Book Review: Philosophy 101 By Socrates – An Introduction To Plato’s Apology by Peter Kreeft Ph.D.

philosophy101
TheBreakaway
Zy Marquiez
February 10, 2017

My introduction to Peter Kreeft’s work took place via his magnum opus Socratic Logic A Logic Text Using Socratic Method, Platonic Questions, And Aristotelian Principles Edition 3.1With that book Kreeft set the bar extremely high for his own work given the phenomenal job he did in the creation of that book.  Thankfully, that type of high quality standard travels with him to this other book.

Philosophy 101 By Socrates – An Introduction To Plato’s Apology by Peter Kreeft PhD is an indispensable introduction into the realm of Philosophy.

Although notably not as long as Kreeft’s book cited initially, this book still packs a punch.  The author creates what one may call a ‘user-friendly’ guide to Philosophy.

Given its length, the book can be read rather quickly.  Additionally, Philosophy 101 by Socrates is distilled to serve as a jump-off point for the reader/learner to venture forth into other philosophical topics.  Not only is it possible to use this book as a portable classroom, but it can be useful for homeschooling and even college classrooms.

Arguably the main strength of the Kreeft thesis is that philosophy takes no prisoners.  It questions everything.  Like a curious kid asking why in their nascent stage, it seeks truth – not belief – within every crevice it dares to delve into.  This may be problematic for individuals that do not want their beliefs question.

Kreeft shows how Socrates ‘philosophy operates in the following passage:

“Socrates is the apostle of reason.  He demands that we give logical reasons, grounds for beliefs, and follow the logical consequences of our beliefs, taken as premises or hypotheses, to their logical conclusions through a number of logically compelling steps.”[1]

Such incisiveness will undoubtedly get to the core of the issue far more often than not if employed correctly.

And yet, as Kreeft implies, philosophy isn’t an antithesis to certain disciplines, such as religion.  In fact, Kreeft goes to show how faith and reason can coexist if used trenchantly:

“One of the main functions of philosophy as practiced by Socrates is a critique of religion, finding reasons for (or against) faith.  These reasons often claim only probability rather than certainty; and even when they claim certainty, they may be mistaken) for man is not God and infallible); but it is surely a gain to use binocular vision, reason and faith, and to make at least somewhat clearer and/or more reasonable the ideas most people find the most important in their lives.”[2]

As an introduction to philosophy and Socrates simultaneously, one would be hard-pressed to find a better book than this.  In that Kreeft does an exceptional job in showing how Philosophy and Socrates interweave, especially given how Socrates planted many of the seeds for this whole discipline with his life’s work.

Using Plato’s Apology as a jump-off point, Kreeft undertakes the task to show the reader many of the ways philosophy can be understood by using forty different descriptions of the subject.  It was particularly interesting seeing the range of descriptions that Kreeft was able to come up with – some of it which might shock the reader – and how he was able to seamlessly show how apt those descriptions were to the act of philosophizing.

Subsequent to that Kreeft gives readers a cursory analysis of parts of the Euthyphro, as well as Phaedo, which are both dialogues by Plato, the latter of which details Socrates’ last days.  There are various purposes for the dialogues and the commentary that follows, and these merge swiftly with the overview of philosophy that Kreeft undertook.

One of the main strengths of this book is its ability to narrow complex topics into practical – but not overly simplified – gems of information that the reader can glean.  By contrast, many other philosophy books tend to overcomplicate philosophy, which turn readers off, or to oversimplify philosophy, which ends up not showcasing the latitude that philosophy can employ when used trenchantly.

This practical primer of philosophy also helps readers realize the importance of the art of cross-examination, which Socrates is the father of.  Coupled with that, and more importantly, by its very precision cross-examination employs in philosophy, Kreeft helps readers gain an understanding of the thorough depth which philosophy will go to in search for truth.  This journey in search for Wisdom will percolate into all disciplines, and can only strengthen an individual’s repertoire.

Drawing on all the data above, the book should be an integral component in education.  What the book offers is a template for what’s possible by philosophy’s employment, and not having these skills/knowledge in life emblematic of a surgeon at the operating room without a scalpel.

_________________________________________
Sources & References:

[1] Peter Kreeft Ph.D., Philosophy 101 By Socrates – An Introduction To Plato’s Apology, p. 104.
[2] Ibid., p. 141.

Book Review: How To Read A Book – The Classic Guide To Intelligent Reading by Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren

howtoread
TheBreakaway
Zy Marquiez
February 8, 2017

“A man is known by the books he reads.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Read not to contradict and confuse; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider.”
– Francis Bacon

This particular book is a book that helps you think better, shaper, more incisively.

At the behest of the author of Socratic Logic [review here], Peter Kreeft PhD, the following book was recommended.   Holding Kreeft’s opinion in high respect – and after doing some research into the book – getting this book seemed to be more than a safe bet.  In fact, it was much more than that.

How To Read A BookThe Classic Guide To Intelligent Reading by Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren is a phenomenal book in various ways.  Not only does it ‘teach’ the reader how to read different kinds of books – by reading proactively, by rather reactively – but it also provides essential tools for the synthesis of other great – and more meaningful – pieces of literature.  However, it also features much more than that.

As a caveat, the authors make the distinction in the fact different type of genres should be read in different ways.  To say it another way, poetry, plays or even fiction will be ready drastically different from nonfiction books.  This is something that’s not taught to individuals for the most part, and sometimes we miss out because of it.

Adler and Van Doren cover an extensive set of tools for reader’s to learn and implement – if they so choose – in order to maximize one’s understanding of the information held within books.  The book features a wide ranging set of suggestions that build on themselves throughout the chapters that help the reader navigate all the way from the basics to the more advanced.

Without a doubt, the authors show the lengths to which proper reading can be taken too, as well as the depth that can be gathered by undertaking their advice.  As an avid reader and researcher, the information within the pages of this book have helped me considerably not only in pushing myself as a reader, but in understanding – and even merging – the depth and scope of information that is stated, as well as sifting out deeper implications when information isn’t obvious.

Furthermore, covered within How To Read A Book are topics such as inspectional reading, systematic skimming, problems in comprehension, ‘x-raying’ a book, coming to terms with the author, criticizing a book fairly, reading aids, how to read practical books, how to read imaginative literature, suggestion for reading stories, plays and poems, how to read history, how to read philosophy as well as much, much more.

Particularly of interest to me related to the above point was the topic of syntopical reading, which is what the authors call ‘The Fourth Level Of Learning’..  In laymen terms, syntopical reading is the ability to essentially synthesize information from various sources.  Since synthesizing information is a process carried out [or attempted too] on nigh a daily basis by myself, the information for me in this particular section was quite noteworthy.  Admittedly, some of it was already being done by me since one learns how to streamline various components of one’s learning when done long enough, but the book still offered more than plenty in this and many other areas.

A book like How To Read A Book should be an integral component in everyone’s education, and that is no overstatement.  In an age where cognitive decline of education continues unabated, it’s those that push themselves into the realm of self-teaching or autodidacticism that will breakaway from the pack.

This book should function as a foundational piece in a school curriculum, because, after all, a large part of what individuals learn comes via reading.

All of the suggestions in this book seep into most if not all books [or reading] in some way shape or form.  When carried out, this undoubtedly filters into an individuals’ everyday lives proportional to how much its concepts are used.  It’s sure helped me in such a fashion.  There really isn’t too many books out there that urge the reader to go beyond the conventional baseline understanding of data within books, but this book is certainly one of those precious few.

Appreciatively, the authors also make it a point to strive for a greater education as individuals, to seek to further one’s education beyond the bounds of modern schooling.  Mind you, schooling and education are not the same thing, which is an important distinction because what society gets in America nowadays – given that we have strewn away from classical education – is barely a facsimile of schooling, and in no way shape or form the true education of times past.  Authors like award winning teacher John Taylor Gatto’s in his landmark Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling, Dr. Joseph P Farrell & Gary Lawrence’s Rotten To The Common Core , and Charlotte Iserbyt, who served as the Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of Educational Research and Improvement, U.S. Department of Education, in her The Deliberate Dumbing Down Of America outline the deliberate dumbing down of America quite saliently, and these authors by far are not even the only ones talking about it.

In any case, at the end of the book the authors also thankfully feature a set of the greatest books of all time, and after having read the list it’s hard to disagree.  Having read perhaps a dozen or so of them, out of the more-than-one-hundred books recommended, it’s definitely something that’s worth considering.

Furthermore, the authors postulate that there exists specific books which fall into the category of what they call ‘Great books’, such as The Illiad, The Odyssey, Organon, The Republic, Paradise Lost, The Divine Comedy, et al.

The authors also postulate that only 1% of the millions of book out there – if not less – fall within this category of ‘Great Books’.  What makes this particular category of great books so unique?  That the gems of knowledge contained within these books and growth the reader will attain will not only be extensive, given the depth and immensity of the concepts within the book, but these books will teach you the most about reading and about life.  Moreover, regardless of how many times one reads these books, they are so profound and demanding of the reader that one will always learn something from them.

If you appreciate books, reading, classical education, or are striving to demand more from yourself or even plan on building a home-schooling curriculum, GET THIS BOOK!  This book really is for everyone.  Educated minds have great foundations, and this book helps lay those foundations in an ironclad manner.

13 Great Reasons To Study Logic

logic3
TheBreakaway
Zy Marquiez
February 1, 2017

In age where the public dumbing down is reaching new lows [Read Here For More], a much more proactive approach to an individuals education is vitally needed.  This will certainly aid them in gravitating away from the crumbling education paradigm that keeps failing us, because, as John Taylor Gatto stated in A Different Kind Of Teacher [Review Here]:

Schools were designed by Horace Mann, E.L. Thorndike, and others to be instruments of scientific management of a mass populationSchools are intended to produce, through the application of formulas, formulaic beings whose behavior can be predicted and controlledTo a very great extent, schools succeed in doing this.”[1][Bold Emphasis Added]

In other words, school system is about social engineering the masses, and not producing educated individuals.

Furthermore, as Professor Patrick Deneen shared in his landmark piece, How A Generation Lost Its Common Culture:

“Our students’ ignorance is not a failing of the educational system – it is its crowning achievement. Efforts by several generations of philosophers and reformers and public policy experts — whom our students (and most of us) know nothing about — have combined to produce a generation of know-nothings”[2][Emphasis Added]

It isn’t by accident that the school system has reached the state of decline it has.

Knowing that, what’s an individual to do?  Go back to the roots.

For this, there is no better place to go but to the realm of logic.

Why is Logic so vital?

To answer this poignant question, let’s take a look at the work of Philosopher Peter Kreeft Ph.D has to to say.  Kreeft, in his phenemonal book called Socratic Logic [Review Here] outlines the many reasons why logic is important to an individuals growth.

Kreeft minces no words in stating that in the past, most students were privy to was called “the old logic”.  Due to this, those individuals were much better prepared to “think, read, write, organize, and argue much better than they can today”.[3]

Getting back to classical education, which employed The Trivium – composed of Logic, Grammar & Rhetoric – is what will ultimately help individuals break away from the downward avalanche public schooling is manifesting.  And Logic undoubtedly is an integral component of The Trivium.

Please ruminate at length regarding what follows.  It shows how and why logic seeps into all areas of life.

Below follow salient reasons why to study Logic:

13 Good Reason Why You Should Study Logic

1. Logic brings order.

Logic builds the mental habit of thinking in an orderly way.

No course is more practical than logic, for no matter what you are thinking about, you are thinking, and logic orders and clarifies your thinking.  No matter what your thought’s content, it will be clearer when it has a more logical form.  The principles of thinking logically can be applied to all thinking and to every field.

2.  Logic brings power.  Logic brings the power of proof and persuasion.

The power of logic comes from the fact that it is the science and art of argument.  Any power can be either rightly used or abused.  This power of logic is rightly used to win the truth and defeat error; it is wrongly used to win the argument and defeat your opponent.

3.  Logic helps reading. Logic will help you in education and learning, for “logic will help you to read any book more clearly and effectively.  And you are always going to be reading books; books are the single most effective technological invention in the history of education.

On the basis of over 40 years of full time college teaching of almost 20,000 students at 20 different schools, I am convinced that one of the reasons for the steep decline in students’ reading ability is the decline in the teaching of traditional logic.

4.  Logic helps writing.  Logic will also help you to write more clearly and effectively, for clear writing and clear thinking are a “package deal”: the presence or absence of either one brings the presence or absence of the other.  Muddled writing fosters muddled thinking, and muddled thinking fosters muddled writing.  Clear writing fosters clear thinking, and clear thinking fosters clear writing.  Common sense expects this, and scientific studies confirm it.  Writing skills have declined dramatically in the 40 years or so since symbolic logic has replaced Aristotelian logic, and I am convinced this is no coincidence.

It is simply impossible to communicate clearly and effectively without thinking clearly and effectively.  And that means logic.”

5.  Logic brings happiness.  In a small but significant way, logic can even help you attain happiness.  We all seek happiness all the time because no matter what else we seek, we seek it because we think it will be a means to happiness, or a part of happiness, either for ourselves or for those we love.  And no one seeks happiness for any other end; no one says he wants to be happy in order to be rich, or wise, or healthy.  But we seek riches, or wisdom, or health, in order to be happier.

How can logic help us attain happiness?  Here is a very logical answer to that question:

(1)  When we attain what we desire, we are happy
(2)  And whatever we desire, whether Heaven or a hamburger, it is more likely that we will attain if it we think more clearly.
(3)  And logic helps us to think more clearly.
(4)  Therefore logic helps us to be happy.

Even fantasy is not illogical.  In fact, according to the greatest master of this art, J.R.R. Tolkien, “Fantasy is a rational, not an irrational, activity…creative fantasy is founded upon a hard recognition that things are so in the world as it appears under the sun; on a recognition of fact, but not a slavery to it.  So upon logic was founded the nonsense that displays itself in the tales and rhymes of Lewis Carroll.  If men really could not distinguish between frogs and men, fairy stories about frog-kings would not have arisen.”

6.  Logic helps with religious faith.  Even religion, though it goes beyond logic, cannot go against it; if it did, it would literally be unbelievable.  Some wit defined “faith” as “believing what you know isn’t true.”  But we simply cannot believe an idea to be true that we know that has been proven to be false by a valid logical proof.

It is true that faith goes beyond what can be proved by logical reasoning alone.  That is why believing in any religion is a free personal choice, and some make that choice while others do not, while logical reasoning is equally compelling for all.  However, logic can add faith in at least three ways.

First, logic can often clarify what is believed, and define it.

Second, logic can deduce the necessary consequences of the belief and apply it to difficult situations.

Third, even if logical arguments cannot prove all that faith believes, they can give firmer reasons for faith than feeling, desire, mood, fashion, family or social pressure, conformity, or inertia.

7.  Logic helps attain wisdom.  “Philosophy” means “the love of wisdom.”  Although logic alone cannot make you wise, it can help.  For logic is one of philosophy’s main instruments.  Logic is to philosophy what telescopes are to astronomy or microscopes to biology or math to physics.

8.  Democracy.  There are even crucial social and political reasons for studying logic.  As a best-selling modern logic text says, “the success of democracy depends, in the end, on the reliability of the judgments we citizens make, and hence upon our capacity and determination to weigh arguments and evidence rationally.”  As Thomas Jefferson said, “In a republican nation, whose citizens are to be lead by reason and persuasion and not by force, the art of reason becomes of the first importance.”[Copi & Cohen, Logic, 10th edition, Prentice-Hall, 1998.).

9.  Defining logic’s limits.  Does logic have limits?  Yes, but we need logic to recognize and definite logic’s limits.  Logic has severe limits.  We need much more than logic even in our thinking.  For instance, we need intuition, too.  But logic helps us recognize this distinction.

10.  Logic helps in testing authority.  We need authorities because no individual can discover everything autonomously  We do in fact rely on the human community, and therefore on the authority of others – parents, teachers, textbooks, “experts,” friends, history, and tradition – for a surprising large portion of what we know – perhaps up to 99%, if it can be quantified.  And that is another reason we need logic: we need to have good reasons for believing our authorities, for in the end it is you the individual who must decide which authorities to trust.

11.  Logic helps recognizing contradictions.  Logic teaches us which ideas contradict each other.  If we are confused about that, we will either be too exclusive (that is, we will think beliefs logically exclude each other when they do not) or too inclusive (that is, we will believe two things that cannot both be true).

12.  Logic brings certainty.  Logic has “outer limits”; there are many things it can’t give you.  But logic has no “inner limits”: like math, it never breaks down.  Just as 2 plus 2 are unfailingly 4, so if A is B and B is C, then A is unfailingly C, Logic is timeless and unchangeable.  It is certain.

And logic never becomes obsolete. The principles of logic are timelessly true.

13.  Logic helps one attain truth.  Logic helps us to find truth, and truth is its own end: it is worth knowing for its own sake.

Logic helps us to find truth, though it is not sufficient of itself to find truth.  It helps us especially (1) by demanding that we define our terms so that we understand what we mean, and (2) by demanding that we give good reasons, arguments, proofs.[4]

In the age of information, ignorance is no excuse.

And Logic, more than anything else, helps eviscerate that ignorance in a way that nothing else can.

That’s exactly why its been removed from the public school system, and exactly why all individuals need to employ it into their repertoire.

——————————————————-
Sources & References:

[1] John Taylor Gatto, A Different Kind Of Teacher, p. 16.
[2] Professor Patrick Deneen, How A Generation Lost Its Culture
[3] Peter Kreeft Ph.D., Socratic Logic, p. 1.
[4] Ibid., pp. 1-7.

Breakaway Ruminations #3 – The Power Of Curiosity

imagination7
TheBreakaway
Zy Marquiez
January 26, 2017

“The first and simplest emotion which we discover in the human mind, is curiosity.”
– Edmund Burke

” People function better when they’re engaged and curious.”
– Tom Dotz & Tom Hoobyar, NLP – The Essential Guide

“The important thing is not to stop questioning.  Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”
– Albert Einstein

For the individual, curiosity is indispensable.  Without curiosity, the individual finds itself without the compass through which they would plot their journey in life.

In life, curiosity serves multiple purposes.  Curiosity is the path through which we achieve truth, but also the path where we unleash imagination.  Ultimately, one cannot strive for truth, if one cannot search for it.  And one cannot search for truth, if one is not inherently curious.  Conversely, imagination, on the other hand, cannot be employed if one’s intrinsic curiosity is dull at bay.  How can one imagine, if one cannot wonder?  How can one wonder, if one is not curious?

This is why it’s imperative to foster curiosity at every turn, for it will yield amazing results.

Who better to learn about being curious, then children?

Children are amazing beings; they always wonder what’s possible.

If you spend enough time around them you will notice children will do the most random, unexpected, delightful, or at times downright bewildering things.

However, it’s reasonable to argue that most persistent thing a child will do when they reach that age is to ask why.  This is because questions, to children, are natural.  They cannot know the world without inquiring; they inherently realize this.  How else can one attain knowledge, but by figuring things out?  How else can one attain knowledge, but by employing curiosity?

Curiosity is to questioning, as clues are to solving crimes.

Every person that has interacted at length with a child will eventually run into questions of all types.

[Sidebar]In fact, not long ago, got into a very mindful and lengthy conversation with my friend’s daughter who was 11 or so.  This young kid had more curiosity than any other adult that has interacted with me for a long time.  It was rapid fire consistent questioning that you never get in adult life, and not aimless either.  There was purpose.  Every question built on the previous one; everything was as precise as it could be.  It was quite refreshing.  It’s a pity most people seem to merely have the facsimile of curiosity, rather than the actual trait.[End Sidebar]

But overtime, this type of passion for questioning changes and nigh doesn’t exist in adulthood.

As adults, many tend to live life within the lines, never seeking life, or answers beyond societal-imposed boundaries.    Adults, or even adolescents for that manner, tend to have a different type of curiosity – a downgraded type of curiosity.  Adults tend to settle for the superficial answer.  And what’s worse, superficial answers barely even scratch the surface, and by their very nature are unable to get to the heart of issues.

Children, on the other hand, employ curiosity like precisely aimed arrows, which is their attempt to ascertain the world around them.  Moreover, just because they hit bullseyes doesn’t mean they will quit either.  If anything, they get more courageous, as if someone just told them there’s no limit to the amount of sugar they can have.

Children’s relentlessness for knowledge coupled with focused inquisitiveness helps hone the type of curiosity that gets to the heart of the matter.

Why is this?

In How To Read A Book [Review Here], Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren speak about very issue:

“The child is a natural questioner.  It is not the number of questions he asks but their character that distinguishes him from the adult.  Adults do not lose the curiosity that seems to be a native trait, but their curiosity deteriorates in quality.  They want to know whether something is so, not why.  But children’s questions are not limited to the sort that can be answered by an encyclopedia.”[1][Bold Emphasis Added]

Children, like detectives, will not be stopped until they achieve the answers they seek.

However, although children are inherently curious, by adulthood, that curiosity has morphed into something else, something more static and less malleable.  Why such a change?

Part of this is the stamping out of imagination from public schooling, and part of it is propaganda.  How can propaganda play a part?  Ponder, haven’t we all heard, “Curiosity killed the cat”?  If that’s not propaganda, nothing is.  It’s a statement made to slam down curiosity, as if it’s a gnat to get rid of in one swift blow.  Translation: don’t ask that, don’t’ do that, don’t’ go there.  One might as well say, “Live within that box, and don’t dare move beyond it.”  It’s emblematic of living in fear, except it chains curiosity to the box.

Unfortunately, corralling curiosity can have detrimental side effects.  Without curiosity, individual learning within the boundaries of the world gets stultified, and we settle for ready-made answers [provided by others, rather than arrived through by personal insight] rather than journeying through the mysterious, and adventuring through life in search of the unknown.

And it is within the unknown that the lessons of life reside.

Philosopher Peter Kreeft, in his introduction to Philosophy via Plato’s Apology, writes in his Philosophy 101 by Socrates, and encapsulates the above issue best:

“…Socrates loves the unknown rather than fearing it.  That is almost the definition, the essence of a good learner.  Children who at an early age are punished for exploring the unknown will find it hard later to trust their own curiosity and will prefer the safety of the known, like scared rabbits afraid to come out of their comfortable holes.  Children who have been encouraged to question and explore the unknown are reward for doing so, will make good students, make many discoveries, and be happy doing so. The unknown is to them not like poison but like food.”[2][Bold Emphasis Added]

The unknown shouldn’t be feared.  In fact, it should be welcomed.  It’s an opportunity for growth; an opportunity to test knowledge, character, insight.

Moreover, a child’s inherent curiosity – or for that matter, everyone’s curiosity – should be encouraged constantly.  How else is an individual to foster creativity, and help imagination bloom if without not curiosity?

And even though children can at times go a little overboard with questions, questions still remains the best avenue for curiosity to be employed, which undoubtedly leads to finding the truth, which is what questions are about.

Regarding this, in The Imaginative Argument [review here], Frank L. Cioffi states the following:

“A very fundamental human act undergirds and empowers this activity of arguing for truth.  It’s one that you see in children all the time, one that might even be annoying: the relentless asking of questions.  Just as a child might ask again and again, “why?” until the parent finally shushes him or her with a “Because that’s the way it works,” or “Just because.  Now leave me alone!” so you as thinkers and writers should be asking question upon question…You should ask questions that will help you understand, assess, contextualize, make sense of a given situation, a given idea, text, or topic.  And these questions should reach outward – “What do others say?” – at the same time that they should delve within: “How do I feel about this?”  Questioning allows you to open yourself to possibilities – an action that characterizes genuinely creative thought.”[3][Bold & Underline Emphasis Added]

When one ruminates about it, when children question, they are little philosophers, for they seek the truth.

Perhaps, just perhaps, the questions children ask, are vitally more important than what most realize.

In fact, the questions children ask – that stem from the curiosity children feature – are not as far-fetched and unimportant as they may seem at first blush.

In fact, Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren even go as far as comparing the questions children ask to great philosophical books:

“…we do want to recognize that one of the most remarkable things about the great philosophical books is that they ask the same sort of profound questions that children askThe ability to retain the child’s view of the world, with at the same time a mature understanding of what it means to retain is, is extremely rare – and a person who has these qualities is likely to be able to contribute something really important to our thinking.

“We are not required to think as children in order to understand existence.  Children certainly do not, and cannot, understand it – if, indeed, anyone can.  But we must be able to see as children see, to wonder as they wonder, to ask as they ask.  The complexities of adult life get in the way of the truth.  The great philosophers have always been able to clear away the complexities and see simple distinctions – simple once they are stated, vastly difficult beforeIf we are to follow them we too must be childishly simple in our question – and maturely wise in our replies.”[4][Bold & Underline Emphasis Added]

Thus, in the child-like simplicity of asking questions one may embark on a voyage of curiosity that might contribute something phenomenal to our understanding.  How else is an individual, be they a child or an adult, going to breakaway from the conventional stultification of life and gravitate towards something more intriguing, and more profound?

Knowing this we must be constant in our resolve, and impervious in our creative thoughts as we foster curiosity.

Then, and only then, do we have any chance to arrive at the answers that could truly change your life.

Perhaps, just perhaps, next time we talk to a child or have a genuine conversation with an adult we could remember that the next question you’re asked might just teach you something you’ve never known before.

An 11-year-old’s curiosity changed my life.  When the last time a child’s curiosity – or anyone’s curiosity for that matter – changed yours?

————————————————–

Sources & References:

[1] Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren, How To Read A Book, pg. 264.
[2] Peter Kreeft, Philosophy 101 by Socrates, pg. 54.
[3] Frank L. Cioffi, The Imaginative Argument, pg. xvi.
[4] Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren, How To Read A Book, pg. 265.

Book Review: Paradise Lost by John Milton

A Veritable Milestone In Literature

paradiselost
TheBreakaway
Zy Marquiez
January 24, 2017

Paradise Lost by John Milton is a veritable landmark book within the chronicles of humanity’s past.

Milton’s imagination was as boundless as it was incisive, and he paints a masterful world in which good and evil battle for the fate of the world.

Undoubtedly one of the best epics of all-time, Milton’s Paradise Lost, features a plethora of allusions the likes of which haven’t been replicated since, and just might not be replicated ever.

Milton’s constant inferences to theological and classical underpinnings of society are one of the greatest components of this masterpiece.  Every line is incisively thought out, and weaves seamlessly into the next manifesting a masterpiece of literature that’s as thought-provoking as it is deep.

The diction used in Milton’s time might be something that could turn certain readers off, but the notations at the bottom of each page of this particular version help the reader traverse through this fascinating and fierce fictional world that Milton crafted rather seamlessly.

Admittedly, an epic like this will demand a lot from the reader, and rightly so.  It’s a quintessential milestone in history.

Given the complex range of characters it employs [Adam, Eve, Satan, God, Michael, etc.] and fuses with philosophical underpinnings of what many of humanity’s deeper yearnings and concerns are, only helps catapult this work beyond the rest in its field.

Ruminating upon its breadth, scope and complexity, it’s a pity that more works aren’t as well thought out as this.  The standards Milton set upon himself to accomplish this piece should be held in high respect, for it is a testament to what human creativity can achieve when it sets its mind to it.  And that is priceless, just like this book is.