Since the Holidays are here, and because I’m going to be taking a sort of intermission on the blog writing for a short while (to be resumed with Psychic Plagues and Witch-Doctors: Part Three, Lycanthropy) I decided to share some free, public domain goodies I found on the internet.
That’s right, books. Audio-books and pdfs. (Warning: May essentially be the internet version of gifting socks.)
Because of the nature of my day-to-day working routine, I have the opportunity to listen to numerous audio-books to pass the weary work days. As a result, I stumbled upon a rather superb website called LibriVox, which offers free public domain audio-books. Some of the books may be a little old, but I found them surprisingly relevant, which makes sense considering that people still peruse Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations and Plato’s Symposium. Not all the books are from LibriVox, but a good number will be.
Listed in no particular order….
Memory, How to Develop, Train and Use It
“Coleridge relates the well‑known
case of the old woman who could neither read nor write,
who when in the delirium of fever incessantly recited in very
pompous tones long passages from the Latin, Greek and Hebrew,
with a distinct enunciation and precise rendition. Notes of her
ravings were taken down by shorthand, and caused much
wonderment, until it was afterwards found that in her youth
she had been employed as a servant in the house of a clergyman
who was in the habit of walking up and down in his study
reading aloud from his favorite classical and religious writers.
In his books were found marked passages corresponding to the
notes taken from the girl’s ravings. Her subconscious memory
had stored up the sounds of these passages heard in her early
youth, but of which she had no recollection in her normal state.”
The Psychology of Man’s Possible Evolution
By: P.D. Ouspensky
“At this point, it must be understood that the first obstacle in
the way of the development of self-consciousness in man, is his
conviction that he already possesses self-consciousness or at any
rate, that he can have it at any time he likes. It is very difficult to
persuade a man that he is not conscious and cannot be conscious
at will. It is particularly difficult because here nature plays a very
If you ask a man if he is conscious or if you say to him that he
is not conscious, he will answer that he is conscious and that it is
absurd to say that he is not, because he hears and understands you.
And he will be quite right, although at the same time quite wrong.
This is nature’s trick. He will be right because your question or
your remark has made him vaguely conscious for a moment. Next
moment consciousness will disappear. But he will remember what
you said and what he answered, and he will certainly consider
By: Marcus Aurelius
“In the morning when thou risest unwillingly, let this thought be present- I am rising to the work of a human being. Why then am I dissatisfied if I am going to do the things for which I exist and for which I was brought into the world? Or have I been made for this, to lie in the bed-clothes and keep myself warm?- But this is more pleasant.- Dost thou exist then to take thy pleasure, and not at all for action or exertion? Dost thou not see the little plants, the little birds, the ants, the spiders, the bees working together to put in order their several parts of the universe? And art thou unwilling to do the work of a human being, and dost thou not make haste to do that which is according to thy nature?
A Practical Guide To Self-Hypnosis
By: Melvin Powers
“We are interested in what makes the placebo act as effectively as the true medication. It stands to reason that a chain reaction is set up, actually causing a physiological result from a psychological reaction. The unsuspecting patient declares, “I’ve never felt so good in my life.” Yet, this would never have happened if he didn’t think he was taking the marvelous new medicine. A recent scientific study by one of the leading pharmaceutical houses concluded that one third of the effectiveness of any medication depends upon the faith and trust that the patient has in the prescribing physician.
I am sure that the placebo results and the patient’s faith in the physician as contributing factors to the effectiveness of medications do not come as a revelation. We are all aware of such information. Our problem is how to harness this unconscious process for constructive goals. The answer is through self-hypnosis.”
By: William James
“I said just now that what is better for us to believe is true
unless the belief incidentally clashes with some other vital
benefit. Now in real life what vital benefits is any particular belief
of ours most liable to clash with? What indeed except the vital benefits
yielded by other beliefs when these prove incompatible with the
first ones? In other words, the greatest enemy of any one of our truths
may be the rest of our truths. Truths have once for all this desperate
instinct of self-preservation and of desire to extinguish whatever
contradicts them. My belief in the Absolute, based on the good it does
me, must run the gauntlet of all my other beliefs. Grant that it may be
true in giving me a moral holiday. Nevertheless, as I conceive it,- and
let me speak now confidentially, as it were, and merely in my own
private person,- it clashes with other truths of mine whose benefits I
hate to give up on its account. It happens to be associated with a kind
of logic of which I am the enemy, I find that it entangles me in
metaphysical paradoxes that are inacceptable, etc., etc. But as I have
enough trouble in life already without adding the trouble of carrying
these intellectual inconsistencies, I personally just give up the
Absolute. I just take my moral holidays; or else as a professional
philosopher, I try to justify them by some other principle.”
The Mystic Will
By: Charles Godfrey Leland
“It all depends on exertion of the Will. There are in this world a certain number of advanced thinkers who, if they knew how to develope the Will which exists in them, could bring this reform to pass in an incredibly short time. That is to say, they could place the doctrine or religion of Honesty for its own sake so boldly and convincingly before the world that its future would be assured. Now the man who can develope his will, has it in his power not only to control his moral nature to any extent, but also to call into action or realize very extraordinary states of mind, that is, faculties, talents or abilities which he has never suspected to be within his reach. It is a stupendous thought; yes, one so great that from the beginning of time to the present day no sage or poet has ever grasped it in its full extent, and yet is is a very literal truth, that there lie hidden within us all, as in a sealed−up spiritual casket, or like the bottled−up djinn in the Arab tale, innumerable Powers or Intelligences, some capable of bestowing peace or calm, others of giving Happiness, or inspiring creative genius, energy and perseverance. All that Man has ever attributed to an Invisible World without, lies, in fact, within him, and the magic key which will confer the faculty of sight and the power to conquer is the Will.”
~ Seth Moris