3 out of 4 stars
Review by Kat Kennedy
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In his book, Living Through 2016: Beyond Fiction, J.K. Pascall offers the reader a personal perspective on the current political and social happenings of the world through his own life experiences and his journey to find inner peace and self-knowledge.
The book is organized into three sections charting his personal journey to self-actualization, his thoughts on identity and community, followed by a call to action. “Consciousness is the beginning,” Pascall states. He is seventeen when he begins his spiritual education, which is initiated through conversations with older men. His mentor engages him in philosophical conversation, and he makes good use of the opportunity to read the many books he finds within the home of his mentor. Thus begins his journey to spiritual enlightenment, a journey that is definitively Eastern in nature, yet there is much in his experience that is relevant to anyone seeking a deeper spiritual awareness – namely, questioning and observing.
The author’s sincerity shines through on every page of the book. It is evident that he is disturbed by the political chaos and the ever increasing terrorist attacks and wars around the globe. The anonymity afforded us through the internet to state unsubstantiated opinion as fact with no repercussions and the subsequent blurring of fact and fiction is also of much concern to Pascall. Technology, though certainly a wonderful enhancement of modern life which allows us to easily seek truth, has also allowed people to insulate themselves from any ideas different than their own. There is a lack of face to face conversation where people may disagree and have debate rather than the anonymous bullying of the impersonal internet. It is a valid argument. It is much harder to disregard another’s opinion when sitting over coffee. Pascall writes this book to offer his truth and calls upon his readers to find theirs, and through doing so to make the world, if only their small part of it, better.
Pascall’s search for self-awareness leads him into areas such as astral projection and the belief that the goal of finding spiritual awareness is “handicapped if we omit ‘reincarnation’” — concepts which may be controversial to most western readers. His book would be stronger with a more in-depth discussion of these two concepts as they seem pivotal to his personal beliefs, or perhaps the additions of an index or reference section would suffice. He does mention several authors within the text, but it would be beneficial to include a reference section with specific titles of importance to explain the various Eastern concepts discussed within the book.
I rate this book a 3 out of 4 stars. There are several editorial issues, especially with comma usage, and there are some concepts that should be explained more fully. However, the book is well organized and is written with a great deal of passion. It is a powerful book and one worth reading. No doubt Living Through 2016: Beyond Fiction is written from a place of good. It’s a sharing of Pascall’s personal journey in hope of effecting change in the world – and that is to be commended.
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