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Tue Jan 24, 2012, 07:33 AM

Has anyone read anything by Peter Kingsley?

On the strength of an interview of him I'm about to dive into his book Reality. I feel a sense of it /him beckoning me on.

From an Amazon.com review:

Peter Kingsley's book "Reality" is that rare kind of book that comes along every once in a while that will kick the legs out from under you and leave you precariously holding onto the thread of the reality that you once took for granted. But do not read it unless you are ready to live without the reassuring substance of the material world and the cozy little circle of thought that we in the West have built for ourselves, cutting off the otherwise disquieting pieces of our experience that cause us to question our surety that we have got it right.

Kingsley, who is a master philologist, takes us on a voyage to rediscover the man Parmenides and the man Empedocles -- not the abstract Pre-Socratic Greek philosophers of crusty old books, but the men who were more than just philosophers. They were participants in, and indeed prophets of, a sacred tradition -- a way of life -- that existed for hundreds of years, perhaps longer, and which, according to evidence presented by Kingsley, was shared across the known world, at that time. In short he presents the human sacred tradition that predated what we now call the "West" and the "East." And he presents it as a story that will sweep you along, if you are open to the truth about these men, and leave you gasping at the treasure that was stolen from us in our march to rationalism.

Kingsley's work presents a fundamental challenge to the edifice of Western intellection as it strips the past of its convenient shrouds and lays bare an imperative to once again contemplate the Sacred in Philosophy and in our lives. It is not just the clarity that he brings to the works of Parmeneides and Empedocles that lends a powerful force to this "striping bare," but that he connects disparate cultures in a once-widespread, shared, sacred way of life that existed before the transistor and integrated circuit. But beware: Kingsley is not some latter-day prophet bringing the Good News to us here in the 21st Century. Rather, it is up to us to take what his scholarship offers and find our way forward. The work of Parmenides and Empedocles represent an esoteric tradition which requires committed study, but which provides us all that we need, now that Kingsley has given them back to us.

And if I needed any more encouragement, another reviewer says:

One of the most amazing insights Kingsley offers is revealed in his reading of the central "practical" teaching given by Empedocles to his disciple in one of the Empedoclean fragments - the practice of "common sense". We are accustomed to thinking of this term in a somewhat Blimpish way. According to Kingsley, the practice of common sense was actually a way of "pointing" to that which, common to all the senses, both "perceives", and is, Reality; a teaching startlingly reminiscent of the teachings of non-dual Advaita.

I can't wait for it to arrive in the mail. Review to follow later.

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Reply Has anyone read anything by Peter Kingsley? (Original post)
GliderGuider Jan 2012 OP
GliderGuider Feb 2012 #1
Viva_Daddy Mar 2012 #2
GliderGuider Mar 2012 #3

Response to GliderGuider (Original post)

Mon Feb 6, 2012, 12:09 PM

1. Update: I was not mistaken.

Kingsley has the brain of a scholar and the soul of a mystic. I started with his short book "A Story Waiting to Pierce You" because it seemed less intimidating than the big black paperback brick with "Reality" printed on its cover. Fortunately, "A Story..." was a paradigm-altering book on its own, and its impact made me more eager than ever to dive into "Reality". I'm still in the early stages of the bigger book, but everything I suspected about Kingsley is being confirmed: he is actually a non-dual teacher disguised as an intellectual - a sort of "mystic with footnotes".

One of the more spectacular things about Kingsley's subject matter (finding non-dualism in the ancient Greeks) is that his teaching splices directly to the root of Western civilization, rather than requiring a transplant from the East. This promises to make the resulting tree hardier and more available to Western sensibilities like mine.

Others on Amazon share this opinion:

I just want to add a voice to the chorus of accolades for Reality. I came into this world reading, had a library card in NYC at age three, and have not paused in reading for half a century. Simply, there has not been one book better, either in the realms of spiritual literature, sacred texts, philosophy (in it's original sense), anywhere. This is a book of life, from life and for life. If the possibility of something cracking the cover concealing your life somewhere resonates with you, read Reality. But don't read it like a newspaper, amassing facts and ideas, read it as if you are hearing birdsong or seeing fireflies for the first time. Find the still place in you that is read by a book.

And this:

Absolutely brilliant! Reading Reality is like swallowing a red-hot iron ball. There is no way of undoing its magic. It works in mysterious ways beneath the diaphragm, planting its seeds, growing into...
Reality is a Force of Relentless Wisdom.

I share the opinions of those two reviews to the letter. I am ecstatic with delight to be able to add such a source of inspiration to my search for meaning.

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Response to GliderGuider (Original post)

Sat Mar 10, 2012, 02:46 PM

2. Peter Kingsley is a great find. Thanks for sharing.

I too look forward to reading his stuff.

Did you ever check out Peter Ralston's book "The Book of Not-Knowing"? Many of the things Ralston writes correspond well to what Peter Kingley seems to be saying...especially the need for "experiential learning", not just "thinking and memorizing".

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Response to Viva_Daddy (Reply #2)

Sat Mar 10, 2012, 03:08 PM

3. Yes, I have Ralston on my bookshelf right next to Kingsley. They are quite complementary.

I like Kingsley's tone better - Ralston is drier, while Kinglsey is totally engaged - but their keys fit the same lock.

Thank you so much for your recommendation.

What a great journey this is!

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