A progressive treatise that intends to bring philosophy to a wider audience.
As the world inexorably turns toward increased globalization amid remarkable technological advances, stark divisions remain, and large groups of people are left behind. With that in mind, Maritz aims to map out areas where humanity can achieve greater mutual understanding and productive enlightenment. The book opens with a candid preface that directs readers to a helpful glossary. Alongside lengthy considerations of language, the human mind and society, the author presents shorter chapters on a variety of subjects such as evolution, materialism, morality, sexuality, art, education, history and politics. While some readers may struggle with the more abstract concepts, Maritz is at his best when he backs up his theories with concrete examples, often culled from his home country of South Africa: principally, the history of apartheid. He’s particularly convincing in his extended analysis of religion, making sure to acknowledge both its charitable endeavors and its destructive effects. However, lapses in editing or faulty sentence structure can sometimes interfere with clarity: “More recently we have the wars between Muslim and Muslim and Christian between Muslim.” Most readers will understand what Maritz is trying to say, but the text could have benefitted from a polish. Throughout, the author maintains a humorous, somewhat off-kilter tone, and his asides can be entertaining or occasionally jarring. For example, writing on the topic of passion, he notes: “All of us know where passionate romantic love ends and how sadists experience orgasm by not only killing their victims, but also deliberately mutilating the bodies.” Many passages also demonstrate a solid, concise writing style that effectively communicates Maritz’s message of justice and equality: “[L]iteracy without ethics empowers white-collar thugs,” he writes, “and education without opportunities for the fulfillment of material expectations creates hopelessness, if not rebellion.”
A moderately successful attempt to make philosophy more accessible.