• BREAKING NEWS:
  • Child Serial Killer Strikes Again | Pope Conceals Murderous Agenda | Galactic phenomenon, possibly wormhole, connects with Earth | Child serial killer strikes again | Baby boy found at bottom of well | Baby boy declared abnormal | American President visits Pope: admits startling spiritual experience | Baby boy manifests first signs of supernatural powers | Father suspects adopted son is possessed | Lost Nostradamus Quatrains found: troubling revelation | Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man hides secret combination to the unknown | High school student claims fellow student is a monstrous creature | Pope conceals murderous agenda | Murder of John F. Kennedy finally solved | Experts wrong: unexpected model used in Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa | Da Vinci’s Last Supper modified to conceal staggering secret | NASA discovers metallic debris and black box recorder on Mars | Angel warns Mary: beware of the Holy Spirit | Archdemon Thevetat appears in Nazareth | Jesus’ march through desert ends in stunning surprise | Covert foe dupes Jewish and Roman leaders into killing Jesus | Satan prevails over God once again | Satan’s plan to win more souls backfires | God retrieves lost Sword of Maitreya through bloodshed | God’s Holy Spirit separates from God to take physical form | Heaven declares questionable war | War leads to rise of Demon breed | New State formed: Kingdom of Hell | Hitler captures boy-prodigy to test extent of powers | Boy-prodigy’s Sin Score off the charts: equals that of Jesus | Boy-prodigy succumbs to dark side: kills for the first time | True story of destruction of City of Atlantis revealed | Boy-prodigy’s shocking origins exposed: Bible Doctrine set afire

THE STORY

Theon E. Rex is no ordinary boy. Discovered as an infant in a symbol-riddled well near Manor Clos Lucé, Leonardo Da Vinci’s former residence, he soon manifests extraordinary powers ranging from the stunning to the devastating, attracting the attention of the Vatican and other powerful organizations bent on exploiting or destroying him. Terrified the secret behind his mysterious origins will reduce biblical doctrine to ashes and crush his empire, the Pope himself orders his death.

 

Even Satan has designs on Theon. Hell’s fury descends upon him as the Dragon Lord whisks the boy-prodigy to his infernal realm, determined to weaponize him and bring destruction and desolation to the Kingdom of Heaven…and to Earth. Of all the Echoes—restored human souls—roaming Heaven and Hell, Leonardo Da Vinci comes to Theon’s aid, helped by Satan’s crossbred daughter and other unlikely allies.

 

A frantic race ensues across Hell and into Heaven, in hopes of finding a cure to Theon’s explosive curse. But a misguided God swears the boy will not cross Heaven’s borders. What they discover about his origins, no one—neither Da Vinci nor even God himself—could have imagined.

Main Cast of Characters

  • Theon E. Rex, hero and boy-prodigy
  • FBI agent Cameron Rex and wife Sarah, Theon's adoptive parents
  • Leonardo Da Vinci, famed painter and inventor
  • Akara, Satan's young estranged daughter
  • Tholen of the Kalidrone, a race deformed beyond belief, alienated from God
  • Amadeo Da Verdi, ex-Templar Knight and agent of the Vatican
  • NASA Director Bill Adams, Mars Exploration program
  • FBI assistant-director Scott Dumont
  • Cardinal Pierre Nadeau, double agent
  • Doctor George Lapierre and Maurice Lefoux, members of the Circle of the Eight, leadership group of the Priory of Sion
  • U.S. President Karl Armstrong
  • Pope Benvenuto, born Carsten Maximilian Reiniger
  • Child serial killer (unnamed)
  • Young Michel de Nostredame, prior to becoming known as Nostradamus
  • King Deus, Lord God
  • Maitreya, God's Holy Spirit
  • Jesus Christ
  • Maria Magdalena
  • Mary, mother of Jesus, and sister Bethel
  • Satan, Dragon Lord
  • Demahon, Dark Lord and Satan' master
  • Archangels Michael and Gabriel
  • Archdemons Thevetat and Aurignacia
  • Adolf Hitler, former leader of the Third Reich and mass murderer
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Enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of Hell

PRAISE FOR THE NOVEL

Carl Daoust is one of nature’s curiosities. Like Da Vinci himself, Carl’s right and left brain each operate at full throttle, conspiring to produce the almost-unimaginable. Give him a pen and he’ll blow you away.
Carl’s creativity became apparent early on as he delivered one comic strip after another, then wrote an enchanting children’s novel, upon which was conferred First Prize at the Montreal School Board Junior Book Awards. As a corporate branding strategist, he recently turned out a fascinating and insightful industry paper on the Cultural Code behind Gold. Though not composed in the conventional white-paper style, but rather as a story swarming with an eclectic collection of characters, it nevertheless won the Discovery Award.
This author concocts characters, places, plots and narratives that mesh together, taking you on a wild journey into the recesses of Carl’s imagination. He intertwines historical facts with extreme fiction and iconoclasm, never afraid to rock time-honored dogma. If you seek fantasy, sf, alternative history, suspense, thrills and a maverick’s disdain for convention, you’ve come to the right place.
Enjoy!

From James Halperin, best-selling author of The Truth Machine (Random House) and The First Immortal (Ballantine); Co-Chairman Heritage Auctions

Sci-Fi/Fantasy at its best, where the division between Good and Evil is anything but obvious, and flawed characters wrestle with their frailties in a way we can all relate to. Even those on the godly path are not without blemish, as history on Earth and in the coexisting kingdoms of Heaven and Hell is skillfully reinvented to fuel the boy-protagonist’s motivations and actions.
It all blends together splendidly. As a seasoned journalist, I could easily see the novel’s many revelations as powerful newspaper headlines fostering the revaluation of the status quo. Are you ready for a leap of the imagination?

From Carsten Laqua, author of How Mickey Mouse fell under the Nazis: Walt Disney and Germany; co-author of Walt Kelly: The Life and Art of the Creator of Pogo, The Life and Times of Walt Kelly, and Donald Duck…and the duck has become a man - the drawings and poetic work of Carl Barks; CEO & Curator Galerie Laqua

Best read in years. As a longtime scientific and spiritual researcher, I found the story relevant, insightful and thrilling. A “What if” narrative that reinvents parts of history to serve the plight of the young protagonist. Some might call it controversial; I call it simply ingenious. Being a hard core scientist, I’m typically wary of science fiction, finding many novels frivolous. The Boy Who Set Fire To The Bible is one of the few exceptions—ahead of its class.

From Mino Dallosto, author of The Role and Power of Mental Models (Integral Leadership Review); CEO NovaVista

The Boy Who Set Fire To The Bible sounded daring—and it was. It’s so intelligently written that what some might call religious and historical misdemeanours turn out to be a critically astute and feasible speculation of what fiction has to offer when given free rein. It’s pure delight, and members of the book club agree en masse. The way the author introduces prominent figures like Leonardo Da Vinci, Nostradamus, and Hitler into the mix, and makes their involvement relevant to the story is quite a feat. Very nicely done!

From Fabienne Stoecklen, President Saint-Dorothy Book Club

I usually read books in French, and while my English is very good, I find certain English books a challenge to read. Not so with The Boy Who Set Fire To The Bible. Exceptionally well written and easy to read. A great story with so many twists and turns that converge into a surprising finale. I’ve put it in my community reading rotation, and it’s a hit. Even my guarded and conservative readers, while grumbling a bit, say it’s a page-turner.

From Marie-Josée Laflamme, Lead Administrator Lachine Book Rotation Club

Carl did not dare ask me to review his novel, knowing full well how much I despised science fiction. Every time he forced me to watch Star Trek, Doctor Who, Fringe, or many years ago The Incredible Hulk, I couldn’t last more than 10 minutes into the show. But, since I was the one who was doing the book formatting using Adobe—I secretly read several chapters each day as I toiled on the book. I was surprised at how great it was, and looked forward, every morning, to reading more. I have a newfound appreciation of science fiction, when it’s intelligent enough to resemble non-fiction.

From Maurice Daoust, President OlympCom Media

Edgy, bold and daring. As the boy-hero grows up, you’re as surprised as he is by his strange abilities. And when he fails, you cheer him on. The story brims with new perspectives on historical characters and milestones, and the mix of Earth events and Heaven/Hell events makes for an incredible recipe whose ingredients come together cleverly at the end. The tale is so artfully told my club readers just wanted more. Keep an open mind, and you’ll thoroughly enjoy the ride. A must read.

From Tristan Gallagher, President Dorval Book Club

A mysterious, fascinating story about Heaven and Hell, and Good versus Evil. The story is intricately weaved, detailed and imaginative.

From S. Messier, Editor Fitzhenry & Whiteside

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

While my professional network knows me as a passionate scientist, I’m above all a person who enjoys writing and cartooning.   As a young boy with a wild imagination, I wrote and drew several comic strips and gag cartoons, and one children’s novel, which, to my surprise, got recognized by the Montreal School Board Junior Book Awards.   Since then, I’ve worked in the field of marketing and analytics at Reader’s Digest and at many advertising agencies as Director of strategic and design processes, writing hundreds of proposals, copy for countless campaigns, and a few articles for marketing magazines. I’ve also shared my craft at many business conferences.   It was only natural that I once again turn to writing as a personal project and tap into the things that excited me.   I've always been a fan of “What If” scenarios. As a teenager, I avidly read Marvel Comics’ What If series as it recreated the origin and fate of many of its super-heroes. To me, it required a level of imagination not present in many of its other titles.   As an enthusiast of books like Alice in Wonderland, Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Lord of the Rings, and other classics, I saw a unique opportunity to augment and reinvent the battle of Good against Evil, embodied in the innocence, awkwardness and angst of boyhood, complicated by unwanted supernatural capabilities, and set against a backdrop of fantastical What If situations. This prompted a re-imagination of established notions of history, religion and theology, in support of the boy-protagonist’s origins. This path will certainly set ablaze traditional religious ideas, but the story is one of fiction where the only boundaries are those of the imagination.   With The Boy Who Set Fire To The Bible, I’m hoping to join other independent authors who have shown that self-publishing is the way to go. The democratization of publishing is well on its way, and that’s a wonderful thing for authors and readers alike. If you also like writing, share it with the world! Carl

MEDIA

INTERVIEW of a “Way Out of the Box” Author

 
By MINO DALLOSTO, founder of NOVAVISTA, founding partner of the Transformational Learning Institute, author of the groundbreaking article The Role and Power of Mental Models published by the Integral Leadership Review, and author of the upcoming 2015 book The Power of Mental Models: Machiavellian or Magical?

Mino Dallosto: Some time ago, my guest, Carl Daoust, read my article published in the Integral Leadership Review publication, and his comments floored me. He provided me with insight a longtime researcher like me never considered. Our subsequent conversations led to several new paradigms, which will be included in my next book. My first thought upon encountering Carl was: Who the Hell is this anomaly of nature?

Carl Daoust: I suppose it takes one to know one. I’m flattered…I think.

MD: Upon learning of your novel, The Boy who Set Fire to the Bible, I immediately requested a copy, expecting the same “Out of the Box” creativity you provided to my research. I was more than pleasantly surprised. One of the best reads in years for a guy like me who enjoys the unconventional and the borderline controversial. For starters, the title certainly is controversial.

CD: No bible is actually set on fire in the novel. It’s a metaphor for the very real threat the boy’s origins represent to biblical beliefs and notions. The concept of fire is used to convey a force capable of breaking down and reducing to nothingness material and abstract objects.

MD: It is indeed a powerful image. I found Theon E. Rex, the aforementioned boy, quite nuanced in character. What was the basis for his creation?

CD: I used myself as a point of reference. I’m a fan of stories depicting the classic battle of Good versus Evil, especially those where the line between both is unclear, creating a new brand of protagonist: the Anti-Hero, where the battle is waged as much within one’s psyche as without. It makes for a much more subtle and compelling story. As one who recognized his own demons, I often imagined how they would manifest if I had extraordinary powers. People would hail me and fear me. And through it all, I would find relief alternating with suffering, magnified by a young boy’s immaturity and maladroitness.

MD: Any specifics illustrating the connection between Theon Rex and you?

CD: Sure. As a kid, I was both good and bad, seamlessly moving from one to the other. For several years, I was a geeky “A” student during the day, and a macho rebel during the night. The gang I hung out with called me “Brains” because I was usually the one who planned out our mischievous escapades. Theon is the same, although the evil within him is far greater and of a supernatural kind—an evil he can’t control and fears, but comes to tolerate.

MD: Are you saying you couldn’t control your bad boy persona?

CD: I had free will, but I was strongly compelled—like an unstoppable force—to quell my geeky side by building a badass reputation. I have to admit, my bad side sometimes scared me because it was so sexy and alluring. For a while, my mother would hop in the car and secretly follow me around to see what I was up to; and my father, well, it was one speech after the other, which typically ended with: Your grades are excellent, so I’ll overlook it this time.

MD: How do you feel about your geeky side today?

CD: I wholeheartedly embrace it. I love being a geek, being that guy who collects comic books and attends conventions. Ultimately, it has guided my personal and professional life, and has made it truly rewarding. Hell, saying you’re a geek in interviews has turned out to be an asset. Who would’a thunk?

MD: From what I read, Theon was also quite the geek.

CD: He couldn’t be anything else. And while it alienated most of his classmates, he kept to it. It was a better alternative than succumbing to his dark side. In its grips, the harm he could inflict was far far greater than any damage I could cause. The suffering and the fear he felt was tenfold mine.

MD: At some point in the novel, Theon offers to kill a bad guy who had caused his father much grief, to spare his father the lethal act as it were. Was that also inspired from your life?

CD: Yes. Wanting to kill to protect my father was something I felt. I was fourteen when it happened. A drunk driver hit my father’s car. A case of soda bottles on the backseat hit the door interior, breaking several bottles and sending glass shards flying. My brothers and I were shaken but uninjured. My relieved father got out of the car to see if the other driver was hurt, and when the latter exited his car, quickly discovered the man was quite hammered. Furious, the drunk driver violently pushed my father to the ground. I was afraid, but then, I spotted a broken bottle between my feet, and everything changed. I purposely grabbed the base of the bottle, stepped out of the car and sped towards the attacker, fully intent on shoving the sharp end of the broken bottle into his gut. Fortunately for me, and the loaded asshole, a man who had stopped to help grabbed me from the back, about a foot from my target.

MD: I would have done the same. I was also very impulsive as a youngster living in Italy, and I would have killed any Nazi would tried to hurt my father. Anyway…moving on. The story takes place at several points in time, even going back many millennia. Tell us about that.

CD: There are five distinct timelines. 45% of the story follows Theon’s struggle in the present, from his discovery in a well as a baby to his entry into adolescence—the point at which Satan kidnaps him. 30% of the story follows Theon’s present-day battle against Satan and his quest for a cure to his condition, as he makes his way through the bowels of the Kingdom of Hell. 10% follows Jesus Christ and his uncommon relationship with Maria Magdalena, from Christ’s birth to his crucifixion, some 2,000 years ago. 5% follows Leonardo Da Vinci and the arrival and care of a mystery woman, including the woman’s impact on Da Vinci’s renowned paintings, some 500 years ago. Finally, 10% follows events, circa 37,000 years ago, preceding and surrounding the Great War in Heaven, pitting Deus, Lord God, against Satan; and follows events surrounding the treatment of Echoes (human souls) within the newly formed Kingdom of Hell.

MD: Eclectic to say the least. I found the connection between these eventful timelines quite ingenious.

CD: That was the plan. Each timeline not only provides richness to the story, but also offers clues to the mystery that is Theon Rex, all of which combining and converging into one coherent and unexpected endgame, when Theon’s true origins are revealed. Through it all, my primary concern was to make certain nothing was trivial or superfluous; every detail had to have purpose and justification.

MD: Your depiction of God is, for lack of a better word, strangely human. Was that a reflection of your own beliefs?

CD: I consider myself a Christian open to all possibilities. In the Old Testament, God is mostly portrayed as inflexible and vengeful, while in the New Testament, he is compassionate and forgiving. These are all human traits. Moreover, God is said to have created Man in his own image—the word image encompassing all aspects of humanity: physicality, psychology, emotion, and spirituality. It follows then that God might not be the unattainable guy most religions would have him be. He’s closer to us than we think.

MD: It seems to me that God was positioned somewhere between the Old and New Testament depictions—not entirely vengeful or forgiving, as evidenced by the Sin policy enforced in Heaven and Hell—a policy based on Sin Scores of human souls.

CD: It’s logical that there would be some measurement of sin, sanctioned both by God and Satan. Think of a hierarchy of sins, where a numerical score is attributed to each sin identified, based on its vari­able gravity rate and duration. Depending on how you led your life, you would either make the cut and go to Heaven, or you wouldn’t and go to Hell, destined to serve the unholy State and suffer. But there are rare exceptions. If you are remarkably sinful, Satan might add you to his elite ranks. Hitler was afforded such a privilege, even being bestowed land over which to rule. Theon would find out the exact nature of Hitler and his dominion.

MD: As a former student of mathematics, you found a clever way of introducing concepts in a user-friendly way.

CD: I did it because it made sense. It moves us closer to Theon’s origins. Readers can look forward to the Fibonacci number sequence; the Golden Ratio, revered by mathematicians, artists, musicians, historians, architects, psychologists, and even mystics; Pythagoras’s theorem; cypher encryption; and Harmonic frequencies. About 2% of the book covers these topics, and you don’t have to be good at math to grasp them conceptually.

MD: Leonardo Da Vinci was also a lover of math. But it’s your treatment of his artistic endeavors that fascinated me.

CD: I wanted to reinvent the origin of some of his most famous paintings. Among other things, we find out who really served as model for the Mona Lisa, and discover The Last Supper went through fundamental essence-changing iterations. And while these facts provided clues to Theon’s origins, none of it was a concern to the boy, who counted on Da Vinci’s intellect and knowledge of Hell to secure a cure to his condition.

MD: In your book, you’re not very kind in your portrayal of the ruling Pope, who has no qualms about ordering Theon’s assassination. Even the Pope’s younger years are quite sordid.

CD: It’s a fictitious character, of course. In history, there have been good Popes and bad Popes. The truly despicable ones have mutilated their predecessors, sold the papacy for money, murdered papal adversaries and cardinals, raped women, organized orgies, and murdered thousands through the Inquisition. And not so long ago, Pope Pius XII was arguably the most dangerous churchman in modern history. As Pontiff during World War II, not only did he fail to speak out against Hitler’s Final Solution: the extermination of the Jewish population in Europe, but he was accused of personally making the Final Solution possible. I would say the Pope in my story closely matches the latter’s ruthlessness.

MD: Speaking of the Jewish faith, you clearly demonstrate that the Jewish religious leaders were not really the ones to initiate Jesus Christ’s path to death.

CD: They were duped into it by a very influential force. And no, it wasn’t the Romans, or even God who perpetrated the deception. Enough said!

MD: Last question. The truth behind Theon’s origin is frankly astounding. I was impressed by your boldness in going there.

CD: Some readers will find it bold, even controversial; others will find it a natural conclusion to a multi-pronged story, rich in religious overtones. My philosophy is: if you can imagine it, then it falls within the realm of possibilities and can be told. Pure creativity knows nothing of limitations, which are, for the most part, culturally imposed. So, to all writers out there: put your thoughts to paper without compromise. Your unadulterated imagination is your oasis.

MD: Thank you, Carl.

WHERE TO BUY

Book Details:

  • Novel Category: Fantasy & Science Fiction With Historical, Religious Overtones
  • Plot Style: Mystery Thriller
  • Print Size: Premium 6″ X 9″
  • Number Of Chapters: 118
  • Word Count: 146,240
  • Number Of Pages: 470
  • Publisher: Quantum Imaginatics
  • Language: English
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THREE CONVENIENT
  • PAPERBACK
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BOOK TYPE BOOK FORMAT ISBN SALES PRICE HOW TO GET YOUR COPY
Print Paperback 9780993958304 $16.99 Order now on Amazon.com
Digital .MOBI 9780993958311 $4.99 Order now on Amazon.com
Digital .EPUB 9780993958328 $4.99 Order now on smashwords.com
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CONTACT

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What Is Conscious Awareness? (click on READ MORE at bottom to read a formatted version)

December 17, 2015

CHAPTER ONE What Is Conscious Awareness? “If you want to awaken all of humanity, then awaken all of yourself. If you want to eliminate the suffering in the world, then eliminate all that is dark and negative in yourself. Truly, the greatest gift you have to give is that of your own self-transformation.” —Wang Fou, Hua Hu Chin Have you ever uttered the words, “I didn’t realize what I was doing,” or “I’m not sure where that came from” after doing something you later regretted? If you’re an average human being, the answer is probably yes. We all, at times, find ourselves doing and saying things without knowing why, reacting in ways that surprise ourselves, and tripping over invisible obstacles in our own psyches. As human beings, we are blessed with the ability to be conscious of ourselves—to be self-aware. But for most of us, conscious awareness is not an ongoing experience. We have the capacity to observe the movements of our thoughts and feelings and make choices about whether to act on them or not. We are not blindly driven by impulse and instinct—at least, not entirely. But our degree of consciousness can vary dramatically. We all, at times, feel like victims of our own unconsciousness, driven to make the same mistakes over and over again by patterns and beliefs we can’t even see. To liberate ourselves from this experience, we need to actively cultivate greater consciousness. Conscious awareness is the state of being aware of one’s own existence—one’s unique thoughts, memories, feelings, sensations, surroundings and external environment. It is a state of wakefulness of the mind. Consciousness is an enigma. Science generally considers consciousness to be a complex activity of the brain, but the truth is that no one has yet explained exactly where it comes from. The idea that it arises out of the brain seems implausible—if you dissect the brain, you cannot see consciousness, just as you cannot see thoughts or beliefs. I like to think of the brain is its conduit. We need the brain to process consciousness. Spiritual teachers and thinkers are less concerned with where consciousness comes from; in fact, many of them believe that everything comes from it. Deepak Chopra, in The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, writes: “The source of all creation is pure consciousness … pure potentiality seeking expression from the unmanifest to the manifest. And when we realize that our true Self is one of pure potentiality we align with the power that manifests everything in the universe.”1 Like Chopra, I see consciousness as being both a human faculty and a divine state of being. In the human sense, consciousness is our awareness, cognition, perceptions, beliefs, emotions and so on; in the divine sense, it is a field of infinite possibilities; the source of all creation and potentiality. Divine or higher consciousness is the origin of everything, and therefore it is also the nature of our true selves. The premise of this book is that, when we align our human consciousness to higher consciousness, we become consciously aware beings, connected to our true selves. We come closer to understanding the relationship between our human nature and our spiritual nature and we integrate them in a meaningful way. If you are not trapped in the limiting beliefs of your past, you can start pulling any possibility you want to become from the field of the unmanifest. In this book, I have tried my best to create a process that can clear our thoughts, beliefs, emotions, and patterns to allow us to connect to divine consciousness, the universal light. There are many terms in the spiritual and religious traditions for this ultimate dimension. You can use the term God if you are comfortable with it. Or you may prefer Supreme Intelligence, Great Spirit, Creator, Higher Power, the One, or any other name that represents that all-encompassing light. I like to use several of these terms interchangeably, but I often choose “the Source” as it points to this dimension as the origin of everything. Conscious awareness is not something that we “get.” It is something we unearth within ourselves. Within all of us there is an awareness that is still and conscious at all times. It is that awareness that we need to connect to the Source or higher consciousness. Conscious awareness is a dance with the Universe—a dance between self-awareness and a conscious recognition of our union with the Source. The problem, for most of us, is that we are disconnected from our true self. We have built up layer upon layer of a false identity, based on our conditioning, our beliefs, and our traumatic experiences. To put it simply, this constructed identity is what spiritual teachers refer to as the ego, although there are many different ways this term is used in academic psychology. For the purposes of this book, I define ego as the constructed identity that obscures our true self. Contemporary spiritual teacher Ekhart Tolle refers to the ego as the illusory self, because it embodies a misperception of who we are. He writes, “Ego is always identification with form, seeking yourself and thereby losing yourself in some form. Forms are not just material objects and physical bodies. More fundamental than the external forms-things and bodies- are the thought forms that continuously arise in the field of consciousness.”2 All that we have to do is to reconnect with this awareness. Most of our frustrations stem from the fact that we believe something is wrong inside and needs to be fixed; in reality, nothing needs to be fixed, only uncovered. It all begins with self-awareness. My intention for you is that each day as you complete the chapters and do the work, your awareness will expand and will awaken to the origin of your true nature. Each day, through your readings and the stillness of the moment, you will learn how to connect deeply to your true self. You will feel joy, passion and abundant love as you reconnect […]

A HALLOWEEN ORIGIN (click on READ MORE at bottom to read a formatted version)

October 31, 2015

“Thank you, Wizard of Think,” says the Speaker as he turns to Boniface. “The floor is yours again, mister chairman.” “Mille grazie, mister Speaker,” replies the Easter Bunny. “I would now like to invite mister Jack of the Lantern to put forth the next motion.” “I object,” squawks the newly appointed Representative of Ireland as he glares at Jack with sheer disdain. “I object to that creature’s presence on the Committee; in fact, I object to his presence all together. My predecessors may have tolerated that miser turned benefactor but I refuse to transact with the living dead.” “Order in the House,” screams the Speaker to the young boy who in­tensifies his ranting and raving and jouncing and jolting, and to the other Representatives who begin to throw jellybeans at him all the while booing and hissing in disapproval of his unwarranted outburst. “Order in the House,” he screams again. “You will all be quiet and you will listen to me. The honorable Jack of the Lantern is exactly that: honor­able; and as one who has transformed stinginess, indolence and guile into honor, duty and devotion, he shall be judged no more. Junior Representative of Ireland, I order you to be indulgent or else to begone.” “What was that all about?” inquires Tiny. “It’s an old Irish grievance that surfaces now and again,” answers Maurice, “regarding Jack’s past. He used to be quite a mischievous soul three centur­ies ago; so much so that, if he were still the man that he was then, he would have no misgivings about hurting anyone in this House, including Santa.” “Then perhaps we should interrogate him,” considers Tiny. “After all, he does compete with Santa for the children’s affection.” “No; he’s not the man we’re looking for,” replies Maurice, “and he’s not the man he used to be; he’s transformed for good; in fact, he’s the liveliest dead person I’ve ever met—the pride of the living dead community.” “What do you mean by liveliest dead person?” wonders tiny. “I mean death becomes him in the best of ways,” replies Maurice; “he’s a zombie; but he wasn’t always one. Our friend Jack was once a man, and a man known to most as the miserly and unscrupulous Stingy Jack. He was a gardener by trade, who was not very good at all, and who only succeeded in growing pumpkins, which he sold at the market for an exorbitant price. Everything else he planted would not sprout, and this seriously impeded his business and his means to survive; so much so that everything came crash­ing down on him one day. “Faced with a failed business and a mountain of liabilities, Jack, now utterly desolate and desperate, made a deal with the Devil, offering up his soul in exchange for payment against his considerable debt. When the Devil came to collect his due years later, Jack tricked him by making him climb a tree and then carving a cross underneath, preventing the Devil from climb­ing down. In exchange for removing the cross, the Devil released Jack from his promise and swore never again to claim his soul. “Jack, who had cleverly outsmarted the Devil, considered himself quite bright, but, not as bright as he thought, as he would soon discover. Indeed, when Jack died and his soul arrived at the gates of Heaven, Saint Peter, repulsed by his miserable life and his wicked ways, promptly turned him away, barring him forever from Heaven; and since Jack was also barred, by his own fault, from Hell, he could not hope to enter there either. With no place to go, his soul was driven back into his dead body and he was left to wander the Earth as a living dead. “Upon learning of Jack’s rejection from Heaven, the Devil, spiteful and somewhat embarrassed for having been duped by him, rejoiced and, for good measure, threw a ball of eternal hellfire at him, ravaging his face be­yond repair. Unable to quench the hellfire and ashamed of his disfigure­ment, Jack plucked a pumpkin from his garden, carved it and wore it over his head—just like a lantern containing a flame. “After days of wandering, Jack discovered that, despite his deadness, he hungered; so he drifted from house to house, and from village to village, begging for scraps. For the most part, the villagers were friendly and gen­erous, and their children, not frightened one bit by his lantern-like skull, played with him after he fed. This impressed Jack immensely, ‘for who could befriend a zombie especially one as ugly as me,’ he had thought. “ ‘Perhaps some good can come of this,’ he rejoiced; and, at sunset, gathered the children of the village where he last begged. ‘Your parents are kind to zombies and not afraid at all. We shall therefore take on the guise of zombies, and buzz about the village like bees, asking for lots of apples, lumps of cane sugar and roasted cocoa beans. A grand time this thirty-first day of October—and the eve of the New Year—it shall be, for you, for me and for all those who would partake in our candy fricassee.’ “ ‘Zombies are fascinating I concur but may I dress as a witch instead?’ begged one girl. “ ‘I wish to disguise myself as the Devil,’ insisted a boy, leaving Jack a bit perplexed about that particular costume. “ ‘The likeness of a ghost I prefer,’ added another boy. “ ‘Fine, fine,’ agreed Jack. ‘Bring some garments; I shall trade my gar­dener’s fork and trowel for scissors and needles and fabricate masquerades the likes of which shall stir the hearts and the purse strings of your mothers and fathers.’ “The children’s pilgrimage towards a bellyful was very well received; at evening’s end their bags brimming with treats, heavy indeed. Their parents, in the aftermath of such exuberance from their progenies, heralded Jack of the Lantern, Ambassador of Abundance, and decreed the event the Hallow Eve of the Celtic New Year, the best of […]

RAHAN, THE MAN BEFORE TIME (click on READ MORE at bottom to read a formatted version)

October 17, 2015

Rahan is a French comics series about an intelligent prehistoric man, that appeared first as part of Pif gadget starting in March 1969, then published in albums of 2 to 4 complete stories. It was initially written by Roger Lecureux, and after his death in 1999, by his son, Jean-François Lecureux. Most of the artwork is drawn by André Chéret, as well as some other artists (Enrique Romero, Zam, DeHuescar).     After the destruction of his tribe in a volcano eruption, Rahan moves from land to land and tribe to tribe while spreading goodwill among those-who-walk-on-two-feet, and a powerful ethic of cooperation. With his open altruism often at odds with his powerful will to survive, Rahan’s ethic is encompassed by the qualities represented by the bear-claw necklace he received from his dying adoptive father, Crao: courage, loyalty, generosity, resilience, wisdom.   Also, after he gets married, he receives a sixth claw, the claw of curiosity. That is well deserved, since in every one of the more than 100 stories spread over 30 years and 3300 pages of illustration (as of June 2005), Rahan uses the scientific method to pick up some bit of knowledge from nature and spin it to some useful purpose – for himself, for some human tribe or even to help some animals in distress. He comes up with the catapult, the net, the fishing pole, the lens, diverts water for use in drinking and agriculture, flies on wings of leather, uses concave mirrors to concentrate the rays of the sun to heat caves and fight rampaging animals,…. Every adventure combines the positive social attitude of a true leader with the inventiveness of a true scientist.   All adventures are presented in a rich, realistic and consistent illustration by the masterful hand of the illustrator. The action jumps off the page and fairly comes to life, helping to make the lessons learned that much more memorable to the reader. The drawings are mainly signed by André Chéret. Rahan, the main character of this series is sometimes compared with Tarzan or Conan the Barbarian, though beyond the prehistoric, wild setting there are almost no similarities.   In 1986, Rahan was adapted into an animated series. In 2006 a movie version was to be released, directed by Christophe Gans and starring Mark Dacascos in the title role but it has been postponed.   The black edition of Rahan which is still available for sale at several online stores was edited by Soleil Prod in 1998 and it’s considered the most complete and beautifully crafted edition.

BECOMING A NEW KIND OF BRAND (click on READ MORE at bottom to read a formatted version)

October 15, 2015

Branding Notions. What is a brand? A brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service or company*. It’s a company’s effort to build lasting value by delighting customers *. * Zag, The 1st strategy of high performance brands by Marty Neumeier   The two bases of branding Branding is not about offering more; it’s about differentiation (being different). Differentiation is the art of standing out from the competition. BEING DIFFERENT. BEING RADICALLY DIFFERENT. Radical differentiation is finding a unique market positioning that becomes part of our identity, that we can defend and that cannot be duplicated.   Branding: the next generation. Here’s the evolution. What’s next? PRODUCTS/COMMODITIES TRADEMARKS BRANDS ??????? The most radical of differentiation lies in a new Brand Paradigm The journey from products to trademarks to brands has had a profound effect on how businesses deal with consumers; and how people deal with businesses.   Each step of the journey has: Turned up the voice of the consumer Added weight to what is most difficult to measure—the intangibles of relationships Pulled emotion closer to the center   Trademarks were a good start. Some have grown into enduring and untouchable icons: The MGM lion that first roared in the 1928 movie White Shadows of the South Seas. The classic Coca-Cola bottle designed in 1915. The letters of IBM. Even Stanley Kubrick couldn’t use the letters for his rogue computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey. However, for some time, clever trademarks have no longer guaranteed successful let alone radical differentiation.   Brands were then developed to create differences for products that were in danger of becoming as hard to tell apart as chunks of gravel. Some brands made it big: Amazon Apple Disney eBay Google Harley-Davidson LEGO Nintendo Pampers Red Cross Swatch Virgin   The Attention Economy that flourished in the 1990s and that has reached epic proportions in the new Millennium has become the greatest challenge for today’s brands. With thousands of TV channels, movies, radio stations, newspapers and magazines; with millions of websites and billions of phone calls, faxes and e-mails, consumer attention is infinitely fragmented. People are overwhelmed by the choices they face. Human attention has become our principal currency.   How do most businesses react to this new reality? They go for the “-er” approach: bigger, brighter, better, stronger, faster, easier, newer—and sadly, cheaper.   How should businesses react—or rather act? They should focus on making consistent, emotional connections with consumers On creating memorable experiences On convincing people to commit for life   Why such a focus? The social fabric has spread more thinly than ever, and people are famished for new emotional connections. People need emotional pull to help them make decisions. People want more ways to connect with everything in their lives—including brands. People are looking for what they can cherish.   People everywhere are wanting to embrace emotion. Emotion has become a legitimate subject for serious research. Emotion dominates the best-seller lists with hundreds of titles (art and emotion, culture and emotion, reason and emotion, etc.) In the business world, emotion is starting to take center stage (emotional branding, emotional markets, emotional capital, etc.) How about emotional intelligence, emotional genius, emotional   Human beings are powered by emotion, not by reason. “The essential difference between emotion and reason is that emotion leads to action while reason leads to conclusions.” * Donald Calne, MD, neurologist “The way this works is very subtle. Most of the time, before seeing something in detail, you have a sense of what it is. Before understanding, you feel. And making people feel good about a brand, getting a positive emotion is key. This is what makes all the difference. If they feel good about it, they’ll find a rational reason to buy into it.”* * Maurice Levy, Chairman, Publicis Groupe Paris   Six principal emotions make up most of the volatile mix from which human relationships are formed: LOVE GUILT SHAME PRIDE ENVY JEALOUSY   Which brings us right to Emotion Number One; the most fundamental of them all… LOVE “We love our possessions, our brands. They add meaning to our lives and are not, in our minds, inert objects. We wrap our imaginations around them. We express ourselves through them.”* * Kevin Roberts, CEO Worldwide, Saatchi & Saatchi “Ah, good ol’ trusty beer. My Love for you will never die.” (Homer Simpson) “I Love Mickey Mouse more than any woman I’ve ever known.” (Walt Disney)   BRANDS need to become LOVEMARKS “Good brands create Trust. Great Brands create Love. Great Brands are Lovemarks Great Brands create commitment and Loyalty beyond reason.” “Being committed and being involved are not the same thing. In a plate of bacon and eggs, the pig is committed, the chicken is just involved.”   BRANDS are: Information Recognized by consumers Generic a Promise of quality Symbolic a Narrative Defined by attributes Professional   LOVEMARKS are: About Relationship Loved by people Personal Touch of sensuality Iconic About creating a story Wrapped in mystery Passionately creative Lovemarks are not owned by businesses. They are owned by the people who love them.   You only get to be a Lovemark when the people who love you tell you so. “If something gets to be a billion-dollar brand, there’s more going on than just a rational attachment. My feeling is that all the billion-dollar brands occupy a very special place in the hearts of consumers. That would make them Lovemarks.” “The idea of moving from a brand to a Lovemark means changing the relationship between the consumer and the brand. This change is from a rational decision to buy a brand to an irrational, passionate decision to be loyal to that brand. And you will find that, as the brand becomes a Lovemark, it will be forgiven for its mistakes.”   Becoming a Lovemark is within your grasp!

“You can use logic to justify almost anything. That’s its power and its flaw.” from Star Trek: Voyager, “Prime Factors”

October 6, 2015

“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” That’s what Einstein (assuming he put Relativity to good use and succeeded in time-traveling) could have told Aristotle, the Greek philosopher, after being introduced to his daughter, Pythias, which the father was quick to qualify as utterly good. “It’s unfortunate you make no allowance for utter badness,” Einstein could have added. “Your daughter could illuminate your senses and your mind like a fiery town fire, instead of a timid campfire.” Aristotle would not—could not—acknowledge this since the laws of logic he himself established (for the most part) some 2400 years ago, would only allow to be one OR the other. The river of Time has been kind to his laws, but the ice that protects its uninterrupted and unquestioned flow is cracking; and perhaps a sharp knife tipped in objective reality shall make it through. Since the onset of humanity and the rise of a cognitive culture, the birth of Logic was inevitable, evolving into a formal science, dedicated to both the study of modes of reasoning (which are valid and which are fallacious) and the application of valid reasoning. In specialized fields such as mathematics, philosophy, semantics and computers science, and more widely, in our daily lives, the laws of logic are mainly used to distinguish which reasoning is valid and which reasoning is fallacious, such validity being predicated and determined by a reasoning’s logical form, not by its content. That may not be entirely true since, after close inspection, we discover that content as it relates to the nature of things and the individuality of human beings does not readily apply to Aristotelian logic—no matter what the form. For example, the argument: I am truthful OR I am a liar, (connected by the exclusive operator/conjunction OR), is valid in accordance with Aristotelian logic. Conversely, to state that I am truthful AND I am a liar, (connected by the operator/conjunction AND) is a fallacious argument, according to the same logic—the content’s quality, and not the form, invalidating the argument. To claim the reverse would create a paradox— a statement or group of statements that leads to a contradiction or a situation which (if true) defies logic or reason. However, when we superimpose the paradox over factual reality, it ceases to be one. When we examine our life experiences, we cannot deny that we have lied countless times (the reasons for which are irrelevant). And, in our defense, we can also acknowledge that we’ve told the truth myriad times. For all intent, we are all truthful people AND all liars, expertly practiced in both, and not one OR the other. Even the stoical logician Chrysippos’ Liar paradox, which has brought many a thinker to the brink of mental exhaustion, is easily solved by discounting Aristotelian logic. The semantic argument is simply stated and succinct as: “I always lie.” A constant liar could never make such a statement since it would be the truth. A constant truther could never make such a statement since it would be a lie. A sometimes liar/sometimes truther (capable of both truth and lies) could make such a statement—any statement for that matter, whether it is a lie or a truth. The last argument proves a solution does indeed exist. Paradoxes in others fields also bear renewed scrutiny, having been dismissed as anomalous outliers by the long prevailing logic. In mathematics, an infinite series is expressed as: 1 + r + r2 + r3 +…rk + …; where ǀ r ǀ is less than 1 and k tends towards infinity. For some time, mathematicians could only provide an approximate numerical solution to sums of this form, until clever algebraic manipulation succeeded in closing the expression and describing the series in finite form as: 1 —— 1 – r The problem could now be expressed as infinite AND finite. In quantum mechanics, wave–particle duality postulates that all particles exhibit both wave AND particle properties. This duality addresses the inability of classical concepts like “particle” AND “wave” to fully describe the behavior of quantum-scale objects. Grasping for an explanation, some postulate the paradox is as a fundamental property of the Universe, while alternative interpretations explain the duality as an emergent, second-order consequence of various limitations of the observer. The latter diagnosis carries with it monumental significance. It suggests we need only step out of the space-time continuum (moving from being a part of the observation to being a truly independent observer) to discover how the Universe truly works—or at the very least, discover how else it works. It’s not an easy task, having been beaten down, blinded to otherwise obvious factual realities, and put to sleep all our lives by the tyranny of Aristotelian logic.   THE TIRANNY of the ARISTOTELIAN LOGIC: You are either with me OR you are against me. “You seem to be in quite a pickle,” Einstein (still on his time-travel tour) could have told Galileo, an Italian physicist, mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher who played a major role in the Scientific Revolution. “I may have been able to keep you out of the dog house,” Einstein could have then insisted, “using cunning repartee.” Indeed, after alienating astronomers, Jesuits, and the Pope himself with a controversial theory, he was tried by the Inquisition, found “vehemently suspect of heresy”, and forced to recant and spend the rest of his life under house arrest. Galileo favored heliocentrism (the astronomical model in which the Earth and planets revolve around a relatively stationary Sun at the center of the Solar System) over geocentrism (the model in which the Earth is at the orbital center of all celestial bodies). He was right of course—but only half-right—as Einstein would have demonstrated using a logic (other than Aristotelian) that rested neither on Physical nor Mathematical constructs, but rather on imagination, proving once again his famous quote that Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. What is irrefutable, as Einstein would clearly state, is that planets revolve around a central […]

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