Book Review: Star Wars – The Jedi Path by Daniel Wallace

jedipath

TheBreakaway
Zy Marquiez
February 21, 2017

If Star Wars lights up the fire in your imagination, then this book helps throws logs onto it to keep imagination burning.

Star Wars – The Jedi path by Daniel Wallace, is a book that seeks out to supplant the Star Wars Universe with additional information for fans of all types.

Woven within the pages of the book are the many intricacies that are required by those fascinated by the Jedi Path.

Although notably a quick read, the book contains rather detailed and quite in-depth information regarding all aspects of the Jedi Order.

Not only does the book do an adequate job of introducing the reader to the Jedi Order, but it also heads deeper than that.

From there the book goes on to break down the Jedi Order into its various parts: Initiates, Padawans, and Jedi Knights. Within each of these sections a further breakdown is carried out outlining many of the details that are needed in order to progress towards the next stage.

Another intriguing component of the book is the fact that the book takes you through the history of who owned it as it was passed down from Master to Padawan [Master Yoda, Dooku, Qui-Gon Jinn, Ahsoka Tano, etc.] and when that took place.  Additionally, sprinkled throughout the book are small annotations where each of these characters input their insights and commentary.  It definitely adds a rather unique and authentic flavor to the book seeing each of the personalities of these characters shine through, or hint at darker elements, such as comments by Anakin.

Compellingly written, the author does a brilliant job of bringing authenticity to the Jedi Universe in a way that any serious fan would appreciate.

Further information contained within the book are what the Three Pillars Of The Jedi are, information on lightsaber use and techniques, the various types of Jedi Knights, some history, and much more.  Even the importance of meditation within the Jedi discipline is mentioned in various instances, which was kind of interesting since it echoes the sentiments of Eastern Philosophy and many Martial Arts.

In sum, if you know someone that’s a Star Wars fan, and is interested in a deeper layer of the Jedis, then this book is definitely a great read.

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Book Review: Socratic Logic [V3.1] by Peter Kreeft PhD

An Indispensable Piece For The Autodidact; A Vital Component To Education For Individuals Of All Ages

socraticlogic

TheBreakaway
Zy Marquiez
January 17, 2017

Having not taken a logic course since the university, attempting to find a book on logic that would be ‘worth its weight in gold’ took a bit of time, but this particular book has more than delivered in spades.

Socratic Logic by Peter Kreeft PhD is an essential reading for anyone who values the use of logic.  In fact, going one step further, this book should be read by everyone, because we could all benefit from it in many ways.  Mostly though, most of us have not been taught logic in elementary nor high school, and rarely in college, especially how it was taught in the past.   This is taking place because logic, as well as the trivium have been nigh completely removed from most school curriculums and when they do have these courses, they are merely a facsimile of it, and nowhere near the quality of logic taught in times past.  You can conjecture yourself why this has taken place.

Moving forward, this particular book showcases a very in-depth approach into all the nuances that logic involves, while also keeping it simple so to speak.   Describing the book as ‘simple’ might be a misnomer, but when compared to The Organon by Aristotle, which is a much more complex/demanding read, this seems like a ‘walk in the park’.

Kreeft makes it a point to give the individual everything they might need to comprehend logic, sprinkled generously with many real world examples, historical quotes and issues that will make the book quite practical in its application once the concepts are mastered and implemented into one’s repertoire.

Socratic Logic serves as an excellent jump-off point into the realm of logic due to the pragmatic approach taken by Kreeft.

As the author himself states, the book is: simple, user friendly, practical, linguistic, readable, traditional, commonsensical, philosophical, constructive, clearly divided, flexible, short, selective, interactive, holistic, and classroom oriented [if the individual so decides], and those descriptions were rather apt.

Conveniently, the book also features a differentiation where one can find the basic sections (B) and the philosophical sections (P) marked in the table of contents.  This helps greatly in focusing on whatever specific area the reader might want to hone their skills in.

Also of note, the book – as mentioned by Kreef – may be used in at least 10 different ways:

[1] the basics only
[2] the basic sections plus the philosophical sections
[3] the basic sections plus the more advanced sections in logic
[4] the basic sections plus the practical application sections
[5] the basic sections plus any two of these three additions
[6] all of the book
[7] all or some of it supplemented by a text in symbolic logic
[8] all or some of it supplemented by a text in inductive logic
[9] all or some of it supplemented by a text in rhetoric or informal logic
[10] all or some of it supplement by readings in and applications to the great philosophers

What one gathers from the book will depend greatly on how much time one chooses to spend on it.  Socratic Logic may be studied independently for an autodidact, or used for schooling.  The book can be studied in single class lessons, once a week class lessons, semester formats, etc.

Another useful element in the book is that if featured a healthy amount of exercises throughout the book in order to further buttress one’s understanding of the material.  This definitely helps hammer in the concepts shown in the book with precision.

Taking all into account, Socratic Logic should have been the book taught in school.  In fact, it should be taught to everyone because our society lacks logic in myriad ways.  Then again, that is what happens with the removal of classical education and logic from the common-to-the-rotten-core type of school system we’re all “lucky” to have.

In the information age not being educated and not knowing foundational pieces of essential knowledge such as logic that venture into every crevice of our lives is folly.

And if conventional schooling continues on the downhill grade it’s at, knowledge in areas such as this will be worth more than its weight in gold, and that’s not an understatement.  With the student loans costing over a trillion dollars, and with real education dissipating right before our eyes within the conventional establishment, taking your education into your hands is not only responsible, but vital.

To seek or further one’s education is a choice, and luckily Socratic Logic makes it an easy to choice to make.

 

January Book Haul

bookhauljanuary
TheBreakaway
Zy Marquiez
February 10, 2017

At to risk of sounding out of touch with reality, just recently saw my first book haul of my life on someone’s wordpress.  YES, REALLY.  It’s all good, you can laugh.  It’s like someone that loves gaming never hearing of a Playstation, no?

It really shows what happens when you ensconce yourself in a hobbit hole for-beyond-ever.  How does a bibliophile end up not knowing about other people’s bibliophiliness? [If THAT could ever be a word!] Well, by being a book-a-holic de jour, of course.

All jest aside, as someone who reads books like they’re going out of style, figured it would be interesting/different to try one of these out and am going to attempt to do these monthly as well.

In any case, what follows are the titles of each of the books, and a short reason as to why these books were picked up.

Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit by Corey Wilson

Making my way through The Hobbit and Lords Of The Rings for a second time, this seemed like a natural adjunct to The Hobbit, and it does not disappoint.  If you love Tolkien’s work, particularly The Hobbit, you will LOVE this.  The breadth and scope that Tolkien employed in The Hobbit was vastly more phenomenal than you could imagine.  But don’t take my word for it, do your own research.

Underground History Of American Education by John Taylor Gatto

Having read Gatto’s landmark books Dumbing Us Down [Review Here], A Different Kind Of Teacher [Review Here], and Weapons Of Mass Instruction [Review coming soon], this seemed like a nice way to round out my research into public schooling, particularly the historical side.  Of course, Gatto not only calls it how it is, but he’s methodical and precise in sourcing his material, showing how those within the establishment – in their own words – have wanted to dumb down education and create an enormous engine of conformity for over a century.  And it’s worked in spades, as can be seen here.  This book should really be a zinger.

Dark Matter, Missing Planets & New Comets by Tom Van Flandern

Having read Dr. Joseph P. Farrell’s Cosmic War – Interplanetary Warfare, Modern Physics And Ancient Texts, getting Tom Van Flandern’s book seemed essential to understanding the exploded planet hypothesis that Dr. Farrell discusses in his book.

LONG story short, the hypothesis is that where the asteroid belt now resides, there used to be a planet and it was destroyed.  Van Flander did research into this, and found strong evidence for this particular theory.  Furthermore, there’s also evidence that this event was deliberate and not natural.  Ironically enough, for those that might think that idea sounds ludicrous, check this out:

British Scientists To Lead Hunt For Fragments Of ‘Dead Planets’ Hidden In Antarctica

How ‘bout them apples asteroids?

Benjamin Franklin by Walter Isaacson

Having not been taught nigh anything of the founding fathers in school, this was a must read.  One of those topics that doesn’t get enough coverage, and it’s because most of the populace are ignorant of it, mainly because public schooling is all but removing any semblance of true history from school.

Ask yourself, why don’t schools – high schools / colleges / universities – have any courses in Freedom?  For a country that loves to parade freedom around, it’s quite troublesome that its one main tenet isn’t ever discussed…

Am also planning on getting Franklin’s short autobiography soon, but all in due time.

Disease-Mongers: How Doctors, Drug Companies, And Insurers Are Making You Feel Sick by Lynn Payer

After reading this particular link, getting this book was a must.  As an individual who’s always sharing information about the growing and rampant issues of Big Pharma in order to educate others, this book seemed indispensable.  Although a bit dated, am hopping the book still holds plenty of information valuable enough to share.

Before I Go – Letters To Our Children About What Really Matters by Peter Kreeft Ph.D.

It took a long time for me to find a philosopher/individual that not only talked about classical philosophy in a manner one can learn from, but also many other unsung topics within that realm, which are still vital nonetheless.  Enter philosopher Peter Kreeft Ph.D.  Why did Kreeft like a natural fit for me, when there are countless people out there?

Kreeft is methodical, logical, precise, not overly complex, isn’t afraid to ask tough questions, uses simplicity quite often, and thinks in an analogical manner.  If there was EVER someone who would have been awesome as a professor, at least from my point of view, this person would be it.  Heck, Kreeft’s range in thought/discourse is so wide that even has a book on J.R.R. Tolkien’s Philosophy, called The Philosophy Of Tolkien: The Worldview Of Lord Of The Rings, which is on the way as we speak.

In any case, having reading Kreeft’s Socratic Logic [review here], and Philosophy 101 by Socrates: An Introduction To Philosophy via Plato’s Apology [review here], which are two indispensable books, mind you, am making it a point of getting all of his books that appeal to me, and the book above fit within those parameters.

Reading has become a mainstay in my life, and am finding that am learning magnitudes more than ever thought possible when compared to public schooling, which was a complete waste of time and didn’t yield anything of substance that couldn’t have been taught by people in homeschooling or by private tutoring.  That’s why am making it a point to continue being an autodidact, while also researching topics that will be of interest to myself, but might also help others in the process.

Have any of you done any bookhauls?  If you’ve done any, please share them below as it would be great to see what books individuals have gotten – or are considering for that matter – these last few months.

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.

22 Disturbing Facts Big Pharma Doesn’t Want You To Know

bigpharmabigmedica
TheBreakaway
Zy Marquiez
February 10, 2017

“It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.”
–Marcia Angell, MD, New York Review of Books, 2009

Below follow 22 facts, each of which is individually disturbing enough, but when taken in conjunction paint a very ominous picture of the state of the medical establishment in America.

Embedded within the bowels of Big Pharma lie little known details most individuals are unaware of.

Most of these details rarely get reported by the mainstream media, and when they do, the slant is always in favor of Big Pharma, and if not, what the individual gets is a limited hang out, which barely even amounts to the ghost of the truth.

The following are some of the many issues that do not get to see the light of day, but should be spoken at length about:

#1: Did you know that the FDA frequently misleads the public regarding long term studies and health?

According to Dr. Peter Breggin, in his landmark book Toxic Psychiatry [review here]:

“People assume that FDA approval and the widespread distribution of a drug – with many patients taking it for months or years – means that longterm studies have found it safe in regard to side effects, drug interactions, dependency, addition, and withdrawal.  Thus, FDA approval grossly misleads the public, lulling it into an unfounded security.

The PDR admits that Prozac’s effectiveness has not been tested in controlled trials of “more than 5 or 6 weeks” and that “long-term” usefulness has therefore not been demonstrated.”[Bold Emphasis Added][1]

#2: Did you know that the U.S. and New Zealand are the only countries which allow drug companies to advertise directly to consumers?

Prior to 1997, there was a ban in place that restricted pharmaceuticals from advertising to consumers – known as drug-to-consumer-advertising, or DTCA- but this ban was removed, to the detriment of the populace.[2]

Why is this important?  Because that law was in place to protect individuals from the highly specialized, and yet misleading advertising of all drugs.

#3:  The great majority of prescription drugs sold is due to DTCA.  As Dr. Kelly Brogan notes in her landmark book, A Mind Of Your Own, The Truth About Depression [review here], in which she touches upon this specialized advertising:

“It’s been calculated that DTCA [drug-to-consumer advertising] is responsible for nearly half (49 percent) of requests for drugs.  And fully seven out of ten times doctors prescribe based on appeal by patients who learned through their computers and televisions that they have an “imbalance” that must be fixed with a pill.”[3][Bold Emphasis Added]

#4:  Coupled with the already disturbing above information, and with prescription drugs being doled out at 4 Billion per annum[4], it’s no wonder that Medical Errors are the third leading cause of death.[5]According to a new John Hopkins study, which is covered by the Washington Post:

“Their analysis, published in the BMJ on Tuesday [, shows that ‘medical errors’ in hospitals and other health care facilities are incredibly common and may now be the third leading cause of death in the United States — claiming 251,000 lives every year, more than respiratory disease, accidents, stroke and Alzheimer’s.”[6][Click here for the study named Medical Error – The Third Leading Cause Of Death In The US]

#5:  Unsurprisingly, given how Big Pharma & Big Medica have had no qualms in overstepping traditional boundaries, it’s no wonder that in many instances money from pharmaceutical companies sway Doctors’ prescriptions, which shows the serious conflict of interest.[7]

As Dr. Mercola elucidates:

“Not only was the receipt of drug-company money associated with a higher percentage of brand-name drug prescriptions, but the prescriptions rose with the amount of money received.”[Bold Emphasis Added]

#6:  Did you know, the FDA only requires two studies for drugs to be approved?

“…only two studies are required for FDA licensure of most pharmaceuticals, essentially leaving the population to participate in a post-marketing experiment in which adverse effects – casualties – are monitored passively.  It’s a fabrication of science to think these drugs have a place in medicine, what is meant to be the art of healing.”[8]

But there’s more.  Most drug research is in fact short term.  Dr. Brogan cautions:

Their patients have never consented to the long-term effects of these medications because pharmaceutical research is, by nature, short term.  There is no incentive on the part of the pharmaceutical companies to take a good look at what happens to the average individual when she takes a medication for a decade or so.”[9][Bold Emphasis Added]

#7:  This hyper-drugging of the populace has lead to prescription drugs in fact being 16,400% deadlier than terrorists.  But you won’t hear that in the mainstream media.[10]

#8:  Not only is our corrupt for-health for-profit medical system unsurprisingly the most expensive in the world[11], but our life expectancy is worse than that of a third world country.[12]

#9:  Heart surgery is 70 times more expensive in the US.[13]

#10:  Of course, with billions of prescriptions being filled yearly, it’s no wonder that 70% of Americans take prescription drugs.[14]

#11:  In fact, expensive treatment requests have predictably gotten so bad that Doctors are even calling for a ban for the duplicitous practice of DTCA.[15]

#12:  A large study, which was published in The Lancet, further debunks high cholesterol myths, admitting statin drugs are essentially worthless.[16]

#13:  Another study shows that combining multiple childhood vaccines isn’t safe, according to an article in the Journal Of American Physicians and Surgeons.[17]

#14:  The same statin drugs that were found to be worthless against cholesterol, are now going to be used as anti-cancer drugs.  You can’t make this stuff up![18]

#15:  Although the US has merely 5% of the world’s population, it consumes 80% of the world’s pain killers.[19]

#16:  A great portion of this is in large part to what is called “Disease Mongering” and the creation of disease.[20]

#17:  Pharmaceutical companies Genentech and OSI Pharmaceuticals have even been caught concealing adverse effects of drugs, and were ordered to pay a $70 million dollar fine.[21]

#18:   America has the worst infant mortality rate of all developed nations.  Let that disturbing fact sink in.[22]

#19: Since 1986 Big Pharma has had liability shielding preventing it from being prosecuted for endangering public health[23].  And some wonder why the medical establishment is so corrupt.

#20: Not long ago, medical conglomerate, Pfizer, paid over $2 BILLION Dollars for criminal and civil charges due to illegally promoting the use 4 of its drugs. [24]

#21: Merely months ago, a study proving that vaccinated children are 3 times more likely to be diagnosed with autism and other neurological issues was banned from the internet.[25]

#22:  Because of all of the reasons mentioned above, and more, Americans are spending over $30 billion dollars in out-of-pocket costs on alternative health[26].  Thankfully!

This overall pattern of dwindling care, that’s overly expensive, and only serves to fill the coffers of Big Pharma will only change when individuals quit buying in to the propaganda from the medical establishment.

And for all the technology, public schooling, and billions spent, our medical system isn’t even top 3 in the world, and the statistics prove it.

Instead of purchasing health insurance, perhaps individuals should focus on attaining health assurance.

The system in its current state sees people as nothing but cash cows, and the sicker they are, the more money they make.  And they also aren’t coming up with cures since that, also, will cut into their profits.
One must wonder, seeing that they have no virtues and are willing to throw the people under the bus with lies and fraud, what else are they willing to do?

Take control of your health, while you still got time.

Education will eviscerate ignorance; nutrition will beat disease; corruption will continue to be exposed; but only if the individual chooses to make it so.

Be mindful, stay aware.

Individuals can go with the flow, and take the tides as they come, or they can choose to rise to the occasion.

Pierce the veil.

Cast light on the shadows.

And become the solution you’ve always waited for.

________________________________________________________________
Sources & References:

[1] Dr. Peter R. Breggin, M.D., Toxic Psychiatry, pp. 168-169
[2] Dr. Joseph Mercola, The Great Bird Flu Hoax, p. 39.
[3] Dr. Kelly Brogan M.D., A Mind Of Your Own – The Truth About Depression, p. 52.
[4] http://www.naturalnews.com/037226_drug_prescriptions_medical_news_pills.htm
[5] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2016/05/03/researchers-medical-errors-now-third-leading-cause-of-death-in-united-states/?utm_term=.d262ea291b26
[6] http://www.bmj.com/content/353/bmj.i2139
[7] http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/04/13/doctors-receiving-pharmaceutical-money.aspx
[8] Dr. Kelly Brogan M.D., A Mind Of Your Own – The Truth About Depression, p. 49.
[9] Ibid., p. 35.
[10] http://www.naturalnews.com/009278.html
[11] http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-06-22/us-healthcare-snapshot-most-expensive-yet-worst-developed-world
[12] http://www.salon.com/2013/10/22/life_expectancy_in_america_rivals_third_world_partner/
[13] http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-07-29/what-does-heart-surgery-really-cost-and-why-it-70-times-more-expensive-us
[14] http://www.cbsnews.com/news/study-shows-70-percent-of-americans-take-prescription-drugs/
[15] http://www.reuters.com/article/us-pharmaceuticals-advertising-idUSKCN0T62WT20151117
[16] http://www.naturalnews.com/054388_statin_drugs_medical_myths_Big_Pharma.html
[17] https://globenewswire.com/news-release/2016/06/14/848493/0/en/Combining-Multiple-Childhood-Vaccines-Not-Safe-According-to-Article-in-the-Journal-of-American-Physicians-and-Surgeons.html
[18] http://www.naturalnews.com/054707_statins_cancer_treatment_Big_Pharma.html
[19] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2142481/Americans-consume-80-percent-worlds-pain-pills-prescription-drug-abuse-epidemic-explodes.html
[20] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-larry-dossey/big-pharma-health-care-cr_b_613311.html
[21] http://edition.cnn.com/2016/06/07/health/genentech-lung-cancer-drug-settlement/index.html
[22] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2014/09/29/our-infant-mortality-rate-is-a-national-embarrassment/?utm_term=.9f6b6a036ca9
[23] http://www.nvic.org/NVIC-Vaccine-News/November-2016/end-pharma-liability-shield-protect-human-rights.aspx#_edn79
[24] http://edition.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/04/02/pfizer.bextra/
[25] http://investmentwatchblog.com/study-proving-vaccines-cause-autism-banned-from-internet/
[26] http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2016/06/22/study-americans-spend-billions-non-conventional-health-approaches/86200430/

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.

Common Core Crisis #3

studying
TheBreakaway
Zy Marquiez
February 8, 2017

In our dreams, people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hands. The present education conventions of intellectual and character education fade from their minds, and, unhampered by tradition, we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive folk.  We shall not try to make these people, or any of their children, into philosophers, or men of science. We have not to raise up from them authors, educators, poets or men of letters. We shall not search for great artists, painters, musicians nor lawyers, doctors, preachers, politicians, statesmen — of whom we have an ample supply.  The task is simple. We will organize children and teach them in a perfect way the things their fathers and mothers are doing in an imperfect way.”
– [John D. Rockefeller Sr., Occasional Letter Number One, General Education Board

In previous posts [here and here] were shown the downright nonsense that students have to go through.  Below, additional evidence is shown illustrating why children’s test scores and intelligence keeps plummeting [as shown here], and its rather troublesome to say the least.

The example stems from the book, Drilling To The Core, which details a wide-ranging set of issues revolving around Common Core:

“In 1995, a student-teacher of fifth graders in Minneapolis wrote a letter to the editor of the Star-Tribune complaining about radically dumbed-down curriculum.  She wrote that 113 years earlier fifth-graders in Minneapolis were reading William Shakespeare, Henry Thoreau, George Washington, Sir Walter Scott, Mark Twain, Benjamin Franklin, Oliver Wendell Holmes, John Bunyan, Daniel Webster, Samuel Johnson, Lewis Caroll, Thomas Jefferson, and others like them in the Appletone School Reader, but that today:

I  was told children are not to be expected to spell the following words correctly: black, big, call, came, can, day, did, dog, down, get, good, have, he, home, if, in, is, it, like, little, man, morning, mother, my, night, off, our, over, people, play, ran, said, saw, she, some, soon, their, them, there, time, two, too, up, us, very, water, we, went, where, when, will, would, etc.  Is this nuts?”[1]

What’s stated above can be verified.  This was part of what older curriculums of true education – TRUE EDUCATION – involved, rather than what the facsimile of what we have now.

Education a century ago involved much higher standards than it does now, and its showing.  Not only have new studies shown the US Ranks 31 out of 35 developed nations in Math, but it also ranks 24th in reading literacy and 25th in science.

If the trend doesn’t change, all future generations will not only be stupid, but intellectually destitute, which is its true purpose, as can be seen here.

The only way to change that is now.

And the only way that will change is with individuals becoming proactive.

Don’t let your children settle for the parody of education we have now, for there are better alternatives. 

The only way individuals will reach excellence, is by pursuing excellence.

It’s been done before, and in much harsher conditions, and with much less information available.

Why not start now?

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Sources & References:

[1] Sandra Stotsky & Contributors,  Drilling To The Core, pp. 11-12.