31 July 2021

Book Review: The Socrates Express

Author: Eric Weiner

I forget who it was that had brought my attention to this book. Smart money is on Somsekhar Baksi. If you are inclined towards learning very quickly about some of the key points about quite a few philosophers – some of who, I guarantee you have not heard of and some you may not think of as a philosopher either (e.g. Gandhiji), this is a great read.

As always with every book, each time you read it, a few points hit home runs for you. One of those winners for me was actually from the author himself – not any particular philosopher. And it deals with 10 points about How to Grow Old.

Here are some memorable quotes from the book that might pique your interest.

1. Miles Kington – “Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad”
2. Albert Camus – “Suicide is the one truly serious philosophical problem”. Is life worth living or not?
3. Jacob Needleman – “The Heart of Philosophy” – “Our culture has generally tended to solve its problems without experiencing its questions.
4. John Stuart Mill – Pleasure Paradox – Happiness is a by-product, never an objective
5. Thoreau – Doubt is essential. It is the vehicle that transports us from one certainty to another.
6. Idealism – Everything we experience is a mental representation of the world, not the world itself. Physical objects only exist when we perceive them. (fridge light example)
7. Music speaks to the essence of life. An image of heaven even a secularized one, may or may not have paintings and statues. We take it for granted that there will be music.
8. We lead telephoto lives in a wide angle world
9. We lose objects suddenly, but experience the loss gradually.
10. Everyone hopes to reach old age, but when it comes most of us complain about it.

Posted July 31, 2021 by Rajib Roy in category "Books

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