The books and reviews of Fabrizio Bartolomucci

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Where the real and the artificial merge

Fabrizio Bartolomucci's pubblications
Il rapporto tra i sessi è di nuovo in cambiamento dopo lo shock degli anni '60 quando a cambiare sono state le donne. Ora sono gli uomini gli artefici del cambiamento; questo libro si configura come una documentazione di questo processo ed una guida per questo difficile cammino.
Otto storie parallele di persone ordinarie poste in epoche significative della storia della loro cultura, per esplorare in un ambito storico-culturale il rapporto tra i valori della libertà e dell'ordine, tra l'esaltazione parossistica dei valori maschili e di quelli femminili quando applicati ad un'intera società e le indispensabili vittime di ogni ordinamento sociale.
Amazon Reviews
A jewelry for iPhone developers
A book choked full of very insightful information. Albeit a bit offline with reference to the current state of the art - but for a book to be so it would need to be reprinted every second month - it still offers really a lot of information I personally found nowhere else. From the idea of querying users for a review or the possibility of posting information over Facebook to the possibility of having a title for your application different from the name of the application and so keyword stuff-able to the need of asking Apple for an authorization for using the [Available on the Apple Store] badge on your website.
The book follows developers from the inception of their project to the submission to the Apple Store and beyond but may also benefit developers, like myself, that have already successfully introduced their applications to the market.
An extensive work
A great translation of this relative dry book of Buddha's speeches rich in commentarial material. The author consistently translates Sankhara as 'Volitional formations', even when it is clear volition is not included, and thus subscribes to the three lives interpretation of the Paticcasammupada, but this seems to be the present general agreement rather then being a fault of this book.
A central pillar for the teachings of the Buddha
The books presents an excellent translation, from the same English translator of the Visuddhimagga, of the collection of middle length discourses of the Buddha. Moreover the text makes extensive use in the notes of the main commentary of the text by the same Buddhagosa whose masterpiece was the Visuddhimagga itself!
Given those premises I would suggest, as I am currently doing, to read the book along with the Visuddhimagga: this latter book will in fact give a framework for the teachings in the Majihma that otherwise could appear a bit scattered and sometimes obscure, while the former will give to the Middle Age manual some "fresh air" while, at the same time, providing the essential canonical underpinning.
A great antology from the Vinaya Pitaka
The book presents a selection of the suttas with an historical underpinning and without ever extending beyond the limited borders of the Pali Canon.
This Biblic-like account, given the basically atemporal nature and catechism of the Buddha's teachings, results in a quite sketchy approach to Buddhism that might contrast in method with the Dhamma teaching and that might thus suggest against using the text as an introducion to the practice.
Still the book has the great merit of providing translations from the Vinaya Pitaka, the basket presently most neglected by Western translators, as well as giving a handy reference to specific episodes difficulty retrieved in the original texts.
An interesting antology
The book collects information both from the Canon and from commentaries to give a full account of the individuals that were closer to the Buddha in his lifetime. Quite naturally most of the accounts regard the period BEFORE enlightenment, for those that eventually got there as the list includes people in most parts of the path (Arahat, Anagamin, Ekagamin, Sotapatti) including Mallika, wife of King Pasanadi, who not even entered it.
An antology
The book peeks into both important and obscure traditions to extract texts that should expose their basic tenets. Covered traditions span from Theravada, Pure Land traditions, various form of Mahayana and Tantra, with some explicit sexual imagery that might not be totally appropriate for young people or members of a monastic community.
The condensed teaching of the Buddha
The book is technically a manual of commentaries and sub-commentaries stemming from the Sutta Pitaka. As such it addresses each aspect of the Buddha Sasana in an extremely comprehensive way not to be found in the original teachings of the Buddha. Most topics are described in terms of characteristic, manifestation, function and proximate cause in order to describe them both in themselves and in relation to the surrounding conditions. The book itself is divided in three parts each devoted to one of the three fields of practice: Sila or morality, Samadhi or Meditation and Panna or Wisdom. The first section, the easiest to read and understand, describes an extremely wide range of behaviours in terms of their wholesomeness in various circumstances; the second describes instead the various kinds of styles of meditation nad the different object attanaible by meditating; the third part, the most difficult, deals with the matter of the Abhidhamma, namely rupa, citta, cetasika and nibbana. So I would suggest to read this part only after having studies some easier commentary of the Abhidammha itself.
All in all a wonderful but very demanding book.
A great buy for meditators
Though the advice of Achaan Chah about studying one's own heart rather than Abhidhamma should be kept in mind like a shining star when tackling anything regarding it, still the reading of this book may provide a framework for one's own mind where to insert experiences: one in which conventional items may not be needed for their comprehension.
A final line: of course meditate, let go of the unwholesome factors, cultivate the wholesome ones and purificate you mind, but also consider buying this book and dedicate the high degree of attention it needs to be understood and perhaps the world will look even a little more different than usual afterwards :-)
Being delighted by being astonished
The book flies very high on the contents of the third basket of the Canon by only focusing on the description and categorization of the main mental dhammas but still presents many obstacles to anyone just familiar with the plain discourses of the Buddha. Still there is something very fascinating on finding oneself dull while reading of one's own mind!
Someone might also find interesting the heavy effort put by the author to ground the contents of the Abidhamma to the other parts of the Canon to prove its authenticity but, probably, non-scholars would have liked the effort to be been spent better otherwise.
Interesting introduction and some very good hints to a conclusion
I have been a big fan of the issue of formal mathematics and the theory of computation but I always missed a full grasping of the gödel theorem. The book presents the line along which Gödel moved: mostly formal systems and the most interesting issue of "calculating grammar" by powers of primes: an outstanding example, to me, was how using that instrument one could know whether a sentence was introduced by a "not" or not (in the case simply by checking if the figure expressing the formula was even or odd).
In that way the full system of mathematics turned into a sort of a computer program that of course could not calculate every function.
For that matter I came to wonder why the demonstration of gödel theorem could not be carried out simply by showing a formal system has the same power as a universal Turing machine and thus transferring to it the (much easier) results obtained on that issue - like for example to problem of the stop or the one of finding any semantic information in a program without actually executing it.
Quite basic
The book provides a generic introduction to photography for what regards light. Of particular interest the emphasis put in picture comprising slices of sky suggesting invariably to expose for the sky in most daylight situations.
Nothing really new, but...
First I should say the title is not totally accurate as I was not familiar with the Zone System by Ansel Adams and the book has an interesting section on it. As for the rest, no truly new information is provided that could not either be provided by an experience with slide films, or inferred from digital cameras manuals. Still the text is quite fluent and provides a good refresh about known notions; moreover the pictures are stunning. I would encourage people in two groups to buy the book: big budget beginners with an interest in improving the quality of their pictures (the book in fact talks about _many_ expensive equipments), or experienced photographers wanting to have some new inspirations.
A really amusing and tale-telling reading
The author extracts from his extensive practice and writing in the field of communication theory an amusing list of "technics" people use to make their own lives miserable. They span from the avoidance of things that could solve one's own problems to the dual tendency to insist focusing on what cannot be reached; to projecting one's prejudices on others like when one wants to ask something fearing it will not be given and thus putting in act behaviours that foster just that reaction.
All in all the feeling that one gets from the book is that we do not need terrorism, wars, discriminations, torture, presidents of the United States or Osamas... all that is needed to make ourselves unhappy is already inside ourselves - thus, and here comes the positive message, it is there that it may, and must, be cured.
A great bridge between psychology and mathematic
I bought the book wanting to know something more about the world of communication and was delighted to find references to my youth interests: logics and mathematic and to my more recent one: spirituality. What was of a particular interest, even if it might be considered a bit partial, was the importance the authors put on paradoxes both as the root for patology and cure. In this latter respect references are given to zen sayings and their relationships to actual therapeuthical episodes.
A problem stemming for the emphasis put on the interrelated cause of neurosis is that individuals tend to be quite neglected: so giving the feeling that people having no stable relationships with other people must be either totally healty or... incurable.
Already bought two other books from the same author.
The book portrays each style in vivid and easily identifiable tones: perhaps even too much so as I found myself insterted in all styles but, possibly, for the hysterical one...
What was a bit baffling is the use of an ineffable "normal behavior" that sometimes appeared as the one projected on a Buddha or a Jesus Christ.
Very little, to conclude, is said on how to tackle each style in order to help and overcome it, but possibly that was not in the scope of the book.
A source of conflict for Buddhist practicioners
I was curiously drawn to the book by a Unix machine "fortune" message reporting the powers of a magician. As a matter of fact the book happened to actually create a magic in my buddhist oriented mind: in some way I found myself in the position of agreeing with the book and at the same time refusing it without any major conflict. In fact the book puts a lot on emphasis on ego development; what Buddhist practice in fact aims at contrasting! What could one say to make the two ends meet? Perhaps that the Ego must be built in order to be destroyed...? Or that Mrs. Freiberg is wrong? Or Buddha is wrong? Or it was me to not have understood either? ;-)
A monument to what stays and changes in time
As an italian reader I was compelled to read the book during my school classes and, quite naturally, did not come to appreciate it at that time. Since then I have read the book quite a few times and I am going to read it once again soon. The plot is the universal one of the difficulty of the poor and weak to resist the rich and evil, and of the powerful force - be it faith, God, hope, kamma or whatever - that helps in this apparently impossible task. In the drama that force takes the part of war, plague, a saint, a restless villain, a corrupted nun and much more. The story takes all these characters all around seventeen century norther Italy but presents a methaphor for what happens in all part of the world at any time.
Better read the Celestine Prophecy
The book seems to be yet another attempt at modelling Nirvana. In so doing the author makes extensive use of "cut and pastes": among those what bothered me most, possibly as I am no mother toungue reader, was the extensive repetition of the construction: "what has, is or could happen": costruction that could have been bothering, to me, even if it was overtly syntactical correct! Other misplellings are also present suggesting a not carefull review of the text before the publication.
As for the concepts the book leverages on a weird ocean analogy that lacks all poetry any attempt to elicit a path of spiritual growth needs, and that makes the Celestine Profecy appear sort of a Veda sutra :-)
Next the writer launches himself in a thorough theory of "everything": from relationships, education, parenting, cultures, male-feminine difference, analysis versus synthesis and psychology to reach as far as visual art and music. Incidentally it is in this aspect proper, as questionable as it may be - i.e. that people get accustomed to a certain need of energy from the environment and thus people in need of more energy like harsh music and strong visual art, while people in need of less energy like more delicate forms - that I found some original contributions.
I wrote this review out of compassion as I was lured into buying the book from the seemingly one-sense reviews that have been posted so far.
After having read quite a few information about what certain planets in given signs and houses aspected to others meant, I happened to find this extremely enlightening book that deals exactly with what is needed to start reading the other books: what your attention should be focused on in a birth chart. A must have even for beginners.