite(?) amount of faith and ability to reject the proof that lies in the material world to be an atheist.

Heh, look at me, never missing a chance to attack scientism!

I’ll say it again: if reading, enjoying and feeling inclined to follow or at least consider the life advice contained within Conversation with God makes me “religious”, there, done: I’m religious. If you are unable to tell the difference between the frankly liberating information contained in this book and what has passed off as religion for far too long in the world at large, then that is something you’ll have to sort out by yourself, I’m afraid.

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All links to High Existence:

My Struggle with Social Media: A Diatribe on Ego and Honesty

…so if I unfriend or ignore you online, I hope you understand. But if you see me go on some friending frenzy you’ll know I found something worth telling the world about. I will have found a banner I can wave that doesn’t read, “Look at me!” Rather, it might read, “Look at us. Poor, sorry, beautiful us.”

A Philosopher’s Guide to Facebook Envy

“It’s a real taboo to mention envy, but if there is one dominant emotion in modern society, that is envy…”

– Alain de Botton

Do you ever feel negative emotions while browsing the web? If you do you’re not alone. A recent study showed 1 in 3 people feel more depressed after visiting social media sites like Facebook. Psychologists call this phenomenon as ‘Facebook envy’.

Best-selling philosopher Alain Botton has pointed out that because Facebook envy is one of the least talked about emotions, it has the power to potentially destroy your life and prevent you from achieving your dreams. To stop this from happening to you, Alain de Botton has invented what he calls the ‘envy diary technique’.

By using the envy diary technique outlined in this post you’ll be able to transform negative emotions like Facebook envy, jealously and frustration into motivation and confidence, allowing you to achieve your goals with more speed and more ease.

The Envy Diary Technique

Whenever you feel envy:

  1. Acknowledge it.
  2. Write down the cause.
  3. Repeat.
  4. Look for a pattern.

Social Media is Distorting Your Creative Vision, and You Don’t Even Know It

What drives your creative work? Money? Fame? Success? If you’re an artist, you’re probably answering “no way”— meaning drives you. Finding purpose or making your life meaningful is your deepest priority, even if it’s not the priority you act on most. (Let’s face it, if living a meaningful life consisted of following an indubitable recipe, we’d all do it. But it doesn’t.)

Whether subtly or profoundly, we all experience this drive for meaning. And though the cause of this drive seems unidentifiable, it’s by searching for it that we add meaning to our lives. Art is just one way we undertake this search. The difficulty, though, with making art is remaining honest, and often our truest desires get supplanted with the desires of others. If you’re struggling to find artistic fulfillment, it may have nothing to do with your skill set or methodology, and everything to do with unquestioned motivations.

For some time now my own work (writing) has felt polluted. I’ve struggled to achieve a sense of honesty, so I recently began exploring why. What I found is an intoxicating ideology and social media as the dominant carrier of it. Together they chloroformed me, stifling my creativity and sapping the pleasure from my work.


From my favourite Julien Smith, that guy who’d definitely be invited to the cool people party. Posting here for future reference and inspiration:

I recently realized that I’d been reading a book every week now for  5 years straight.

It kind of made me wonder: what did I really learn? Am I smarter than I used to be?

I started to wonder, and this is what happened. 140 characters per book, for 174 books… 174 things you may not know.

Are you curious? I sure was when I started. Here we go.


The HE Audiobook: 26 of Our Best Articles For Your Personal Evolution

3 months ago we set out to gather the best articles we’ve ever written and transform them into an audiobook.

We compiled a huge stash of inspiring, thought-provoking, ego-breaking, magical content and re-created them with the mesmerizing voice of Simon from

The result is a whopping 5-hours of audio content that transforms the way you absorb our articles.

You get our best 26 articles for less than two cups of coffee.


You can listen to them while commuting or use them to get your grandma interested in DMT 🙂

They’re also DRM free so you can share them with anyone.

This is our first attempt at supporting HE through original content. Rather than ads or affiliate links, this audiobook further empowers us to do what we love without sacrifice.

This is where I, qb, come in. I bought and download this several months ago and it was quite worth it. I uploaded it on my server for sharing with anyone who might be interested but wouldn’t know where his or her $5 would be going. This is valuable info and each one of the 26 articles-cum-sound files are wonderful partners for walking and/or running.

Get it now.

Review: Underground: The Tokyo Gas Attack and the Japanese Psyche

Underground: The Tokyo Gas Attack and the Japanese PsycheUnderground: The Tokyo Gas Attack and the Japanese Psyche by Haruki Murakami

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I find it very interesting reading non-fiction by writers that are generally better known for their novels. I like taking a sneak peek at how they perceive and document real events and whether their love for the imaginary can affect the way they tell a story.

For some reason I have connected Murakami with magical realism, even if I’ve only read only one other book of his and that not one of the most well-known. This book, then, didn’t feel like Murakami – possibly because I have no clear idea of what Murakami feels like in the first place, maybe because it had too little magical and too much realism in it, the hard-hitting kind, the “it could have been me” a lot of the people in the book kept saying.

However, I don’t want to do Underground injustice and understate the way it moved my imagination and sense of awe(m). In the second part of the book, a later publication which followed the success of what was originally just the first part (the one with the interviews of the victims and the indirecty affected), we get to see what Aum, the religious cult/organisation whose higher-ups were behind the gas attacks, was like from the inside. We get to read the stories of disillusioned still-members, tortured ex-members, believers that achieved superpowers through their association and training with Aum, personal histories that follow certain people’s fascination with transcendence and enlightenment and how ultimately that led them to the cult’s doorstep. These stories, what people were able to do, what peace they found, what secret powers their leaving the “secular world” unlocked in them… To be honest, judging by their motives and lost hopes in the world and by my own sense of being a ship in an endless ocean trying to find an island, I can completely relate; I, too, would have become a member. But would I have done things differently were I in their shoes? Maybe I should be asking myself what I would have done if I was Japanese before I ask anything else, of course!

The book left me wanting to investigate, to slowly discover more of the hidden world that was promised to those people but without the manipulation and the religious aspects, the Leader-centred bullshit. Underground also pushed me in equal parts towards further fascination, admiration for and disgust of the Japanese people and their culture. To illustrate, it would be greatly fulfilling to delve into the psyche of modern Japan -just like Murakami attempted to do with Underground- but at the same time I already know that too many aspects of it would make me feel like I’d be wasting my time and hopes on a lost case of a spent culture with no future. I would certainly be interested in reading a similar account of events of the 2011 tsunami and the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear accident.

At any rate, from now on I’m going to be subconsciously checking for smelly liquids on carriage floors whenever I ride on subterranean trains.

Thanks Daphne for lending this book to me.

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Three “censored” TED talks

Source: High Existence

Nobody can ignore TED, a powerhouse of fast, mind-blowing and paradigm breaking talks that last around 20 minutes. Experts in diverse fields such as anthropology, entrepreneurship, cosmology or brain science deliver a presentation all under the motto of ‘Ideas Worth Sharing’. But as TED has grown over the years and the TEDx events have spread to all the outskirts of our globe it seems it has shifted its focus from controversial ideas to the goal of preserving its own brand. Is it trying to defend science or is it trying to defend the ones who use science as a political tool?

Rich People Don’t Create Jobs

Around a year ago TED banned Nick Hanauer‘s talk named ‘Rich People Don’t Create Jobs‘. The talk was deemed too ‘political’ and was never put online. However, after word got out, a large number of people signed a petition and demanded the rights to view it. TED reluctantly published Nick’s talk which you are able to view right here:

The Science of Delusion

In this fascinating talk Rupert Sheldrake in ‘The Science of Delusion‘ questions current scientific dogmas and challenges us to reconsider them. According to TED, talks like Sheldrakes ‘strays well beyond the realms of reasonable science. Yet, ironically, this philosophical talk is exactly about such opinions of what science is and is not. Watch the controversial talk here:

The War on Consciousness

The third censored talk is by Graham Hancock and called ‘The War on Consciousness‘. Graham talks about the end of his 24 year Cannabis addiction and how another ecodelic drug named Ayahuasca helped to change his consciousness for the better. He argues that we live in a culture that wages war on certain states of mind and promotes others, exactly what TED tried to do.

“If this is how science operates, by silencing those who express opposing views rather than by debating with them, then science is dead and we are in a new era of the Inquisition.”

– Graham Hancock

Do you think any of these talks should be CENSORED? Why or why not?

It’s hard to maintain the same level of radicality once you escape the grassroots. After that, the more you grow, the necessity to conform to the tastes of a forever greater number of people slowly arises as well. Since they still have the videos online they’re not really censoring them, just saying “we don’t believe these ideas are worth spreading, but if you’re seriously going to make such a fuss about it…” Come to think of it, maybe that’s the way “civilised” people censor things without looking too bad. Still an interesting development any way you look at it.

There is the relevant enlighting discussion on TED’s website itself.

Review: The Flinch

The Flinch
The Flinch by Julien Smith

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Quote from near the end of the book: “At this point in most books, the authors promise you that if you do what they say, you’re sure to succeed.
In this case, you’re sure to fail. To be rejected. To discover wrong paths. To see what
humiliation is like, firsthand”…

Me, after reading the above:I don’t like it, it sounds dangerous…”

…”You’re sure to live.
And then yes, maybe, you might reach your goals.
Would you have it any other way?”

So, is The Flinch a book or not? In theory, it is; to me, all it takes for a book to be a book, apt for review here on Goodreads, is for it to call itself by that name — being an actual bound edition is becoming more and more passé, so let’s stick to what we’ve got. In practice, however, it’s not really one: it could have been an exceptionally long post on some forum or an article on a site like High Existenceor 30 Sleeps. If you ask me, it makes no difference at all: what’s important here is the information.

The Flinch strikes at human instinctive self-defense mechanism — the out-stretched palms hiding one’s face from the… face of danger — taken to less physical domains of existence, such as talking to strangers, taking plunges off of various heights or simply doing anything that might challenge our comfortable status quo. The book says that when we feel our all trying to prevent us from doing something (and we can’t find any good, logical reason not to do it if we ask ourselves “what am I really scared of?”), it’s probably others people’s fears, prejudice and/or experience kicked into us: from parental overprotection to serial-killer ward to “a frined of mine once…” to cold, hard facts of life.

The things is though that if we follow everyone else’s advice we never get to experience anything for our own, we never get to face our fears and know ourselves a little bit better, much less create ourselves into what we’d dream to be. We never get to take life to the next level, and then the next. While it may be true that some, if not few, of society’s fears we’ve taken up would be good to keep in mind at all times, I’ve found from whenever I’ve fought The Flinch that it never was all that bad. On the contrary — who knows what having learned to pursue a comfortable, flinchy front might be robbing me from daily?

It was a good, short, crisp read that filled me with inspiration which will probably prove to be short-lived as with other writings of similar kind but I hope I keep it with me and remember its lesson for long.

Here is a link for you to read it. It won’t take you very long and you will come out of it thoughtful and hopefully empowered.

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