Summer Reading – a Voyage Inside My Head

The plan had been to research colour, colour history and symbolism, but I got distracted, and that is now my next reading project.

Eric R Kandel – The Age of Insight

The Summer started with Nobel Prize winner Eric R Kandel’s The Age of Insight, The Quest to Understand the Unconscious in Art, Mind and Brain, from Vienna 1900 to the Present.  (Thank you Monika!)  Long fascinated with the power of the unconscious mind (UM), I am slowly beginning to understand that this is how I work and may be the reason I have such trouble explaining my process, and answering the simple question, ‘What Am I Trying To Say’.

Kandel, a world leader in neuroscience and intellectual history, examines the intersection of psychology, neuroscience and art through the lens of 1900 Viennese culture.  In this academic work Kandel effortlessly weaves these three disciplines, the Vienna School of Medicine, the work of Sigmund Freud, the writing of Arthur Schnitzler with supporting artwork from Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka and Egon Schiele.

Split into five sections:

1    A psychoanalytical psychology and art of unconscious emotion

2    A cognitive psychology of visual perception and emotional      response to art

3    Biology of the beholder’s visual response to art

4    Biology of the beholder’s emotional response to art

5    An evolving dialogue between visual art and science

I didn’t understand it all and at over 500 pages, it was a lot to absorb, but it is in my unconscious, somewhere, and I will revisit this amazing work from time to time.

Ted Falconer – Creative Intelligence and Self Liberation 

I have owned this book for a number of years, since my NLP training, but it was only after reading Kandel, that my UM directed me to it.  The sub title, ‘Korzybski, Non-Aristotelion Thinking and Eastern Realization gives a clue to the scope of this slim volume and the skill with which Falconer succeeds in distilling a diverse range of sources, to produce an outstanding insight into creative intelligence and how to free yourself from rigid patterns of thought.

Edward De Bono – The  5-Day Course in Thinking

A slim practical and insightful guide to opening the thought process, to see the world in other ways.

Donna Tartt – The Goldfinch

My poolside book, all 800 pages.  Angela had mentioned Pulitzer Prize-winning Tartt during our creative writing session, for her style and subject matter.  I enjoyed her eloquent prose and the woven thread of art history, but I found her characters weak (I thought the main character was female for the first 100 pages).  The storyline, whilst engaging, was overly long, with large tracts that could easily have been condensed.  Her writing reminded me of a modern day Colette, where her enjoyment was in the descriptive, with the ‘gripping’ storyline an editorial request.

Lisa Genova – Still Alice

A surprisingly  lighter and enjoyable read by the neuroscientist Lisa Genova, who with her first novel offers an authentic insight into Alzheimers and Dementia, of which my family has  a history.  A clever way for a scientist to create greater awareness of the condition and it’s early stages.  Just as everyone should learn CPR and the F.A.S.T. stroke recognition, everyone should read or see the film, to be able to spot the early warning signs.

Eckhart Tolle – The Power of Now

I read and watched Tolle a few years ago and couldn’t comprehend what he was saying.  A friend suggested that I re-read as I am now in a different place.  Glad I did.

His message is so simple.  There is only now, this second.  Fear and anxiety, those twin devils of the mind are illusions of time, past and future.  Once the mind has lost it’s control, it is then available for the work that it was intended to do, namely, support.

I need to understand his concept of ‘surrender’, and work on that and forgiveness, to be really free, but I feel I have made huge progress in my quest to harness my intuition and let go of my ‘clutter’.

Lynne McTaggart – The Field

This book, written as a scientific detective story, is an astonishing read.  At it’s heart is the evidence that an energy field, the Zero Point Field, connects everything in the universe.  McTaggart  eases the reader through the history of the discovery of this energy field, effortlessly bringing together individuals practising throughout the world, from disciplines as diverse as quantum physicists, philosophers, electrical engineers, astronauts, a theoretical biophysicist, medical doctors, engineers, mathmaticians, research scientists.

Her skill is to distil a vast amount of leading edge scientific research into an accessible format, which she succeeds in achieving admirably.  The scientific explanation for homeopathy, for distance and self healing, the power of ‘prayer’, the power of the individual and collective unconscious, levitation, fuel-less travel, the realisation that the bedrocks of Newton and Darwin were probably wrong, are all here.  The energy of the writing is so hopeful, that you believe the world is in a position to move forward with this abundance of knowledge, but sadly that is not the case.  We learn that the promised happy ending is not to be with most of the key players marginalised within the scientific and world stage.

Penney Pierce – Leap of Perception

Again a book I had had for some time, which I felt could help me move from the historic dominance of the use of the logical, left side of my brain (although I now appreciate from The Field that this isn’t strictly true), to the creative right side of my brain.  What I actually learnt was so much more powerful.

We are entering the Intuition Age, the age of rapidly expanding possibilities.  Continuing the idea of energy fields, Pierce explains and provides exercises to increase your energy frequency, to attract more of what you desire into your world, releasing your ego and attachments, developing telepathy, integrating physical and non-physical worlds and, what she terms ‘pretend dying’.

A fascinating read requiring an open mind and a willingness to practise the exercises without scepticism.

Reflecting on my new found knowledge

There is a seriously wide world out there that bears no relationship to landscape and accepted beliefs.  Spiritual and primitive beings have known for years, but in a world where everything must be scientifically proven to be ‘true’, we are only just beginning to catch up.

I am not religious, which I think has helped my journey into the unknown.  I have always felt that the space between ‘things’ is full of ‘thoughts’ being released into the universe.  McTaggart, Pierce and Tolle support that view.  Pierce has opened my eyes to the possibilities.  What I now need to do is reflect over the next year on how my knowledge and new skills (still in their infancy) can best be used to develop my work.  I still don’t know what I am trying to say, but I am now more confident that my unconscious mind and the power of the collective unconscious mind are available to me and there to support me.



Author: susanmilleruk

Watercolour painter living, working and loving Hastings and St Leonards on Sea. MA in Fine Art.

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