Book : Sophie’s World
Author : Jostein Gaarder
This is a book. Anyone who has taught in Japan will understand the nuances of this, but this is really is a book. If you haven’t read it, don’t waste time reading any more – just go out and read the actual book.
The first thing I must do is congratulate Paulette Moller on her marvellous translation. Not knowing any Norwegian, I have never read the original, but the translation is as fresh as any of the ideas in this book. I was at an academic conference recently and was very impressed by the level of the interpretation. I got the same impression from the English version of this book. I’m sure that Gaarder reads well in the original, but Ms. Moller has done very fine work indeed.
Apart from tracing the history of philosphic thought over 3000 years, this book tells a bloody good yarn. I found it very difficult to leave at night to go to sleep despite its pleas for the importance of dreaming. I’ve read various books on philosphy over the years, but this is without a doubt the most accesible. With Gaarder’s description of each every new era and every new thinker, I found myself agreeing – at the same time, I found my own thought patterns developing along with the thinkers of the ages.
There is no doubt a long way to go before the thinking patterns of each one of us reaches nirvana, but we do seem to be progressing. This is something that I would have doubted before reading this book, but his gradual progression through the history of dialectics convinced me. From Aristotle’s critic of Plato, there has been a growing knowledge emerging from the battlefield of thesis and antithesis. There may be no final destination in our search for understanding, but there is indeed a journey of growing awareness.
In the end, what remains with are only a few things:
1. Remember the wonder of the world that we live in.
2. Ask questions.
3. Learn from the words and thoughts of others.
4. Believe in the power of the human mind and spirit.
Powerful book – go out and read it if you haven’t done so.