The Art of Happiness

Lovely book on the biggest question of them all

My rating: 4/5

This is a lovely little book. Dalai Lama on the Meaning of Life, presented and filtered through the eyes of a western psychologist. Howard C. Cutler has based the book on conversations he’s had with the refugee Tibetan ruler. With great respect and mindful structure he’s managed to enhance the content and yet stay in the background. Tasteful.


Eastern Promises

Interesting new angle to old concept, but poorly done

My rating: 2/5

This movie has all the basic ingredients found in almost all other films in this genre (evil mafia, this time Russian), although it serves them in a slightly different and interesting way. Unfortunately the acting is not very convincing. Especially the Russian characters feels extremely stereotypic and uninteresting. Maybe real Russian actors would have made this movie more believable.

And yes, this movie is not for sensitive people. Very realistic blood-scenes indeed.


Maya Cosmogenesis 2012

New Age influences ruins otherwise interesting book

My rating: 2/5

I bought this book thinking it was the English original version of a book my father in law was reading in Turkish. It turned out it wasn’t, but since the topics were similar I gave it a shot.

The so called Long Count calendar invented by the ancient Maya civilization, has a supposed end-date on December 21, 2012. According to some, the Mayans thought that the world would be reborn on that day. Why they chose that particular date is unknown, but John Major Jenkins, an “independent researcher,” argues that the end-date was picked because of the rare (a cycle of 26 000 years) alignment of the December solstice sun and the center of our galaxy. This implies that Mayans were aware of precession, which many thinks is unlikely.

John Major Jenkins makes a good case and shows that Mayan cosmology is encoded in their artwork. I read the book with great interest – until I reached halfway through. Then he turns to explain, in great detail, how and what psychoactive drugs were used by the Mayan shamans to get insight. He refer to these drugs as tools, used to construct the cosmology and build astronomical knowledge. The author suggests that the Maya had knowledge, received through these “tools,” that we don’t have today, and to my surprise he suggests we follow in their footsteps to find out.

“The question remains, however, did the ancient Maya visionaries actually travel into the Galactic Center in heightened states of consciousness? How can we know for sure? The only way to test this theory […] would be to repeat the experiment.”

I had no idea this was a New Age book, but the final chapters confirms this.

“We are […] in a relationship of resonance with our source, one that connects us deeply within each other, and , in fact, to all other beings in this Galaxy. Based upon these considerations, I would like to emphasize that the Galactic equator — the precise edge of our spiraling Galaxy — is the end Point location of the turnabout moment in the cycle of precession. This World Age shift occurs when the solstice sun crosses over the Galactic equator, and thus the Galactic Alignment in 2012 is about a field-effect energy reversal.”

I’m an open-minded person, and I have nothing against New Age, but it’s not my cup of tea so to speak. The book was not a complete waste of time though. John has obviously done a great deal of serious research and I learned a lot of the Maya and Mesoamerican cultures, of which I had little or no previously knowledge. Too bad he had to stain the otherwise excellent book with his own mystic beliefs.


88 Minutes

Don’t waste your time on this one

My rating: 1/5

I really like Al Pacino. No one does the Tough Cop With Plenty of Problems Character better than he. In 88 minutes he plays it again, although this time in the shape of a forensic psychologist, and in a movie that sucks – big time.

I won’t bother you with the details, just advice you to spend the 108 minutes on something better than 88 Minutes.