New ideas that will challenge readers and expand their horizons.

Dialectics of Force: Ontobia

Battler’s unified theory of everything, from the fundamental laws of physics to consciousness and free will.

Though Battler offers a wide view of universal structures—ranging from the development of organic life, the nature of forces, and the underlying nature of consciousness, thought and the mind—there’s a marked difference here from many similar books. Battler takes a more philosophical, phenomenological approach—a twist that adds some interesting ideas to the mix. However, this phenomenological aspect isn’t that of classic phenomenologists, such as Husserl, but of his predecessors, namely Schelling and Hegel, the latter playing a strong role in Battler’s sections on the mind. Central to Battler’s thesis is what he calls ontobia—“the property of being that reveals its existence through motion, space, and time.” His book starts with an overview of philosophers who dealt with natural science, including Aristotle, Leibniz, Newton and Kant, as well as Spinoza, Locke and Teilhard de Chardin—welcome additions to the usual list of philosophers. The book’s second part looks at the idea of force through scientific theories related to quantum physics, the Big Bang and then back again through the Big Crunch. In the third section, Battler then turns his attention toward the organic world, particularly the fields of chemistry and biology, with an emphasis on evolution. Finally, in the fourth section, man arrives as Battler considers the development of consciousness, with references to many well-known thinkers, including Penrose, Searle and Sheldrake, to name a few. For a book of moderate size, the thoroughness is impressive, and even when his ideas run against the grain, the well-argued philosophical combat will satisfy inquisitive readers.

New ideas that will challenge readers and expand their horizons.

Pub Date: May 10, 2013

ISBN: 978-1484008850

Page Count: 322

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Aug. 5, 2013

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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This a book of earlier, philosophical essays concerned with the essential "absurdity" of life and the concept that- to overcome the strong tendency to suicide in every thoughtful man-one must accept life on its own terms with its values of revolt, liberty and passion. A dreary thesis- derived from and distorting the beliefs of the founders of existentialism, Jaspers, Heldegger and Kierkegaard, etc., the point of view seems peculiarly outmoded. It is based on the experience of war and the resistance, liberally laced with Andre Gide's excessive intellectualism. The younger existentialists such as Sartre and Camus, with their gift for the terse novel or intense drama, seem to have omitted from their philosophy all the deep religiosity which permeates the work of the great existentialist thinkers. This contributes to a basic lack of vitality in themselves, in these essays, and ten years after the war Camus seems unaware that the life force has healed old wounds... Largely for avant garde aesthetes and his special coterie.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1955

ISBN: 0679733736

Page Count: 228

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1955

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