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"No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting"
-Mary Wortley Montagu
-Mary Wortley Montagu
Arrogance Off Putting
I'm not at all religious, nor do I follow religions. I do appreciate different disciplines and like to read up on them occasionally.
After all, what better way to break stereotypes and learn to appreciate other cultures. This text however, while well-written, was arrogant and flawed in more ways than helpful. This is, of course, my opinion, but I'll try to provide some reasonable examples.
It begins in the introduction. The author unabashedly accuses self-help industries of being "for profit" that often "lead us so far from real answers that they become harmful, leading to indoctrination of concepts that will never be unwired from the brain." Yet, this author is walking the same path: is not his book for sale? Will he not profit from it? Are not his intentions to lead the reader down a path that will rewire their brain? Even if the intention is to do so towards happiness. To accuse others of the very thing that this author is himself doing is hypocritical. The arrogance stems from the accusations that other self-help individuals have it all wrong, that they don't know what they're talking about.
When he begins speaking on the Four Nobel Truths, I find myself interested, and then, again, comes the arrogance, the certainty that he is correct and all others are incorrect. He states that Buddha never states "Life is suffering" and that the interpretation of the Buddha's words is not only flawed but completely false. I can't quote the text by Buddha in it's entirety here because it's lengthy, but you'll find it on page 10 of the eBook. I re-read it several times and while the Buddha did not specifically state "Life is suffering" it is quite easy to infer from ALL the types of human suffering mentioned that life is indeed suffering. Thus if someone were to interpret it as meaning this, they would not be incorrect. Did the Buddha say, "ALL life is suffering?" No. But there are many instances in which life is suffering, and there are likely as many instances in which we have joy. After all, we are emotional beings--we live, we love, we laugh, we cry, we get angry, we die. To deny any of these isn't a natural state. To balance them is something we should seek to accomplish. To not allow them to control us is something we should strive for.
The reason for the three stars instead of a lower rating is because the author does make some good observations that don't reek of arrogance and there are lessons we can all learn from. For example:
The Buddha said: "People cleave to their worldly possessions and selfish passions so blindly as to sacrifice their own lives for them. They are like a child who tries to eat a little honey smeared on the edge of a knife. The amount is by no means sufficient to appease his appetite, but he runs the risk of wounding his tongue."