Friday, June 18, 2010

Summer Updates

Summer The monsoons are here and I have a couple of general updates as to what we are up to these days. We have been keeping ourselves quite busy and really enjoying our time here in Nepal.

After a lot of work and prep I think our online shopping company is finally almost ready to hit the ground and really get going. Kim, Akshay and I are all really excited about this companies potential and what we can bring to Nepal. we are formally registered in the U.S. as Harilo Inc. and in Nepal we will be Harilo Pvt. Ltd. and this Nepali entity should be finished a little over a week from now. Akshay has put a lot of programming into the new website, and all of us have been working to make sure that the user experience flows seamlessly. We hope to be opening up the website to online orders when the company is formally recognized by the government of Nepal.

In what also translates to exciting news for us we have been finding cheaper shipping options to get goods here, and we will be able to pass that savings on directly to the customers here. With cheaper per pound shipping we can open up the demand for some heavier and less expensive items to become more attractive to the consumer base here in Nepal. We will also have our office up and running around the time everything else launches. As this all comes together we really hope to do a big marketing push to let people here know the full extent of what we can get for them. One of our biggest hurdles will be outside of Nepalis that have spent time abroad, many will not be aware of the full extent of what is available to them via the internet. We hope to try to bridge that gap a bit, and give people options far beyond what they can currently choose in Kathmandu.

Anyway we are all excited about this.
If you want to check up on us feel free to visit our web page at

The Purple Thread of Epictetus
This is the working title of a book I have been working on. I'm currently in the process of reorganizing the first draft, adding new chapters, content and filling the gaping holes that existed in the original copy. This is my first attempt at doing anything like this, and it's a little tougher than I thought. Don't get me wrong I enjoy the challenge, but after hammering out a draft copy that got down the basic ideas of what I wanted to talk about, going back over that and expanding it into something that seriously discusses those topics is quite a bit more difficult. It's one thing to just vomit up a semi organized stream of consciousness that after weeks of repeated practice resembles something like a book, but it is entirely a more Herculean effort to mold it not only into something you are happy with but something that you would ask other people to spend their time reading.

The book describes an applied philosophy of life that is inspired by chiefly the Greco-Roman Stoics, and is shaped also by Buddhist philosophy, enlightenment thinkers like Paine, Hume, and Voltaire as well as the the early Greek and Roman Cynics and Skeptics who saw themselves as opposed to the Stoics. I've also tried to work in some smatterings of evolutionary biology and neuroscience where I think it is informative. The more research I do while writing this, the more convinced I've become that while nothing may have made sense before Darwin published The Origin of Species in 1859, everything worth reading was written prior to 350 AD. As someone who in my youth much preferred the writings of post modern philosophers to the classical writings, I find now it was mostly just because the classical writers I had been introduced to were not something that resonated with me. Plato for instance is just not my cup of tea, and I heartily disagree with the guy on just about everything he discusses. Reading people like Epictetus, Xenophon and Seneca, or about the lives of people like Diogenes of Sinope and his teachings, the crossover of Buddhism and philosophies like Pyhrrhonism and the writings of Sextus Empiricus to me are much more worthwhile than much of what has come out of the West world in the last couple hundred years. We've let philosophy degrade into a word game, where it is always deconstructed into meaninglessness. We don't practice philosophy as a way of life, of making it practical like many of the above named people did in addressing the human condition. They did, and they were better for it.

Anyway I was happy to complete a second draft of the first section of the book which deals with the basic principles just the other night. As I move on to rewriting section two I am looking for people who might want to give part one a read and offer feedback, as it still has large holes and glosses over important points far too quickly. The hope is that while I'm working on part two and three I can have some feedback on part one by the time I come back to it for rewrite number three and four. If you're interested just e-mail me or leave a comment with your e-mail address.

Travel Writing
I've also done a few writing pieces for an upcoming book called To Nepal with Love, part of the To Asia with ove series. At first I had just written two pieces, but recently I submitted a few smaller additions on restaurant, books, movies and buying trekking gear. Another new experience and something I have enjoyed. Will be fun to see the stuff in print.
If you are interested you can see some info on the book series HERE. The Nepal book HERE.

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