This book is highly philosophical. I think I'd have to class it as post-modern mysticism. But don't let that deter you -- it also has a story, and theThis book is highly philosophical. I think I'd have to class it as post-modern mysticism. But don't let that deter you -- it also has a story, and the story is rather fun. There's a great twist at the end.
The story centers around a young shepherd boy who is not afraid to seek out his Personal Legend. He is never named in the story, which makes for interesting reading.
While not entirely doctrinally sound, I really like the way that this bible storybook tells each story and then touches on how the story prefigures orWhile not entirely doctrinally sound, I really like the way that this bible storybook tells each story and then touches on how the story prefigures or talks about Christ....more
Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. The conversation is impeccable, the staging hilarious, the commentary on the human condition ruthlessly funny. Read tBrilliant, brilliant, brilliant. The conversation is impeccable, the staging hilarious, the commentary on the human condition ruthlessly funny. Read the other comments -- they put it much better....more
I like most of the books in The Chronicles of Narnia. This book, however, doesn't do anything for me. The symbolism is a little too thick -- like C.S.I like most of the books in The Chronicles of Narnia. This book, however, doesn't do anything for me. The symbolism is a little too thick -- like C.S. Lewis was trying to compete with the book of Revelation for how dense his allegory could be. (See, I have this terrible fondness for clarity in writing...)
It's also very dark. While there is a degree of redemption in the end, I don't feel that the redemption makes up for the ugliness that precedes it. In that way, it seems to be a poor stand-in for the atonement of the earth. I believe that the wrapping-up scene for the earth will be -- yes -- a time of great tragedy and horrific ugliness, but it will also be a time of great hope and redemption. So if this book were an article on a popular web news aggregator, I would have to bury it as inaccurate.
And, given the modicum of hope that it provides and the richness of the symbolism, I don't think that it's really suitable for children, unlike the rest of the series....more
Gordon B. Hinckley is a very funny and spiritual man. I started reading this while he was still prophet and President of the Church of Jesus Christ ofGordon B. Hinckley is a very funny and spiritual man. I started reading this while he was still prophet and President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, under the theory that the prophet one should listen to most is the one who's alive. (Just ask those who ignored Noah, or Pharaoh refusing to let the children of Israel go.)
Pres. Hickley taught a practical, down-to-earth, nuts-and-bolts, Christ-centered gospel, very much like Brigham Young. He saw a problem, received revelation on how to solve the problem, and then pursued the solution relentlessly. This compilation of his teachings reflects that. In this period of his presidency, he focused on humility (avoiding self-righteousness), taking the temple to the people (building small temples), retaining new converts, and strengthening the family.
During this period, Pres. Hinckley traveled all over the world to meet with people of the church, and the selection of member meetings reflects his travels. The book is not exhaustive, and it's probably a good thing. Pres. Hinckley gave several hundred talks and held even more meetings during this time period....more
Excellent. Not a light read. Sean Carroll tries to cover many of the hard questions of cosmology and philosophy and arrive at a life philosophy that iExcellent. Not a light read. Sean Carroll tries to cover many of the hard questions of cosmology and philosophy and arrive at a life philosophy that is consistent with the body of received, provable knowledge and practical for functional human beings.
I liked his explanation of some of the apparent conflicts between so-called hard and soft sciences as confusions between useful models at different scales. For example, one can describe the universe as a (very, very, very) large collection of basic particles, and one could in theory, given enough knowledge about the initial state, predict with great accuracy the eventual positions of every existing particle of a gas-filled chamber at some future state. However, it would take a tremendous amount of information about the initial state, and enormous computational power to accurately model even a relatively small chamber this way. So in place of this cumbersome but very accurate model, we use computational fluid dynamics, which described the interactions in a simpler, more elegant way that turns out to be quite accurate in its own sphere.
I also liked that Mr. Carroll suggests that atheists can be moral, ethical people, and in fact, can arrive at many of the same conclusions about ethical decisions and moral compass based on principle and proper models of human behavior. This is certainly something that I've observed in many of my atheist and agnostic friends.
It seemed like every chapter had interesting insights into the position of life as we know it and its perhaps-fragile place in the universe. Mr. Carroll's writing is clear, often even when trying to communicate difficult topics. A few things he only touches on were covered better in Stephen Hawking's books, but in general this is much better written and clearer than that....more
This book is absolutely phenomenal. It brings together meanings of symbols from most of the major religious traditions and philosophies (Christianity,This book is absolutely phenomenal. It brings together meanings of symbols from most of the major religious traditions and philosophies (Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hindu, Buddhism, etc.), along with astrology and a number of the minor traditions. It provides comparison and contrast between meanings of the symbols. It makes a great supplement for scripture study, and also helps with a lot of other symbolic literature.
I've learned things from this book that I don't think I would have put together on my own. For example, the entry on "garden" mentions that in the Christian tradition, the beginning of the world (Paradise) was in a garden state, while the eventual, Heavenly Jerusalem will be a city. Okay, so that part's obvious, but the stark juxtaposition of the two ideas leads to insights that I wouldn't have had, otherwise.
The entry on names highlights a number of implications of the tradition that naming a thing gives one power over it. For example, when Adam was in the garden, the Lord had him name all the animals and birds, and thus he gained power over them ("dominion", it says in the Bible). The usage of the phrase "his name shall be blotted out" becomes a lot more meaningful and painful to the one for whom it is exercised: when his name no longer exists, neither does he. I wouldn't have put that together.
I gave this to Kim as a birthday gift early in our marriage, and we both love it. I fear that in our practical, scientific world, we are losing some of the powers of symbols to help us understand our past. Many simple statements in historical records become all but incomprehensible without a basic understanding of what things stand for. This book helps to bridge that gap. (Of course, even if our scientific world we have an obsession with naming. Stars, species, diseases, conditions -- as though having a name by which to call a thing gives us some power over it, which clearly isn't the case. We can name the common cold, but we can't cure it. *sigh* But at least we can identify it. And having a name to give something helps to reduce the fear.)
Since this book is a reference, I haven't read all of it -- just portions as I become curious....more