Sunday, 15 November 2015

Naydler-fest

I have just finished reading (pretty much but not quite) everything written by Jeremy Naydler - a contemporary gardener philosopher whom first I encountered on a video talking about Rudolf Steiner - and whose work on Ancient Egyptian religion I started reading when investigating that subject. So, since August, I have read


Temple of the Cosmos: The Ancient Egyptian Experience of the Sacred 
Shamanic Wisdom in the Pyramid Texts: The Mystical Tradition of Ancient Egypt 

  • These books are only of interest if the religion of Ancient Egypt is of interest - but Naydler really brings this to life; in the sense that it becomes possible empathically to inhabit the thought world of that religion. 

Future of the Ancient World: Essays on the History of Consciousness 

  • This is the book of Naydler's that I would recommend most strongly for most people. The essays cover a range of topics on ancient and modern religion and spirituality - with a strong Steiner influence. There are many important insights and observations. Indeed, Naydler here assumes the mantle of the Owen Barfield of our age - and anyone who has been impressed by Barfield will want to engage with these ideas. 

Goethe on Science: A Selection of Goethe's Writings

  • An excellent little book comprising a selection of paragraphs from Goethe with a commentary. I wish I had encountered these ideas many years ago - since it took me a couple of decades to (more or less) rediscover them for myself. 

Gardening as a Sacred Art 
Soul Gardening

  • Naydler made his living as a gardener for most of his life. The first is a history of the evolving concepts of what a garden is for, with a look towards the future - fascinating. The second is a pleasing and unpretentious book of verse on themes suggested by gardening - much in the style of Stevie Smith (including naive drawings).

The Advent of the Wearable Computer
The Quest for the Pearl: Technology and the Crisis of Contemporary Culture
The Struggle for a Human Future
Technology and the soul (part one): Living in the Shadow of the Machine
Technology and the soul (part two): The Inhuman in our Midst 
Technology and nature (part one): The Unquenchable Thirst to Live in Gratitude: Digital Technology and the Afflicted Soul of the Earth
Technology and nature (part two): Synthetic Biology: The Assault on the Realm of Life

  • These booklets, some of which are available as free downloads, can be found at: www.abzupress.co.uk/webcat.htm . Naydler opens-up a important and neglected subject here - the effects of digital technology, the invention (and purpose) of the computer, the development of personal mass media etc on human thinking. I would regard this as work-in-progress - because at present Naydler's analysis is stronger in its diagnosis and descriptions of the nature of the problem, than in its (rather imprecise and uncertain) suggestions for treating (and perhaps solving) the problem. 
Altogether, it has been a very cheering experience for me to discover that Naydler has been quietly working away on important topics, living in England (near Oxford).

Since the beginning of 2015 I have therefore made two significant personal discoveries of important, contemporary English people of around my own age who have been doing important work unbeknownst to me; the one other being Susanna Clarke, author of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell.

Since I did not know them, there presumably are others I have yet to discover - which would be nice!