A very drab translation. The author fails to understand that the success of a book like this depends not just on the content which is in most cases pe...moreA very drab translation. The author fails to understand that the success of a book like this depends not just on the content which is in most cases pedestrian knowledge but also on the form, and the book is severely deficient in the latter. The only memorable parts of the book were the near verbatim reproduction of various commentaries about the book by different Chinese philosophers which should give an idea of how good(or bad) this particular version is. The only redeeming aspect of this book is the low cost (a couple of dollars).(less)
"The Humans are a profoundly lonely people. The world for them is enemy territory, and they live in it like an army of occupation, alienated and isola...more"The Humans are a profoundly lonely people. The world for them is enemy territory, and they live in it like an army of occupation, alienated and isolated by their extraordinary specialness."
This book is about the unsustainable growth of human civilization that's costing the world around us dearly. This is explained by a conversation between a man and a gorilla (called Ishmael). The message is essentially that,
"The world does not belong to man but man belongs to the world."
It explores the ideas of the supposed superiority of man in the ecosystem, the change of man's role in the world from a hunter-gatherer to an agriculturalist and their consequences. The author is trying to say that the current development strategy is wrought with dangers, it's completely unsustainable and that we are heading for a major catastrophe. It urges human civilization to provide room for wild-life to grow and evolve.
He talks about the laws of competition in a jungle (a.k.a the food chain) and why it is sustainable as opposed to our lifestyle, where we tend to wipe out any animal that could be our competitor. In the end, he says that though it's definitely not possible for human beings to go back to a hunter-gatherer kind of a lifestyle, the challenge for the current generation is to devise a sustainable mode of development. It should be kept in mind that this book was written in 1992 so things which we take today as common knowledge were not so common those days.
Though the intent of the author is admirable, I felt that the book was a bit oversimplified in several sections, and the writing was very ordinary (though I acknowledge the fact that the author was more interested in getting the message out than concentrating on aesthetics). Also lacking is the suggestion of any indicators on how to solve this problem, apart from a brief but incomplete explanation on why birth control is a good idea.(less)
It's a collection of short stories written by Borges over a period of several years. His writing is extremely precise, almost surgeon-like and he know...moreIt's a collection of short stories written by Borges over a period of several years. His writing is extremely precise, almost surgeon-like and he knows how to get the emotions he wants out of the reader in a very few words.
Though the major characters in the collection of stories are starkly different with respect to geography, social standing, occupation or wealth, they all share a common obsession with some mental pursuit be it chess, study of history, mathematics, language, religion, writing, creation of an alternate universe or something as simple but futile as classifying every single memory one has ever had.
I feel this collection of short stories is a testimony to the author's breadth of knowledge. There is frequent recourse to Schopenhauer's philosophy throughout the book which I think might explain the fatalistic nature of most of the stories. I am planning to read Schopenhauer's "Essays and Aphorisms" sometime soon.(less)