You will then explain what they mean and why you are interested in them.
Post this along with your answers in your own journal so that others can play along.
nymphatacita gave me these seven:
1) American Gods
It's my favorite book by Neil Gaiman, the über cool writer of works like the Sandman comic series, the surreal movie MirrorMask, and the winsome book and film Stardust. I'd call Gaiman a fantasy writer for people who are too cool to admit to liking fantasy. American Gods is my favorite of his books because I find its central conceit fascinating, that is, what if gods are creations of human cultures, who whither away as people's beliefs in them dwindle, or who cross the oceans when their believers emigrate, then lose their jobs and become card sharks and drifters. And what about when the gods of old like Osiris and Wotan have to jostle with upstart gods sprung from worship of the material, gods like TV and the Internet? American Gods is a road-trip through roadside America. It's hilarious, it's deep, and this is the reason that I love it.
Originally an LJ community, it's basically the idea that the heavenly bodies, and the stars in specific may have a supra-consciousness of their own. It's a form of pantheism, the idea which is equivalent to "The Force" from George Lucas, that is, the idea that spirit and life are properties emergent from matter, energy and the universe itself. Like what Einstein was referring to when asked about his belief in God, and he answered, "I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists." The idea that the stars may have divine qualities is akin to the Gaia hypothesis in which life on Earth and the ecology in which it is embedded form a self-regulating feedback system. With a little imagination this would explain why intelligence has emerged. It may be a Gaia strategy to spread life beyond the planet, or a defense mechanism against a planetary threat that as yet eludes our understanding. The idea that stars and planets may have their own intelligence and may be as the gods was captured very beautifully in a YA novel by another favorite author, Diana Wynne Jones, in her book Dogsbody As a descendant of sun-worshipping Incas, astrotheism has an intuitive appeal. As a face of God, to me, it beats the paradigm of the old bearded white guy hands down.
Pyotr Kropotkin, the anarchist prince, an exponent not of black hooded bomb throwing but instead of evolution towards a communal economy and society. I became interested in him from Dennis Danvers' portrayal of him in his novel The Watch, a magical realist tale in which Kropotkin is transmigrated to the American South of our own time, where his message of human dignity finds resonance in these times of material plenty and spiritual impoverishment.
The many worlds theory, that vision of a cosmos containing many universes constantly budding off from one another, the totality of which I would describe as equivalent to infinity, or all possibilities played out. To me it is intuitively irrefutable that if a thing can be imagined, then it must have a tangible referent, somewhere, somewhen. Among my favorite portrayals of the multiverse in fiction is that of Diana Wynne Jones in her Chrestomanci cycle, for which I am eternally in debt to nymphatacita for having introduced to me.
5. Paradigm Shift
Strictly speaking, it refers to scientific revolutions, but I think of it just as much in terms of tipping points in the accepted consensual reality. Human societies are made up things. Conditions persist because they are allowed to. That is until they are no longer tolerated or until a sometimes slowly, sometimes rapidly evolving new set of perceived and received truths supersedes the old. We've been stuck in old think for quite a long time now. Which is why I sometimes say that I'm "living for the paradigm shift."
The technique of training and self-visualization pioneered by Maxwell Maltz. I came across his book when I was in my late teens, it was the right book at the right time for me. I'd been stuck in a welter of self-doubt and low self-esteem. This allowed me to bootstrap myself out of the mental quicksand, using simple repetitive methods of reinforcing new habits of thought and action.
It's how the Inca Empire referred to itself. In Quechua, the Inca language, it means "the four corners of the world." I was born in one corner of it, in coastal central Peru, and I lived a couple years in the southern end, in what is today Bolivia. It's a region basically contiguous with the central Andes. To this day I prefer to think of my origins as Andean, rather than as Peruvian, because it better recognizes the commonalities of a people who had their civilization destroyed by Spanish invaders. I prefer not to dignify the territorial balkanization imposed on the Andean people by the conquistadors and perpetuated by their creole successors. Sadly, a 19th century brand of nationalism still prevails among the Andean countries, with petty regional rivalries prevailing over their larger common heritage and urgent common interests. Until that is overcome, I don't think the proud heritage of the Incas can ever truly express itself.