Neil Kramer is a philosopher and esotericist who focuses on spirituality, mysticism, and metaphysics. Neil teaches philosophy, mysticism, esoteric studies and self development at the Omega Institute in New York. He explores the relationship between inner development and the cultural and social factors that can influence our lives. Not just a teacher, Neil Kramer also shares his wisdom via writing, film, audio and seminars. Neil is a popular guest on numerous alternative radio and internet shows, as well as appearing on TV networks around the world and speaking at several international conferences. Neil Kramer is a widely respected figure in mystical, spiritual and alternative communities, thanks to his experience and deep knowledge-base. I was excited to talk books with such an interesting person. Please enjoy my interview with Neil Kramer…
When someone asks you ‘what do you do for a living?’ – How do you respond?
I am a teacher (if I want to engage in conversation). Salesman (if I don’t).
I am currently reading Immortal Poems Of The English Language by Oscar Williams.
What’s your earliest memory of reading?
My earliest memory of reading is reading a book about witches with my Mum.
If you could encourage young people to read one book in particular, what would it be?
The Secret Teachings Of All Ages by Manly P Hall. A book that comprehensively illustrates how mysticism shapes much of modern society.
What is the worst job you’ve ever had?
Milkman. Up at 4am. The whole job done in a dreamy stupor. Strange.
Do you read as much as you’d like to?
I used to read a lot. Now I don’t. That’s a good thing in my life. I’d rather look at the mountains or watch the birds in the branches.
There are many. Here’s a few:
In Search Of The Miraculous by P.D. Ouspensky,
The Kybalion by William Walker Atkinson,
The Way Of Hermes by Clement Salaman,
How To Know Higher Worlds by Rudolf Steiner,
The Secret Doctrine by Helena Blavatsky,
Journey To Ixtlan: The Lessons of Don Juan by Carlos Castaneda,
Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche.
Is there a book that you’ve read more than once? What is it and why did you revisit it?
The Corpus Hermeticum. Various different translations. It’s a volume of Hermetic writings from Greece and Egypt. It is one of the most layered and encoded texts you can imagine. Full of wisdom. Always revealing more.
What book have you recommended the most to friends and family?
Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki. Just a lovely timeless book. Accessible by all levels of spiritual attainment.
What’s your favourite genre of book?
What do you think a world without books would be like?
The same as it is now. Only the human experience would change. It would become more immediate and colourful.
Is there an author whose writing you’re such a fan of, that you’ll read everything they release?
I used to like William Burroughs an awful lot and read most of his stuff. Even his bizarre and nuanced dream journals. But I’ve not touched his texts for over a decade now. I’m a different person to the guy who ate all that up. It was a valuable part of my development though. I still prize my signed first edition copy of The Place Of Dead Roads. It actually used to belong to Rock Hudson.
Do you think digital books will ever completely replace real books?
Yes. Books will still be around, but they’ll be considered as antiques from the old world. I think new mediums will arise that’ll be better than static books with ink on paper.
What book do you feel humanity needs right now?
A work that inspires a path of total self-determination and fierce individualism.
At the time, it was Tales Of Power by Carlos Castaneda. I read that in the early 90’s and it was a very inspirational experience. It reminded me that reality is an intensely magical thing and the ordinary world is a load of bollocks because people choose unconsciousness.
What books or subject matter do you plan on reading in the next year?
I enjoy learning about the natural world. So I’m slowly going through bird, animal, and plant books related to North America.
If you were to write an autobiography – what would it be called?
I don’t know. Two titles I think are very amusing are Things I Did and Things I Think I Did by Jean Negulesco, and Me Moir by Vic Reeves, the British comedian whose real name is Jim Moir.