Traditionally categorized as a form of mysticism largely centered in the Middle East, Sufism has intrigued Eastern and Western scholars for many centuries. Powerful traces of its ideas have been found in the ideas of such diverse people as Dante, the Troubadours, Shakespeare and Spinoza.
Recently, however, attention has shifted to the literary and psychological heritage of the Sufis. Idries Shah has shown, to the widespread approval of modern scholars, the affinities of Sufi sages with the sociologists, psychologists and anthropologists of today.
Based on lectures at the New School for Social Research, New York, and the University of California, San Francisco "Neglected Aspects of Sufi Study" deals with many of the problems of Sufi methods of study, especially those which militate against its effective progress in the modern world: notably the unrecognized assumptions which we make about ourselves and about learning and its processes.
In this essential book, Shah examines the psychology of his readership - our demand for cults, the consumer society, and prevailing cultural responses, East and West.
This book provides a companion to the twenty volumes of Sufi studies and literature which Shah has extracted from the literature and practice of Sufis over the past one thousand years.
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As the urgency of our global situation becomes apparent, more and more readers are turning to the books of Idries Shah (1924-1996) as a way to train new capacities and new ways of thinking. Shah has been described as "the most significant worker adapting classical spiritual thought to the modern world."
Shah was educated in both the East and West, by private tutors and through wide-ranging travel and personal encounters - the series of journeys which characterize Sufi education and development. In keeping with Sufi tradition, his life was essentially one of service. His knowledge and interests appeared limitless, and his activities and accomplishments took place in many different countries and in numerous fields of endeavor.
Shah was Director of Studies of the Institute for Cultural Research, an educational organization sponsoring interdisciplinary and crosscultural studies of human thought; a founding member of the Club of Rome; a Governor of the Royal Humane Society and the Royal Hospital and Home for Incurables; and the founder of publishing house Octagon Press.
Shah's landmark book, "The Sufis", invited readers to approach Sufi ideas and test them out. The evident and common sense made it clear that here was a sane, authoritative voice in the wilderness of the gobbledegookish mysticism of the sixties. The lively, contemporary books on traditional psychologies, literature, philosophy and Sufi thought that followed established a broad historical and cultural context for Sufi thought and action. These have so far sold over 15 million copies in 12 languages worldwide and have been awarded many prizes. They have been reviewed by The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Times, The Tribune, The Telegraph, and numerous other international journals and newspapers.
University and college courses throughout the world are employing Shah's books, or works based on them, in a wide variety of disciplines including sociology, psychology and literature.
In 1969, Idries Shah was awarded the Dictionary of International Biography's Certificate of Merit for Distinguished Service to Human Thought. Other honors included a Two Thousand Men of Achievement award (1971), Six First Prizes awarded by the UNESCO International Book Year (1972), and the International Who's Who in Poetry's Gold Medal for Poetry (1975).
According to his obituary in the London Daily Telegraph "it is impossible to assess his influence, and his legacy is incalculable".
He was, it is said, the Sufi Teacher of the Age.
"The most interesting books in the English language." Saturday Review
"A major psychological and cultural event of our time." Psychology Today
"One is immediately forced to use one's mind in a new way." New York Times
The instrumental function of Shah's work is now well established among people from all walks of life. Stockbrokers, scientists, lawyers, managers, writers, physicians, and diplomats have found Shah's literature for human development "extraordinary".
"It presents a blueprint of the human mental structure." Robert Ornstein, Ph.D.
"Extremely useful in teaching students about management and computers." Thomas Malone, MIT
"Idries Shah provides the unique perspective that allows us to assess real motivations and social biases in a more accurate light." E. Neilsen, Attorney at LawExcerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
We can look at the approach to Sufi perceptions in the light of three stages of learning. This, again, closely follows the right and wrong ways in scientific education and research, though not the pattern of the occult-esoteric attitudes with which Sufism has sometimes been confused:
1. ENJOYMENT: when people learn little, whatever they may imagine they are doing, since emotion fills them and becomes, as it were, something which they are consuming. People in this phase are merely amusing themselves, though they may be good citizens, depending on how they behave. This is rooted in greed.
2. EMPLOYMENT: when people try to use materials prematurely (before they have been sufficiently prepared to attain any real knowledge). This is rooted in impatience and selfishness. How much to try to use is the point here.
3. DEPLOYMENT: when the person is attuned to the extent and way in which he can serve and be served, so that the teaching is really able to take effect, to become active in and through the individual.
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Book Description Octagon Press, Limited, 2003. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110863040780