#Book Review: Summerhill School – A New View Of Childhood by A.S. Neil | #SmartReads | #Education

BreakawayIndividual.com
Zy Marquiez
April 19, 2019

Having read three books by the late John Taylor Gatto, who has spoken out at length about the inherent issues within public schooling, while also having met some people through discussing these books, someone was kind enough to recommend this particular book.  To say the least, this book is outside of the box as outside of the box can be when it comes to education.

Summerhill School – A New View Of Childhood by A.S. Neil is a book that details the venture of those who took part in the school known as Summerhill, which sought to achieve a new standard of learning and growth.

A.S. Neil was the person mainly responsible for this audacious undertaking, and his actions echo still to this day.

What Neil sought to do was create a place where the idea/value of Freedom is wholly respected, through and through.  For this, this new school required a different way of thinking – a whole new mindset.  This venture required the removal of preconceived notions of childhood schooling, coupled with the open-mindedness that to achieve true education in the school system the child must govern entirely free to govern themselves.  This means that the child would be active in most of what the child chooses for their own development, which may include various aspects learning or playing.  A true unorthodox point of view if there ever were one.

Neil’s democratic style education based around the individual is quite evocative, because when carried out correctly [as myriad examples show in his book] it shows that children can self-govern themselves, and also do so quite well.  This takes place also with little to no interference from the adults, except in some very unique circumstances.  For the most part though, children were left to their own devices, to choose what type of learning they would undertake.

To gauge what Neil strove to achieve, let’s take a gander at his own words:

The goal was to use childhood and adolescence to create emotional wholeness and personal strengthNeil thought that once this wholeness had been achieved children would be self-motivated to learn what they needed academically.  The key to this growth was to give children freedom to play for as long as they felt the need in an atmosphere of approval and love.   The children were given freedom but not license; they could do as they pleased as long as it didn’t bother anyone else.”[1][Bold Emphasis Added]

Therein lies the beauty, for the child who ends up not playing, ends up not using one of the most important parts of life for learning and growth – imagination.  Furthermore, the children that have unfinished childhoods so to speak, later in life seek to do things that could have already taken place, and which end up slowing down the progress of growth as an adult.  That’s what Neil noticed in his work.

Couple to the above the fact that in the notable magazine, Scientific American, in an article titled “The Serious Need For Play”, it was reported by Melinda Wenner Moyer that one-third of the kids who had gone to play-free schools had been arrested for felonies.[2]

Additionally, there are other topics discussed within the book.  Everything from social structure, emotional problems, particularly with children who are a bit older, meetings, self-government, what are called ‘problem children’, play and self-regulation and much more is discussed at length.

Perhaps, the best way to understand what Summerhill is truly about comes from the following:

“You don’t have Summerhill in order that children should study or learn to become “ists” of any kind.  You let them function in their own play-work fashion, and you postulate no purpose for them at all.”[3]

The genius of the idea is that because their core individual foundation in childhood was so enjoyable and emotionally robust children end up learning vastly quicker when they choose to follow their path than students enter the public school system.

However, if that growth is not allowed when children are forced through compulsory schooling, that then crushes their individuality and imagination.  Those very circumstances turn children into robots, only capable of following orders and never taught to critically think.  Only memorization of facts becomes important, and not arriving at the facts through a strong critical-thinking process within their mental faculties.

For that reason, many of the topics of the book do delve into the idea of playing.  Neil does make it a point about focusing on the benefits of playing quite a bit.  What the notion of play entails is:

“…not thinking in terms of athletic fields and organized games; I am thinking of play in terms of fantasy.  Organized games involve skill, competition, teamwork; but children’s play usually requires no skill, little competition, and hardly any teamwork.”[4][Bold Emphasis Added]

In other words, true play, like a whetstone, hones the development of imagination.  And imagination is integral, because a child whose imagination hasn’t developed has had his childhood stultified, as well as their imagination, and will be a conformist child, and thus, a conformist adult at the drop of a hat.  Disturbingly, this is exactly what we see in society more and more with time.

The book is split up into two parts. First, the book covers all facets regarding Summerhill, which are covered at length from a variety of angles, citing dozens and dozens of examples of how children responded to particular scenarios and whatnot. Everything from classes, theater, music, sex, teachers, and much more is discussed here.  The second part of the book covers many aspects of Neils life, as he takes us through the journey of what brought him to taking part in Summerhill.

All this considered, the book is a fantastic read.  Admittedly, the first half appealed to me a lot more than the second part, but that’s because the interest for me was in the process for the individual and not so much in how the author came to be part of it.  Regardless, the book really is something worth pondering for anybody that thinks the one-size-fits-all public schooling and compulsory conformity system that western schooling has become is good, really needs to take a look at the conformity crisis that’s taking place.  That, however, is a whole different can of worms.  One that John Taylor Gatto discusses at length in all of his books.

If you have read any of John Taylor Gatto’s book, then you will know how indoctrination and conformity are the aim of public schooling, and there’s many public documents showing this.  Because of that, and more, an honest view into a different paradigm such as this one brought about by Neil is needed.  Summerhill has shown that education and personal growth can actually be enjoyable for once.

Summerhill has already broken new ground for a new paradigm.  Now it’s up to individuals to ruminate upon how to learn from it and see where it may take them.

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Footnotes:

[1] A.S. Neil, Summerhill School – A New View Of Childhood, p. xviii
[2] Moyer, Melinda Wenner, “The Serious Need For Play.” Scientific American, 2013:  86.  Print.
[3] A.S. Neil, Summerhill School – A New View Of Childhood, p. 217.
[4] Ibid., p. 32.

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Suggested Reading & Watching:

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Suggested Reading & Watching:

What Is The Difference Between Education & Public Schooling?
Logical Fallacies Employed In Every Day Life
Dumbing Us Down by John Taylor Gatto
Weapons Of Mass Instruction by John Taylor Gatto
13 Great Reasons To Study Logic
How A Generation Lost Its Culture – by Professor Patrick Deneen
A Different Kind Of Teacher by John Taylor Gatto
Socratic Logic by Peter Kreeft Ph.D.
Philosophy 101 by Peter Kreeft Ph.D.
Brave New World & Brave New World Revisited by Aldous Huxley
What Is Education?  The Elite Curriculum – John Taylor Gatto
Breakaway Guide To Censorship, Disinformation, Logical Fallacies & More
How To Read A Book by Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren
Classrooms Of The Heart [Documentary] – John Taylor Gatto
Sumerhill School – A New View On Childhood by A.S. Neil
Social Engineering 101
The True Purpose Of Modern Schooling
Getting Things Done by David Allen
Open-Source Method: Genius Education – Examples | John Taylor Gatto
The Trivium – The Liberal Arts Of Logic, Grammar & Rhetoric by Sister Miriam Joseph Ph.D.
Cultural Literacy – What Every American Needs To Know
by E.D. Hirsch Jr.
A Rulebook For Arguments by Anthony Weston
A Workbook For Arguments by David R. Morrow & Anthony Wesson
Drilling Through The Core – Why Common Core Is Bad For American Education by Sandra Stotsky & Contributors

 

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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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About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, inquirer, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, and freelance writer who aims at empowering individuals while also studying and regularly mirroring subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.

The Individual & The Road | #Growth | #Life | #Perspective | #Choices

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
– Lao Tzu

BreakawayIndividual.com
Zy Marquiez
April 12, 2019

Life is a journey in myriad ways.  What journey each individual takes is a personal choice, but choices abound.

Just like life offers you no choice whether you get to play the game of life, life offers you no choice whether to be on a path or not.  Each of us are taking individual steps towards a specific bearing, in a particular direction, on a certain path.  Each breath we take, each step we take, paves the current road we undertake, and the road that will forge itself ahead.

Whether individuals wish to take a literal journey (traveling to lands unknown), a spiritual journey (going to spiritual locales), a metaphorical journey (by reading a book or playing a video game), an imaginative journey (be creating a new path, a new journey) or something else, the choices are varied and intriguing as they are vast in scope.

Each path offers a drastically different adventure, not unlike what the great books of our past offered.  Timeless books such as The Lord Of The Rings, The Divine Comedy, Don Quixote, The Odyssey, Paradise Lost, The Aeneid, and countless others, all offer a veritable quest under which the protagonist goes on the road of life, the personal journey.  These roads taken, these journeys, mirror that of individuals in fictional form.

It is my contention that individuals gravitate towards these stories and myriad others because these mirror some of the more profound truths of life while wrapped in a journey of self-discovery that is always interesting to sink one’s mind into.  That said, some of these truths on the road to self-discovery are aided by a character that is rarely is ever considered.

One could argue that this journey of self-discovery is aided by the most significant character you as an individual will encounter on the open road: the road itself.

Lord Of The Rings features the idea of the Road as a character in salient fashion.

In fact, Frodo opines on this notion in the Lord of the Rings, where he cautiously recalls what Bilbo sought to impart:

“[Bilbo] used often to say there was only one Road; that it was a great river: its springs were at every doorstep, and every path was its tributary.  “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door,” he used to say.  “You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.”[1]

Not unlike cautioning contact with a stranger, the main lesson Bilbo wished to impart on Frodo was that there was more to ‘the Road’ than it seems at first blush.

To this end, in his noteworthy book, On The Shoulders Of Hobbits – The Road Of Virtue With Tolkien & Lewis, author Louis Markos Ph.D. states:

“…the Road has a life of its own.  It winds, bends, and turns in a thousand directions, ever ready to trap or mislead the unwary traveler.  To set your feet to the Road is indeed a dangerous business, not only on account of the obstacles that you face along the way, but because the Road is akin to a living thing with which you must relate, struggle, and negotiate.  It draws and lures you, tests and challenges you, either punishing or rewarding you for your troubles.”[2][Bold Emphasis Added]

Maybe the above notion is perhaps why certain individuals – like myself at times – have been reticent at at certain points to participate in certain journeys, whatever those may be.  Perhaps deep down inside, this Road is life itself acting and showing us lessons, while being active because life by its very definition is aliveAn interesting proposition to consider.

Perhaps it is fear of engaging with a greater something, something more significant.  Fear is what held me back many times in life, and perhaps it was fear of ‘the Road’ – the journey; a possible derivative of life.

Side bar: there are many personal journeys of myriad types that I either did not engage in, and some of which I have chosen to take, though not always of my own accord initially.  The commonalities each set of choices share is that those journeys I took, irrespective of what paths they were, always made me grow as a person.  Conversely, the paths I did not take always left me feeling as if something unexplored withered to the sands of time.

Each of us individuals have paths we take, stories we live, and a future to unravel.  What future that is will be highly dependent on what journey we undertake, and that’s saliently dependent upon whether we are open-minded to possibilities, or close-minded.

As individuals, each of us is not unlike Bilbo, where he was incredibly guarded of the Road.  This could be because, deep down inside, at the being level, we must face something we have never faced before – ourselves – just as Luke Skywalker did in the cave.

Getting back on course, on this very notion of the Road, Markos notes:

“Since the Odyssey, nearly every epic hero has had to face at some point in his journey-quest the archetypal Descent into the Underworld.  In the case of Virgil’s Aenid, Aeneas enters the realm of Hades as a grieving and defeated Trojan, but emerges as the Father of the Roman Empire.  In the case of Dante’s Inferno, Dante enters the yawning pit of Hell as a confused and despairing pilgrim who has lost his way, but emerges as a renewed believer who his regained his purpose, vision and calling.”[3]

These two examples show the development a character, an individual, may undergo under such a path.  This is because:

“It is dangerous thing to walk out your door, but without risk there is no real development, no self-knowledge, no awareness of the choices that one must make.”[4]

Without going on a personal quest, on a journey of this magnitude, there is no significant growth.

And isn’t that one of the ideas life is about, growth, the personal evolution of the individual?

Consider that the Road was incredibly important to Tolkien.  Given its significance, Tolkien deliberately chooses to show the road in the very first chapter of Lord Of The Rings:

“The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can.”(I.i.35)

“Far ahead the Road has gone,” implying the Road is alive, just like life.

To hammer-down the point, Tolkien anchors the road, anchors his book in the closing chapter, sprinkling a newfound vision of what the road offers:

“Still round the corner they may wait
A new road or a secret gate;
And though I oft have passed them by,
A day will come at last when I
Shall take the hidden paths
that run
West of the Moon, East of the Sun.”[6][Bold Emphasis Added]

“A day will come at last when I shall take the hidden paths”.  Paths that that aren’t readily discovered but are there; paths that are waiting for discovery by the individual.

All the answers lie within those two poems, all the answers lie within the road – within life itself.

Whatever road you – the individual – choose to take will ultimately give you a broader view of the possibilities that life offers, the possibilities that your personal quest holds.

Regardless, hidden paths await; roads of self-discovery, roads of growth.

Personal roads that can only be walked by you the individual.

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Footnotes:

[1] Louis Markos Ph.D., On The Shoulders Of Hobbits – The Road Of Virtue With Tolkien & Lewis, quoted from Lord Of The Rings, p. (I.iii.72).
[2] Ibid., pp. 41-42.
[3] Ibid., pp. 45-46.
[4] Ibid., pg. 44.
[5] Ibid., p. 59, quoted from Lord Of The Rings, p. (I.i.35).
[6] Ibid., p. 59, quoted from Lord Of The Rings, p. (VI.ix.1005).

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Suggested Reading:

Have You Ever Walked On The Moon?
Wings Are Made To Fly, Seeds Are Made To Grow
Consciousness – The Key To Life
Why A Sound Mindset Is Crucial: The Light Side Of Mindset Vs. The Dark Side Of Mindset
Mindset Mindset Mindset!
A Sound Mindset Amidst The Obstacles Of Life
Bruce Lee On Conformity & Open-Mindedness
Mindwaves & Mindfulness
Modern Misteps Meet Mindfulness
Breakaway Individuals Throughout History: The Individual, The Trailblazers & You
How You Deposit A Truckload Of Black Pearls Into An Emotional Bank Account
How Are Your (Emotional) Bank Accounts Doing?
Emotional Bank Accounts: Investing In Yourself
Emotional Bank Accounts: Withdraw Withdraw Withdraw!
Emotional Bank Accounts: Mutual Funds
Emotional Bank Accounts: Deposits & Withdraws
Emotional Bank Accounts: Interest Rates
Emotional Bank Accounts: Gems Gems Gems, Babies Everywhere!
Emotional Bank Accounts: I Call Your 7 Cents & Raise You A Dollar
Poker & Life: Pulling The Friend’s Card
Poker & Life: Playing The Ignorance Card For Safety Reasons
Imagination Unleashed
IT’S A DECEPTICON!!!
The Inherent Power Of Curiosity
A 7 Cent Investment Into An Emotional Bank Account To Convert A Hater?
What Do You Find Inspiring?
Poker FlashBack: Swimming With Sharks, Swimming With Whales
Imagination Rises Out Of The Jaws Of Defeat
What’s Your Story?
You The Individual Are Author Of Your Own Journey, Of Your Own Destiny
Harry Potter Fans Trash Talk?  Say WHAT?!
Consciously Creating The Road Of Change, The World Of Tomorrow
What Are Your Personal Defaults?
The Opening Salvo, The First Minute
The Seeds Of Today, The World Of Tomorrow
Assumptions Are Mother Of All F@!$ Ups
Piercing Perspectives #1: Taking Things For Granted | Health & Mindset
Piercing Perspectives #2: You The Individual Are Extraordinary
Piercing Perspectives #3: The Divide & Conquer Left Right Paradigm
Piercing Perspectives #4: Poker As A Mirror For Life
The Individual, The Foundation Of Society

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If you find value in this information, feel free to 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

___________________________________________________________
About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, inquirer, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, and freelance writer who aims at empowering individuals while also studying and regularly mirroring subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.

#Book Review: Paradise Lost by John Milton | #SmartReads

A Veritable Milestone In Historical Literature


BreakawayIndividual.com
Zy Marquiez
April 7, 2019

Paradise Lost by John Milton is a veritable landmark book within the chronicles of humanity’s past.

Milton’s imagination was as boundless as it was incisive, and he paints a masterful world in which good and evil battle for the fate of the world.

Undoubtedly one of the best epics of all-time, Milton’s Paradise Lost, features a plethora of allusions the likes of which haven’t been replicated since, and just might not be replicated ever.

Milton’s constant inferences to theological and classical underpinnings of society are one of the greatest components of this masterpiece.  Every line is incisively thought out, and weaves seamlessly into the next manifesting a masterpiece of literature that’s as thought-provoking as it is deep.

The diction used in Milton’s time might be something that could turn certain readers off, but the notations at the bottom of each page of this particular version help the reader traverse through this fascinating and fierce fictional world that Milton crafted rather seamlessly.

Admittedly, an epic like this will demand a lot from the reader, and rightly so.  As a quintessential milestone in history, it is written with orders of magnitude more depth than most works thereafter have.

Given the complex range of characters it employs, such as Adam, Eve, Satan, God, Michael, etc., and given the philosophical underpinnings of what many of humanity’s deeper yearnings and concerns are, this work is in a league of its own. 

Ruminating upon its breadth, scope and complexity, it’s a pity that more works aren’t as well thought out as this.  The standards Milton set upon himself to accomplish this piece should be held in high respect, for it is a testament to what human creativity can achieve when it sets its mind to it.  And that is priceless, just like this book is.

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Suggested Reading & Viewing:

Sherlock Holmes – The Complete Novels & Stories by Arthur Conan Doyle
The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Lord Of The Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Exploring J.R.R. Tokien’s The Hobbit by Corey Olsen Ph.D.
The Philosophy Of Tolkien – The Worldview Behind Lord Of The Rings by Peter Kreeft Ph.D.
On The Shoulders Of Hobbits – The Road To Virtue By Tolkien & Lewis by Louis Marko Ph.D.
Lord Of The Rings: How To Read J.R.R. Tolkien [Presentation]
The Vision Of Freedom That Tolkien Got & The West Forgot [Video]

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If you find value in this information, feel free to 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

___________________________________________________________
About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, inquirer, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, and freelance writer who aims at empowering individuals while also studying and regularly mirroring subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.

#Book Review: The Divine Comedy & Dante’s Inferno by Dante Alighieri | #SmartReads

BreakawayIndividual.com
Zy Marquiez
April 7, 2019

The Divine Comedy is one of those timeless pieces of literature that everyone should read, if at least once.  In fact, if public schooling followed any type of common sense and had appreciation for High Culture, The Divine Comedy would be part of a strong school curriculum along with classics such as The Iliad & The Odyssey, The Lord Of The Rings, The Aenid, and others.

Each of those books makes learning about virtues and countless other critical themes vastly much easier to learn.  It is also considerably more intriguing to learn these themes than the nonsense that is espoused in public schooling today.  Furthermore, it would strengthen the public schooling curriculum that is rather lacking in depth, although not in ‘method’.

Due to those reasons, and others, thought it prudent to avail myself of The Divine Comedy as the prospect of reading the book has always resonated with me, especially after having read Dante’s Inferno a few years ago.

The Barnes & Noble Edition of The Divine Comedy is as demanding a read as it is satisfying.  Moreover, the book is peppered with dozens of Gustave Dore’s illustrations, which saliently add a more vivid and engrossing journey for the reader.

In contrast, Dante’s Inferno, the version that was translated by Stanley Lombardo, is a much more reader-friendly version of Dante’s Inferno, which is modern in its diction.  That said, that is only book one of Dante’s triumvirate, but I am mentioning this those that might be interested merely in the opening salvo of Dante available in a much user-friendly format.

The Divine Comedy really is an adventure to be intellectually enjoyed, and everyone who chooses to set out in a fictional foray would benefit greatly from it.

As an allegorical account of his spiritual journey being guided by his lover Beatrice, Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy is timeless for a reason.  Not only is the book unique, but it stokes the engines of imagination in ways most other books do not, while also offering readers ample intellectual considerations to ruminate upon.

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Suggested Reading & Viewing:

The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Lord Of The Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Exploring J.R.R. Tokien’s The Hobbit by Corey Olsen Ph.D.
The Philosophy Of Tolkien – The Worldview Behind Lord Of The Rings by Peter Kreeft Ph.D.
On The Shoulders Of Hobbits – The Road To Virtue By Tolkien & Lewis by Louis Marko Ph.D.
Lord Of The Rings: How To Read J.R.R. Tolkien [Presentation]
The Vision Of Freedom That Tolkien Got & The West Forgot [Video]

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If you find value in this information, feel free to 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

___________________________________________________________
About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, inquirer, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, and freelance writer who aims at empowering individuals while also studying and regularly mirroring subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.

#Book Review: The Lord Of The Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien | #SmartReads | #Fiction

A Laudable Landmark In Epic Fantasy


BreakawayIndividual.com
Zy Marquiez
April 6, 2019

If The Hobbit is Tolkien’s opening salvo into the world of epic fantasy literature, then The Lord Of The Rings [LOTR] is his full fledged assault on the genre cementing his name in epic fantasy’s timeless lore.

Thankfully, The Lord of The Rings picked off right where The Hobbit left off, building and expanding on Tolkien’s Universe to a whole different level.

The Lord Of The Rings is, as many of you may know, the sequel to The Hobbit, which is set in Tolkien’s Legendarium, and also plays a part in the world of Arda.

One of the simplest ways a reader may note the quality of a fantasy book is asking themselves: does it conjure magic?

Evoking literary mastery in a genre that was nigh nonexistent, and which many outright shunned, what J.R.R. Tolkien did with his entire Middle-Earth Series was nothing less than astonishing.  Not only did Tolkien write a veritable milestone in literature to boot, but he did so in a time where not many souls cared to venture upon the genre of fantasy.

Touching upon this very issue,medieval literature specialist and writer Corey Olsen Ph.D. puts it in his intriguing and in-depth book, Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit:

Tolkien was very aware of the artistic challenge he faced in writing a work of fantasy, especially since fantasy literature was far from the literary mainstream in the early twentieth century.  He knew that when they encountered his story in The Hobbit, his readers would have to leave their mundane and comfortable world behind and invest their imaginations in a world that contains magic and unexpected marvels.  In chapter One, Tolkien gives us a model for this very process within the story itself.  We begin in our safe and predictable world, and in the first chapter, we find ourselves in a world of wizard and dwarves and dragons.  In this transition, we find ourselves coming alongside a protagonist who is struggling through the exactly the same process, a character who himself internalizes the conflict between the mundane and the marvelous   Our first introduction to this magical, grim, and dangerous world of adventure is also his introduction, and his reluctance and difficulty in adjusting to it give us time to ease past our own discomfort and reservations.  Bilbo Baggins serves as a perfect touchstone for readers, both exploring and embodying the trickier frontier between the predictable and the unexpected.”[1][Bold Emphasis Added]

This goes to show that Tolkien wasn’t simply a savvy writer, but understood societal challenges he was facing at the time and made sure to do his best to address this notable issue.  What’s more, Tolkien simply didn’t stop there.

The Lord Of The Rings shows why Tolkien’s imagination was not only gratifyingly limitless, but how it was rather robust with meaning in many ways.

In fact, the power of this book is so profound and meaningful that philosopher and writer Peter Kreeft Ph.D. said the following words of it:

The deepest healing is the healing of the deepest wound.  The deepest wound is the frustration of the deepest need.  The deepest need is the need for meaning, purpose, and hope.  And that is what The Lord Of The Rings offers us.”[2][Bold Emphasis Added]

And still there’s more:

“…The Lord Of The Rings is infused with the same light that illumined the man who wrote it. And that light is true, for it reveals the reality of the world and life.  And it is also good, because it heals our blindness.  Like the Fellowship itself, Tolkien’s philosophy fights.  It conquers what George Orwell called the “smelly little orthodoxies” of political correctness that have twisted and wounded our souls.  In other words, it is like the healing herb athelas.”[3][Bold Emphasis Added].

Such is the potentiality held within Lord Of The Rings.

Although at times called a trilogy, The Lord Of The Rings is in fact a stand-alone novel that is split up into six separate books.[4]

The mythical and expansive universe created by Tolkien is one that still ignites the imagination in a way that nigh no other books do, except the greatest ones.  In like fashion, not only does Tolkien fuse fantasy with Norse myth and folklore, but The Lord Of The Rings features a plot that is robust, characters that grow and change with the plot, a setting that is phenomenal and enchanting, all woven within a seamless story that vaults the imagination into other worlds.

Throughout the book, the uniqueness and authenticity the characters echo shows the realism of the novel.  For instance, temptation sinks its teeth into Boromir and Galadriel, each displaying their own set of circumstances in battling against this malevolence.

Instances as the above and many more show many examples that this particular book is chock-full of life lessons to boot.

That’s what makes this particular book great piece of literature.

On the forward of On The Shoulders Of Hobbits – The Road To Virtue With Tolkien & Lewis Peter Kreeft Ph.D. comments:

That’s why reading literature, next to meeting people, is the single most effective way to learn not to flunk lifeLife is a story, and therefore moral education happens first and foremost powerfully through stories, e.g., through books.”[5][Bold & Underline Emphasis Added]

Why this is so is because:

“…Tolkien bequeathed to the world a new treasure trove of heroic tales and adventures with the power to reinvigorate classical and medieval virtues that our modern technological age has deemed irrelevant.  Together with The Hobbit and its prequel (the Silmarillion) The Lord Of The Rings stands as a lighthouse in a world that has not only lost its way, but has lost much of its virtue, its integrity and its purpose.”[6][Bold Emphasis Added.]

In a modern age that is starving for virtuous souls from which to learn from, Lord Of The Rings by J.R.R Tolkien has much depth to offer.

For all of the above reasons, Tolkien’s magnum opus – The Lord Of The Rings – has stood the test of time and will continue to enthrall readers for ages to come.  Just like the characters in it, the story grows with every new pass you give it.

This understanding is best grasped by what J. Adler & Charles Van Doren shared in, How To Read A Book – The Classic Guide To Intelligent Reading, which is the touchstone of critical reading:

“…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 you.  You 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.”[7][Bold Emphasis Added]

Lord Of The Rings helps expand the bounds of imagination the more an individual journeys within its realm.  Even better, this book helps one see whole new perspectives and ideas that one had not previously considered.  Just like life offers ample opportunities for much learning, this book does as well.

Whether you’re looking for a great story, epic fantasy, incredible depth, mindful philosophy, or simply want to take a audacious adventure into a different setting, this book has much to offer.

Tolkien’s crown jewel – The Lord Of The Rings – has stood the test of time and will continue to enthrall readers for ages to come.  It has enthralled readers not simply because it’s a great piece of fantasy fiction, but also because this book and the lessons of virtue woven therein echo directly into your soul.   For those very reasons, this book will continue to be a touchstone for life, for not only does it teach you what happens when evil rises unabated, but more importantly, it teaches you what happens when individuals with high quality of consciousness help good conquer evil.  That alone makes this book a timeless possession in an age where virtues and goodness continue to dissipate

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Footnotes:

[1] Corey Olsen Ph.D., Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, p. 35
[2] Peter Kreeft Ph.D., The Philosophy Of Tolkien – The Worldview Behind Lord Of The Rinigs, p 17.
[3] Ibid., p. 3.
[4] J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship Of The Ring, p. 9., HoughtonMifflin.
[5] Louis Markos, On The Shoulders Of Hobbits – The Road To Virtue With Tolkien & Lewis, p. 8, citing Peter Kreeft in the forward.
[6] Ibid., p. 14.
[7] Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren, How To Read A Book – The Classic Guide To Intelligent Reading, p. 333.

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Suggested Reading & Viewing:

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Exploring J.R.R. Tokien’s The Hobbit by Corey Olsen Ph.D.
The Philosophy Of Tolkien – The Worldview Behind Lord Of The Rings by Peter Kreeft Ph.D.
On The Shoulders Of Hobbits – The Road To Virtue By Tolkien & Lewis by Louis Marko Ph.D.
Lord Of The Rings: How To Read J.R.R. Tolkien [Presentation]
The Vision Of Freedom That Tolkien Got & The West Forgot [Video]

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If you find value in this information, feel free to 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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About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, inquirer, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, and freelance writer who aims at empowering individuals while also studying and regularly mirroring subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.

Lord of the Rings: How To Read J.R.R. Tolkien

Source: CMUHSS
April 1, 2019

Carnegie Mellon University alumnus Michael D. C. Drout returned to campus for a talk on “How To Read J.R.R. Tolkien.”

Drout, a professor of English and director of the Center for the Study of the Medieval at Wheaton College in Norton, Mass, believes that Tolkien’s immense and lasting popularity can be explained by a “perfect storm hypothesis.”

Suggested Reading:

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit by Corey Olsen Ph.D.

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

H2RAB

BreakawayIndividual.com
Zy Marquiez
March 19, 2019

“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

This particular book is a book that helps you extract more information from all types of reading.  It will help you think sharper, more incisively and ultimately help you achieve more from the full spectrum of reading.

At the behest of the author of Socratic Logic [review here], Peter Kreeft PhD, the following book was recommended.   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.

How To Read A BookThe Classic Guide To Intelligent Reading by Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren is a phenomenal 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, it features much more than that.

As a caveat, the authors make the distinction in the fact different type of genres should be read in different ways.  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 set 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.

Without a doubt, 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.

Furthermore, 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, suggestion for reading stories, plays and poems, how to read history, how to read philosophy as well as much, much more.

A noteworthy 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.  Since synthesizing information is a process that yields incredible growth for individuals of all types, the information for me in this particular section was quite noteworthy.

A book like How To Read A Book should be an integral component in everyone’s education 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-teaching or autodidacticism that will breakaway from the pack.

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.

Mind you, schooling and education are not the same thing, which is an important distinction because what society gets in America nowadays – given that we have strewn away from classical education – is barely a facsimile of schooling, and in no way shape or form the true education of times past.  Authors like 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 quite saliently, 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.

Furthermore, 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 this particular category of great books so unique?  That the gems of knowledge contained within these books and 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.  Moreover, 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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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
___________________________________________________________
About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, inquirer, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, and freelance writer who aims at empowering individuals while also studying and regularly mirroring subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.