A historically illuminating account of an ancient but still relevant conception of the universe.

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DUALITY OF TIME

COMPLEX-TIME GEOMETRY & PERPETUAL CREATION OF SPACE

A researcher offers a comprehensive presentation of an ancient Islamic theory of time that has implications for modern cosmology and physics. 

According to Haj Yousef (The Single Monad Model of the Cosmos, 2007), the medieval Islamic philosopher Ibn al-Arabi devised a cosmology that not only anticipates the emergence of modern quantum mechanics, but also provides solutions to its most vexing problems. At the heart of Ibn al-Arabi’s view of the universe is a dualistic conception of time. On the one hand, time is ontologically real if understood from the perspective of each moment. But the experience of time is always as a continuous volume—a perceptual distortion of the real world, an imaginary manifestation. The paradox of our observation of time is that we’re only ever encountering time as the past, the continual re-creation of each discrete moment ad infinitum. As a result, the world bifurcates into two states: a vacuum, the empty space that constitutes time in its reality, and the void, the phenomenal expression of time as we experience it. This division opens up the possibility of simultaneously existing dimensions, thereby creating the conditions for a monistic harmony of the psychical and the physical. Haj Yousef intends this volume as a sequel to his first book on Ibn Al-Arabi, expanded to be “more accessible to the wider scientific community.” This reworking includes an account of the history of cosmology, from ancient Sumerian and Babylonian versions to the present, and a thorough introduction to Islamic mysticism. The author’s command of the pertinent historical and theoretical material is breathtaking, with some of his conclusions peculiar but tantalizing. For example, he argues that ancient alchemy can actually be understood as a precursor to quantum mechanics, and that Ibn al-Arabi anticipates contemporary discussions of black holes. But Haj Yousef can sometimes enthusiastically overemphasize the explanatory power of Ibn al-Arabi’s cosmology. It surely seems like an overstatement to claim that “most, if not all, of the major fundamental problems of physics and cosmology are easily solved in this model.” Still, this remains a captivating study for those with a strong grasp of modern physics. 

A historically illuminating account of an ancient but still relevant conception of the universe. 

Pub Date: Dec. 25, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5395-7920-5

Page Count: 338

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: April 12, 2018

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

SEVERAL SHORT SENTENCES ABOUT WRITING

New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

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").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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