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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Metaphysics: A Very Short Introduction by Stephen Mumford

Metaphysics: A Very Short Introduction by Stephen Mumford published by Oxford University Press, 2012.

Are you a Materialist?

Are you a follower of Hume? Do you believe that the empirical observation is the only right way to do the science?

If the answer to the above questions is YES then this book is not for you. Do not read it. If you do then you will not like to give good comments on it. You may come up with such comments that the Metaphyscist would smile at your stupidity if even you are a science expert.

I bought this book because I have read a book on Hermeneutics in the same series. It is a cheaper than that book. Secondly, I thought that Metaphysics deals with soul, spirit, God, esoteric science, will power etc. I wanted to have an expert view on it. I searched for Stephen Mumford. I found that he is in service teacher (presently on resarch leave). I bought it.

I read it and found that I did not have the right understanding of this topic. I got some glimpse of the actual meaning of the subject. I believe that I have done an actual metaphysics.

I definitely exercised a big level of perseverance, continuity and consistency in reading this book. However, I can not say that I have understood everything. I want to accept that many a times I pretended to have understood but in reality I did not gather much. However, wherever I was able to sustain good understanding and continuity, it had definitely refined my ability to exercise my thoughts.

The chapter making is very fascinating.

The first chapter is "What is an Introduction?" I am unable to decide to which side or to whom this question is directed.

In the chapter there is no clear cut definition of Metaphysics. One may imagine after reading the chapter that the writer is making you comfortable with the topic and it is his way of encouraging you to seek a glimpse of the subject. One may believe that he will give something substantial in the next chapter.

I also approached the next chapter with some expectation. But the title of the chapter was "What is a Table?" Well, as far I am concerned, I have never asked this question to myself or to someone. I take it granted that everyone knows that what is a table. But, when I ended the reading, which I was able to do without knowing anything about Metaphysics, I stopped paused to think and evaluate to know my gain in knowledge. After some efforts I learned that I have learned about the particular and properties concepts. But I failed to understand the idea of red colour snooker balls. I am definitely going to read this small book once again.

The story did not end here. The next question or the chapter is, "What is a Circle". Well, that is one question which one may come across in the classroom of mathematics teacher once in his life time. However, I did not learn any thing about pie or any calculation about the circle, but whatever I was made to think and perceive about circle was definitely something new. The writer took hold of the movement of my thought process and then juggled it. Then came the topics on change, cause, time, person, and possible. These were things which I knew earlier but after reading them, I came to know that I could know them in a better way. However, in the case of some chapters, I was not able to sustain my attention and comprehension. I pretended to understand them but I was not clear on what I had read. There was no technical jargon, no Latin or Grecian words but even then I failed to make a coherent sense out of them. It became more apparent in the chapter Nothing Something. I accept that I have never thought in that manner.

The last chapter begins with the topic What is Metaphysics? Can you get a sense out of it?

The chapter What is Metaphysics could have been the first chapter. However, it is the last chapter. Secondly, in this chapter, again you do not get any definition of Metaphysics. The only phrase which I can remember is that it is a acrobatics of Thoughts. The writer has given the scope and range of the subject of Metaphysics. But, I am not able to identify any statement which can be used to say that this is Metaphysics. However, there is an uncanny feeling that I may not have found the definition of Metaphysics but I have worked and thought like a Metaphysicist. 

I am ready to read this book once again.

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Thursday, July 6, 2017

Hermeneutics: A Very Short Introduction by Jens Zimmermann

Hermeneutics: A Very Short Introduction by Jens Zimmermann, OUP, 2015 (Second Impression First Edition). Hampshire, UK.

ebook ISBN 978– 0– 19– 150854– 7

How deeply, strongly, ardently, loudly and extremely, I wish that the definition of History that it is a study of Past, should be demolished, destroyed, annihilated, extinguished and removed from the world of human consciousness. It is debarring humanity from exercising the art of interpretation whereas, in History, there is the first ground to exercise it. No doubt, in the field of law and science, it is also exercised.

How did I find this book?

After every post, I display some advertisements. I do not have any fixed plan or policy that I adopt in order to execute the activity. However, I definitely follow some steps.

After ending the reading of the book and then writing down my observations which actually is a continuous process that runs along with the reading of the book, I get influenced by this activity. The influence here means that some phrases, ideas or understanding dominates my perception and consciousnesses. That aspect is definitely present in forms of Words. Those words become the search words on Kindel store.

The search on Kindle store display some titles. Now, I try to pick those titles. One of the major criteria is the price. If it is too costly like crossing ₹500/- I do not consider it at all. If the prices are less than that I go through the basic introduction on it as displayed on the Kindle website. I do not give much time to it. I make quick decision to collect the code and then display it in the blog in the Advertisement section.

This is not the right approach. It involves the issue of ethics. I should not display a title which I have not read. Keeping aside this ethical issue, I generally myself explore the contents of the books as far as it is given in the 'Inside Look' feature. Apart from the price factor, another criterion which works is the name of the author, topic and publisher. There are always many questions which remain unanswered. I have been dealing with topics like Conscious and Subconscious, Logic, Perception, Mind, Religious Studies, History etc. Among all these concepts and ideas, the very act of driving meaning in brain or Mind is in itself an issue. In other words, it is called interpretation.

One generally hears that one should be logical in his reasoning. One should be rational. One should be analytical. One should be intelligent. What are all these expectations? These are the issues which I am trying to settle. Among all these, the issue of interpretation is one of the issues.

While collecting, reviewing, evaluating, browsing, exploring different titles and contents, I came across the books of Oxford University Press. I remember that I got attracted towards it when I located a title on Post Modernism. The "Inside Look" did not attract me much. However, it definitely showed me that there are books by OUP in e-book form. By now, if one checks the different display in the advertisement section, it can be easily found, that I have displayed more books by Penguin Publication.

When I had written a review on Logic by W. W. Atkinson, it was then, I located this book Hermeneutics. The prize was good. The publisher is with a reputation of credibility. It is another thing, that for we Indians, the very perception and intellectual activity in the field of western literature, science and philosophy are initiated, framed, nurtured and guided by Oxford University since the days of Charles Wood Dispatch and first three Universities of India. The rest of the story may bring another set of names and authors. But the story begins from there. However, if one goes deeper into this issue, then, it was Raja Rammohan Roy who pioneered the publication of contents based on Western science, literature and Philosophy along with David Hare, the Watch Maker. He did it not only in case of Western Thought and Culture but also in case of Sanskrit and Bengali language. William Jones had also directed the attention to the world of thoughts and philosophy available in Sanskrit and Apasbrham Languages (other languages of India).

Coming back to the act of selection, the requirements of understanding further the act of interpretation, which I am of the view, is the first act to be performed by the Brain and Mind, in which order you may prefer to say, a publisher with credibility and the right pricing, made me select this title.   

Short, then very short and an hourly history:

We want a long car. We want a big house. We want a long holiday. We want a large share. We want a big bank balance. But we want a brief explanation. The factors of Long and Big are not entertained there. Who has decided it? Survey – What Survey? Some Legal Judgement- What for? No, but it is the norm. Be Brief. Be precise. You get Blogging. Then, it was soon followed by Micro Blogging.   The Selfies came in place of travelogues. The game of cricket began with Test Matches. Now it is 20-20. But, the contracts have to be elaborate. There is an incongruity in it. Anyhow, you want a short explanation and presentation. But what is this Very Short? Why is this Hourly History? Even the author of the title, Hermeneutics – A Very Short Introduction, Jens Zimmermann, had tackled this issue in his first contact with his reader in the Preface.

However, the writer has not shown any irritation with this term Short and then Very Short. He has tried to arrange a plan to justify the meaning of the title by giving his game plan to tell the meaning of Hermeneutics. Even then, he has taken up more than 160 pages. That is really good work in the act of doing it in Very Short format. Surprising, even the OUP is going for it. The Commerce is the ruling norm. That is the only conclusion for this Very Short format.  Surprising, even the OUP is going for it. The Commerce is the ruling norm. That is the only Conclusion.

Hermeneutics as it is for me in brief:

It is an art of interpretation.

By using the words of the writer, it is, "hermeneutics is the art of understanding and of making oneself understood". (The actual reference is not being reproduced here.)

For me, Hermeneutics is important more than all the acts like being logical, being a thinking person, being an intelligent person. You do Hermeneutics, the rest will follow on its own. The rest of the things, like, sense organs, perceptions, memory are all merely instinctive activities. They happen even if you are not scientific or educated. However, if Hermeneutics is understood, the rest can be tackled. 

I read about Hermeneutic in the book by B. Sheik Ali. I will not comment on it. Then I came across E. H. Carr and his work What is History. Therein, he has ultimately concluded that History is what the Historian tells. In answer to a question that what actually is the nature of history, he tells, that it is a continuous dialogue between present and past. He tells that that this dialogue is the interpretation. The Past cannot be revived. But it lays below and then throws out you the answers to your questions in your present. It is there for you to interpret. This is also done by a Judge in his court. He is never a witness to the crime. But he is there to give the judgement. He does it on the basis of interpretation. Similarly, Collingwood has taken up the aspect of the interpretation. But, he has gone to the theory of recreating the thought. In every case, it is the interpretation which matters in our existence. No doubt, I was definitely justified in buying this title.

Jens' Treatment of the Subject:

The writer is highly qualified. He has two PhD. I have none. 

He is in-service teacher and scholar. It is well reflected in his work and treatment of the topic. Even the Appendix is a chapter in itself on the lines of a Very Short factor. It is not as an elaborate Bibliographical Essays as you find in the case of Cambridge Press works or other publication. The writer is a teacher, therefore, he has dealt with the subject in a way that it may help the scholars who may be pursuing some course. You can read this book in three to four hours and get a very effective understanding that can help you to write a good description of Hermeneutics.

This book has seven chapters and one Appendix. I consider Appendix as a chapter here and therefore, there are eight chapters. These eight chapters are spread over 140 pages. The total pages are 160. One can read it one sitting of three to four hours. The language is lucid. There are not too many archaic words or the writer has not tried to impress the reader with that kind of approach. If one can use the internet while reading, there is no need to take help of any other person for any elaboration.

I divide the eight chapters into three sections. The first section is about defining the term. It is done in the first three chapters. The writer gives a definition. He provides its history.

The second section deals with the application of the concept Hermeneutics. He gives a demonstration of this aspect in the fields of Humanities, Theology, Law and Science.

I propose to make the third section of a single chapter and even that is an Appendix. It substantiates well and as per the requirement of the academic needs.

Importance to Language.

I read about memory development. There are many authors, motivation books and experts. It all boils down to two things. They are visual sensations and auditory sensations. One can find it on its own that many experts lay emphases more on visual sensations for developing memory. However, this writer is very emphatic and he does it by giving assertions that it is the sound of the words which are more important for your brain and mind. He has given more importance to the Language as an important factor. It is up to you to learn it that when this psychic act comes into play, of which, you are actually made of, that it is done in words. If you want to say that I think, it is the words which come into play. You communicate with the use of words. Have anyone of you conversed merely by posting selfies, icons and similes? You use some caption or some comment on it. Even then, on your own side, these are the words which make you conscious that you are there. Hence, the language, the stream of words, this stream of audio and visual combinations, make your real perception. A lens of a Camera does not do photography on its own.

Use of the Pronoun 'SHE'.

In order to refer to an interpreter in a sentence, the writer has used the pronoun she whereas I expect that it has to be an HE.

Similarly, in order to refer to the researchers in the field of science, the writer has used the pronoun she whereas it is expected that the perfect word can be He. A scientist is qualified as she in a compound sentence.

I have listened to brotherhood more often or rather every time, but he is particular to lay emphasis on sisterhood. In Hindi, I am accustomed to the term Bhaichara. But, I do not think and remember that I have ever come across the term Bhenchara. That is another thing, that I have never come across a term Bheno Ka Bhaichara. Well, it is not an issue but I was just wondering if the boys were using 'HOOD' and then why did the girls also go for the HOOD.

I have no problem with it. It is acceptable. I have a reason for that. In the section on Hermeneutics and Science, he has attempted to give an explanation. He has selected an example of the working of a scientist in order to explain the idea of understanding. He referred to an experiment with a rat. He uses the pronoun SHE while referring to that rat. Attention the Feminist Movement. Check it. It is given on the page 121.rat. Attention the Feminist Movement. Check it. It is given on page 121.

However, I really want to understand the term VERY SHORT INTRODUCTION.

Edited on July 9, 2017

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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Dynamic Thought; Or, The Law of Vibrant Energy by William Walker Atkinson

Dynamic Thought; Or, The Law of Vibrant Energy

I have virtually struggled to complete this reading. It was really tiresome to read this book. I desire to share my view about this book in some separate statements which are assertions.

The writer is not confident about the nature of the argument which he is propounding.

The writer is a lawyer by profession. He is exercising his skill as a legal professional to build his argument and a case.

The nineteenth century had declared the sway of Science and Scientific methodology. It created a crisis of existence for other fields of knowledge and epistemology. This book is an excellent example to demonstrate the nature of the struggle for survival after the advent of the Science as an established field of knowledge. The writer has exercised his professional skill to explain the theories of science concerning his opinions on Mind and Life.

The writer does not like materialists. Well, that is not a right statement. He is ready to give them space but sympathizes with them. I also do not approve the materialists' way of thinking. It is surprising that he had not quoted Karl Marx at all. He has not even talked about Albert Einstein.

The writer has a good understanding of basic lessons of Physics. He does not have a good understanding of Chemistry. He explains the nature of chemical reactions in terms of love, marriage, and divorce. I was just wondering why he never talks about mathematicians. He has quoted many scholars from Europe who were known mathematician. However, while developing his case for the concept of the Mind, he has not taken up the working of the mind of a mathematician. He has talked about zoology in detail in one of his books, but here, he has not found any need to example from that subject. No doubt, he has taken the cases of microbes.

In his book also, he is suggesting that many of his points will be discussed in detail in his next book. He tells that the title is "The Wonders of the Mind." He informs that the book is in preparation. However, I have not located this title in the present anthology which I am using. It claims to be complete works of W. W. Atkinson.

This is how I present my review of this book. Throughout the book, Atkinson keeps assuring his reader that they have to believe in the theories and explanations which he is giving. He knows that his arguments would be rejected by the world of science. Then, Atkinson wishes that one day he will be proved right. He is not confident in his own content.

The issue of Ether is tackled differently. He knows that the world of science has rejected this concept. He has been using this idea in his books wherein he has tried to explain the laws of occultism. The Hindus believe in Akash which has been translated as Ether. He has referred to Hindus theories in many of his books. Therein, he has talked about Akash. But he adopted the term Ether in place of Akash. Now, in this book, he is opposing the idea of Ether.

In one of his book, probably it is one on Telepathy, that he has claimed that he is the first person to use the term 'mentation.' However, in this book, he has written that the word mentation was first used by Elmer Gates.

His views on the actual nature of Gravity is really fascinating. He was a contemporary of Albert Einstein. He collects his material from different magazines. I have a clue that he was a subscriber to many magazines. One can locate this fact by searching on the Internet. But, he has not talked about the explanation as provided by established scientists. I do not know the actual nature and origin of Gravity. I feel secure in the fact that the scientists know and they are using it well in the form in which they have their theory on it.

On the whole, there are fourteen chapters in this book. I have virtually struggled to read this book. At one stage I had even thought of quitting this book. May I suggest then that this book can be skipped. You will not lose much if you do not read this book.

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Mysticism A Very Short Introduction Mysticism and Science

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Crucible of Modern Thought by William Walker Atkinson

The Crucible of Modern Thought by William Walker Atkinson

The Crucible of Modern Thought by William Walker Atkinson is an important book for the readers of W. W. Atkinson as it gives answers to many questions about Atkinson. On the Internet, you may find some views and judgements about this writer and his writings. One statement is that they are mainly the Ghost Writings of the members of Theosophical Society. Another statement is that there was no trend or movement in America which could be called "New Thought Movement". You may find a statement which suggests that all his writings were a Possessed writing. In this title, one can find clues, and factual answers to many of such questions which are mainly based on rumours or unverified and half checked judgements and comments on these writings. However, all the queries and issues will not be settled.

In the compilation published by e-artnow, this book is placed on the third place. It should be placed in the first place. The compilation should begin with this title. It will give a good introduction to the working of the mind of the author and also to the actual nature of the whole anthology. This book has justified my plan to read the compilation from the first title itself. That is another thing, the way I have come across this compilation and the sequence of selection which I have adopted, imparts me a different experience. It is an adventure to explore a thing without any prior knowledge or without any expert guidance. It imparts pleasure to make a discovery on your own. It imparts those abilities or activates those abilities which no expert can make it possible for you and in you.


The Nineteenth century is an important topic among the university scholars and academicians. This century established the superiority of science. The Science established its sway. The science was not the product of the nineteenth century. It was in the nineteenth century that its victory was established and granted full recognization. However, it also created a crisis for other fields of intellectual existence. It will turn out to be a lecture in a classroom if I try to elaborate on this point. However, some arguments and facts can help to emphasise that which I am trying to say. It was in the nineteenth century that Napolean created an empire. It was in the nineteenth century that the Concert of Europe took place. It was in the nineteenth century that the emperors allowed the subjects to establish their parliaments and frame their constitutions. It was in the nineteenth century that the books like The Wealth of Nation (1797), the Origin of Species, the Social Contract, the Das Capita were written and they became the important scriptures of the people who matter. It was in the nineteenth century that the subjects like sociology, economics, psychology, Physics, Chemistry etc were accepted as the full-fledged identities and got their name. It was in the nineteenth century that Penicillin was discovered. It was in the nineteenth century that Steam Engine was developed. It was in the nineteenth century that some crucial mathematic formulas were framed and solved. It was in the nineteenth century that Wireless became a reality. It was in the nineteenth century that internal combustion engine was developed. It was in the nineteenth century that the Petroleum was used for the general public. It was in the nineteenth century that the railroads were laid. It was in the nineteenth century that DC and AC (Tesla) were used. It was in the nineteenth century that an aeroplane took its first flight. It was in the nineteenth century that the Industrial Revolution took place. It was in the nineteenth century that the nations like Germany and Italy were unified. It was in the nineteenth century that the American Civil War took place. It was in the nineteenth century that the Periodic table was regularised. It was in the nineteenth century that the structure of Atom was fully accepted. It can be continued further. Behind all this, a single thing became the all pervading thing. It was the Scientific temper and also the scientific methods.

The nineteenth century declared and established the success of the Science. But, along with it, came the crisis for other methods of thinking and temper. The theology was questioned for its belief. Some of the subjects were pushed to the background. Many of the systems of thinking, beliefs and faith were abandoned. But they did not die. As Bertrand Russell had written in his History of Philosophy that these subjects raised some questions and dealt with them which the science could not do.

The above two thought streams were prevailing in the nineteenth century when the world entered into the twentieth century. It was a tumult, a crisis in academics, a fascinating debate among the intellectuals and the people in power running the states that marked the time. It is with this background with which 'the crucible of Modern thought' be understood.

There is a need to make a specific noting here. It is no that the nineteenth century was the only exclusive century. There are much more such periods which were epoch-making. The scholars tell that 6th century BCE was one of it. One can easily identify the exclusiveness of the Renaissance. This remark is needed to understand the idea of New Thought Movement about which Atkinson had talked and for which it seems that he was criticised. The Renaissance is also identified with the term New. In the present days, the world of interconnectivity through internet and computers based devices is also bringing in something which may be called the New. For every generation, there was a New and there will be a New. But, the records tell that the nineteenth century was definitely an exclusive century.

The first two chapters of the book, viz, The Twentieth Century Melting Pot and Old Wine in New Bottles are the results of the tumult and brewing about which it is mentioned in the preceding paragraphs on the nineteenth century.

The next two chapters are on Transcendental Thought and Emerson. The author is more concerned with Emerson's Transcendental System which seems to be the ruling thought in the USA in the first decade of the twentieth century. After the chapters on Emerson and his contribution, he takes up the history of western thought, a topic for which you can consult the book by Bertrand Russell titled 'History of Western Philosophy'. I would like to say one thing here. I had tried to read that book but not completed it. My understanding of the Western philosophy is based on the reading of philosophy of History. For that, I have read the book by Collingwood and two good authors from India namely B. Sheik Ali and E. Shridharan. I do not evade to accept it that I am not confident of my understanding of this topic. But, here, when I read these chapters written by Atkinson, I felt highly satisfied with the clarity which I acquired. It may have happened that the core material was already there with me. It is the writing style of the author and his good understanding and ability to write even abstruse and difficult concept in a way that his writing converse with its reader. I may again try to read Russell now.

There is a need to give another noting here. I must accept that in the course of my present reading, the offline dictionary, as provided with the Kindle, is a great help. The other features of making noting and highlighting are an additional asset. The Internet is also a blessing. If you do not understand a term, or a concept or an idea, you can readily browse the web through the Kindle link. You do not feel constrained by the non-availability of a good library. You are not obstructed by the need to visit a library to clear your doubts. You simply right click and give a command for browsing for the topic for which you need an immediate understanding. You do not seek a haughty and pseudo-intellectual for the explanation. You check Internet Encyclopaedias, various blogs and websites and acquire a working glimpse of the thought behind the new and unfamiliar term. In short, the reading is facilitated by these digital devices. I now strongly differ with those, who continue to assert that the paperbacks have their own beauty. I do not deny the aspect of beauty to that format. But for me, the digital devices and means are more effective, practical and productive.

Someone may consider it my overstatement but I must say that I have found his crucible a better book than that of Russell. Atkinson has taken up the orient thought also. He has talked about Vedanta, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism and Sufiism. It is another thing that he has not discussed a specific thinker separately among them. I do not know and also not able to learn about his selection of Orient thought. He writes that there are many thought traditions which are worthy of selection but he prefers those four. In the case of Russell, he had recognised the influence of the Indian or Vedantic thought on the Western thinkers but he did not make any chapter on that because he was writing about the Western Philosophy. Therefore, I find it a more effective narration. I may change my view after completing a fresh reading of Russell which is spread over nearly 800 pages. But, in this small book, Atkinson is able to perform a balanced job on the whole.

He has devoted one chapter to Theosophy and Christain Science. It is in this chapter that one can learn the actual meaning of the New Thought Movement as claimed by Atkinson. However, it is also evident that he was definitely in contact with the members of Theosophy Society and also in a way influenced by them. But this book is not a work of a possessive writing. In this book, the writer has written what he has understood.

One of a peculiar feature of perception of Western Philosophy that he has not included the name of Marx in the list of his study. He has talked about Materialists. He has talked about Hegel. He has some reservations with the materialist. But, nowhere, he has attempted to mention the name of Karl Marx.

The last chapter is titled the Dawn of Tomorrow. I have seen that he has a hidden desire to earn fame as an established thinker and prophetic writer. However, I do not want to describe much about the content of this chapter. He wrote this book somewhere in 1910. Now nearly a hundred years after, one can easily check that how far is his vision was a vision.

Another feature has turned up in this book and it is relating to the editor of this anthology and the publisher e-artnow. They have tried to fiddle with the contents. While you read Atkinson, you know that he had written his work between 1900 and 1930. In this book, the author has talked about George Bernard Shaw. The compiler of this work has given the year of the death of Shaw which took place in 1950. The editor is definitely unimaginative person. In one of the title also, I have failed to mark this in review of that title, that the publisher has written a introduction to the each chapter. It was a shoddy work. Similarly, the publisher has developed it as a bunch of his work. The publisher has not cared to add the years of the publication of the each title. It does not go well with such a type of work. In the same manner, he has not adopted any method in arranging the works of Atkinson. Like, this work is different from that which I have read in other works of Atkinson. I can suggest a classification of his work. These can be three sets and they can be as follows.

Work on Self Improvement Topics
Work on Mysticism
Work on Philosophy and Personal Essays.

This title can be placed under the third category and that is Work on Philosophy and Personal Essays.

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Art of Expression and the Principles of Discourse by William Walker Atkinson

Ultimately, I have read the first book in the compilation which is titled 'The Art of Expression and the Principles of Discourse' by William Walker Atkinson.

If, someone, reading the opening line of the post, is surprised at the expression, tone and diction of the sentence, then, kindly continue to read the next paragraph which explains the reason for framing such a sentence.

A Report:

I have a compilation of the unabridged works of William Walker Atkinson. I had virtually discovered it for myself. I was trying to find a good work on Patanjali. When I was searching it on the internet, I was attracted towards a portrait on a title. The title of the book was The Fourteen Lessons in Yogi Philosophy and Oriental Occultism. The name of the author was Yogi Ramacharak.

It was Patanjali who first gave the idea of Yoga. It was from his Yoga, the idea of Yogi developed. I was seeking knowledge on Patanjali. The desire to know Patanjali is basically a quest to know Yoga. A person who knows Yoga is called a Yogi. The price of the book by Yogi Ramacharak was also around ₹ 60/-. It was the amount which I could afford to spend. When I was able to find a book on Patanjali, which was by Swami Vivekananda and it was also available in a form of a compilation, I bought that book for ₹300/-. It was like getting a bonus when I also bought this unknown author Yogi Ramacharak, at least to me, along with the anthology of the works of Swami Vivekananda. I did not read Swami Vivekananda. I started reading Yogi Ramacharak. The narration was such that it grabbed my attention. Gradually I learned that the author knew about the Christian religion. He was also referring to numerous English authors. I developed a doubt about the learning of the author Ramacharak. I started searching for him on the internet. Soon, I learned that the name was an adopted name of William Walker Atkinson.

In the Fourteen Lessons in Yogi Philosophy, W. W. Atkinson had referred to many of his other titles. He had talked about the title of Raja Yoga, Hatha Yoga etc. In between, whenever I browsed the internet, I was attentive about the titles by William Walker Atkinson. Soon, I located this compilation by the publisher e-artnow (I do not know who are they.). It was priced at ₹ 48.23/-. It included the title The Fourteen Lessons. It also contained the title 'The Advance Course in Yogi Philosophy and Oriental Occultism'. In the book, the Fourteen Lessons, the author had repeatedly mentioned that he would elaborate on different points in his next book and he specifically mentioned it as the Advance Course. Therefore, after completing the reading of the book, I started the book the Advance Course. Again, in that book, he mentioned some of his other titles and suggested that one should also consult them in order to fully understand his elaboration in his book on The Advance course. Therefore, a sequence developed. I read the book and then shifted to another book as suggested in the course. I could do that because all those books were available to me in the compilation. Gradually I found that there is no sequence in my selection of the next title. After reading nearly 20 books out of that compilation, I thought of starting the compilation from the very first book as given in the compilation by the publisher.

The first book in the compilation by e-artnow is "The Art of Expression and the Principles of Discourse".

Now, let us review the experience which I had undergone while reading the earlier titles by W. W. Atkinson. In every book, he was suggesting and recommending a name of his other title which should also be read. I experienced that if you followed his suggestions, you could appreciate the contents of his books. I decided upon a plan that I should read the compilation from the beginning. Now, these two thought-sets worked together. I picked the first book which is 'The Art of Expression'. I read the first page. On the first page he suggested that one should read his book on Thought Culture and Logic in order to fully appreciate the contents of the book. I left the reading there and by following his instructions, I picked the book as suggested by him. I read the book on Logic. I read the book on Thought Culture. There were some more titles dealing with Thought Cutlure. However, in these two books, that was on Logic and Thought Culture, he talked about the aspects of Memory. He suggested that one should also read his book on Memory Development. I then read his books on Memory Training and Memory Culture. After reading these four books, ultimately, I read this book.

The Review of the Book:

There are fifteen chapters in this book.

Among all the chapter, I will like to emphasise that the Chapter X, The Argumentative Discourse, the Chapter XI, Argumentation and the Chapter XII, Evidence and Proof have attracted my attention and interest. William Walker Atkinson was a lawyer by profession. The ideas which he has taken up in the selected chapters has an imprint of his training and professional experience. The contents and topics are also relevant to my subject of History. I have virtually found a set of notes which I am going to use for my students. Let me take up a particular topic.

He has discussed the Cause and Effect relations. I had been teaching about the Cause and Effect relations to my students. I use the elaboration by E. H. Carr in "What is History" and also the Idea of History by R. G. Collingwood. It is substantiated by the book by an Indian author B. Sheik Ali. E. H. Carr had discussed it in his chapter on Causation. He has his style of explaining the topic. But, somewhere, I felt as if, E. H. Carr might have read his book. No, I do not pass any judgement here. I am just sharing by impression. Atkinson might have published this book before 1920. He had his bookseller agent based in London. E. H. Carr wrote essay somewhere around 1950 and his book was first published in 1954. Collingwood wrote his draft for the Oxford University Press in 1935 and it was later that his incomplete work was published. Now I am going to use them in my class.

I read those chapters with great interest. I believe that these chapters can be included in his title on Logic also. He made his book as logic as per the elaboration by William Stanely Jevons and other Logicians. No doubt, while talking about Logic, you must understand the core rules and principles. But, by incorporating it in that book, the rules and principles can be substantiated for the better understanding of the common reader. It can definitely be made a part of the book on Thought Culture.

On the sideline, I will also like to discuss a similar feature concerning one of his elaboration. In his Advance course, he has discussed about the features of the Absolute. While giving the features of the Absolute, he has written an essay which is as good as a note on Japaji Sahib, an Utterance of Guru Nanak Dev. I teach Sikh history also. We have to explain the features of the concept of the Absolute as given by Guru Nanak Dev. I have read many textbooks because of my professional needs for that topic. All the text books give a similar elaboration. Somewhere, I felt as if, all those text book had been borrowing from a common source and among them, the perfect elaboration is given by Atkinson. In his elaboration, nowhere, Atkinson has mentioned about Sikhism or Guru Nanak Dev. It is a feature of his writings that while discussing the Indian Mystic thoughts, he does not mention a single Indian name associated with scriptures or any Sanskrit work. He refers to Latin and Grecian origin of English words. He referred to words like Gyan, Raja, Hatha, Prana etc. But, he uses only those terms which are now readily included in the English dictionaries.

The topics of the first three chapters are Expression, Languages: It Beginnings and the Evolution of Language. It makes a fascinating reading. If one knows about the history of these topics, then it can be appreciated with great admiration that how these topics had dominated the intellectual circle of the world at the beginning of the twentieth century. I will suggest that in order to appreciate these topics in historical context, one should read this essay  titled Philosophy of Language on Internet Encylopedia on Philosophy, 

From chapter IV to Chapter IX, the topics are the Words, the Building of Vocabulary, The Choice of Words, the Figurative Speech and the Discursive Expression. While I was reading these chapters, I felt that he should have also given a chapter on Grammar or suggested the need for the grammar. I am a native of India. I live in Punjab. My dialect is Punjabi. But, I generally write and think in Hindi. I keep a grammar of English by Wren and Martin even today. I consult it again and again. But, suddenly, I realized that I do not have any grammar book of Hindi. If somebody asks me about the forms of Verbs or Kriya, or Adjectives or Vianjan, I will not able to tell. I do not even remember the alphabets of Hindi. I believe, because Atkinson was an English speaking native of America, therefore, he did not feel the need to suggest it. It is taken for granted that you know the rules of grammar in a natural way. It is another thing, that in his book on developing Memory, he has given a doggerel rhyme on Parts of Speech. It seems there is a difference in teaching methods at school level between India and Western World. One of my elders had told me that in his times, the history was always taught in the form of doggerel rhymes. Now a day, it is all that research based history and no one remembers the history.

In the chapter on the Expression, he has given the central idea of this book. He says there that the art of expression is concerned with oral expression or speaking and the rules and principles that can also be used for writing and composition. He has laid the limits in his explanation itself that the extent of the discourse in the book is limited. He has not talked about the skills of uttering a word, the stress on the different part of speech, the modulation of voice while explaining the elocution etc. On the whole, whatsoever he has given, can be made a good starting point to learn about elocution, speaking, oration and also the writing methods.

I end by repeating that I liked the chapters on Argumentative Discourse and Argumentation.

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Friday, June 9, 2017

Memory Culture: The Science of Observing, Remembering and Recalling by William Walker Atkinson

Memory Culture: The Science of Observing Remembering and Recalling by William Walker Atkinson is the book which I read after reading his other book titled Memory: How to Develop, Train and Use It.

In the compilation by, this book on Memory Culture is listed before the book Memory: How to Develop. I read the book Memory: How to Develop first and then read Memory Culture. If you just try to ponder and reflect upon the title, you may be amused and think that both the titles convey the same thing. Well, there is a little bit of difference. If you focus on the meaning of each title, you may yourself identify that there is a little bit of fine difference in the meaning and motive of the titles. You should develop the ability of Memory to remember, recall and recognise. Yes, this can be achieved. I do not know that what the qualified Psychologists and Neurologists have to say about that. They have developed drugs and processes which can make any person to reveal out his or her thought and memory under their observation. But, as a common man, when you are not under the observation of a psychologist or neurologist, you have to deal with your memory on your own. It is there, that you need it, that you must have the ability to remember, recall and recognise your knowledge. Now, How can you do that? What type of activities should be performed by the mind? What type of culture should one adopt to use his or her memory? These questions give you these two titles.

Now, I will not call that one book is an adjunct to other. It is not that it supplement each other. They exist as a separate identity. They are not two eyes of the same man. They are heart and brain of the same man. That is it. They are rather two heads of the same body. They synchronised their activity and the body achieves its full potential. You can not have a memory culture without developing memory. You can not do much by developing memory without having a memory culture. That is the relation.

When you read this author, somewhere you feel that he ends a chapter abruptly and carves out a fresh chapter to continue his narration. You desire that he should have said the thing in the same chapter, there and then. You adjust to his writing by giving a view that it is his style. However, it is not simple as that.

I just wonder that he was a contemporary of Mark Twain. The USA feels proud of Mark Twain and considers him its icon. However, Atkinson may have been popular for his writings. One can judge that from the fact that it is stated at a number of places on the internet that his titles are still in publication. I have come across them because of that. I am not a person from a literary background. I read and read a lot. But that does not make me qualified for being a literary person. But, for me, he has done a good job. My criticism and sarcasm of his writing is my way to deal with the information which I gather. I have an admiration for his work.

Now, Let us see the contents of the title.

He deals with this topic by alluding to the importance of subconsciousness in the first chapter. In the case of Memory development title, he has emphasised the importance of having a good memory.

After that chapter, he again takes up the topics on sense organs based information, abstraction, perception, developing ideas and using logic. He repeats the chapters on the ear and the eye use. All these aspects have been mentioned as separate chapters in the Memory Development. However, here, he has tried to tell that there is a culture which one should develop while dealing with memory.

I am interested in emphasising the contents of the last chapter which is titled Artificial Systems. In this chapter, he has tried to give the history of the development of the artificial systems. He has covered a number of methods of artificial systems to develop the memory. You may come across books and paid courses which try to help you to learn such artificial methods of developing the memory. However, in between, Atkinson has remarked that many people get frustrated with such type of methods. They feel cheated when they fail to maintain the practices taught in such courses and books. He is not against these methods. He has suggested that if you get to benefit from them, then incorporate them into your practice of developing memory. It is there, he has also raised a question. He has tried to emphasise that the feature of memory is a natural thing. One should make efforts to develop and harness that natural ability first. It is just like developing your muscles. You go to gym for that. You can do it at your home. But it is you who have to do it. He has a point.

I do not want to say that he has given the ultimate truth on the development of memory. I do not undervalue the achievements of scientific psychology. It is a result of scientific psychology that we know today that generally, we try to remember things in a set of three facts. You remember a long number by remembering them in a set of three figures. The neurologist has come with many such drugs which can make a person a captive of a neurologist. The intelligence agencies use the work of their outcome. The drug addicts can be treated only by the expert. In their cases, the works of Atkinson will not be a help. But, it is for the common man, that he is more relevant.

A Suggestion:

One should read the following combination of his titles in order to fully get the benefit on the subject which he has taken up. The subject is the use and development of Memory.

Set One:
The Subconsciousness and Superconsciousness Planes of Mind
Suggestion and Auto Suggestion (I have to add to the contents of the review of these titles. However it will be a good plan if someone follows my suggestion and read these books. After that, he read my reviews.)
Thought Culture, Or, Practical Mind Training.

Set Two:
Memory: How to Develop, Train and Use it
Memory Culture: The Science of Observing, Remembering and Recalling
The Art of Logical Thinking; Or, The Laws of Reasoning

It is my suggestion that they may be read in that order.

I would like to add. You can download the Kindle Software which is a freeware. It can be downloaded on a tablet, mobile phone and PC. You can buy the compilation from the Kindle store. It cost you ₹48. 23/-. If you are in India, I do not think, this combination can be any issue. I have used e.artnow compilation. There are many more compilations and individual titles by the same author available on the internet on Google Books also. The free copies can also be downloaded from Internet Archive or Guttenberg project. However, I find the compilation by the e-artnow as the cheapest possible option. There are some flaws in this compilation but if you have visualised and accepted the game plan, then it is the right set that can be adopted.

Ending Message:
I have started the reading of The Art of Expression.

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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Memory: How to Develop, Train and Use It by William Walker Atkinson

Memory: How to Develop, Train and Use It by William Walker Atkinson

The Idea of Selecting This Title for Reading:

It is a repetition of that which I have already explained as the reasons to read the titles by William Walker Atkinson. I have a collection of the works by Atkinson. I have already read some of its titles. Now, I have decided to read the compilation from the first title in the list. The title is "The Art of Expression and The Principle of Discourse".

Atkinson had written numerous books. In every book, he alluded to his other books and suggested to his reader to consult the other book in order to explore the full benefit of the title. I had read his different books without any plan or sequence. But, in between, I have developed this view that his suggestions should be followed. Therefore, when I started his book on the Art of Expression, I found that there was a suggestion that one should read his book on logic and also the thought culture. In his book on thought culture, he advised that one should read his book on memory culture. There were two books on memory topic. One of the book is this one which is the subject of this review and the second one is titled "Memory Culture: The Science of Observing, Remembering and Recalling". I am on the verge of completing the reading of that book. Now, here is the review on Memory: How to Develop, Train and Use It.

The Book Structure:

The book has twenty chapters. The chapters can be safely divided into two sections. The section one may contain first nine chapters. The second section, which may contain chapters from Chapter X to the end, can be called the section of practical suggestions and instructions.

In the first section, he has emphasised those aspect of psychology which I believe should be taught to every student. In schools, reading and writing are taught. These aspects, which are explained in this book, should also be incorporated in the instructions and made the part of the practice of study as the sports and other co-curricle activities are emphasised as the part of schooling.

If you are a student, you must go through this book. It will benefit you in your studies. You have to study the titles which are suggested in the first paragraph of this post. You may find it cumbersome. However, it is more result oriented if you read the combination of the titles as suggested in the first paragraph. I am also amused when I find that in his every book, the author suggests another book. But, I feel, that if he has taken up all the topics in one single title, it would have not been that attractive and useful.

Let me now take up some aspects of the contents. The author is again perfect and best in his art of writing. He has written a simple English. You do not have to consult a dictionary to understand his discourse. You do not encounter any Latin or other archaic or technical terms. Well, in the case of these titles, he has not quoted numerous authorities as he has done in the case of the titles on esoteric and mystic topics.

Kindly check this list.

You have Five sense organs viz. Eye, Ear, Nose, Tongue, and Touch sense and their corresponding sensations. 

You get information on your surroundings through your sense organs.

You gather the information guided by following mind features. They are

Your Desire
Your Interest
Your Attention
Your Concentration.

The information which you gather through your senses is confined to and restricted by your ability to Abstract the data from the sensation of your sense organs. You can learn to polish your ability to Abstract in this book.

The Abstraction is kept in your brain or rather the abstraction gives you the Perception.

The Perception is utilized by the brain to develop the Idea.

An Idea is identified with the help of terms and images. The book tells about the simple methods to develop this process consciously. The extra thing that is required is your consistency and ability to utilize it with a commitment.

Now if you are interested in this elaboration and it conveys you some meaningful talk, then, this book can be used to develop your memory.

I have full regards for the Psychologists and Neurologists. If they are there to tell that their field of research has progressed far ahead than the content of this book, then I will definitely like them to suggested me the titles of the books which they want to recommend.

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