Some Seminal Books That Have Aided
My Search For The Good Life

Gibbs A. Williams, Ph.D.
 



Note: Many of the books have links to Barnes and Noble's on-line store. Simply click on the author's name or the book title (not all authors and titles have links).


Book Topics
Esoteric Psychology
Identity Quest
Philosophy
Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy
Spirituality
Synchronicities
The Meaning of Meaning


Esoteric Psychology

Bailey, Alice A. · A Treatise on White Magic
"When a man literally walks in the light of his soul and the clear light of the sun pours through him - revealing the Path - it reveals at the same time, the Plan. {The Plan is} ... the production of a subjective synthesis in humanity and of a telepathic interplay which will eventually annihilate time."

Fortune, Dion · The Mystical Qabalah
{A cogent interpretation and how to primer}

Heindel · Message of the Stars
{If one assumes that the world, that is reality, is a unity - that all is truly one: then everything is directed towards some teleological end - this view being one of unfolding 'spiritual' development - then it follows that the various so called 'occult' systems like esoteric astrology, might in fact be able to tap into this 'divine'plan. It offers exciting possibilities for study.}

Sadhu, M. · TAROT
"The Tarot is a guide to creative thinking for development of the ability of concentrated, deliberate thinking.... {Finally it is} an approach to the ultimate mystery of the ... magic unity, the unmanifested spirit...the unknowable."

Sadhu, M. · The Tarot Speaks to Modern Man
{Psychological observations of the major arcana: a progression of psychodynamics towards the consciousness of consciousness.} " When the trickster (Fool) will (Magician) to learn of his own dichotomy (High Priestess), his actions (Empress) change. He begins to see himself in a new light, realizing that the unconscious contains germs of the future... The individual who does not take the unconscious into effect endangers himself, for where the unconscious contents are repressed or neglected, their specific energy disappears into the unconscious. The energy, in turn, serves to intensify whatever is uppermost in the unconscious. Thus can a person become a slave to passion, guilt, perversion, greed, and a thousand other demons."

Wilson, C. · The Occult
"Religion, mysticism, and magic all spring from the basic 'feeling' about the universe: a sudden feeling of meaning, which human beings 'pick up' accidentally, as a radio might pick up some unknown station."

Wilson, C. · The Philosopher's Stone
"I understand that our human time is an illusion, and that the mind is capable of seeing through it. {There was a } point of intersection of the timeless with time, a moment outside time."


Identity Quest

Adam, J.D. · Copey of Harvard Adam
"{Copey had} sharp perception combined with inutitive insight ... On June 1182 he spoke on vocational choice on class day: 'Here, then, is the most serious question one can ask himself when he faces the choice of a vocation. It is likely, on the whole and in its general sweep, to enlarge life or to stunt it? Do its lines converge to narrowness or open into breadth? Is it to be a constant addition of permanent resources, or a slow impoverishment of the soul?"

Bernstein, L. · {Music} "The Age of Anxiety"
{A discomforting, insistent, gnawing, all pervasive pain that keeps reminding me of my separateness from intimacy.}

Blake · The Portable Blake
"Blake does not believe in a war between good and evil ·he sees only the creative tension presented by the struggle of man to resolve the contraries {i.e. innocence (belief) versus experience (doubt)}."

Bucke, R.M. · Cosmic Consciousness
{Consciousness of consciousness}

Campbell, Joseph · The Hero with a Thousand Faces
"The hero's act is to delve into the unconscious mind and bring it up and make it one with the conscious mind...{ The modern hero is the person who explores the depths of his soul in psychoanalysis - accesses and faces his splits, and systematically works on himself to reconcile them.}

Cannon, A. · The Power Within
"Consciousness is continually evolving"

Cary, Joyce · The Horses Mouth
"It's the old, old story. Boys and girls fall in love, that is, they are driven mad and go blind and deaf and see each other not as human animals with comic noses and bandy legs and voices like frogs, but as angels so full of shining goodness that like hollow turnips with candles put into them, they seem like miracles of beauty. And the next minute the candles shoot out sparks and burn their eyes. And they seem to each other like devils, full of spite and cruelty. And they will drive each other mad unless they have some imagination. Even enough to laugh.

Chekhov, A. · Collected Plays
{Theme of loneliness}

Eliot, T.S. · A Family Reunion
{I was struck by the idea that people are of two basic types. There are those that let life's circumstances determine their direction and there are those who seem to determine their course from some power within themselves.}

Foreman, R. · (Playwrite)
"{Re his major philosophical and extremely personal themes that run through his plays} "'The attempt to break out of social conditioning, the quest for enlightenment, the need to understand the fragmented nature of the human mind....'"

Ghisilen, B. · The Creative Process
"The creative process is the process of change, of development, of evolution, in the organization of subjective life."

Hesse, H. · The Bead Game
{An identity quest}

Hesse, Herman. · Steppenwolf
"There are times when a whole generation is caught... between two ages, two modes of life, with consequence that it loses all its power to understand itself and has no standard, no security, no simple acquiescence. Haller {the hero} belongs to those whose fate it is to live the whole riddle of human destiny heightened to the pitch of personal torture, a personal hell....The way to live into, further, to be able to love life = embrace it as a loved one."

James, William · Biographies
{His is a dialogue of a life and his persona ·a synthesis intellectually, psychologically, emotionally, spiritually, and philosophically. ... Ever advancing, in good faith, his quest for truth and a greater awareness of the meaning of existence for himself and for all mankind.}

Kurosawa · (Movie) "The Human Condition"
{The hero almost naively stands for what he believes and is almost killed in the process. One moment he is an outsider sitting , privately ranting and raving observing the brutality of humanity ·the next moment he is involved, unsure whether or not to press his point in a do or die struggle. I was so affected by the film that I threw up}.

----------- · (Movie) "The Angry Island"
{The hungrier one becomes for emotional nourishment that is denied, the greater the capacity for hatred develops. When one only knows brutality and humiliation he distrusts what is strange and unfamiliar even if what he gets is real love and tenderness.}

Joyce, James · Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man
{The title says it all}

Joyce, James · Ulysses
"Yes is what all of Ulysses says: yes to the spirit and the flesh and to life in all of its tawdriness, sudden beauty, unfulfilled longing and rare consummations.... The longest way around is the shortest way home."

LeShawn, L. · Physics, Mysticism, and ESP
{He explores the idea that paranormal experiences are related to perceiving the world in a different way from ordinary sensory experience.}

Lilly, J. · Center of the Cyclone
{Explores states of fusion and at-one-ment "two-mirror oscillation effect"}

Mann, Thomas · The Magic Mountain
"... Life young man, is a female.... She mocks us. She challenges us to expend our manhood to its utmost span, to stand or fall. To fall, young man,,, do you know what that means? The defeat of the feelings, their overthrow when confronted by life... that is impotence...

Maughm, S. · Of Human Bondage
{I want to be wanted. I am aflame with desire. My soul is racked with suffering. Why this endless mental torture ? I can't find what I seek. I can't be found....}

May, Rollo · Man's Search for Himself
"Like the dinosaur, he had power without the ability to change, strength without the capacity to learn."

McCluhan, M. · The Medium is the Message
"Consciousness is an action not a content. We have to devise new modes and models of perception to understand our world. Hot = our visual world of detachment ·cold = total involvement and detachment simultaneously... Fuller: "I accept the universe!" Carlyle: "You better

Montaigne · Selected Essays
"He does not believe in a science of living - man is too variable for that - but in an art of living. "'Our good and our ill depend on ourselves alone... There is no use our mounting on stilts, for on stilts we must still walk with our legs. And on the loftiest throne in the world we are still sitting on our own rear... Our great and glorious masterpiece is to live appropriately.'"

----------- · (Movie) "Juliette of the Spirits"
{a brilliant existential portrayal of a modern women's search for identity, integration and transcendent meaning. At the end of the movie she is a martyr who stands on her principle having stripped away all illusions - free of compulsions she is now ready, willing and able to choose what she wishes. She is now ableto replace the furies of her unconscious with the voices of intuition. She refuses to compromise to her mother (external authority) saying at the end: 'I am no longer afraid'.

----------- · (Movie) "La Dolche Vita"
{Marcello {the hero} couldn't cross the water to go to the tender girl. ... A 'suicide' of the spirit, of the sense, of the intellect. A suicide of the soul!}

Ouspensky · In Search of the Miraculous
{Detailing a search for extraordinary men}

Ouspensky · The Fourth Way
{stated by an Ouspensky teacher: "Ouspensky's method is to put oneself in touch with oneself - to realize that one is asleep and to learn how to begin to wake up."

Overstreet, H. · The Mature Mind
"The love of a person implies, not the Possession of that person, but the affirmation of that person."

Pinter. H. · Collected Plays
{There is not action - no drama - no life - and that is the point. This is 20th century man: the thinker, verbalist, intellectual - talker - kibbitzer, involved with words - lost in being verbal - confusing words with objective reality}.

Pirandello, L. · Collected Plays
{Relativization of reality}

Proust, M. · Rememberance of Things Past
{A truthful exploration into the depths of the soul}

-------- · Psychic Discoveries Behind the Iron Curtain
{Mind - Link ·Body - Link}" Have you ever met a stranger and felt an instant liking, a sort of click? ... Have you ever been introduced to someone and felt an immediate antipathy for no reason?}

Shaw, George Bernard · Collected Plays
{interplay of characters with each one feeling superior to each other}

Strinberg, A. · Collected Plays
{Love for him is like a moth being drawn to a flame, intense negative emotions of hate, guilt, stress longing to escape this world of misery}

(TV Series) · "The Prisoner"
{The hero, captured by an authoritarian regime and surrounded by terror, unbendingly devises ways to adapt to his hostile circumstances with an attitude of pragmatic flexibility always remaining faithful to his highest principles. This is an example of ego strength.}

Van Gogh, V. · Letters to Theo
{A vivid and luminous account of the painter's lust for life}

Wilson, Colin · The Outsider
"Man stripped of his externals ·He is an outsider because he stands for Truth....He sees too deep and too much and what he sees is essentially chaos .... Truth must be told, chaos must be faced.... The outsider's business is to find a course of action in which he is most himself ie. in which he achieves the maximum of self expression."

Wolitizer, H. · Palomar Arms
" ... Love is essentially a matter of noticing things, noticing them so deeply that the person who does them or has them becomes irresistible."

Yeats, W.B. · Collected Works
"Dare to trust in ones self."

Zimmer, H. · The King and the Corpse
(Tales of the Soul's Conquest of Evil)


Philosophy

Aristotle. · The Ethics
{On finding your own personal balance point}.

Dewey, John · Collected Works
"Flux doesn't have to be created. But it has to be directed."

Dewey, John · The Quest for Certainty
"...The quest for certainty becomes the search for methods of control · that is, regulation of conditions of change with respect to their consequences."

Durant, W. · The Story of Philosophy
{An excellent overview of some major philosophers}

Heidegger, M. · Collected Works
"Being there: (dasein) is the fundamental condition of man, implying an immanence, a tension between "being" and "there" ·between man and his world. We begin by being there, but we cannot stay 'there". It is our nature, the impulsiveness of the mind and body, to "go" somewhere, literally and figuratively.

Joad, C.E.M. · Guide to Philosophy
{We know and understand how things work because of the particular set of assumptions and principles we employ in order to make sense out of the sensory data we confront."}

Kaplan, A. · The New World of Philosophy
{A stimulating overview of some of the leading philosophical movements of the twentieth century including: pragmatism, existentialism, logical positivism, Buddhism, and psychoanalysis.}

Kaufman, W. · Nietzsche
"He embodied the true philosophical spirit of "'searching into myself and other men.'"

Lewis, C.I. · Mind and the World Order
(... "the common ground where mathematics and philosophy meet.")

Plato · The Republic
"An unexamined life is not worth living... A sound mind in a sound body."

Reik, Wilhelm · Character Analysis
"This is our great obligation: To enable the human animal to accept nature within himself, to stop running away from it and to enjoy what now he dreads so much."

Santayana, G. · Three Philosophical Poets
"Naturalism is a philosophy of observation ·and of imagination that extends the observable, all the sights and sounds of nature enter into it, and lend it their directness, pungency, and coercive stress. ..."

Schopenhauer · The World as Will and Idea
{A look into the dark side of the soul}

Spinoza · The Ethics
"Anything worth accomplishing is as difficult as it is Rare ... The impotence of man to govern or restrain the emotions I call "Bondage" for a man who is under their control is not his own master, but is mastered by fortune, in whose power he is, so that he is often forced to follow the worse, although he sees the better before him."

Whitehead, Alfred North · Process and Reality
"Nature is a structure of evolving processes, and the reality is the process."


Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy

Arieti, S. · Interpretation of Schizophrenia
{There are four solutions when facing a hostile environment whether it be one's culture, society, or fellow man} comply, defy, retreat, or create one's own reality. It is everyman's struggle to be able to find order in himself so as to be in tune with his own nature."

Becker, E. · The Denial of Death
"The most that any one of us can seem to do is fashion something - an object or ourselves - and drop it into the confusion, make an offering of it, so to speak, to the life force."

Bellack · Object Relations
"Discrepancies in object relations constitutes the main stream of psychodynamics.... Ego weakness equals the fear of having the ego obliterated 'smashed' robbed of total consistent confidence - sometimes experienced as panic ·sometimes experienced as depression ·sometimes experienced as intense emptiness, cynicism, hurt, sadness....

Cameron, N. · Personality Development and Psychopathology
{Exploring the concept of reality testing} "A preconscious ego function is reality testing i.e. differentiating between objective external reality and somatic (internal) reality and the fruits of the imagination. Reality testing leads to realistic thinking. Can also harness the imagination by escaping the restrictions imposed by stern objective reality. It can transcend time and space. When reality testing is underdeveloped the result is confusion.}

Deutsch, H. · Collected Works
"The actual conflict of the neurotic only becomes intelligible and soluble if one traces it back to the previous history of the patient and follows out the courses which his libido {vicissitudes of sex and aggression} took in the production of the illness."}

Devereux, G. · Psychoanalysis and the Occult
"The occult has a tremendous appeal for the unconscious since it reflects the primary process in an almost simon-pure form, and stimulates powerful infantile wishes and reluctantly abandoned magical attitudes.... In brief, self analysis is especially needed when one is analyzing the telepathic claims and "feats" of patients."

Finichel, O. · The Psychoanalytic Theory of Neurosis
{The bible of psychoanalysis}

Freud, Sigmund · The Collected Works
{The Master speaks}

Freud, Sigmund · The Interpretation of Dreams
{There is a ring of truth that behind the appearance of the surface there lies a realm of hidden motivation, the personal unconscious}

Fromm, E. · Escape from Freedom
{Many humans conform because they are anxious when they feel free.}

Fraiberg, S. · The Magic Years
("Understanding and Handling the Problems of Early Childhood")

Greenacre, P. · Collected works, 'The Family Romance of the Artist'
"It is very striking how many creative people describe memories of experience of revelation, awe or some kind of transcendental states in childhood and how regularly this is placed at the age of four or five.

Guntrip, H. · Schizoid Phenomena, Object Relations and the Self
"Science never knows "the person", it only has information about the person ... There cannot be a whole complete human being without an integration of feeling with thinking and acting, provided by 'doing', arising spontaneously out of the fundamental experience of 'being'. ...Insight, integration, individuation, and personal relationships are but distinguishable aspects of one and the same thing, which is called mental health from the psychiatric point of view and peace or salvation from the religious point of view."

Hartman, H. · Ego Psychology
{The so called conflict free ego can itself become conflictualized."}

Jung, C. · Memories, Dreams, Reflections
"In knowing ourselves to be unique in our personal combination - that is, ultimately limited - we possess also the capacity for becoming conscious of the infinite. But only then!"

Kaplan, L. · Oneness and Separateness: From Infant to Individual
{A detailed overview of the vicissitudes of identity formation in young children}

Kinneston, K. · On Psychoanalysis
"They {the critics} leave out the most valuable qualities of psychoanalysis: almost limitless respect for the individual, faith that understanding is better than illusion, that our psyches harbor darker secrets than we care to confess, refusal to promise too much, and a sense of the complexity, tragedy, and wonder of human life."

Kierkegaard, S. · Fear and Trembling
"To venture causes anxiety, but not to venture is to lose one's self .... And to venture in the highest sense is precisely to become conscious of one's self."

Kohut, H. · The Analysis of the Self
{Along with other books such as Steppenwolf, The Outsider etc. seemed to speak directly to my inner experience --each and all of them reflecting a clear, accurate picture of a part of me as I really am. I feel accepted and dynamic}.

Lewis, H.B. · Shame and Guilt
{An important theory about self esteem}

May, Rollo; Man's Search for Himself
"Like the dinasoar, he had power without the ability to change, strength without the capacity to learn."

Miller, Alice · Drama of the Gifted Child
(She affirms the reality of fundamental isolation coupled with a self imposed isolation)

Nagera · Collected Works, "Children's Reactions to Death"
"The children in the case examples had no real support before or after the death occurred. Each had a pathogenic reaction to the death of a parent: symptoms developed and serious disturbances. The loss revived earlier feelings of oral deprivation. The person is pushed into a "defensive pseudo - independence and massively identified with the lost object. These children also had a negative oedipal (passive) to the father.

Paul · "Letters to Simon"
{advice to a beginning psychotherapist describing certain rare moment in therapy with patients that are akin to peak experience and synchronicites. Such experiences feel like joining subjective and objective, inside and outside, present and past. " ... a feeling which is rare and profound - even shaking - ... it's the sense of revelation that really counts - the sense of something deeply valid and authentic for you. It doesn't have to be so new or startling ·but it does feel rare and revelatory......They are heightened experiences in knowing. In my opinion they are acts of acute understanding, and therefore likely to have a profound effect. Such experiences are memorable and moving, but also traumatic. They are probably the stuff out of which basic change is wrought and against which major defense are applied."

Piaget, J. · Collected Works
(Explores the way children make the world cohere by means of magical causality).

Reich, A. · Collected Works, "Pathological Forms of Self Esteem Regulation"
{She explores the major contribution that self esteem regulation or deregulation has in preserving the integrity of the self.}

Pearce, J. and Newton, S. · The Conditions of Human Growth
"The individual is what his experiences have been."

Ponti, M. · The Primacy of Perception
"...One may say indeed that psychological knowledge is a reflection but that it is at the same time an experience... Psychological reflection is a 'constation' {a finding}. It's task is to discover the meaning of behavior and that of others."

Reik, T. · Listening with the Third Ear
{An inspiring work detailing how a skilled analyst makes sense out of the complexity of inner reality -"It is the task of the analyst to transform the unconscious magical views of the patient into conscious psychological insight."

Spitz, R. · The First Year of Life
"Basic gratifications are closer to physiology than psychology. Security, provide for relief of need tension, relief from unpleasure tension."

Watts, A. · Psychotherapy: East and West
"The main assistance we can derive from man's experience is in methods of changing human consciousness so that the individual can actually feel his identity as an organism environment instead of a lonely ego sealed in a bag of skin."

Wilson, C. · New Pathways in Psychology
{Psychology progresses by an astute observer attending to his won inner process and attempts {successfully} to make sense of it."

Winnicott, D.W.L. · Collected Works
{Transitional phenomena, transitional space} "The ego equals the subjective experience of I whose wholeness can be split by too disturbing experiences. {On therapeutic regression: In search of the true self which has been repressed and lies hidden behind a false self which functions socially on a conformist basis. ... The basic therapeutic problem is an infantile ego that has been rejected and repressed. It remains therefore underdeveloped and weak and deep maturity of the personality comes to a standstill."

Wittenberg, R. · Commonsense about Psychoanalysis
" It seems fair to conclude that a science which has made such substantial contributions to human relations and to the deeper understanding of human beings is one of the significant social factors of this century."

----------- · Psychological Studies in Zen Thought
{"Art is a lie that reveals the truth."}


Spirituality

Freud, S. · Psychoanalysis and Faith
"I have found little that is 'good' about human beings on the whole. In my experience most of them are trash, no matter whether they publicly subscribe to this or that ethical doctrine or to none at all. That is something you can not say aloud, or perhaps even think, though your experience of life canhardly have been different than mine. If we are to talk of ethics, I subscribe to a high ideal from which most of the human beings I have come across depart most lamentably."

James, William · The Will to Believe
{Pragmatism and faith}

John ·"The Gospel According to John"
"What does it profit a man to gain the whole world but lose his soul?"

Jung, Carl Problems of Modern Psychology
"How can I be substantial if I fail to cast a shadow? I must have a dark side also if I am to be Whole ... The horror which we feel for the Freudian interpretations is entirely due to our barbaric or childish naivete, which believes that there can be heights without corresponding depths, and which blinds us to the 'final' truth that, when carried to the extremes, opposites meet."

Melamed, S.S. · Spinoza and Buddah
"The Old Testament throughout is a book of metaphysics - most outstanding is the idea of God "I shall be that I shall be." It is a synthesis of being and ego, of universalism and individualism."

Ouspensky · In Search of the Miraculous
{Detailing a search for extraordinary men}

Ouspensky · The Forth Way
{stated by an Ouspensky teacher: "Ouspensky's method is to put oneself in touch with oneself - to realize that one is asleep and to learn how to begin to wake up."

Pantanjali · Aphorisms
"Time is divided into three divisions, which, when reduced, mean only one undivided time. It is all one road, the part of the road that we have traveled is called past ·the part of the road that we are travelling, is called present ·the part of the road we have to travel is called future.

St. Augustine · The Confessions
"God grant me chastity but not quite yet."

Wilson, C. · The Occult
"Religion, mysticism, and magic all spring from the basic 'feeling' about the universe: a sudden feeling of meaning, which human beings 'pick up' accidentally, as a radio might pick up some unknown station."

Yogananda P.Seribendo · Autobiography of a Yoga
{Details one man's journey to access and utilize his extraordinary powers." A guru's work in the world is to alleviate the sorrows of mankind, whether through spiritual means or will power or physical transfer of disease."

----------- · Zen and Archery
"Spiritual training starts with the purification of vision ... Allow things to solve themselves. Beyond categories. {Images and analogies will spring up and out of silence}.. The third eye: the things he sees are no different than before, he just sees them differently. His vision - as well as perhaps himself - have changed. (Satori - metanoia: the same data is viewed in four dimensions}"


Synchronicities

Jung,C.G. and Pauli · The Interpretation of Nature an the Psyche

Peat,F.D. · Synchronicity

Koestler, A. · The Roots of Coincidence
(A goldmine of a book about these extraordinary phenomena)

Progoff, I. · Jung, Synchronicity, and Human Destiny

Vaughn, A. · Patterns of Prophecy
{He explores the nature and uses of meaningful coincidences (synchronicities).}

Vonnegut, K, · Collected Works
{Concept of kerass: "a group of people who are unknowingly working together toward some common goal fostered by a larger cosmic influence."


The Meaning of Meaning

Ogden and Richards · The Meaning of Meaning
"Apart from the effects of similar previous situation {that is if I tough a hot stove I will be burned} we should have no awareness. And striking a match calls up an expectation {the prediction of a future event associated with past striking}. Therefore interpretation is bound up with the past (memory) and the future (expectations). ... Interpretation is only possible thanks to these recurrent contexts."

Phenix, P. · Realms of Meaning
(An outline of synthesizing knowledge)


* Comments surrounded by brackets { } are those of Gibbs.