Spinoza’s Most Dangerous Idea

8405820653_7fc3f1d9b4_zWould you share a powerful idea, even if you knew you could be killed?

In 1670, the philosopher Baruch Spinoza anonymously published Ethics, a work of explosive philosophy, theology and scientific thought. He shared a revolutionary idea that God and nature are bound up in the same “eternal and infinite Being.”

He called this entity “God or Nature,” and Spinoza saw how this revelation showed a great potential in human beings.

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The Vision of Jack Kerouac

830772541_46ef0988e0_zWhat if you could see behind the illusion of reality?

In 1960, Beat novelist Jack Kerouac collapsed in the grass outside his house, overcome by a mysterious spell while smelling flowers. He remained unconscious for a minute or so. “I had apparently fainted, or died,” he wrote.

During that brief collapse, he had a transcendent vision of what he called “the golden eternity.”

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When Reality Pops

7632653238_c9436bb80d_zWhat if an ancient scroll could change the way you look at reality forever?

In the early 20th Century, a monk unsealed a hidden archive in the Mogao Caves of China. The hidden cache of priceless art included “nearly 50,000 ancient manuscripts, silk banners and paintings, fine silk embroideries and other rare textiles dating from before the early 1000s.”

Among these treasures was a Chinese translation of the Diamond Sutra, one of the most famous sermons attributed to Buddha.

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All Is One

candleWhat if mystical experiences from around the world all shared the same revelation for human beings?

Philosopher W. T. Stace spent many years studying similarities between mystical philosophies from around the world.

In 1960, he published Mysticism and Philosophy, collecting seven characteristics shared between mystical experiences from around the world.

The primary example from his “common characteristics of extrovertive mystical states” was the idea that “All Is One.”

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Adventures of a Dust Speck

2596844210_6e7a6db6bf_zWhat if you could trace the seemingly endless chain of events that led you to this exact moment?

In 1908, an author (or authors) published The Kybalion under the pseudonym of “the Three Initiates.”  The book explores the teachings of Hermes Trismegistus—a legendary author who passed down centuries’ worth of wisdom about alchemy. The Kybalion was published anonymously by a person or persons

The book explores the concept of “THE ALL,” a conception of a “universal, infinite, living mind” underlying reality–another way of thinking about the ancient mystical belief that “all is one.

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The Powerful Play Goes On

heartbookHow can you make something beautiful in a world where it seems like everything has already been done?

Writer John Koenig created the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, a collection of invented words created to summarize complex feelings. “Vemödalen” is one of the most powerful words he created, summarizing the problems facing creators in a world crowded with digital materials.

He described this feeling: “the frustration of photographing something amazing when thousands of identical photos already exist.”

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