Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Myth of Man, the Mind of Man


"Man is a myth-maker. Myth, when manipulated by unregenerates, is an even more effective man-maker. Man (as he imagines himself to be), in general, is a possibility, not a fact. For most people, the sort of man whom they imagine to exist, or assume themselves to be, does not yet exist." (Idries Shah, 1968)*

“Just before he died, while he was ICR's Director of Studies... Idries Shah amassed a vast amount of material about human ideas and ways of thought. This material, provisionally entitled 'the Myth of Man/the Mind of Man' was intended to become the basis for monographs to be published by ICR and a template for ICR activities. He was unable to finish this project. However, after his death, Cultural Research Services, which acts as the executive of ICR, used this material to find speakers for lectures and workshops and to commission monographs."(Saira Shah, 2013)**


Monograph Series No. 30 

The Role of 'Primitive' People in Identifying and Approaching Human Problems

Contributed by Cultural Research Services

paperback, 22 pages, ISBN-13: 978-0-904674-20-0

This monograph examines the urge to innovate and push out the frontiers of knowledge which has been a characteristic of human thought from man's earliest days. It shows how people -- from the most 'primitive' to the most 'advanced' -- have dealt with human problems in similar ways. This course, set so early in our evolution, has contributed not only to our survival, but to the capacity of the human mind to make startling conceptual leaps. 



Monograph Series No. 31

The Use of Omens, Magic and Sorcery for Power and Hunting

Contributed by Cultural Research Services

paperback, 24 pages, ISBN 978-0-904674-21-7

Early man can, perhaps be called fully human only from the moment he developed his capacity for symbolic and analogical thought. This monograph examines the impact of this breakthrough, focussing on the development of a system of 'magical' thinking, which man has consistently attempted to apply. It discusses the processes behind the remarkably durable and constant 'laws' of magic and it looks at residues of magical thinking which have remained up to the present day. 



Monograph Series No. 32

Ritual from the Stone Age to the Present Day

Contributed by Cultural Research Services

paperback, 24 pages, ISBN-13: 978-0-904674-22-4

In the modern world, our lives are imbued with the residues of rituals which would amaze us if we knew the antiquity of their origins. However, the structure of this fundamental pattern of human thought is poorly understood. This monograph examines the origins and role of ritual throughout history and in the foundations underpinning our lives today and uncovers the startling fact that some rituals may predate the origin of modern man himself. 



Monograph Series No. 33

Problem-solving and the Evolution of Human Culture

Stephen Mithen

paperback, 24 pages, ISBN 978-0-904674-25-5

This paper takes an archaeologist's perspective and traces the role of the adaptation to new problems in the development of human culture. It shows how one major solution-- for instance the rise of agriculture-- in turn created a myriad of new problems to be solved.



Monograph Series No. 34 

Cultural Identity: Solution or Problem?

Peter Wade

paperback, 24 pages, ISBN 978-0-904674-26-2

Cultures were once seen as stable and unchanging. During the past century anthropologists have gradually moved away from this view to one of cultures as flexible and shifting. Ironically their earlier findings have often been absorbed by the very cultures they studied and used by them in defining their own identity.


Inventions and Inventing: Finding Solutions to Practical Problems

Kevin Byron

paperback, 30 pages, ISBN 978-0-904674-27-9

Dr. Byron traces the history of invention and its landmarks from very early times to the present day with its unprecedented network of innovative interaction. He considers the creative process itself and the circumstances in which it flourishes.



Problems, Myths and Stories

Doris Lessing

paperback, 20 pages, ISBN 978-0-904674-28-6

In the present-day West, stories are often regarded as mere entertainment. In other times and other places we find a different view: stories provide instruction for the young and are part of a general education, often conveying what cannot be conveyed by other means. Here is a huge treasure-house of literature which has helped to make us what we are.



Monograph Series No. 37 

Modern Primitives: The Recurrent Ritual of Adornment

Contributed by Cultural Research Services

paperback, 20 pages, ISBN 978-0-904674-29-3

This study sees present-day forms of body adornment-- piercing, tattooing, branding-- as part of an unbroken tradition practised by tribal groupings over centuries and in all parts of the world. It examines what these practices may have signified in the cultures in which they originated and how they are to be understood in modern Western society. 



Monograph Series No. 38 

The Pagan Saviours: Pagan Elements in Christian Ritual and Doctrine

Contributed by Cultural Research Services

paperback, 24 pages, ISBN 978-0-904674-30-9

The development of Christian ritual owed much to the pagan mystery cults (e.g. Mithraism) of ancient Greece and Rome. In this paper many of the extraordinary similarities are identified and the question of how ritual may prove more durable than its original context is discussed. 



Monograph Series No. 39

The Marketing of Christianity: The Evolution of Early Christian Doctrine

Contributed by Cultural Research Services

paperback, 24 pages, ISBN-13: 978-0-904674-31-6

The form that Christianity takes today, its doctrines and dogma, owes an untold amount to the personalities and disagreements of the Apostles. In this monograph, we see how in its early days this major religion would have taken quite other directions and how these were gradually marginalised and eventually lost, thanks mainly to the outstanding persuasive skills of one man: St. Paul. 



Monograph Series No. 40 

The Press Gang: The World in Journalese

Philip Howard

paperback, 22 pages, ISBN 978-0-904674-32-3

Many people read and read more in newspapers than in any other print medium. In a witty essay, Philip Howard of The Times draws on years of experience as a journalist to identify and analyse the nature of this almost universal literary style: Journalese.



Monograph Series No. 41 

Taboos: Structure and Rebellion

Lynn Holden

paperback, 28 pages, ISBN 978-0-904674-33-0

Dr. Holden looks at the origins and variety of taboos in many cultures and traces their persistence and influence in present-day societies.



Monograph Series No. 42 

Paranormal Perception? A Critical Evaluation

Christopher C. French

paperback, 28 pages, ISBN 978-0-904674-34-7

The author describes different types of paranormal experience and argues that, whether ESP exists or not, we should nonetheless expect it to be widely and often reported.



Monograph Series No. 43 

The Unseen World: The Rise of Gods and Spirits

Contributed by Cultural Research Services

paperback, 24 pages, ISBN 978-0-904674-35-4

This monograph examines ways in which, over thousands of years, human beings have attempted to answer questions about the nature of reality. It considers some of the solutions, religious, magical and other, which they have devised. Many of these solutions, despite having lost their usefulness, survive even into the present day.



Monograph Series No. 44 

Godmakers: The First Idols

Contributed by Cultural Research Services

paperback, 24 pages, ISBN 978-0-904674-36-1

People have always used images to embody gods and spirits, no doubt in an effort to give form to the intangible and render it more comprehensible. This paper looks at some of the many ways in which human beings have tried to do this and what they have derived from the endeavour. 



Monograph Series No. 45

The Universal Ego

Alexander King

ISSN 0306 1906, ISBN 978-0-904674-37-8
Published 2005 A5, 20 pages

Dr King, former Director General for Science, Technology and Education at the OECD, discusses the idea that at some point in time a 'vivifying phenomenona'-- the Universal Ego-- of his title entered the process of evolution to produce the Universe and the World as we now see it. He stresses the importance of developing an awareness of its continuing, and not always beneficial, operation in human life.


Monograph Series No. 46

Conclusions from Controlled UFO Hoaxes

David Simpson

ISSN 0306 1906, ISBN 978-0-904674-38-5
Published 2005 A5, 32 pages

The 1960s and 70s were a time of keen interest and belief in unidentified flying objects (UFOs). David Simpson, until 2001 on the staff of the National Physical Laboratory, describes how he and some friends were drawn to test these beliefs with a series of hoaxes. He shows how belief can persist even in the face of evidence which completely discredits it.


Monograph Series No. 47

Jokes and Groups

Christie Davies

ISSN 0306 1906, ISBN 978-0-904674-39-2
Published 2005 A5, 32 pages

For many years Professor of Sociology at Reading University, Christie Davies here examines how jokes operate within social groups. Using many examples ranging from disaster jokes to jokes about social and ethnic groups, he suggests that the most significant aspect of jokes is not what they reveal about their tellers, but what they tell us about societies which object to them.



Monograph Series No. 48 

Creative Translation

David Pendlebury

ISSN 0306 1906, ISBN 978-0-904674-40-8
Published 2005 A5, 24 pages

The author examines the creative process involved in the translation of poetry, taking his examples from German and from the Persian classical poets. He contends that the difficulty of conveying the full range of meaning in such works in another language should not discourage people from making the attempt, and offers some practical advice to those who feel inspired to do so.



Monograph Series No. 49

The Crusades as Connection: Cultural transfer during the Holy Wars

Contributed by Cultural Research Services

ISSN 0306 1906, ISBN 978-0-904674-41-5
Published 2006 A5, 32 pages

The time of the Crusades is often depicted as one of unrelenting animosity between Christianity and Islam. This monograph presents another view: in parallel with the savage hostility, there are many recorded instances of warm relationships between Franks and Muslims, as well as an acceptance of each others religious views and practices. Then, as today, the conflict between two cultures, while exposing their differences, offered an opportunity for greater study and understanding. 


Monograph Series No. 50

Baptised Sultans: The contribution of Frederick II of Sicily in the transfer and adaptation of Oriental ideas to the West

Contributed by Cultural Research Services

ISSN 0306 1906, ISBN 978-0-904674-42-2
Published 2006 A5, 32 pages

Born in the last years of the 12th Century, Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Sicily, has been called "the first modern man upon a throne". Twice excommunicated, self-crowned King of Jerusalem, he maintained close contacts with the Muslim world in defiance of Papal authority, and provided a channel for bringing Islamic and Greek cultural, philosophical and scientific concepts to Europe. 


Monograph Series No. 51

Brain Development During Adolescence and Beyond

Dr. Sarah-Jayne Blakemore

ISSN 0306 1906, ISBN 978-0-904674-43-9
Published 2007 A5, 20 pages

Until relatively recently, it was widely believed that the brain ceases to develop after childhood. However, recent research has demonstrated that the human brain continues to develop during adolescence and beyond. Dr. Blakemore describes the developmental processes that occur in certain parts of the brain during adolescence, and the implications of this development for teenagers. She also describes recent studies showing that the human brain may retain its 'plasticity' throughout adult life. 


Monograph Series No. 52

Collective Behaviour and the Physics of Society

Philip Ball

ISSN 0306 1906, ISBN 978-0-904674-44-6
Published 2007 A5, 32 pages

In this monograph, Philip Ball suggests that certain kinds of social behaviour are collective phenomena that do not follow in any trivial or easily anticipated way from individual behaviour. They may best be analysed by importing some of the tools and techniques that have been developed in the physical sciences for describing systems composed of many interacting entities. Understanding such forms of collective behaviour may in the future be vital to the creation and maintenance of a stable, just and equitable society. 


Monograph Series No. 53


Dr. Kevin Byron

ISSN 0306 1906, ISBN 978-0-904674-45-3
Published 2008 A5, 26 pages

Dr. Kevin Byron received his doctorate in applied physics from the University of Hull and after graduation spent some 25 years in research in the telecommunication industry. In 2001 he was awarded a research fellowship with The National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) in the UK for studies on creativity in education. Kevin is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics and a Visiting Senior Fellow to the Physical Sciences branch of the Higher Education Academy at the University of Hull. 


Monograph Series No. 54

Music, Pleasure and the Brain

Dr. Harry Witchel

ISSN 0306 1906, ISBN 978-0-904674-46-0
Published 2008 A5, 19 pages

Dr. Harry Witchel received his PhD in Physiology from the University of California at Berkeley. He continued his wide-ranging research at the Medical School in Bristol (UK). This included work on the effects of emotionally arousing stimuli ( on autonomic activity. In 2003 he was a Visiting Professor at the University of Florence, Italy, and in 2004 he received the national honour of being chosen for The Charles Darwin Award Lecture by the British Association for the Advancement of Science. He is a popular lecturer at science festivals throughout the UK, and has participated in many public programmes for The Royal Society, The Royal Institution, BBC Television, Midweek with Libby Purves on Radio 4, Café Scientifique, the Dana Centre for the Brain, and the University of Bristol. He is at present with the Brighton and Sussex Medical School, University of Sussex. 


Monograph Series No. 55

Fields of the Mind

Dr. Rupert Sheldrake

ISSN 0306 1906 ISBN 978-0-904674-47-7
Published 2009 A5, 20 pages

Dr Rupert Sheldrake is a biologist and author of more than 75 technical papers and several books, the most recent being The Sense of Being Stared at, and Other Aspects of the Extended Mind. He studied natural sciences at Cambridge University and philosophy at Harvard, where he was a Frank Knox Fellow. He took a PhD in biochemistry at Cambridge and was a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge, where he was Director of Studies in biochemistry and cell biology. As a Research Fellow of the Royal Society, he carried out research at Cambridge in developmental biology. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Noetic Sciences in California, and Director of the Perrott-Warrick Research Project funded by Trinity College, Cambridge. 


Monograph Series No. 56

Why do we leave it so late?

David Canter

ISSN 0306 1906 ISBN 978-0-904674-48-4
Published 2009 A5, 28 pages

We need to understand the social psychological processes that introduce inertia into our reactions to our environment, and limit our ability to reduce environmental threats. These are the same processes that have led to many emergencies in the past getting out of control to become disasters, despite clear early warnings of imminent danger. These ways of relating to each other, and the habits of where we do what, underpin our slowness to respond to the demands of climate change. 


Monograph Series No. 57

Scheherazade and the global mutation of teaching stories

Robert Irwin

ISSN 0306 1906 ISBN 978-0-904674-49-1
Published 2010 A5, 24 pages

In this wide-ranging essay, renowned Arabist Robert Irwin outlines the history and purpose of teaching stories, their role in the Islamic mystical tradition and the didactic uses of tales from The Arabian Nights to modern science fiction.


Monograph Series No. 58

Consciousness, will and responsibility

Chris Frith

ISSN 0306 1906 ISBN 978-0-904674-50-7
Published 2010 A5, 32 pages

Recent advances in our ability to observe the human brain in action reveal that most of what our brains do never reaches our awareness. Professor Chris Frith, who has pioneered the use of brain imaging to study mental processes, explores the implications of these findings to our understanding of human cooperation, altruism and social responsibility.


Monograph Series No. 59

Extraordinary Voyages of the Panchatantra

Ramsay Wood

ISSN 0306 1906 ISBN 978-0-904674-52-1
Published 2011 A5, 32 pages

What makes the ancient Sanskrit fables of the Panchatantra so durable and well travelled? What role did live storytelling have in their origin and steady migration? What is the function of such stories, if any, beyond entertainment? Why are they so beautiful and hauntingly compelling?

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