#Book Review: Dialectical Thinking – Zeno, Socrates, Kant, Marx by Tommi Juhani Hanjijarvi Ph.D. | #SmartReads | #Education | #Learning

BreakawayIndividual.com
Zy Marquiez
February 20, 2020

This particular book is a great foray for those beginning to delve into dialectics.

In Dialectical Thinking – Zeno, Socrates, Kant, Marx by Tommi Juhani Hanjijarvi Ph.D., seeks to show how valuable dialectical thinking is as he examines the minds of former dialecticians.

To accomplish this Hanjijarvi sifts through noteworthy examples in dialectics that were brought about by individuals such as Socrates, Kant, Zeno and Marx, while also coupling additional examples from other incisive minds to supplant the examples of the core four, which are the main focus of the book.

For instance, while analyzing Marx’s foray into dialectics, the author delves into information brought about by Engel, Bernstein, Lenin and such.

As the author makes clear, dialectics have extensive uses.  More incisively, as the author argues “Dialectics are always about the dynamics of the self.”

It was quite mentally invigorating seeing the different dialectics employed by the great dialecticians.  Moreover, it was also interesting to note where some of their ruminations dovetailed and what paths those notions discussed led them towards.

These days, the benefit of employing sound reason, as dialecticians do and this book showcases, would be a great skillset for individuals to learn.  That skillset would allow individuals to put themselves on either sides (or all sides) of an equation, rather than end up simply fostering their points of views without taking the other person’s view into consideration, or at least examining it in detail if such needs to be the case.

Truth be told, reality is vastly more complex than two sides most often.  This reason is why this type of book is downright crucial, since it helps lay a solid foundation as an introductory volume into the discipline of dialectics and the understanding of subjects from various points of views in a sound manner.

Thinking unilaterally about incisive issues won’t help people think critically, nor will it help people to think outside the box.  Predictably, this prevents individuals from grasping crucial issues at their core, or from the kaleidoscope of angles that particular issues might inherently contain.

Frankly, this book should be considered for any inquiring individual.  I have already suggested this book to quite a few individuals for homeschooling and those that employ self-directed learning. 

As an introduction to the dialectical thinking employed by some of the greatest dialecticians, this book carries out its premise and then some.  Make sure to supplant this book first and foremost with How To Read A Book, by Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren, coupling it with Socratic Logic and Philosophy 101 by Peter Kreeft, as well as A Workbook For Arguments – A Guide For Critical Thinking by David R. Morrow and Anthony Weston, and you have a veritable foundation for self-directed learning that creates an incredibly ironclad foundation

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About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is author of Amor Vincit Omnia – Love Conquers All, and also an avid book reviewer, poet, inquirer, an open-minded skeptic, health freedom advocate, and writer who aims at empowering individuals in many ways, while also delving deeper and regularly mirroring subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, Individuality, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.

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Suggested Reading & Viewing:

Have You Ever Walked On The Moon?
13 Great Reasons To Study Logic
Are You Living Your Dreams?
What Is The Difference Between Education & Public Schooling?
How TV Robs You Of Your Life
7 Phenomenal Books For Homeschooling, Self-Directed Learners & Autodidacts
How A Generation Lost Its Common Culture
Philosophy 101 by Socrates – An Introduction To Phylosophy Via Plato’s Apology By Peter Kreeft Ph.D.
How To Read A Book by Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren
A Different Kind Of Teacher by John Taylor Gatto
Logical Fallacies Employed In Every Day Life
The Imaginative Argument – A Practical Manifesto For Writers By Frank L. Cioffi
A Workbook For Arguments – A Complete Course In Critical Thinking by David Morrow
The Minds Of Men [Documentary] | Social Engineering & Mind Control
Manipulation Of Media Messages & Astroturf by Sharyl Attkisson
Mainstream Media Control
Socratic Logic V 3.1 by Peter Kreeft PhD
The Trivium – The Liberal Arts Of Logic, Grammar & Rhetoric by Sister Mary Joseph Ph.D.
Why Read The Classics?
Getting Things done by David Allen
Classrooms Of The Heart [Mini Documentary] – John Taylor Gatto
Dumbing Us Down by John Taylor Gatto
History So It Doesn’t Repeat – The Deliberate Dumbing Down Of America with Charlotte Iserbyt
The Catastrophic Decline of Public Schooling: 21 Facts Why School Performs Poorly
Mindset Musings#1: Venturing Outside Of Comfort Zones
Rotten To The Common Core by Dr. Joseph P. Farrell & Gary Lawrence
Lesson’s From Orwell’s 1984
Against Public Schooling – How Public Education Cripples Our Kids By John Taylor Gatto
Social Engineering 101
The Tavistock Institute – Social Engineering The Masses By Daniel Estulin
Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
The Emergence Of Orwellian Newspeak & The Death Of Free Speech
What Is An Elite Curriculum?
A Mind Of Your Own – The Truth About Depression by Dr. Kelly Brogan
Social Engineering 101
Drilling Through The Core by Sandra Stotski & Contributors
What Is An Elite Curriculum?
Invisible Influence by Kevin Hogan

7 Phenomenal Books For Homeschooling Self-Directed Learners & Autodidacts

“If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Real books disgust the totalitarian mind because they generate uncontrollable mental growth – and it cannot be monitored.”[Bold Emphasis Added]
– John Taylor Gatto, A Different Kind Of Teacher, [1]

AMind

BreakawayIndividual.com
Zy Marquiez
February 15, 2020

Education is the most vital component of an individual’s repertoire.  Without it, the individual is like a ship without a rudder, drifting aimlessly amidst the seas of life.

For that reason it is imperative for individuals to make sure that they continue to educate themselves, no matter what stage of life they are in.  This is why the following list has been composed.

Each of the books that have been reviewed below offers abundant wisdom from which to learn from.  Plus, considering we are in an age where public schooling is about conformity, division, dumbing people down, and more, it would be shrewd for individuals to take their own education into their hands.

If you wish to read more about the books, click the link on the book titles to heads towards the reviews.

Book #1Socratic Logic V3.1 by Peter Kreeft Ph.D

Out of all of these 7 books, this is easily the most demanding one, but this book also has the capacity to net the most impact in your life given that logic may, and should, be employed at any given moment in life.  That is because there is no area of life that Logic cannot help in.

The lessons of this book will be useful every single day.  Although requiring considerable effort, the book is a much easier read than Aristotle’s Organnon, while still covering the core dynamics in a pragmatic format.

Book #2The Trivium – The Liberal Arts Of Grammar, Logic & Rhetoric by Sister Miriam Joseph Ph.D.

In the past, the Trivium was taught in classical education, and was the foundation upon the rest of an individual’s education stemmed from.  That is no longer the case however.  Because of that it is imperative that books discussing classical education such as The Trivium be given serious consideration since the Trivium is one of the leading reasons why education decades and centuries ago was vastly superior than it is now.

In fact, think of these names: Leonardo Da Vinci, Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, Ayn Rand, Nikola Tesla, Sir Isaac Newton, and countless others.  What do they all have in common?  They are some of the most brilliant minds in human history, and none of them came out of a modern public schooling system.

As Dr. Joseph P. Farrell & Gary Lawrence note in their sobering, and yet noteworthy book Rotten To The (Common) Core:

“None of them attended a twentieth or twenty-first century American public schooling system.

None of them was taught by a teacher that had to obtain a teaching “credential” at an accredited – that is to say, officially “approved” – state or private school.  Indeed, some of them positively bucked the modern system by having been “homeschooled” by persons running small “schools” out of their homes.”[2]

Translation: all of those individuals became some of the greatest minds by employing traditional methods of education, methods that have been outright siphoned from public schooling, which is why I often make the distinction in separating public schooling from education, as the late Gatto so incisively stated, as they are not the same thing.

Just as a house cannot be complete without a foundation, an individual’s education, no matter the age, cannot be complete without knowledge of the Trivium.  The Trivium encompasses all aspects of grammar, logic and rhetoric.  This book is a thorough presentation on traditional grammar, which is vastly different than what modern schooling teaches, fallacies, syllogisms, a solid logic introduction, enthymemes, poetics, figurative language , all with a hefty dose of examples from which to learn from.

Book #3How To Read A Book – The Classic Guide To Intelligent Reading by Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren.

The title of this book is a misnomer, and many people overlook it because they ‘know’ how to ‘read’ a book.  However, reading isn’t the main focus of this book; it is information extraction and retention – getting the most out of the book, which is much more different than simple reading.

If there is one book you read, make it this one because you read everyday in life, and the more information we are subjected to, the more we will read.  Knowing how to get the most out of everything we read, every article, every study, every book, and every story and so on, will only help you get ahead of the curve.

Simply stated: this is a must-read book.  In fact, it would be a mistake not to have it because not following many of these tenets would mean an individual is only attaining fractional understanding of all subjects.  The book really is downright crucial and I cannot recommend it highly enough.  It’s been popular for decades, and for good reason.

Book #4Philosophy 101 – An Introduction To Philosophy Via Plato’s Apology by Peter Kreeft Ph.D.

If you want an easy-to-follow introduction to philosophy that is accessible to everyone but also stimulating enough to get your brain cells churning, get this book.  It’s a refreshingly unique way of looking at philosophy and should not be overlooked.  It is also much shorter than the previous three books above, and is incredibly accessible.

Book #5
The Complete Workbook For Arguments – A Complete Course In Critical Thinking [2nd Ed.] by David R. Morrow & Anthony Weston.

This book hones your critical thinking skills in a very incredible manner.  Seeing the failure of modern schooling, one would figure for a public school system that continues to fail, critical thinking would be at the top of the agenda to implement within public schooling. Such is not the case though, wherein this book comes in.

This book is affordable, has ample exercises, uses a very logical and reasonable approach that builds on itself and is easy to follow.  It’s complex enough, but not overly so.  It’s a book that’s referenced often and highly valuable.

Book #6
The Imaginative Argument – A Practical Manifesto For Writers by Frank L. Cioffi.

Now, this book by Cioffi brings a fascinating and refreshing outside-of-the-box perspective to argumentation to boot.  The author takes a rather unique approach I’ve never seen before, and one I wished was available in public schooling, but of course isn’t.  The book covers everything from essays, thesis, creative writing, paragraph design, audience considerations, writing prompts, fallacies and more.  If you’re a regular writer of any type, even if it’s not argumentation per se, I would still say this is a must read.  Or at least consider it.  As part of a homeschooling and self-directed course, this is definitely a must have though.

Book #7: Sherlock Holmes – The Complete Stories by Arthur Conan Doyle.

And here comes the curveball: learning Logic through fiction!

This one’s an outside-of-the-box suggestion, but for an incredibly reason.  Sherlock Holmes is easily best book from which to learn critical thinking in fiction form.  Nothing else comes even close.  If you have any suggestions to add, or better, I would really like to hear them because I am always open-minded and would like to read similar books in fictional form since it allows a reader to enjoy leisure time, while also honing the mind simultaneously.

If you haven’t read any of the Arthur Conan Doyle books, Holmes uses his usual analytical approach that’s incisive in logic and precise in detail to solve every single case he ends up getting involved in.  Some cases offer more for learning than others, but the book as a whole is something every person should read give that not only does it teach you Logic in a roundabout way, but it does so in an interesting way, too.

What we as individuals accomplish in life, especially if you want to live life to the fullest, is directly proportional to what we know and are capable of.  Without robust capabilities, an individual is like a leaf in the wind, merely flowing aimlessly in the wind without a chosen direction.

This is why it’s crucial to make sure your education stands on firm ground, and you are proactive about seeking it as well.  Without a proactive approach, we’ll only achieve a portion of what we could attain in life, merely growing into a fraction of our true boundless potential, thus not living life to the fullest.

It’s never too late to be proactive about your education.

Seek to better yourself, every single day; every single step, every single breath.

Seek to learn every day, from every person, in every instance, through every breath, in every way.

Not only will that help solidify your intellectual faculties in an ironclad manner, but it will also imbue your life with more meaning than you could ever imagine.

Life never stops moving forward, and neither should you.
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[1] John Taylor Gatto, A Different Kind Of Teacher, p. 82.
[2] Dr. Joseph P. Farrell, Rotten To The(Common) Core, p 4.

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If you find value in this information, please share it.  This article is free and open source.  All individuals have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and  BreakawayIndividual.com
___________________________________________________________

Suggested Reading & Viewing:

Are You Living Your Dreams?
What Is The Difference Between Education & Public Schooling?
How TV Robs You Of Your Life
How A Generation Lost Its Common Culture
Philosophy 101 by Socrates – An Introduction To Phylosophy Via Plato’s Apology By Peter Kreeft Ph.D.
How To Read A Book by Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren
A Different Kind Of Teacher by John Taylor Gatto
Logical Fallacies Employed In Every Day Life
The Imaginative Argument – A Practical Manifesto For Writers By Frank L. Cioffi
A Workbook For Arguments – A Complete Course In Critical Thinking by David Morrow
The Minds Of Men [Documentary] | Social Engineering & Mind Control
Manipulation Of Media Messages & Astroturf by Sharyl Attkisson
Mainstream Media Control
Socratic Logic V 3.1 by Peter Kreeft PhD
The Trivium – The Liberal Arts Of Logic, Grammar & Rhetoric by Sister Mary Joseph Ph.D.
Why Read The Classics?
Getting Things done by David Allen
Dumbing Us Down by John Taylor Gatto
The Catastrophic Decline of Public Schooling: 21 Facts Why School Performs Poorly
Mindset Musings#1: Venturing Outside Of Comfort Zones
Rotten To The Common Core by Dr. Joseph P. Farrell & Gary Lawrence
Lesson’s From Orwell’s 1984
Against Public Schooling – How Public Education Cripples Our Kids By John Taylor Gatto
Social Engineering 101
The Tavistock Institute – Social Engineering The Masses By Daniel Estulin
Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
The Emergence Of Orwellian Newspeak & The Death Of Free Speech
What Is An Elite Curriculum?
A Mind Of Your Own – The Truth About Depression by Dr. Kelly Brogan
Social Engineering 101
Drilling Through The Core by Sandra Stotski & Contributors
What Is An Elite Curriculum?
Invisible Influence by Kevin Hogan

Book Review: A Workbook For Arguments – A Complete Course In Critical Thinking [2nd Ed.] by David R. Morrow & Anthony Weston | #SmartReads

BreakawayIndividual.com
Zy Marquiez
February 14, 2020

Having read A Rulebook For Arguments by Anthony Weston and finding it quite useful, the prospect of reading a book along very similar lines but offering more expanded thought seemed quite intriguing.  Thankfully, the following book delivered in spades.

A Workbook For Arguments – A Complete Course In Critical Thinking by David R. Morrow & Anthony Weston is a very comprehensive and incisive foray into what it takes to create a critical thinking mind, and how to employ it effectively as well.

Not only does A Workbook For Arguments contain the text from A Rulebook For Arguments with further extensions which help the reader become more robust with the content further broken down, but it also features simple and yet acute advice for the individual to become more apt in argumentation.

In conjunction with that, the authors break down about half the exercises in the book with model responses in the back of the book.  Most of these exercise detail real world dilemmas one is likely to hear quite often, detailing the pros and cons of whatever answers were employed, and how each of those may affect an individual or society as a whole.

Also included in the book is a rundown of some of the most common fallacies, which is also useful since fallacies are employed far more often than most realize, and aren’t really taught in school, when in all actuality they should be.  Knowing these fallacies is vital to understand not only someone else’s argument and their inherent flaws, but also in constructing and fine-tuning one’s own.

Arguably, the most important part of this book is that from the beginning it guides the reader through the steps in constructing a critical argument in a very logical fashion.  What’s more, throughout the book, new topics continually build on the prior ones continuing to add layers to the strong foundation the book helps cement from the get go.

Personally, this is the kind of book whose contents should be mandatory to learn in school and should definitely not be overlooked for homeschooling, autodidacts and self-teachers.

Simply stated, anyone who is seeking to employ critical thinking, use logic in argumentation and become more robust in most key aspects of argumentation should get this book, if not file it under careful consideration.  If you think about it, even if it was priced at double or triple the price, it would STILL be worth it, because college courses covering the same subject are often more costly, and offer barely a fraction of what’s here, IF they offer anything of such high quality.

Bottom line: get this book.  You will not regret it.

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Author’s Note:

I recently found out, there is in fact a 3rd Edition of the book.  I haven’t reviewed it, but I do plan on reading it in the future.  I say that just in case anyone is interested in knowing.  Whenever I do read it, I will note how much content has been added and/or changed.  Until though, I cannot vouch for it, though I wouldn’t be surprised if it was worth the money, considering the quality of work of the authors.

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If you find value in this information, please share it.  This article is free and open source.  All individuals have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and  BreakawayIndividual.com

_________________________________________________________________________________

Suggested Reading & Viewing:

Are You Living Your Dreams?
What Is The Difference Between Education & Public Schooling?
How TV Robs You Of Your Life
How A Generation Lost Its Common Culture
Philosophy 101 by Socrates – An Introduction To Phylosophy Via Plato’s Apology By Peter Kreeft Ph.D.
How To Read A Book by Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren
A Different Kind Of Teacher by John Taylor Gatto
Logical Fallacies Employed In Every Day Life
The Imaginative Argument – A Practical Manifesto For Writers By Frank L. Cioffi
The Minds Of Men [Documentary] | Social Engineering & Mind Control
Manipulation Of Media Messages & Astroturf by Sharyl Attkisson
Mainstream Media Control
Socratic Logic V 3.1 by Peter Kreeft PhD
The Trivium – The Liberal Arts Of Logic, Grammar & Rhetoric by Sister Mary Joseph Ph.D.
Why Read The Classics?
Getting Things done by David Allen
Dumbing Us Down by John Taylor Gatto
The Catastrophic Decline of Public Schooling: 21 Facts Why School Performs Poorly
Mindset Musings#1: Venturing Outside Of Comfort Zones
Rotten To The Common Core by Dr. Joseph P. Farrell & Gary Lawrence
Lesson’s From Orwell’s 1984
Against Public Schooling – How Public Education Cripples Our Kids By John Taylor Gatto
Social Engineering 101
The Tavistock Institute – Social Engineering The Masses By Daniel Estulin
Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
The Emergence Of Orwellian Newspeak & The Death Of Free Speech
What Is An Elite Curriculum?
A Mind Of Your Own – The Truth About Depression by Dr. Kelly Brogan
Social Engineering 101
Drilling Through The Core by Sandra Stotski & Contributors
What Is An Elite Curriculum?
Invisible Influence by Kevin Hogan

Book Review: The Imaginative Argument – A Practical Manifesto For Writers By Frank L. Cioffi | #BookReview #Writing

BreakawayIndividual.com
Zy Marquiez
February 13, 2020

The Imaginative Argument – A Practical Manifesto For Writers by Frank L. Cioffi is an innovative book that shows writers how to explore a wide array of subjects in a truly creative way.

Cioffi infuses the book with abundant practical, thoughtful, yet incisive examples that teach individuals the many possibilities available in argumentation, while still leaving the reader the versatility to focus and employ their own creative style in their writing repertoire.

Sourcing authors such as Orwell, Goffman, Benedict, Updike, James, Nabovok and others, the author helps the reader analyze them and view their notable writing idiosyncrasies for the strengths they were, while also showing the vast range these writers employed each in their own unique way.

The Imaginative Argument is an outside of the box book that it is better thought of as belonging in its own writing domain, for it doesn’t operate within any proverbial box, as it teaches argumentation in a robust and yet meaningful way that doesn’t shackle itself to any preconceived notions but uses imagination as the gateway from which it operates.

In other words, what Cioffi offers in this book is a mixture of equal parts mad scientist and academician who employ mathematical precision merged with the range of a boundless artist that utilizes the universe as its canvas for writing.  The Imaginative Argument is a true perfect fusion of the left and right brain to boot, which is the best part of this book.

Writing argumentative papers or articles on serious subjects can really make for a dull read.  But this book helps add additional depth and intrigue by its inherent strength in showing many of the ways that subjects can be explored in a non-traditional way that really leaves the reader thinking in ways they wouldn’t have done so if a subject was written about in a more traditional way as writing is often taught.

Covered also within the confines of this book are all of the major parts of constructing an essay: a solid foundational introduction, a consideration of the audience which is focused on quite a bit throughout the book, a foray into the writing process, a focus on the thesis, arguments, style, and much more.

The end of the book even provides additional sample essays and writing prompts which serve to further an individual’s self-directed learning process.

In its totality, this book offers a lot of ideas for consideration for all writers.  Cioffi’s refreshing and fearless approach serves to engage the reader quite saliently, also providing a veritable mixture of do’s and don’ts that are not only practical but useful.

Cioffi created an absolute masterpiece in the field of creative argumentation, and for that he should be applauded at length.

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If you find value in this information, please share it.  This article is free and open source.  All individuals have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and  BreakawayIndividual.com

_________________________________________________________________________________

Suggested Reading & Viewing:

Are You Living Your Dreams?
How TV Robs You Of Your Life
How A Generation Lost Its Common Culture
Philosophy 101 by Socrates – An Introduction To Phylosophy Via Plato’s Apology By Peter Kreeft Ph.D.
How To Read A Book by Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren
Logical Fallacies Employed In Every Day Life
The Minds Of Men [Documentary] | Social Engineering & Mind Control
Manipulation Of Media Messages & Astroturf by Sharyl Attkisson
Mainstream Media Control
Socratic Logic V 3.1 by Peter Kreeft PhD
The Trivium – The Liberal Arts Of Logic, Grammar & Rhetoric by Sister Mary Joseph Ph.D.
Why Read The Classics?
Getting Things done by David Allen
Dumbing Us Down by John Taylor Gatto
The Catastrophic Decline of Public Schooling: 21 Facts Why School Performs Poorly
Mindset Musings#1: Venturing Outside Of Comfort Zones
Rotten To The Common Core by Dr. Joseph P. Farrell & Gary Lawrence
Lesson’s From Orwell’s 1984
Against Public Schooling – How Public Education Cripples Our Kids By John Taylor Gatto
Social Engineering 101
The Tavistock Institute – Social Engineering The Masses By Daniel Estulin
Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
The Emergence Of Orwellian Newspeak & The Death Of Free Speech
What Is An Elite Curriculum?
A Mind Of Your Own – The Truth About Depression by Dr. Kelly Brogan
Social Engineering 101
Drilling Through The Core by Sandra Stotski & Contributors
What Is An Elite Curriculum?
Invisible Influence by Kevin Hogan

Why Read the Classics? | #Books #Reading #SelfDirectedEducation

Library2
New York Review Of Books
Italy Calvino
October 9, 1986 Issue

Let us begin with a few suggested definitions.

1) The classics are the books of which we usually hear people say: “I am rereading…” and never “I am reading….”

This at least happens among those who consider themselves “very well read.” It does not hold good for young people at the age when they first encounter the world, and the classics as a part of that world.

The reiterative prefix before the verb “read” may be a small hypocrisy on the part of people ashamed to admit they have not read a famous book. To reassure them, we need only observe that, however vast any person’s basic reading may be, there still remain an enormous number of fundamental works that he has not read.

Hands up, anyone who has read the whole of Herodotus and the whole of Thucydides! And Saint-Simon? And Cardinal de Retz? But even the great nineteenth-century cycles of novels are more often talked about than read. In France they begin to read Balzac in school, and judging by the number of copies in circulation, one may suppose that they go on reading him even after that, but if a Gallup poll were taken in Italy, I’m afraid that Balzac would come in practically last. Dickens fans in Italy form a tiny elite; as soon as its members meet, they begin to chatter about characters and episodes as if they were discussing people and things of their own acquaintance. Years ago, while teaching in America, Michel Butor got fed up with being asked about Emile Zola, whom he had never read, so he made up his mind to read the entire Rougon-Macquart cycle. He found it was completely different from what he had thought: a fabulous mythological and cosmogonical family tree, which he went on to describe in a wonderful essay.

In other words, to read a great book for the first time in one’s maturity is an extraordinary pleasure, different from (though one cannot say greater or lesser than) the pleasure of having read it in one’s youth. Youth brings to reading, as to any other experience, a particular flavor and a particular sense of importance, whereas in maturity one appreciates (or ought to appreciate) many more details and levels and meanings. We may therefore attempt the next definition:

2) We use the word “classics” for those books that are treasured by those who have read and loved them; but they are treasured no less by those who have the luck to read them for the first time in the best conditions to enjoy them.

In fact, reading in youth can be rather unfruitful, owing to impatience, distraction, inexperience with the product’s “instructions for use,” and inexperience in life itself. Books read then can be (possibly at one and the same time) formative, in the sense that they give a form to future experiences, providing models, terms of comparison, schemes for classification, scales of value, exemplars of beauty—all things that continue to operate even if the book read in one’s youth is almost or totally forgotten. If we reread the book at a mature age we are likely to rediscover these constants, which by this time are part of our inner mechanisms, but whose origins we have long forgotten. A literary work can succeed in making us forget it as such, but it leaves its seed in us. The definition we can give is therefore this:

3) The classics are books that exert a peculiar influence, both when they refuse to be eradicated from the mind and when they conceal themselves in the folds of memory, camouflaging themselves as the collective or individual unconscious.

There should therefore be a time in adult life devoted to revisiting the most important books of our youth. Even if the books have remained the same (though they do change, in the light of an altered historical perspective), we have most certainly changed, and our encounter will be an entirely new thing.

Hence, whether we use the verb “read” or the verb “reread” is of little importance. Indeed, we may say:

4) Every rereading of a classic is as much a voyage of discovery as the first reading.

5) Every reading of a classic is in fact a rereading.

Definition 4 may be considered a corollary of this next one:

6) A classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say.

Whereas definition 5 depends on a more specific formula, such as this:

7) The classics are the books that come down to us bearing upon them the traces of readings previous to ours, and bringing in their wake the traces they themselves have left on the culture or cultures they have passed through (or, more simply, on language and customs).

All this is true both of the ancient and of the modern classics. If I read the Odyssey I read Homer’s text, but I cannot forget all that the adventures of Ulysses have come to mean in the course of the centuries, and I cannot help wondering if these meanings were implicit in the text, or whether they are incrustations or distortions or expansions. When reading Kafka, I cannot avoid approving or rejecting the legitimacy of the adjective “Kafkaesque,” which one is likely to hear every quarter of an hour, applied indiscriminately. If I read Turgenev’s Fathers and Sons or Dostoevsky’s The Possessed, I cannot help thinking how these characters have continued to be reincarnated right down to our own day.

The reading of a classic ought to give us a surprise or two vis-à-vis the notion that we had of it. For this reason I can never sufficiently highly recommend the direct reading of the text itself, leaving aside the critical biography, commentaries, and interpretations as much as possible. Schools and universities ought to help us to understand that no book that talks about a book says more than the book in question, but instead they do their level best to make us think the opposite. There is a very widespread topsyturviness of values whereby the introduction, critical apparatus, and bibliography are used as a smoke screen to hide what the text has to say, and, indeed, can say only if left to speak for itself without intermediaries who claim to know more than the text does. We may conclude that:

8) A classic does not necessarily teach us anything we did not know before. In a classic we sometimes discover something we have always known (or thought we knew), but without knowing that this author said it first, or at least is associated with it in a special way. And this, too, is a surprise that gives a lot of pleasure, such as we always gain from the discovery of an origin, a relationship, an affinity. From all this we may derive a definition of this type:

9) The classics are books that we find all the more new, fresh, and unexpected upon reading, the more we thought we knew them from hearing them talked about.

Naturally, this only happens when a classic really works as such—that is, when it establishes a personal rapport with the reader. If the spark doesn’t come, that’s a pity; but we do not read the classics out of duty or respect, but only out of love. Except at school. And school should enable you to know, either well or badly, a certain number of classics among which—or in reference to which—you can then choose your classics. School is obliged to give you the instruments needed to make a choice, but the choices that count are those that occur outside and after school.

It is only by reading without bias that you might possibly come across the book that becomes your book. I know an excellent art historian, an extraordinarily well-read man, who out of all the books there are has focused his special love on the Pickwick Papers; at every opportunity he comes up with some quip from Dickens’s book, and connects each and every event in life with some Pickwickian episode. Little by little he himself, and true philosophy, and the universe, have taken on the shape and form of the Pickwick Papers by a process of complete identification. In this way we arrive at a very lofty and demanding notion of what a classic is:

10) We use the word “classic” of a book that takes the form of an equivalent to the universe, on a level with the ancient talismans. With this definition we are approaching the idea of the “total book,” as Mallarmé conceived of it.

But a classic can establish an equally strong rapport in terms of opposition and antithesis. Everything that Jean-Jacques Rousseau thinks and does is very dear to my heart, yet everything fills me with an irrepressible desire to contradict him, to criticize him, to quarrel with him. It is a question of personal antipathy on a temperamental level, on account of which I ought to have no choice but not to read him; and yet I cannot help numbering him among my authors. I will therefore say:

11) Your classic author is the one you cannot feel indifferent to, who helps you to define yourself in relation to him, even in dispute with him.

I think I have no need to justify myself for using the word “classic” without making distinctions about age, style, or authority. What distinguishes the classic, in the argument I am making, may be only an echo effect that holds good both for an ancient work and for a modern one that has already achieved its place in a cultural continuum. We might say:

12) A classic is a book that comes before other classics; but anyone who has read the others first, and then reads this one, instantly recognizes its place in the family tree.

At this point I can no longer put off the vital problem of how to relate the reading of the classics to the reading of all the other books that are anything but classics. It is a problem connected with such questions as, Why read the classics rather than concentrate on books that enable us to understand our own times more deeply? or, Where shall we find the time and peace of mind to read the classics, overwhelmed as we are by the avalanche of current events?

We can, of course, imagine some blessed soul who devotes his reading time exclusively to Lucretius, Lucian, Montaigne, Erasmus, Quevedo, Marlowe, the Discourse on Method, Wilhelm Meister, Coleridge, Ruskin, Proust, and Valéry, with a few forays in the direction of Murasaki or the Icelandic sagas. And all this without having to write reviews of the latest publications, or papers to compete for a university chair, or articles for magazines on tight deadlines. To keep up such a diet without any contamination, this blessed soul would have to abstain from reading the newspapers, and never be tempted by the latest novel or sociological investigation. But we have to see how far such rigor would be either justified or profitable. The latest news may well be banal or mortifying, but it nonetheless remains a point at which to stand and look both backward and forward. To be able to read the classics you have to know “from where” you are reading them; otherwise both the book and the reader will be lost in a timeless cloud. This, then, is the reason why the greatest “yield” from reading the classics will be obtained by someone who knows how to alternate them with the proper dose of current affairs. And this does not necessarily imply a state of imperturbable inner calm. It can also be the fruit of nervous impatience, of a huffing-and-puffing discontent of mind.

Maybe the ideal thing would be to hearken to current events as we do to the din outside the window that informs us about traffic jams and sudden changes in the weather, while we listen to the voice of the classics sounding clear and articulate inside the room. But it is already a lot for most people if the presence of the classics is perceived as a distant rumble far outside a room that is swamped by the trivia of the moment, as by a television at full blast. Let us therefore add:

13) A classic is something that tends to relegate the concerns of the moment to the status of background noise, but at the same time this background noise is something we cannot do without.

14) A classic is something that persists as a background noise even when the most incompatible momentary concerns are in control of the situation.

There remains the fact that reading the classics appears to clash with our rhythm of life, which no longer affords long periods of time or the spaciousness of humanistic leisure. It also contradicts the eclecticism of our culture, which would never be capable of compiling a catalog of things classical such as would suit our needs.

These latter conditions were fully realized in the case of Leopardi, given his solitary life in his father’s house (his “paterno ostello“), his cult of Greek and Latin antiquity, and the formidable library put at his disposal by his father, Monaldo. To which we may add the entire body of Italian literature and of French literature, with the exception of novels and the “latest thing out” in general, all of which were at least swept off into the sidelines, there to comfort the leisure of his sister Paolina (“your Stendhal,” he wrote her once). Even with his intense interest in science and history, he was often willing to rely on texts that were not entirely up-to-date, taking the habits of birds from Buffon, the mummies of Frederik Ruysch from Fontanelle, the voyage of Columbus from Robertson.

In these days a classical education like the young Leopardi’s is unthinkable; above all, Count Monaldo’s library has multiplied explosively. The ranks of the old titles have been decimated, while new ones have proliferated in all modern literatures and cultures. There is nothing for it but for all of us to invent our own ideal libraries of classics. I would say that such a library ought to be composed half of books we have read and that have really counted for us, and half of books we propose to read and presume will come to count—leaving a section of empty shelves for surprises and occasional discoveries.

I realize that Leopardi is the only name I have cited from Italian literature—a result of the explosion of the library. Now I ought to rewrite the whole article to make it perfectly clear that the classics help us to understand who we are and where we stand, a purpose for which it is indispensable to compare Italians with foreigners and foreigners with Italians.

Then I ought to rewrite it yet again lest anyone believe that the classics ought to be read because they “serve any purpose” whatever. The only reason one can possibly adduce is that to read the classics is better than not to read the classics.

And if anyone objects that it is not worth taking so much trouble, then I will quote Cioran (who is not yet a classic, but will become one):

While they were preparing the hemlock, Socrates was learning a tune on the flute. “What good will it do you,” they asked, “to know this tune before you die?”

translated by Patrick Creagh
English translation copyright © 1986 Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc.

Read More At: NYBooks.com

Book Review: The Trivium – The Liberal Arts Of Logic, Grammar & Rhetoric By Sisters Miriam Joseph Ph.D. | #Education #Autodidact


BreakawayIndividual.com
Zy Marquiez
February 11, 2020

In How To Read A Book – The Classical Guide To Intelligent Reading, Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren postulated that most published books out there will not be complex enough to teach the reader anything of true substance.[1]

That is unfortunate, because given the decline in education, substance is exactly what our culture needs, especially given how culture as a whole is also declining as well, as Professor Patrick Deneen penned in a paper years ago.

Transitioning to the opposite side of the spectrum of education, let us now take a look at a highly underrated book that would go a long way to aid in an individual’s self-directed learning.

There is no better place to start with respect to education, then gravitating towards the Trivium, which was part of classical education, though that is no longer the case.  In The Trivium – The Liberal Arts Of Logic, Grammar & Rhetoric by Sister Miriam Joseph Ph.D. does an exemplary job teaching classical components of education which do not get the light of day in modern times.

As this passage by Marguerite McGlinn relates, which speaks incisively:

“Ultimately, Sister Miriam Joseph speaks most eloquently about the value of this book.  She explains that studying the liberal arts [The Trivium] is an intransitive activity; the effect of studying these arts stays within the individual and perfects the faculties of the mind and spirit.  She compares the studying of the liberal arts with the blooming of the rose; it brings to fruition the possibilities of human nature.  She writes, “The utilitarian or servile arts enable one to be a servant – of another person, of the state, of a corporation, or a business – and to earn a living.  The liberal arts, in contrast, teach one how to live; they train the faculties and bring them to perfection; they enable a person to rise above his material environment to live an intellectual, a rational, and therefore a free life in gaining truth.”[2][Bold & Underline Emphasis Added]

The book doesn’t just speak of The Trivium, but shows how to employ the core concepts rather saliently.

By covering the vital topics of Logic, Grammar & Rhetoric, The Trivium goes far above and beyond most books that are ‘mandatory’ in the public school system.

Given that the once mandatory subjects of rhetoric and logic are all but gone from mainstream schooling and only a shadow of those remain, while what is taught of grammar is very superficial, a book like this blows away anything that regular schooling could offer.

Why such a bold statement?  Because the Trivium is the foundation upon which classical education was built.  However, after a shift away from classical education, the Trivium was removed from the system of public schooling to the detriment of the students and America as a whole.

The Trivium features not only a very methodical approach into the learning and teaching of Grammar, Logic and Rhetoric, but the book is also chock-full of numerous examples coming straight from the upper tiers of literary history which are used to buttress lessons from the book.

Additionally, not only does this book explain in detail the core concepts of the Trivium, but at key junctures it also offers some exercises in order to apply what one has learned to gauge an individual’s progress.

The Trivium is a really thorough presentation of classical education in a user-friendly manner.  It encompasses everything from poetics, fallacies, syllogisms, propositions, grammar, composition, enthymemes and much more.

If you’re a homeschooler, an unschooler, an autodidact, a self-directed learner, or simply someone that is seeking to teach themselves about these crucial parts of education, then ruminate deeply about getting this book.  Its lessons would benefit every individual come to terms with the greater capability that they always could have had, but never found a way to achieve due to the terribly lacking public schooling system.

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Sources & References:
[1] Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren, How To Read A Book, Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren.
[2] Sister Miriam Joseph Ph.D.,The Trivium – The Liberal Arts Of Logic, Grammar & Rhetoric, pp. x-xi.
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Suggested Reading & Viewing:

Are You Living Your Dreams?
How TV Robs You Of Your Life
How A Generation Lost Its Common Culture
How To Read A Book by Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren
Logical Fallacies Employed In Every Day Life
The Minds Of Men [Documentary] | Social Engineering & Mind Control
Manipulation Of Media Messages & Astroturf by Sharyl Attkisson
Mainstream Media Control
Socratic Logic V 3.1 by Peter Kreeft PhD
Getting Things done by David Allen
Dumbing Us Down by John Taylor Gatto
The Catastrophic Decline of Public Schooling: 21 Facts Why School Performs Poorly
Mindset Musings#1: Venturing Outside Of Comfort Zones
Rotten To The Common Core by Dr. Joseph P. Farrell & Gary Lawrence
Lesson’s From Orwell’s 1984
Against Public Schooling – How Public Education Cripples Our Kids By John Taylor Gatto
Social Engineering 101
The Tavistock Institute – Social Engineering The Masses By Daniel Estulin
Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
The Emergence Of Orwellian Newspeak & The Death Of Free Speech
What Is An Elite Curriculum?
A Mind Of Your Own – The Truth About Depression by Dr. Kelly Brogan
Social Engineering 101
Drilling Through The Core by Sandra Stotski & Contributors
What Is An Elite Curriculum?
Invisible Influence by Kevin Hogan

Book Review: How To Read A Book – The Classic Guide To Intelligent Reading by Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren | #BookReview #SmartReads #Reading #Education

A Mind needs a book as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep it’s edge.”
– George R. R. Martin

“A man is known by the books he reads.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Read not to contradict and confuse; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider.”
– Francis Bacon

BreakawayIndividual.com
Zy Marquiez
February 10, 2020

This particular book is a book that helps you extract more information from all types of reading, whether it is books, or otherwise.   How To Read A Book will help you think more effectively, more incisively and ultimately help you achieve more from the full spectrum of reading.

At the behest of Peter Kreeft PhD, the author Socratic Logic Peter Kreeft PhD, the following book came highly recommended in his list of critical content to further your own education.   Holding Kreeft’s opinion in high respect – and after doing some research into the book – getting this book seemed to be more than a safe bet.  In fact, it was much more than that, for getting this book has made me a better reader, writer, and communicator due to the logical and cogent way in which it explains its concepts, as well as how to extract the most out of reading proactively.

How To Read A BookThe Classic Guide To Intelligent Reading by Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren is an extraordinary book in various ways.  Not only does it teach the reader how to correctly read different kinds of books – by reading proactively, by rather reactively – but it also provides essential tools for the synthesis of other great – and more meaningful – pieces of literature.  However, How To Read A Book still features an extensive array of tools to enable individuals to increase the breadth and scope of their reading repertoire to a significant degree.

As a caveat, the authors do make a crucial distinction in the fact different type of genres should be read differently.  To say it another way, poetry, plays, or even fiction, will be read drastically different from nonfiction books.  This is something that’s not taught to individuals for the most part, and we miss out incredibly because of it.

Adler and Van Doren cover an extensive range of tools for reader’s to learn and implement – if they so choose – in order to maximize their understanding of the information held within books.  The book features a wide ranging set of suggestions that build on themselves throughout the chapters, all of which help the reader navigate all the way from the basics to the more advanced in seamless fashion.

To a great extent, the authors show the lengths to which proper reading can be taken too, as well as the depth that can be gathered by undertaking their advice.  As an avid reader and researcher, the information within the pages of this book have helped me considerably not only in pushing myself as a reader, but in understanding – and even merging – the depth and scope of information that is stated in various reading formats, as well as sifting out deeper implications when information isn’t obvious.

Additionally, covered within How To Read A Book are topics such as inspectional reading, systematic skimming, problems in comprehension, ‘x-raying’ a book, coming to terms with the author, criticizing a book fairly, reading aids, how to read practical books, how to read imaginative literature, suggestions for reading stories, plays and poems, how to read history, how to read philosophy as well as much, much more.

A significantly striking component of the book was the topic of syntopical reading, which is what the authors call ‘The Fourth Level Of Learning’.  In laymen terms, syntopical reading is the ability to  synthesize information from various sources, which paradoxically is not taught much, if at all, in public schooling.  Since synthesizing information is a process that yields incredible growth for all individuals, the information in this particular section was quite vital.

A book like How To Read A Book should be an integral piece in everyone’s education, be it self-directed or otherwise, given that an incredible amount of what individuals learn comes via reading, and that is no overstatement.  In an age where cognitive decline of education continues unabated, it’s those that push themselves into the realm of self-directed learning who will be the ones that will always stay ahead of the masses.  More saliently, self-directed education is crucial because simply, it’s what’s best for you as an individual, irrespective of what anyone else is doing.  It is something that is possible or anyone to do, of nigh any age.

The suggestions in this book seep into most if not all books [or reading] in some way shape or form.  When carried out, this undoubtedly filters into an individuals’ everyday lives proportional to how much its concepts are employed.  There really aren’t too many books out there that urge the reader to go beyond the conventional baseline of public schooling and education, but this book is certainly one of those precious few.  The authors certainly to seek to further one’s education beyond the bounds of modern schooling.

Please keep in mind, schooling and education are not the same thing, which is an important distinction because what individuals receive in America is barely a facsimile of education, and is in no way shape or form the true education of times past, given that America as a nation has strewn away from classical education.

Authors like the late award winning teacher John Taylor Gatto’s in his landmark Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling, Dr. Joseph P Farrell & Gary Lawrence’s Rotten To The Common Core , and Charlotte Iserbyt, who served as the Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of Educational Research and Improvement, U.S. Department of Education, in her The Deliberate Dumbing Down Of America  all outline the deliberate dumbing down of America with incredible precision, and these authors by far are not even the only speaking at length about this disturbing trend.

At the end of the book the authors also graciously feature a list of ‘the greatest books of all time’ in their opinion, and after having read the list and having read a few dozen of them it’s hard to disagree.  This additional piece of mental pie is something that’s worth considering for an individual’s mental faculties.

What’s more, the authors state that there exist specific books which fall into the category of what they call ‘Great books’, such as The Illiad, The Odyssey, Organon, The Republic, Paradise Lost, The Divine Comedy, et al.  The authors postulate that only 1% of the millions of book out there – if not less – fall within this category of ‘Great Books’.  What makes those books special is that:

“…if the book belongs to the highest class – the very small number of inexhaustible books – you discover on returning that the book seems to have grown with youYou see new things in it – whole new sets of new things – that you did not see before.  Your previous understanding of the book is not invalidated; it is just as true as it ever was, and in the same ways that it was true before.  But now it is true in still other ways, too.”[1][Bold, Underline & Italics Emphasis Added].

Essentially, that the gems of knowledge contained within these books and the growth the reader will attain will not only be extensive, given the depth and immensity of the concepts within the book, but these books will teach you the most about reading and about life.  Equally, regardless of how many times one reads these books, they are so profound and demanding of the reader that one will always learn something from them.

If you appreciate books, reading, classical education, or are striving to demand more from yourself or even plan on building a home-schooling curriculum, GET THIS BOOK!  This book really is for everyone.  Educated minds have great foundations, and this book helps lay those foundations in an ironclad manner.

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Footnotes:

[1] Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren, How To Read A Book – The Classic Guide To Intelligent Reading, p. 333.

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If you find value in this information, please share it.  This article is free and open source.  All individuals have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and  BreakawayIndividual.com
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Suggested Reading & Viewing:

Are You Living Your Dreams?
How TV Robs You Of Your Life
Logical Fallacies Employed In Every Day Life
The Minds Of Men [Documentary] | Social Engineering & Mind Control
Manipulation Of Media Messages & Astroturf by Sharyl Attkisson
Socratic Logic V 3.1 by Peter Kreeft PhD
Getting Things done by David Allen
Dumbing Us Down by John Taylor Gatto
The Catastrophic Decline of Public Schooling: 21 Facts Why School Performs Poorly
Mindset Musings#1: Venturing Outside Of Comfort Zones
Rotten To The Common Core by Dr. Joseph P. Farrell & Gary Lawrence
Lesson’s From Orwell’s 1984
Against Public Schooling – How Public Education Cripples Our Kids By John Taylor Gatto
Social Engineering 101
The Tavistock Institute – Social Engineering The Masses By Daniel Estulin
Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
The Emergence Of Orwellian Newspeak & The Death Of Free Speech
What Is An Elite Curriculum?
A Mind Of Your Own – The Truth About Depression by Dr. Kelly Brogan
Social Engineering 101
Drilling Through The Core by Sandra Stotski & Contributors
What Is An Elite Curriculum?
Invisible Influence by Kevin Hogan