Thursday, July 29, 2010

BOOKS: And There Was Light by Jacques Lusseyran

Extraordinary autobiography (childhood to age 21) of someone who went blind at 8, established a major Resistance movement during the occupation of Paris when he was 16, and survived internment in Buchenwald.

A couple of days after the accident that blinded him, Jacques discovered that he could see - from within himself. Beautiful descriptions of how he sees and what he sees - and how negative thinking in any form immediately makes him completely "blind." This is mind-blowing. It's something we're all familiar with, that negative thinking is not helpful; but to find out how immediately and graphically anger, envy, jealousy, competitiveness, as well as self-doubt, lack of confidence, lack of faith that you can do it ~ that they literally take away our inner light, reducing our inner world to one of complete darkness: that is something else.

I looked up Parabola Press to see whether they had published anything else of Lusseyran's. He died in a car accident when he was only in his 40s, along with his wife (third wife, actually), survived by four children.

Parabola published, posthumously, six of his essays ~ talks he gave on the way blind people are not blind but see; on the urgent necessity to extend intelligent opportunities to blind people and kids who are blind; on his philosophy of the inner world he entered as a child and came to know so well through deep attention and inner focus; and then, in the final two essays, further extraordinary stories of his Buchenwald experience: the man Jeremy Regard, philosopher blacksmith; and his discovery of the amazing effect on other prisoners of reciting poetry in the camp...

You may find that Parabola Press has cheaper copies than amazon, especially of the essays book. Parabola Books (the Society for the Study of Myth and Tradition), New York: .org not .com!