An ambitious but unconvincing argument involving ancient gnostic theology.

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ULTIMATE SYMMETRY

This final installment of a trilogy endeavors to demonstrate in the language of modern physics how multiplicity emerges from divine oneness. 

Attempts to explain the relationship between the diverse phenomena humans experience and the possibility of an underlying metaphysical oneness date back to ancient cosmology. Yousef (Duality of Time, 2018, etc.) argues that humans’ perceptions of both phenomenal multiplicity and continuity are mirages, the emanations of an irreducible ontological unity: a single monad, the expression of absolute divine unity. People experience the world as they do because they only view it from an “imaginary time dimension,” a perch from the outside that can’t possibly exist if the universe is truly one. At the heart of this book is the postulation of “nested symmetries,” five kinds that account for the “apparent dynamic multiplicity of creation.” Oneness of God is “conceived” as an “abstract point beyond geometry.” Normal symmetry applies to the physical world governed by the laws of classical mechanics, specifically the elements of space and time understood in Euclidean terms. Super-symmetry denotes the relation between the physical and psychical, which is essentially identical to Quantum Field Theory’s matter/antimatter couplet. Hyper-symmetry refers to the connection, explored in quantum mechanics, between particles and waves and, by extension, the appearance of continuous space. And ultimate symmetry explains how the curved space of contemporary physics can be generated from Euclidean geometry’s “homogenous” space. Underlying these threads is the divine Principle of Love, the original source of motion that explains the universe’s longing to continuously return to a state of harmony. Yousef is at his best providing historical accounts of physics, both ancient and modern—he is especially deft in detailing ancient cosmology—and the theoretical problems that persist within them. But his writing can be exasperatingly dense (“Although the things might outwardly seem to be continuously existing in their evolution, nothing is ever repeated the same twice, since their elementary microscopic components are always created anew in different forms, that may still resemble the perished ones, but they are not themselves”). Furthermore, his fusion of science and Islamic revelation is really just a translation of the latter into the terms of the former. For example, he simply identifies energy particles with “spirits.” This then becomes a springboard to a lengthy discussion of the kinds of spirits, including angels, that exist. 

An ambitious but unconvincing argument involving ancient gnostic theology. 

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-72382-869-0

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Time Tunnel Media

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2019

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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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