Energy Flow Resources

Into the CoolInto The Cool: Energy Flow, Thermodynamics and Life

Eric D. Schneider & Dorion Sagan

 

A well-written, comprehensive overview of all of the major developments of thermodynamic theory, plus interesting speculations. Despite being hung up on entropy (that’s a joke), it’s the best book on thermodynamics I have read.

 


 

Ilya Prigogine - thermodynamicsIlya Prigogine

From Being to Becoming: Time and complexity in the physical sciences

with Isabel Stengers:

Order out of Chaos: Man’s new dialogue with nature

Prigogine’s own explanation of the paradigm of dissipative structures. At times, it’s heavy going. Still, no one explains the concepts as well. Prigogine’s later books in which he tries to extend the paradigm to biology and history are interesting and worth reading. They illustrate that Prigogine understood the revolutionary importance of dissipative structures but couldn’t muster a broad enough inter-disciplinary reach to pull all the pieces together.

 


 

Erich JantschErich Jantsch

The self-organizing universe: Scientific and human implications of the emerging paradigm of evolution

Jantsch’s stunning leap in applying the paradigm of dissipative structures to everything he could find. The book is dedicated to Ilya Prigogine and extends dissipative structures to biochemistry, evolution, sociobiology, culture and society. Many of the things Jantsch was passionate about or reacted against do not hold the same importance for us thirty years later, but he outlines a way to integrate simply everything.

 


 

The film Baraka, a Ron Fricke film

A beautiful film that illustrates the movement of energy in our world. www.barakathefilm.com

 


Tantra Resources

Daniel OdierDaniel Odier

Tantric Quest: An Encounter with Absolute Love

Desire: The Tantric Path to Awakening

Yoga Spandakarika: The Sacred Texts at the Origin of Tantra

Daniel Odier’s stories, understandings, and translations of Tantra are more direct than just about anything else written. Like Zen koans, encompass one couplet of the Yoga Spandakarika and you will encompass them all.

 


 

Georg Feuerstein - TantraGeorg Feuerstein

Tantra: The Path of Ecstasy

An excellent description of the original cultural traditions of Indian Tantra (one of three streams of Tantra, along with Tibetan Tantra and Kashmiri Shaivism). Shows brilliantly how great insight can be beaten into esoteric submission.

 


 

feuerstein-yoga-traditionGeorg Feuerstein

The Yoga Tradition: It’s History, Literature, Philosophy and Practice

Perhaps the best overview of yoga ever written, especially because Feuerstein balances descriptions and history with passages from original texts. Feuerstein has a real appreciation for Tantra, although his scholarly interests tend to emphasize the esoteric aspects of tantric tradition.

 


 

Samuel The Origins of Yoga and TantraGeoffrey Samuel

The Origins of Yoga and Tantra

Well-written exploration of how Tantra arose in India as religion, ritual, magic and meditation. Samuel has such a fine perspective of what inferences to draw from the available fragmentary evidence. I regard this book as a brilliant example of modern scholarship, comfortable with ambiguity and the limits of knowledge.

There is very nice review in The Magazine of Yoga. The book is much more fun than the review suggests.

 


 

shankarananda-shaivismSwami Shankarananda

The Yoga of Kashmir Shaivism: Consciousness is Everything

This is a wonderfully clear explanation of Kashmiri Shaivism, one of the main schools of Tantra. That is not to say it is easy to understand! Tantra can be almost petrified with philosophy and distinctions. If you can see through the words to the experience being referenced, this book is full of gems.

 


 

chang-tibetan-tantraGarma C. C. Chang, ed/trans

Teachings and Practice of Tibetan Tantra

This is a short and fascinating book, for reasons the editor did not intend! The five selections move from the profound insight of the sage Tilopa to almost incomprehensible, and at times silly, instructions on practicing the Six Yogas of Naropa. Like Georg Feuerstein’s Tantra: The Path of Ecstasy which explores south Indian Tantra, It shows how original insight gathers barnacles which completely obscure the original meaning.

 


 

yeshe-tantraLama Yeshe, Jonathan Laidlaw (editor)

Introduction to Tantra: The Transformation of Desire

This book is one of the flowers of modern, psychological Tibetan Buddhist Tantra. Covering topics such as desire, happiness, dissatisfaction, death, inspiration, and the limitations and opportunities of mind. But missing the direct experience of body and energy, how far can a psychological detour into “blissful, compassionate wisdom” go?

 


 

banerji-tantra-companionS. C. Banerji

A Companion to Tantra

A remarkable, exhaustive, (and exhausting!) reference book of tantric literature and ideas. The book covers Hindu, Buddhist and Shaivite tantras and authors, art, architecture, science, healing, philosophy, meditation, magic and cosmology. A book for research librarians! Yet is hows the sheer diversity of what tantra became in different cultures over many centuries.

 


 

singleton-yoga-bodyMark Singleton

Yoga Body: The Origins of Modern Posture Practice

A must read for all yogis. Guaranteed to send hatha-nazis with metaphysical pretensions into a foaming frenzy! Singleton explores the 1920’s roots of modern hatha practice, a practice that turns out to be rooted in a combination of British Army/Swedish gymnastics and Indian nationalism. Excellent scholarship that should help many yogis avoid the ill effects of repetitive physical stress and hopefully help shift the emphasis in Western yoga from physical accomplishment to the cultivation of body awareness.

 


 

The Splendor of RecognitionSwami Shantananda

The Splendor of Recognition: an Exploration of the Pratyabhijñā-hrḍayam, a Text on the Ancient Science of the soul

This is a graceful, scholarly and intimate explanation of the classic 11th century C.E. Tantric text. Shantananada does an absolutely terrific job of explaining the Shaivite technology of consciousness. Still, tantric metaphysics is a daunting and confusing topic when explained from inside the tradition. There are simply too many words with religious connotations and intricate meanings. And cultural baggage about mantras, words, and gurus. If you already understand the experiences referred to by the words, it’s a lovely stroll through a metaphysical garden.

 


 

Evolution Resources

Life Through TimeFrans Lanting’s Life Through Time

The best visual description of evolution I have seen. Lanting’s stunning images convey a sense of wonder, even as they describe the course of evolution on earth. Available as a book and on the web at www.lifethroughtime.com.

 


 

Guns, Germs and SteelJared Diamond

Guns, Germs and Steel

A masterful exploration of the energies that have shaped human history.

 

 

 


 

De Waal - Our Inner ApeFrans de Waal

Our Inner Ape

A great storyteller, de Waal shows us a portrait of chimps and bonobos that makes absolutely clear where so many human desires and behaviors spring from.

 

 


 

Science & Quantum Physics Resources

Science Dailywww.ScienceDaily.com

The latest digestible news from the scientific front, from dark energy to human physiology and behavior to the history of our universe, planet, and species.

 


 

Brian Greene - The Hidden RealityBrian Greene

The Fabric of the Cosmos
The Hidden Reality

Greene enthusiastically explains the frontiers of quantum physics as well as anyone. The physics is great and the writing is excellent. His explanations and speculations about parallel universes suggest new ways of thinking about space-time and what lies beyond it. There’s only one catch: Greene is so immersed in quantum physics that he only considers the arguments of quantum physics. Excellent reading.


 

The Shape of Inner SpaceShing-Tung Yau and Steve Nadis

The Shape of Inner Space

A terrific exploration of string theory and geometry from the perspective of the man who proved the existence of Calabi-Yau manifolds.

 


 

bak-how-nature-worksPer Bak

how nature works: the science of self-organized criticality

Per Bak explores complexity and self-organization and what happens when system hit criticality. Oddly, Bak does not seem to recognize that his definition of criticality stems from Ilya Prigogine’s bifurcation points in dissipative structures. This is a very well-written, well-illustrated and wide-ranging look at one aspect of dynamic structures. Written for the laymen, as well!

 


 

Fractals, Chaos, Power LawsManfred Schroeder

Fractals, Chaos, Power Laws: Minutes from an Infinite Paradise

This is really a book on the mathematics of chaos, fractals and power laws, but is rewarding to a deader with some background in the topics. Schroeder describes power laws and aspects of self-similarity in everything from noise to gambling to language, swiss cheese to forest fires and the Game of Life.

 


 

hawking-grand-designStephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow

The Grand Design

A great explanation of quantum physics that illuminates its remarkable strengths and logical weaknesses. Hawking is on solid scientific ground everywhere, but he buys into the logical error made by quantum physicists after Richard Feynman that infinity makes every possible alternative a fact. This leads him to the rather existentialist conclusion that we live in the world we live in because we find ourselves in it. And that every quantum moment, another infinity of universe splits off to cover every possible probability.

Terrific quantum physics, not-so-good logic.

 


 

kauffman-reinventing-sacredStuart Kauffman

Reinventing the Sacred

Kauffman puts together an impressive collection of fascinating and wide-ranging topics in science and culture. He proposes a “new view of emergence and ceaseless creativity partially beyond natural law”. The book is an excellent Western critique of both science and religion and does, indeed, find common ground between them. For as far as it goes, it is very compelling.

 


 

Sex Resources

Sex by Dorion Sagan
Sex/Death by Dorion Sagan and Tyler Volk

Dorion Sagan is in great form in this book, using charm and humor in discussing topics as diverse as human nakedness, sperm competition, evolutionary biology, and the surprising wisdom of the Marquis de Sade.

 


 

Sex: A Natural HistoryJoann Ellison Rogers

Sex: A Natural History

Rodgers is carrying a torch for both evolutionary biology and the importance of the brain, but the information presented here is a terrific overview of modern research into human sexuality.