A writer provides a series of philosophical reflections on spirituality and the universe.
This latest book from Blaise (Life Itself as a Modern Religion, 2018, etc.) presents a wide variety of thoughts on science, philosophy, and literature, grouped by loosely conceived general themes and usually offered in bite-sized segments designed both for easy sequential reading and random dipping in. The author starts with the Big Bang and the concept of a god or gods, seeking a broad-based philosophical interpretation rather than one that adheres to a specific religion, and hinting at the improbability of any kind of Creator. This spiritual rather than religious tone is largely maintained throughout, although some of Blaise’s rhetorical questions make it clear he has Christianity on his mind: “Doesn’t every sunrise radiate that we have been able to evolve here to find joy in a perfectible home, rather than sent, as a result of an absurdly trivial infraction, to a place of vengeful reform, with guilt to be expiated unto the furthest generation?” Ultimately, the author tends to agree with the Apostle John that “God is love,” characterized by power, knowledge, affection, and immortality but not dictating every aspect of a broader existence. And about that broader existence, Blaise delivers a large number of intriguing observations, from the permanence of fleeting moments (“Even if I simply touch your hand with affection, it will have always been, at that moment, touched”) to the more loving and emotional side of sex (“We may also be reassured by the truth that lovemaking’s pleasures are more attuned to the gentle stimulation of nerve endings than to the excessive press of musculature”). Unfortunately, the author tends to display a pompous verbosity (The end of life is the “death of our life-inherent potential”). Still, his ruminations are refreshingly judgment free and full of acceptance for all kinds of people, sexualities, and beliefs. And his contemplative “Ten Suggestions” counterpoint to the Ten Commandments is the highlight of the book.
A thought-provoking, if somewhat wordy, philosophical overview of life.
Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.
Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").
This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)