A Guide for the Perplexed
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Top Customer Reviews
He insists that we *MUST* include humanities “unprovable” experiences of the universe in our personal maps of the world, and that we must look within ourselves to find the answers to the *big* questions, to find *understanding* and *insight* rather than simply knowledge.
I only wish I had read this book years ago. I now look at myself and consider myself so unbalanced... The scientist inside me is now very well developed, but there are other, greater skills that now require significant attention...
His confusion was resolved only when a guide explained, that the map featured only inactive church buildings, whilst active churches were simply omitted.
This story introduces the idea of `Adaequatio'; that we can only see that which we have the means to see, an ancient and powerful idea.
For example, whilst all able bodied can hear sound, not everyone can appreciate music, some simply hearing a progression of notes. For them, music simply does not exist.
Schumacher explores what it is to be human. Building a simple 4-level scale of lifeless minerals, plants, conscious animals and self-aware humanity He describes how each level has no awareness of their being levels above.
At the heart of the book, is the Western desire to see the world as problems to be solved. Science has developed with a belief that it's role is to solve problems and its `adaequatio' has honed its skills at seeing the solvable and rendered it blind to everything else.
In Schumacher's words science is able to see problems with convergent solutions, but fails even to recognise as valid, those with divergent solutions.
As an example, consider the divergent problem of whether discipline or freedom is the best way to teach? There's no one correct answer.
Real life is the navigation of divergent problems, not the solving of convergent ones.
In a balanced world, this science bias would pose no problem, sitting alongside tools better suited to divergent problems.
The fundamental issue for the West is this loss of balance.Read more ›
A Guide for the Perplexed is often regarded as a good introduction for someone interested into philosophy. But please note that Schumacher does not give his reader an open ended overview of different philosophies like many other introductions. Instead he lays down exactly what HE believes to be the truth. This is an extremely refreshing approach as many other writers simply do not cut to the chase like this.
Schumacher begins by asking the fundamental question: 'what is man?' Is he: 1. a highly evolved chimp, or 2. a being created in the image of God?
He answers with the latter and proceeds with his attempt to lay bare the limits of the codes/systems that man has chosen to live by as a result of the belief that he is the former. The codes/systems that Schumacher criticies are science, materialism, economics and utilitarianism. He is not as such against any of these systems in themselves, but just believes that they have their limitations and their proper place.
He goes on to present his alternative view that man must develop his highest faculties to live a good life. This is nothing new as Aristotle for one said something like this a long time ago. But what Schumacher does is:
1. tell us a bit more about these higher faculties and how to unleash them (through what he calls 'inner work' such as meditation and yoga); and
2. present his arguments in an extremely logical and convincing way.
This is a fascinating book, which provides Schumacher's philosophical underpinnings for his more famous thoughts on economics in Small is Beautiful. It is beautifully written as it is extremely easy to read, very logical and yet very profound at the same time.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Thank you. Your book arrived safely and and is of the standard I expected. Nora maherPublished 7 months ago by nora maher
This book takes itself seriously. It went off in the grey bin last week.Published 16 months ago by Jotter
What an amazing book this is - I recommend anyone who has an interest in the philosophical implications of science as well as the deeper underlying logic of spiritual traditions to... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Jean-Paul Baron-Bonarjee
Still a formidable guide for living. Before having an opinion on anything read this an try to live up to it.Published on 19 Sept. 2013 by G. Hagon
As others have said, this book is essential reading for all schools and adults alike to develop their potential and understand the realities of life.Published on 22 July 2013 by M DOBBIE
Fritz Schumacher here goes into great depth about his personal philosophy. Well worth reading it supplements his other book 'Small is Beautiful'. Read morePublished on 23 Oct. 2012 by Stiubhart