Socrate was a liberal, Plato was a conservative, and Aristotle? Well, he was an educator, an academic, an intellectual with perks and passions who was never dull. His school of thought dominated western Europe during the Middle Ages. It became a foundation of Christian theology because of the conciliation of humanities with science, especially biology, to approach the hows in the quest of whys and whats.
But don’t be intimidated by the dauntingly impressive resume of the philosopher. You don’t have to strain yourself with a burden to know the wondrous truth of our human life and the universe beyond. Woodfin’s illustrated guide to Aristotle will become your scholarly and witty Virgil to his circles of knowledge as seen in his mind’s casements. Through them, you are welcome to appreciate the panorama of Teleology, Thinness, the Four Causes, Beauty, Ethics, and the Cosmos like you never realized in plain language.
Suppose you want to know more about the man who taught Alexander the Great and Thomas Aquinas, the top Doctor of the Church, and assured the distraught that excellence comes from habit. In that case, this book deserves your attention – with delightful Eureka!
We know our brain is our body’s and mind’s control room, but how much do we know about the superlative organ and the supernatural power? So relax. Have no fear because Amaze Yourself: Take a Quantum Leap by Dr. Jill Ammon-Wexler will be your Cumin Sibyl to the mysterious world of the brain where the secret of the universe is locked in and waiting for you to unlock it if you believe in it.
Dr. Jill is a doctor of psychology and a 47-year pioneer brain/mind researcher who has devoted herself to enlightening the public about the psychosomatic effects of the brain that are so wondrous and magical that they give the brain the status of a supernatural being. For example, stress isn’t just an easy, convenient excuse for our burned-out selves; it is, in effect, the evil of psychological and physiological ailments. Also, negative thoughts are not a metaphysical concept without a scientific foundation but are like a cancerous cyst that impedes the production of glucose (the brain food), which hampers a faculty of thoughts and a sense of imagination. The wonder doesn’t stop here. There is a third eye called the pineal gland in the brain that responds to altered mental states. So we all have some degree of ability to foresee the future, but that’s only if we consciously endeavor to access the subconscious mind. No wonder some of us can see and hear ghosts, and that’s true to the end of reckoning by way of a quantum leap from one sphere to another without effort.
Suppose I am being captious by playing the role of Devil’s Advocate in the review of this admirably elegant and inspirational book. In that case, it is this: like any renowned figure of academic researchers, Dr. Jill’s successful experiments on positive thoughts confine to a pool of comparatively well-off human subjects with statuses. Of course, it’s unfair to cavil at her intention to find the truth, as her contemporary peers do the same. But I hope that someone like Dr. Jill, who writes with general readers in mind with her wealth of knowledge, includes a broad spectrum of classes in her study so that none of her readers will feel left out of the selected few. Nevertheless, Dr. Jill is a pioneer in her field, translating the mystery of brain power into our everyday language to make us realize that we are indeed starstuff harvesting sunlight only if we believe in ourselves. Therefore, this book is an excellent primer for the beautiful world of neuroscience, met with the supernatural power of the brain within us.
I wanted to find the Church’s stance on reincarnation and, above all, what the Bible said about this seemingly endless shapeshifting until the purification of the soul is complete, so to speak. What about the Christian belief that we live only once and have no return of life?
According to “A Concise Dictionary of Theology,” reincarnation is the belief or metempsychosis (“animate afterward”) that the soul preexists its embodiment. After death, the soul exists in a ghostly state before animating one again, a body of the same in a different state, which sounds a lot like a demon or malevolent spirit possessing the body of the living. It is this very belief in resurrection and official rejection of the preexistence of wandering souls without corporeal substance that denies reincarnation itself. By maintaining an endless series of chances, the doctrine of reincarnation reduces the seriousness of God’s grace and, most importantly, human liberty exercised in one life that is ended by once-and-for all death.
Furthermore, in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, death is the end of man’s earthly pilgrimage. When the single course of our earthly life is completed, we shall not return to other earthly lives as “it is appointed for men to die once” [Hebrews 9:27]. Christianity defends the duality of the body and the soul. However, reincarnation defends dualism that both beings exist separately and that the body is simply an instrument of the soul; existence by successive existence as an altogether different body is repeatedly assumed each time one recycles life. Thus reincarnation denies the idea of the resurrection of the body, as evidenced by the resurrection of Christ, and most primarily rejects the Christian doctrine of salvation. Therefore, there is no reincarnation after death.
I feel much better now than before. While I succumbed to the belief in reincarnation, I couldn’t accept the thought of my present life as punishment for my wrongdoings in my past lives. To think that I have to live in a miserable state of discipline until my subsequent due recycling puts me on the verge of lunacy in the form of murderous headache for which I recently found myself in the ER. Viktor E. Frankl, the survivor of concentration camps during World War 2 and the founder of Logotherapy, urged us to trust that there is meaning in suffering, which helps us lead to our purposes in life. Samuel Johnson, one of the most significant 18th-century English men of letters and the author of A Dictionary of the English Language, describes life as progress from want to want, not from enjoyment to enjoyment. Forget the arguments about the religious dogma dictating an institutionalized belief for mass mind control. Or it so, then so be it. After all, reincarnation is also another offshoot of mysticism developed into religious thought. Then I will follow the light that gives me a sense of hope. And for this reason, I proclaim that my body and soul are inseparable and that I live only once, and that’s it.