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“Yunus Emre:” A Review of a Turkish Television Series

“Lovers yearn for You, but Your love slays them”  —line of poetry by Yunus Emre Yunus Emre was a Turkish Sufi saint and poet of the 13th-14th century, and “Yunus Emre” is a Turkish television drama series, in 45 episodes over two seasons, based on his life (on Netflix, in Turkish with English subtitles).  I’ve been binge-watching it, because it seems to me to reach for, and often to succeed in capturing, romantic and dramatic themes of the spiritual life … Continue reading

Tahir Shah’s Talk at Boing, February, 2017

Tahir Shah is an author, traveler, and storyteller who gave the keynote talk at a recent gathering of leaders at Boing, in Seattle.  Here he talks about stories and how they support different ways of looking at life, including what he calls “zig-zag thinking,” which can help us to see deeper below the surface appearance of things, recognize opportunities, solve problems, and live more deeply.  

Personality Disorder: Borderline

Personality disorders are diagnoses made from clusters of behaviors, so it’s a different sort of diagnostic category compared to, for example, affective disorders like depression or anxiety.  People with personality disorders can be depressed and anxious, but those states tend to come and go pretty quickly, and the overall behavior becomes more salient than the moods. Personality disorders can be seen as exaggerations or crystallizations of tendencies which can be quite useful in moderation.  For example, a little obsessiveness makes … Continue reading

On Real Maple Syrup, and My Interest in the Sufi Writing of Idries Shah

Someone asked me about how I became interested in the Sufi writing of Idries Shah, back in the 1970s.  Here’s what I wrote: I don’t have a comprehensive, or even coherent, narrative about my interest in Sufism (as presented by Idries Shah), but here are some parts. First, a metaphor from life.  I grew up in a home in New Haven in which the “maple syrup” on the table for pancakes was actually mostly corn syrup with a small percentage … Continue reading

Seeking Agency in The World Beyond Your Head

Matthew B. Crawford, in “The World Beyond Your Head,” writes: “As the world becomes more confusing, seemingly controlled by vast impersonal forces (e.g., “globalization” or “collateralized debt obligations”) that no single individual can fully bring within view; as the normative expectation becomes to land a cubicle job, in which the chain of cause and effect can be quite dispersed and opaque; as home life becomes deskilled (we outsource our cooking to corporations, our house repairs to immigrant guest workers); as … Continue reading