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Fighting and Making Fun of Ambiguity

Network Summary

BEN-NEW's Network
BENjamin-NEWton Challenging Projects Network
by Ben Huot
Academic Non-Fiction E-Books & More Free Stuff

Informational Website

This is an Old School Informational website

General Book Statistics

  • 2,686 pages of unique text written over 20 years
  • average of 1 essay or poem written every week for over 20 years
  • average of 134 pages written every year for over 20 years

Book Statistics by Period

  • 789 pages written from 1998-2007
  • 1,111 pages written from 2008-2011
  • 786 pages written from 2012-2018

This website adheres to the following

No Money

Entire E-Book Downloads, in Multiple Popular Formats

  • No Cost
  • No Ads
  • No DRM

I get no money for this website from any means, not even to pay for this website. I have put a lot of my own personal money into the website, but have not received any funds from outside sources.

Privacy Respected

  • No Tracking
  • No Ads
  • No Personal Information

No Bugging You

  • No Selling
  • No App
  • No Newsletters

No Subtle Ads/Selling

  • No Memberships
  • No Sponsored Articles
  • No Donations Accepted

Main Section Starts

Written Work or Main Navigation Starts Below

Number of Pages for Books

Color Coding Legend of Book List

  • Purple Book Listing: 900 pages or more
  • Gold Book Listing: 600-899 pages
  • Red Book Listing: 400-599 pages
  • Blue Book Listing: 250-399 pages
  • Green Book Listing: Removed from Online Bookstore

Color Coding Legend of Book List (Weighted List for East Asia)

A lower number of pages in e-books in the East Asia section gets marked the same as a higher number of pages in e-books in the other regional sections. Basically, most of the East Asian books are much shorter than the other regional ones. Part of this is just the length of books available on the Apple iBookstore and the relative cost of them, but also East Asian literature is traditionally very concise, compared to other regional literature.

  • Purple Book Listing (weighted) : 600 pages or more
  • Gold Book Listing (weighted) : 500-599 pages
  • Red Book Listing (weighted) : 300-499 pages
  • Blue Book Listing (weighted) : 200-299 pages
  • Green Book Listing: Removed from Online Bookstore

Minimum Number of Pages Per Book

  • Europe - 500 pages
  • Asia - 450 pages
  • Africa - 450 pages

Geographic List - Recommended Commercial (Apple iBookstore) Serious E-Books

from Apple iBookstore (I bought and kept all of the following, on my iPad)

Apple iBookstore and iBooks

I have bought several hundred books (below), from Apple and their selection is quite good now (below). Yes, Apple sells books online. Apple may seem to have an oversimplified program for managing books, but I have used a Kindle 3 and the Kindle app on the iPad and Apple's iBooks app is so much easier to use, more adjustable, and powerful, as well as, being easier to manage through iTunes and more reliable. It is also much easier to read on the iPad, iPad Air, and iPad Mini, because of the higher resolution and quality screen of the iPad, iPad Air, and iPad Mini. Download iBooks and search within iBooks or within iTunes on your PC or Mac.

iBooks now comes with Mac OS X Mavericks (OS 10.9, released in October 2013), which is a free upgrade, for at least as far back as Mac OS X Lion (OS 10.7, released in July 2011), through the Mac App Store. All new Macs bought after July 2011 come with Mac OS X Lion or higher and the Mac App Store. OS X Mavericks is only for Macs. It will not run on PCs, iPhones, iPod Touches, iPads, iPad Airs, or iPad Minis. It is widely reported that it makes older Macs run faster.

Criteria for Inclusion

Topical Criteria

Major Topical Focus

  1. This list is focused on world history for Asia, Africa, and Europe, with a major emphasis on Asia and a very small amount of focus, on Western Europe.
  2. There is also a secondary focus, on major world belief systems, so that the perspective is varied as well.
  3. Time period focus is the Premodern to Early Modern Period, which includes Asian Golden Age, Medieval Europe, and Pre-Colonial Africa (about 300 AD - 1800 AD). I have studied the history and writings produced during that 1,500 year period across most of Europe, Asia, and Africa.
  4. I also have tried to include books, that show a different perspective, than people typically study and try to correct things that most people, who study history, learn wrong, for a variety of reasons.

Most Important Books

  1. The important books sub list is the Serious Books Main List, which includes about 550 e-books.
  2. The most important books are organized, by religion, then country and then major historical time periods.
  3. The important books sub list is the Serious Books Geographic List, which includes about 150 e-books.
  4. The most important books are region and/or country, then by major historical time periods.
  5. Country for classical written work or biography is determined using the American tradition. People are listed under country, by the one they lived in when they wrote their books or lived in during their main career. This is different than the old world tradition, which determines nationality by where they were born.

World Regions

Favorite Regions

  1. Central Asia/Iran, Southeast Asia/India/Indian Ocean, Central/Eastern and Southeastern/Balkans Europe, and East Africa
  2. Regions in between and connecting Major Countries / Regional Cultures

Detailed Criteria

Specific Criteria Just for this List

  1. Apple e-Books: All books lists in this section include just books e-Books on Apple's iBookstore, accessed through the iTunes application for Windows and Mac OS X and the iBooks application on iOS (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, iPad Air, and iPad Mini)
  2. Only Books I Like: The big difference between my previous regular book list and my e-book list is that the e-books only contain religious and philosophical texts that I agree with or partially agree with, plus some history. The previous regular books list contained some religious and philosophical books I totally or mostly disagreed with. I have also omitted books in this new e-books list, which I already read and understood well enough, that I do not wish to complete reading or re-read.

Major Characteristics of Books Required

  1. Only Well Written Books: If you see a book that you think should be on the list but is not, likely I have already read it and didn't include it because it was too hard for others to read or it was poorly written including being too repetitive or not being clear and concise.
  2. Christian Friendly: This is also a great list for Christians who want to study world religions and philosophies without studying the occult.
  3. Non-White Authors: I have also particularly focused on Asian and classical texts, and have especially tried to limit the Greek, Roman, white American and English writing to as few works as possible, because I think those areas are over read and I have little interest in them after having to read so many of them in high school. I have focused on other often ignored areas of history and religion including:

Criteria for Book Perspectives

  1. A Slightly Different View: I also have usually only included one book by each author and not necessarily the most famous, but rather the most useful one.
  2. Repetitive Topics: I generally avoid American, English, and Jewish history, as they are over covered.
  3. Cliches and Urban Legends: I generally avoid often repeated but ridiculously uncritical and politically correct views on things like European History, Middle East, Colonialism, Christianity, and Islam.
  4. Gender Issues: I generally avoid topics, like gender and same sex relations, because they are not issues that was significant enough interest, at the time, to record them. I also avoid topics covering women, who are only famous, because they are women. I think it does a dis-service to feminism, to make it appear that women were treated equally, before the last few decades (in America and Europe).

Technical Criteria

  1. Reasonably Priced: Another consideration is the cost and availability of the works. All these works should be available on Apple's iBookstore in iTunes for use on iPads, iPad Airs, iPad Minis, and other Apple devices besides Macs like iPhones and iPod Touches, as I have bought all of them there and have them on my iPad. Books should be no more than $10 for each hundred pages in length. Some books are free and some are as high as $40.
  2. Book Length: Books are about 300 pages and up.
  3. Time Covered in Book: Books need to cover a time period between 300-1800 AD and in the Old World (Not Americas or Australia).
  4. I am Bad at Languages: The Qu'ran (Koran) is not listed as it must be read in Arabic.

Book Restrictions

  1. Many people seem to think that an ebook is just an ebook, but it is not. The file formats can be converted to and from fairly easily (except most PDFs), but the real incompatibility comes from a anti-feature called DRM. DRM is a set of software based restrictions that, make it harder to copy books, for people who want to do so legally and easily, who don't know much about computers.
  2. Copyright and technical restrictions on copying apply to e-books, but not regular books, because people usually don't photocopy real books and then sell them, as it requires a lot of work and offers little profit. On the computer, whenever you upload a file, you are actually uploading a copy of that file and whenever anyone downloads it, they are downloading a copy of that.
  3. You have never owned all the rights, to any intellectual property, unless you pay for all rights and hand over something like a million dollars per song. Another term for this is called piracy or what every major belief system and government would call stealing. What you own is a license for 1 copy.
  4. The reality is that anything, that can be seen on a computer, can be copied, despite any software restrictions. The big deal comes with the electronic distribution of books and the same applied to movies and music (although they never meant for it to be so easy to copy music from audio CDs, and each new format is more restricted), so there is a legal quagmire about converting DVDs to iTunes compatible formats and Blue Ray is many times harder to convert.
  5. The real unintended effect of DRM is that Amazon.com e-books cannot be seen in iBooks and Apple e-books cannot be seen on a Kindle. Ironically, Apple allows its competitors Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble to put their e-reader apps on their (Apple's) online store, but Apple is not allowed the same on their (Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble) online stores. Apple still does not even advertise its own e-book store and only just starting with iOS version 8, do they bundle their e-book reading and buying app with new iPads and iPhones.
  6. Books have been disappearing from the Apple iBookstore and Amazon.com Kindle store, as well, with no explanation. It is bizarre that this is happening, but I know that many publishers are upset with Amazon.com. Amazon.com sets the prices, not the author or publisher and they set them so low, that authors can no longer afford to write them, which will eventually destroy the book industry.
  7. Amazon.com has a lot of rules that are very cumbersome like requiring the author to pay the bandwidth fees and only updating the listings every 6 months, even when Amazon made the error. I wouldn't be surprised if Amazon.com is requiring exclusivity, in its war against publishers and authors. The other thing that can happen is that the people who put in on the store do not have the legal rights to do so. Either way, I recommend just buying another related book instead and just stop recommending them to others.

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Website Card Data

  • Benjamin-Newton Challenging Projects
  • My Umbrella Website
  • Links to My Other Websites by Topic and/or Media Type
  • Short Writings, Photos, Audio, Military, Schizophrenia, Recommended Books, Disaster Survival and Computer Help
  • © Ben Huot 1998
  • www.benjamin-newton.net
Fighting and Making Fun of Ambiguity

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Detailed Notes

Quick Help Remarks

E-Books

All Books are Only in E-Book formats (digital files)

How to Download Files?

On an iPad or iPhone, for PDFs, Double Tap on the Document and choose Open in iBooks, in Upper Right Hand corner. For JPEG or PNG images, on an iPad or iPhone, Touch and Hold for a Second and choose to Save from Pop-up Menu.

On a Desktop or Laptop Computer, the PDFs will Download Automatically after Left Clicking on Link in Web Page, and Right Click on Link in Web Page and choose Save As to save JPEGs or PNGs for Direct Links to Bare Images. On a Desktop or Laptop Computer, for JPEGs or PNGs In a Webpage, Right Click on Image and Choose Save As.

Can't Find Downloaded Files?

Look in Your Downloads or (My) Documents Folder on Desktop or Laptop Computer and iBooks (for PDFs) or Photos (for Images) on an iPad or iPhone.

Want to Ever See this Website Again?

  • Always Reload or Refresh each of my pages, when Returning to any part, of any of my websites, after your first visit, as I Update my websites very frequently (often multiple times a day).
  • Unfortunately, web browsers save the version of the webpage, as it was, when you first visited it, and shows this this Old version to you, upon every following visit, until you hit Reload or Refresh.
  • Also remember, to Bookmark my website, right now, as you might find it hard, to Find my website again.
  • Unfortunately, computers in general and Search engines, in particular, are not as capable, as they seem, which means that my website cannot be reliably found, if you are depending on Google or Bing.
  • No one can get their website reliably featured on Google, for appropriate search terms, no matter how much they pay, or how big a brand they have.
  • Google constantly changes and will never release the criteria they use, to determine who get featured first, on the search results, for a given set of keywords.
  • Even typing in the name of my website, in your location/search bar, without the exact syntax, will give you unpredictable results.
  • You can add my website, as an icon, on your Apple mobile device (iPad, iPad Air, iPad Mini, iPhone, or iPod Touch only), with all your app icons, like just another app.
  • Click on the first icon to the left of the address bar on your Apple device, where you add bookmarks, and choose "Add to Home Screen."

Website Compatibility

Software Requirements

My regular websites work well on any Windows, Mac, or Linux laptop or desktop running Chrome or Firefox, a Chromebook, or any Apple device (iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch) that is running iOS 11 or later. If this website does not work on your browser or device, try the simpler/mobile version.

Javascript Settings

My websites work fine without Javascript or plugins enabled, or with ads or scripts blocked (my websites have no third party content or ads nor do they make use of any plugins). To get a simpler version of most of my websites, try "Disabling Javascript". On my website, you won't be abe to adjust the website appearance or have it read aloud, with Javascript disabled.

Consequences

Disabling Javascript will both increase the security of your computer or device and get rid of annoying things like malware, ads, pop-ups, and comment sections. It will also make your computer or device browser run much faster and use many times less of your monthly quota, from your cell phone plan. On the other hand, with many popular sites, you won't be able to use them at all, with this setting, so change it back afterwards.

Downloads Situation

I just found out yesterday that most my downloads (which I have on a different server/service) have been unavailable for 1-3 months, due to a change in credit cards. Although I only owed $2, they decided to cut off my service and not tell me.

The service is completely restored, but I am moving things over as fast as possible to the main site. Things may not be as fast as otherwise, but things will at least be accessible.

The problem with the other service is that they billed monthly, so I was not able to make sure everything was right and pay the bill ahead of time for a year (like I do with all my other services and websites). I will never again depend on a monthly billed service, so this problem should never happen again.

Sorry for the inconvenience. I know how annoying this is, when I run into it on other websites. The lesson is to depend upon as few people as possible, because everyone seems to screw up the most simple things, no matter how reputable the brand is.

Everything is currently available now, but I am being proactive. Everything is finally moved over to my server hosting and I do not depend on or use this service for anything anymore. This will make downloading things slower in places like China, India, South America, and Africa, but this is still better than not being available at all.

Security is a Serious Issue

Celebrating No Ads, for at Least the Last 10 years. I only had ads, for the first few years, when I could not afford to pay for a website, when I started out on Tripod, in 1998. I currently use about 10 ad blockers at once, for my web browser, on both my iPad and iMac. None of these ad blockers interferes with my website display or functionality in any way. I encourage you to use them.

I recommend you use ad blockers and do not feel sorry about it at all, as the online advertisers have forced our hand. You cannot even see content, on many websites, because of the ads. Now there is even malware, that comes with ads, even on legitimate websites, like Forbes.com.

I use no cookies, trackers, ads, analytics, or collect any personal information from users, for any reason. None of my downloads have spyware or adware in any of them. I use a Mac and an iPad, so there should be no viruses or worms in them, either.

At one time, I offered people to buy print versions of my books, at cost, but I have removed this capability, because of no interest. There are currently no things to buy from my website. I am not trying to make any money off my website, or even to pay for its creation and hosting costs. I never thought I would and I never plan to, in the future.

I only use a couple different light utility functions in Javascript, like for loading the CSS file and search. If you ever experience ads on my website or anything annoying like that, they are not from me. If you use a free wifi from Comcast, they unethically may insert ads into sites, that don't have ads, like mine. I will be putting in a major upgrade, that requires a huge amount of work, to block anyone's ability to do that, verry soon.

Do not trust anything you see online. Expect everything to be a scam, unless proven otherwise and give out as little information as possible, no matter what the reason. Anything can be faked. Just because something looks legitimate doesn't mean it is. The future of malware is likely ransomware. Randsomeware is when someone takes control of your data or device and make you pay money to unlock it.

Remember, there will be a more and more scams and security problems, over time. You will need to do things, to increase your security, over the years, to fix new threats. It is very easy to hack computers and very difficult to secure them. Computer security could be much better, if even basic industry standard security practices were followed. The problem is that people are too cheap.

When your information gets stolen, it is usually not from you, but from someone else, who has your information. If you were a hacker, would you target one person's individual computer, that has, at the most, one person's information, when you can attack a big store like Target and get millions of people's private information, at once?

Do whatever you need to protect yourself. Never buy any software from anywhere, except from a curated app store like Apple's. Avoid free software, as many open source software packages now even include malware in them, as well. Uninstall Flash and Java and never install any plugins or any other software needed, to see a website, for any reason.

Avoid accessing websites from within app store apps, not preinstalled by your OS. Avoid giving personal information to social networks or free services, as the never actually delete anything and have poor security. Do not give apps access to any personal information, including contacts or photos.

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Network Overview

Network Introduction

Confused about the world today? Want a simple, direct, and clear explanation? Read my books. My writing is like poetry meets encyclopedia. You will find nothing like this online or in print. All of this writing is available at no cost. I have a steady income and a lot of time, as well as an unusual perspective. This website network and these books are my way of trying to make the world a better place.

There are a lot of other (non-fiction) things I write about, as well, like what it is like to have Schizophrenia, secrets to my website design, and a completely different political and religious point of view. My point of view is partially based on my experience enlisted in the military and later living with Schizophrenia for over 15 years. It is also heavily influenced by my decades long (and continuing) study of world religions and world history (after ancient history and before modern times).

I follow my theories with practical advice and do what I recommend others do. You can make the world a better place. Just remember to think for yourself (this is what studying philosophy should teach you). Learn from my writings and experience, but come to your own conclusions. I am likely wrong on a lot of things, as are even the greatest thinkers, throughout history. I write what I believe, but you need to make your own choices, based on your own experience and your own understanding of yourself and the world.

I teach the exact opposite of the medieval philosophy of Thomas Aquinas. Instead of understanding God, to the limits of reason and then using faith, to reach beyond that, I believe that faith is the primary means with which we should understand God and the use of reason, to explain the Bible and God, is a secondary and subordinate pursuit. It is dangerous, to base your faith on reason, because someone could then change your mind, just because they are better at arguing.

One of the things people often assume is that arguments are all based on reason, and to understand how I explain things, it is important to understand that I am not trying to be rational. I do not believe that you will change your views, even if I was able to form a superior reasonable argument for it. The basis for my faith is not rational either. If you think pursuing truth without using reason is nonsense, then you probably won't agree with what I have to say. Yes, I actually believe that and yes I do see some humor in that as well.

Start reading here today.

Opening Thoughts

Exactly the same but completely different. Slightly worse, but many times better.

For those things we know are true, but we thought were impossible to put into words. Always be kind and work hard. Learn as much as possible and be creative in solving problems. Over all, in making important and morally significant decisions, think long term. The best you can do in life is follow your conscience.

On Certainty in Life

I am sure about everything everyone else doesn't understand, but I am confused about everything everyone else is certain of. Everything you have seen and heard is wrong. What we were taught was true in school is irrelevant. The things we think are really important are very unimportant and the things that we think aren't very important are the most important of all.

About Me

I am a former soldier (army) and have been living independently with Schizophrenia for over 15 years. I live in Eugene, Oregon (United States) I have spent much of this time writing a number of books on various non-fiction topics based on my experiences, what I have read, and the insights I have had over the last (almost) 20 years.

I have also designed these Benjamin-Newton websites from scratch, with all my own code and graphics and updated them daily for that entire time, as well. I code directly to CSS in a text editor and avoid anything that slows the site down or causes unnecessary security problems.

Want to Think Critically?

I am a Christian cynic and pessimist in that I believe in everything in the Bible, but nothing else except Murphy's Law (anything that can go wrong will). I consider this positive, because when anything goes well in any aspect of my working with other people doing their jobs, I am pleasantly surprised.

Explore my website and learn to think critically about everything (history, religion, psychology, ethics, design, technology, and disaster survival). Be sure to be critical of everything you read, including my ideas.

Beyond Reason and Facts

When making decisions, expand your worldview and use your heart and soul, as well as your intellect. Think critically, but do not limit yourself to just the rational and the empirical. Use all the other methods of discovery, that come from the major world belief systems.

Decide what is true based on: your conscience (as determined by your faith, scripture, tradition, prophecy, paradox, intuition, history, and feelings) what you have experienced (in your relationship with God by worship, ritual, prayer, mystical experience, visions, and divine healing), and the practice of your faith (in the way you express your loyalty and respect for God by a code of conduct/ethics, fasting, living a life of poverty, taking vows of silence and/or chastity). This will lead you to ask tougher questions and make more difficult decisions, with your now bigger understanding of reality, but it will also bring greater peace and purpose to your life.

Philosophy Inspired Solutions to World Problems

Some people work too hard and need to rest, while others are lazy and need to work harder. How do you determine which problem is yours? It is usually the opposite of what you think. Ask people who know you well, and be prepared for a surprise response.

The following are examples, of the kinds of practical things you can do, to reduce suffering in the world, in things you have control over.

Economically Based
  • Make Ethical Decisions in the Products We Buy
  • Find Creative Way to Reduce Our Expenses
  • Get Supplies and Training to Survive Disasters
  • Promote Internet Usage to Empower Individuals
  • Give Away Free Content to Support Alternate Opinions
Socially Based
  • Network to Expand Our Circles of Influence
  • Form Relationships with Our Neighbors
  • Encourage Others
  • Stay Positive and Increase Our Positive Influences
  • Avoid Mainstream Assumptions
Spiritually Based
  • Pray for God's Will to Be Done
  • Improve a Specific Animal's Life
  • Increase Our Understanding of the World
  • Raise Our Kids to Be Good Citizens
  • Take Time to Relax

Philosophical Influences

Biblical
  • Apostle Paul
  • Apostle John
  • Prophet Jeremiah
  • Prophet Nehemiah
  • Prophet Elijah
  • King Solomon
  • King David
Chinese
  • Chuang Tzu
  • Hsun Tzu
  • Bodhidharma
  • Dogen
  • Han Shan
  • Li Po
  • Tu Fu
Other Asian and African
  • Al-Ghazzali
  • Hafiz
  • Kabir
  • Kebra Nagast
  • Archbishop Desmund Tutu
Existential
  • Kierkegaard
  • Camus
  • Viktor Frankl
  • Tolstoy
  • Dostoevsky
  • Nietzsche
Renaissance and Enlightenment
  • Meister Eckhart
  • Erasmus
  • Montaigne
  • Berkeley
  • Locke
  • Spinoza

Why am I so Critical of the Church and Christians?

You cannot change other people's minds, but you can change your own mind. We can defend our theology and dismiss unbelievers as being intellectually lazy and/or in rebellion against God, and likely be entirely correct. The things is if we choose to do anything necessary, to bring about faith in Christ, we can re-examine our cultural interpretations of Scripture and its application to our lives and society.

Not only can we make Christianity more appealing, to those who are seeking God, but at the same time need not compromise any core theology, related to salvation, in order to do so. If we change the way we approach politics and society, without changing our core beliefs, is this not a success in evangelism?

Society is now going through a major technology revolution that is as profound and far reaching as the agricultural revolution was. Every institution and industry has, is now, or will be transformed into a different form, if it even survives. The Church will survive and thrive, but it would help grow the Church, if we can find things that we can change, while still holding to our Biblical faith.

The Bible is definitely not wrong and our theology has been preserved, at great cost in the major divisions of the church, but people can and are often wrong. There are also many ways to implement theology and express our faith and when we have such major cultural and technological changes, it is appropriate to adjust things like liturgy and political stances.

What we have today works for many people and we will have to fight very hard, for maybe only a small increase in numbers, but isn't the salvation of any one person worth changing how we think about non-critical aspects of theology and the Bible?

The many things that seem so odd to modern day people about the society in the Bible are almost all culturally adapted expressions of the same theology that we hold today. Being culturally relevant was important enough for God to build the entire Old Testament around the ancient Middle Eastern ways of thinking and social conventions, so it must still be equally important today.

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