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Man, His First Two Million Years
Man, His First Two Million Years
by Ashley Montagu
Edition: Paperback
13 used & new from $1.99

0 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars AN INTERESTING TOPIC, BUT NOT A SCIENTIFIC BOOK, March 13, 2004
ISRAEL EHRENBERG, WHO WROTE UNDER THE NAME ASHLEY MONTEGU, PRESENTS IN THIS BOOK AN EXTENDED ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF INTERRACIAL BREEDING. I READ THIS BOOK MANY YEARS AGO WHILE STUDYING GENETICS AND OTHER SCIENCES. I EXPECTED TO FIND MEANINGFUL ARGUMENT; HOWEVER HIS ARGUMENT CONSISTS OF A DISCUSSION OF HYBRID VITALITY. I WAS OF COURSE SOMEWHAT FAMILIAR WITH THE SUBJECT, BUT ONLY APPLIED TO PLANTS. I AM STILL NOT ENTIRELY SURE WHAT HE INTENDED TO TALK ABOUT. THE BREEDS OF DOGS ARE OFTEN LESS HEALTHY THAN A WELL-MIXED MONGREL, BUT THAT IS BECAUSE HUMANS HAVE SELECTED CHARACTERISTICS FOR HUMAN PURPOSES, NOT FOR THE ABILITY OF THE ANIMAL TO SURVIVE IN THE WILD. FIGURING HE COULD NOT BE INTENDING ANYTHING AS OBVIOUSLY INCORRECT AS THAT, I REASONED THAT HE MUST BE TALKING ABOUT WILD TYPES' GREATER VIABILITY RELATIVE TO MUTANTS, WHICH IS A WELL-ESTABLISHED FACT, MOST MUTATIONS BEING HARMFUL, SEMI-LETHAL OR LETHAL. IF A PARTICULAR ANIMAL HAS A MUTATION WHICH IS HARMFUL, IT MAY BE ABLE TO BREED, LIKE SHORT WINGED FRUIT FLIES.
SHOULD THE ANIMAL BE A HUMAN AND THE TRAIT BE HETEROZYGOUS DOMINANT AND THE TRAIT NOT BE SEX LINKED AND THE MATING PARTNER IS HOMOZYGOUS RECESSIVE, ONE IN FOUR OF THE OFFSPRING WILL HAVE THE TRAIT. CONCERNING THAT PARTICULAR TRAIT, THE RACE(S) OF THE PARTNERS WILL HAVE NO IMPACT.THE ONLY FACTOR WHICH WILL BE SIGNIFICANT REGARDING THE TRAIT IS THE DISTRIBUTION OF THE TRAIT IN POTENTIAL MATING PARTNERS. MATING OF AN AFFECTED GROUP WITH A NON-CARRIER GROUP WITHIN THE SAME RACE WILL HAVE THE SAME PROBABILITY OF TRANSMITTAL AS WERE THE MATING GROUP OF ANOTHER RACE. TAKEN OVERALL, THERE IS THE PROBABILITY OF ACCEPTING INTO THE OFFSPRING HARMFUL TRAITS, PROBABLY RECESSIVE, FROM EACH GROUP.
SHOULD THERE EXIST A POPULATION FREE OF ALL HARMFUL TRAITS, DOMINANT OR RECESSIVE, THE BEST THING (LOWEST RISK) WOULD BE TO HAVE INTRA-GROUP BREEDING ONLY. SHOULD THERE BE TWO SUCH POPULATIONS AND THEY INTERBRED THERE WOULD BE, TAKEN INDIVIDUALLY, NO HARM TO THE OFFSPRING. ACCORDING TO ASHLEY MONTAGU'S ARGUMENT, THERE SHOULD BE SOME NET BENEFIT SHOULD THE TWO GROUPS BE OF DIFFERENT RACES AS OPPOSED TO BEING ISOLATED COMMUNITIES OF THE SAME RACE. CARLTON S. COON CLASSIFIED MAN INTO FIVE BASIC RACES (WITH MANY PEOPLE MIXED OF COURSE). THESE RACES HE CALLED: CAUCASOID, MONGOLOID, CONGOID (ALSO CALLED NEGROID), CAPOID (HOTTENTOT BUSHMEN) AND AUSTROLOID. WHETHER THEY ARE ACTUAL PRIMARY RACES IN THE SENSE OF BEING LINKED TO A COMMON PRE-MODERN COMMON ANSESTOR IS A MATTER OF SPECULATION. ONE THING IS CERTAIN--THEY ARE ALL WILD TYPES. EACH HAS PROVED ITSELF CAPABLE OF SURVIVAL OVER TENS OR HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF YEARS. ALL HAVE ABOUT THE SAME NATURAL LIFE SPAN. ALL ARE CAPABLE OF LANGUAGE AND REASONED DECISION MAKING. THERE IS AN INTERESTING ISSUE WHICH A PRIORI SEEMS A POTENTIAL ARGUMENT AGAINST THE BREEDING HE ADVOCATES. EACH RACE HAS EVOLVED TRAITS WHICH ARE BENEFICIAL IN THE CONTEXT OF THE WHOLE BODY OF TRAITS. FOR EXAMPLE SKULL SIZE AND EYE SIZE NEED TO CORRESPOND WITH ONE ANOTHER TO PRODUCE GOOD VISION. TOOTH SIZE MUST CORRESPOND WITH SKULL SIZE TO PRODUCE TEETH THAT FIT CORRECTLY IN THE MOUTH. AS FAR A RACES ARE CONCERNED (OR ISOLATED POPULATIONS WITHIN THE SAME RACE) THE WAY TO TELL IF THERE WERE AT LEAST OBVIOUS HARMFUL PHYSICAL EFFECTS WOULD BE TO COMPARE TWO UNMIXED RACIAL POPULATIONS WITH A POPULATION WHICH IS A MIXTURE OF THE TWO. FOR EXAMPLE NATIVE POPULATIONS OF SWEDEN AND SUDAN COULD SERVE AS THE UNMIXED POPULATIONS AND THAT OF EGYPT AS THE MIXED POPULATION. THE COMPARISON IS NOT PERFECT, BUT IT IS PRETTY CLOSE. IT SEEMS THAT SIMPLE TEST WOULD BE ABLE TO ILLUMINATE THE MATTER, SUCH AS THE FREQUENCY OF POOR VISION AMONG 10 YEAR OLDS IN THE THREE GROUPS AND THE FREQUENCY OF ILL-SPACED TEETH.
THERE IS OF COURSE AN AESTHETIC SIDE. IN "STUDIES IN THE PSYCHOLOGY OF SEX" HAVELOCK ELLIS PROPORTS THAT THE ATTRACTIVENESS OF PEOPLES IS A FUNCTION OF HOW MUCH THEY REFLECT
THE RACIAL TYPE TO WHICH INDIVIDUALS BELONG. THIS SHOULD BE SUBJECT TO EMPERICAL, THOUGH SUBJECTIVE, EVALUATION BY COMPARING, SAY, SWEDISH WITH PUERTO RICAN AND EGYPTIAN AND CENTRAL AFRICAN FACIAL ATTRACTIVENESS AMONG VARIOUS POPULATIONS OF THE WORLD. OF COURSE THERE ARE BEAUTIFUL WOMEN IN ALL THE GROUPS, BUT THE QUESTION IS FREQUENCY. IF MEN IN PUERTO RICO OR EGYPT FOUND SWEDISH OR CENTRAL AFRICAN WOMEN MORE ATTRACTIVE THAN LOCAL WOMEN, IT SEEMS IT WOULD HAVE SIGNIFICANCE FOR THE FUTURE HAPPINESS OF MANKIND AND ARGUE AGAINST INTERRACIAL BREEDING. THAT IS THE ARGUMENT IN "GULLIVER'S TRAVELS" THAT THE SMART HORSES MADE.
ASHLEY MONTEGU ENGAGED IN NO EMPIRICAL TESTS, OBJECTIVE OR SUBJECTIVE, TO SUKPPORT HIS CONTENTION THAT RACIAL MIXING WOULD ENHANCE THE MIXED GROUP'S WELL-BEING. HIS "STUDY" IS IN REALITY NOTHING MORE THAN A STATEMENT OF HIS PARTICULAR OPINION, PERHAPS THE RESULT OF PREJUDICE. THE AURA OF SCIENCE WITH WHICH HE PRESENTS HIS ARGUMENT IS ALL AURA AND NO SCIENCE.
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The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life
The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life
by Charles Murray
Edition: Hardcover
396 used & new from $0.01

13 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A BOOK WORTH READING, March 12, 2004
IN TERMANN'S LOGITUDINAL STUDY BEGUN IN THE 1920s, "ONE HUNDRED STUDIES OF GENIUS" HIS GROUP STUDIED THE NON-ASIAN (EXCLUDED BECAUSE MOST SPOKE POOR ENGLISH AND WOULD DISTORT RESULTS) POPULATION OF CALIFORNIA AND CAME TO A CONCLUSION THAT JEWS HAVE TWICE THE RATE OF GENIUS OF THE GROUP AS A WHOLE AND BLACKS HAVE THE LOWEST IQ LEVEL OF ALL GROUPS STUDIED. THE HIGH SCORES FOR JEWS ARE WITHOUT DOUBT EXPLAINED BY CULTURAL-RELIGIOUS FACTORS. THE LOW SCORES FOR BLACKS ARE NOT SO OBVIOUS.
ABOUT 30 OR 40 YEARS AGO A HARVARD MANAGEMENT PROFESSOR NAMED MCCLELLAN WROTE A PAPER ON WHAT HE CALLED "N-ACHIEVEMENT" (NEED FOR ACHIEVEMENT)IN WHICH AS PART OF HIS STUDY HE HAD PRE-TEEN SCHOOL CHILDREN IN VARIOUS COUNTRIES TAKE AN ARITHMETIC TEST TO ESTABLISH HOW MANY ANSWERS COULD BE PROVIDED TO MATH PROBLEMS WITHIN A GIVEN TIME SPAN. ALL COUNTRIES' CHILDREN SCORED ABOUT THE SAME EXCEPT INDIA. MCCLELLAN PROVIDED AN EXPLANATION THAT A CAST OF HINDUS HEAVILY REPRESENTED IN THE INDIAN GROUP PUT VERY STRONG EMPHASIS UPON TEACHING CHILDREN ARITHMETIC. THIS, TOO, WAS A CASE WHERE CULTURE CAUSED AN ABERRATION.
BLACKS SCORE LOWER NOT ONLY ON SAT AND ACT TESTS FOR COLLEGE ENTRY BUT OTHER TESTS AS WELL SUCH AS THE MCAT (MEDICAL COLLEGE ACCEPTANCE TEST). THE FACT THAT JEWS AND A CASTE OF HINDUS SCORED EXCEPTIONALLY HIGH WITH RESULTS CULTURALLY EXPLAINABLE LEADS ONE TO CONCLUDE THAT THE LOW SCORES FOR BLACKS MAY ALSO BE CULTURALLY INDUCED.
SOME OF THE RESULTS REPORTED IN "THE BELL CURVE" POINT TO A BIOLOGIC EXPLANATION. BUT SOMETHING IS WRONG. FOR INSTANCE IN CASES WHERE BLACK CHILDREN WERE RAISED BY WHITE FAMILIES AND DID POORLY ON TESTS AS A GROUP THE CONCLUSION OF GENETIC CAUSATION MAKES AN IMPLICIT ASSSUMPTION THAT THE EFFECT UPON THE CHILD WOULD RUN PARALLEL AND EQUAL TO A WHITE CHILD ADOPTED BY A WHITE FAMILY. THIS IS DOUBTFUL. IT DOES, OF COURSE, NOT EXCLUDE PEER PRESSURE BY BLACK MEDIA AND OTHER BLACK CHILDREN AND ADULTS TO WHICH THE ADOPTED BLACK CHILD WOULD BE MORE SUSCEPTIBLE THAN AN ADOPTED WHITE CHILD IN A WHITE FAMILY. EQUALLY QUESTIONABLE IS THE CONCLUSION THAT TESTING OF BLACK CHILDREN WHERE THEIR NATURAL FAMILIES WERE WELL-TO-DO SHOWED ACADEMIC RESULTS INFERIOR TO WHITE CHILDREN RAISED IN POVERTY. PEER PRESSURE, BLACK POPULAR FIGURES AND SUCH WOULD PLAY A ROLE IN THIS CASE WHICH WOULD BE DETRIMENTAL IN PART BECAUSE BLACK ENTERTAINMENT IS ADDRESSED TO A POPULAR AUDIENCE, NOT AN ACADEMICALLY ELITE AUDIENCE..
SOME ENVIRONMENTAL INFLUENCES ARE CLEARLY WORKING CONTRARY TO EDUCATION ORIENTED ACCOMPLISHMENT AMONG BLACK CHILDREN AND YOUNG ADULTS, SUCH AS THE INFLUENCE OF HIP-HOP MUSIC AND THE GLORIFICATION OF VIOLANCE ON TV, THE REPETITION OF TRITE PHRASES BY BLACK PERFORMERS AND THE HIGHLY SIMPLIFIED BEAT OF MODERN BLACK MUSIC WHICH NUMB THE UNPROTECTED MIND. THERE IS A CLOSE PARALLEL TO THE MIND-NUMBING EFFECTS OF WARTIME PROPAGANDA FILMS ON UNSOPHISTICATED VIEWERS.
IT WOULD SEEM FROM BLACKS' EXCELLING IN SUCH THINGS AS DANCING AND CERTAIN SPORTS THAT A MENTALITY EMPHASIZING SPATIAL RELATIONSHIPS AS OPPOSED TO NON-SPATIAL THINKING MAY BE INDUCED INTO THE MINDS OF BLACK CHILDREN MORE THAN WHITE OR ASIAN CHILDREN. IT COULD EVEN BE THAT SUCH VARIATION IS PART OF HUMAN INSTINCT'S VARIATION. I DO NOT KNOW.
TAKEN IN ISOLATION "THE BELL CURVE" CERTAINLY POINTS TO A BIOLOGIC BASIS FOR LOW TEST SCORES AMONG BLACKS. THE MEANINGFULNESS OF THE ARGUMENTS FOR BIOLOGIC BASES IS QUESTIONABLE TAKEN IN THE CONTEXT OF LIFE EXPERIENCE AND THE SIMILAR, THOUGH REVERSED, EXPERIENCE OF JEWS AND SOME CASTES OF HINDUS AS WELL AS TO THE GENERAL EXPERIENCE OF CHINESE IN EAST ASIA OUTSIDE CHINA AND IN THE WEST THAT EXPERIENTIAL FACTORS MAY PLAY A MUCH GREATER PART IN BLACK ACADEMIC UNDERACHIEVEMENT AS A GROUP THAN BIOLOGIC FACTORS. AS FAR AS ATTACKS UPON THE STATISTICAL METHODOLOGIES USED BY THE AUTHORS ARE CONCERNED, THEY AR\O\PPEAR UNWARRANTED EXCEPT WHERE THEY SUPPORT THE BIOLOGIC ORIGINS OF BLACK UNDERACHIEVEMENT. THE METHOD OF REACHING CONCLUSIONS, NOT THE STATISTICAL METHODOLOGIES, IS IN DOUBT. NEVERTHELESS, BECAUSE OTHER SOURCES CONFIRM THE BASIC CONCLUSION THAT BLACKS AS A WHOLE ARE DOING ACADEMICALLY LESS WELL THAN FOLKS OF EITHER EUROPEAN OR ASIAN BACKGROUND, THIS CONCLUSION IN "THE BELL CURVE" SEEMS WELL ESTABLISHED.
THERE WILL ALWAYS, AS LONG AS PEOPLE VARY BY RELIGION, CULTURE AND SUCH, BE DIFFERENCES IN IQ AND SIMILAR TEST SCORES. EVERYTHING IN LIFE IS CULTURALLY BIASED. THE ONLY WAY TO KNOW THE NATIVE INTELLECTS OF INDIVIDUALS OR GROUPS IS TO DO SOME SORT OF SCIENCE FICTION IQ TEST WITHIN 5 MINUTES AFTER BIRTH.
AT PRESENT PEOPLE ON BOTH SIDES OF THE NATURE v CULTURE DEBATE ARE IN THE DARK. IT IS OBVIOUS TO EVERYONE THAT BOTH ARE IMKPORTANT. IT IS OBVIOUS THAT READING MAIMONIDES IS GOING TO HAVE AN INFLUENCE DIFFERENT FROM READING COMIC BOOKS. BUT WHO IS TO SAY THE COMIC BOOK READER COULD NOT UNDERSTAND MAIMONIDES AS WELL AS THE OTHER READER HAD HE BEEN INTRODUCED TO MAIMONIDES INSTEAD OF OR AS WELL AS COMIC BOOKS--AND BENEFIT AS MUCH FROM THE THOUGH PROCESSES INTRODUCED BY MAIMONIDES AS ANYONE. OF COURSE PEOPLE BEING PEOPLE, MORE PARENTS ARE GOING TO LET THEIR CHILDREN READ COMIC BOOKS THAN ARE GOING TO LEAD THEIR CHILDREN TO MAIMONIDES--OR SHAKSPEARE OR ARISTOTLE. ALL OF US ARE BORN IGNORANT AND LOTS OF PEOPLE, OUT OF DUTY OR FOR FUN OR PROFIT, TAKE IT UPON THEMSELVES TO KEEP US IGNORANT OR TEACH A LOT OF STUFF THAT AIN'T SO. THEY ARE MUCH EASIER TO FIND THAN PEOPLE WHO REALLY UNDERSTAND AND ARE WILLING TO TEACH. THE MORE RESPECT A KID HAS FOR THESE IGNORANCE MONGERS, THE LOWER IS GOING TO BE HIS ACADEMIC ACOMPLISHMENT.


Either/Or, Part I (Kierkegaard's Writings, 3)
Either/Or, Part I (Kierkegaard's Writings, 3)
by Soren Kierkegaard
Edition: Paperback
Price: $24.63
99 used & new from $7.76

9 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The science of avoiding decision, March 6, 2004
Everything I have read by Kierkegaard, Either/Or, The Seducer, Deep Park or whatever has the same central argument- the relative merits of manipulating the situation as opposed to doing or not doing whatever some inner voice tells him.
Men who get along well with women have a certain knowing of what the woman wants and use this understanding to manipulate her.
Kierkegaard is obsessed with the morality of this, it being less than mutual complete openness. In addition, when one understands a woman intuitively one loses a bit of one's SELF or inner being. This inner being tends naturally toward passivity for those who sense it. The man is "sensitive". An understanding female friend might give him the advice, "She wants YOU to be more mechanical." In Kierkegaard's view going to Deer Park presents the same sort of difficulty. He wants to go, but he does not want to decide to go. The act of decision makes him less sensitive and more mechanistic; therefore the decision to go can produce more inner stress than would a natural leader's decision to enter into a war. Kierkegaard looks for a justification for his indecision and comes to Christianity. But Christianity is "absurd" because it involves "eternal truth occuring in time." To Kierkegaard's mentality a great decision made based upon inner-felt moral grounds is easier than a small decision with no moral significance. In the first case he is empowered by the moral ground that the decision afferms; in the second case the inner self receives no affermation. In this sense morality is a crutch and an order-giver; morality commands as well as empowers; therefore, the individual acts contrary to his own interests and contrary even at times to his own understanding.
To Kierkegaard morality is a part of the inner self, not an external standard or system. Kierkegaard is good to understand, but a bad example to copy.


"Peculiar institutions": An informal history of the Seven Sister colleges
"Peculiar institutions": An informal history of the Seven Sister colleges
by Elaine Kendall
Edition: Hardcover
37 used & new from $0.01

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fun Book, March 6, 2004
This is a most enjoyable book to read. I loved the story of how a woman named Smith used her woman-hating, miserly brother's money to found Smith College, one of the Seven Sisters. It is not a work of great scholarship and does not pretend to be. It is a delightful read. It was a bit like visiting Phi Mu house at William and Mary; my daughter pledged to Phi Mu. There is a lot of girl stuff. Actually, reading this book is why I suggested my daughter attend Bryn Mawr, which we did visit, but she refused to consider a woman's college.
None of the colleges has a particularly interesting institutional history. If you are interested in that sort of thing I suggest you read the history of the College of William and Mary, available on Amazon. You will read of the college building used as the colonial capitol, damage done by French troops and paid for by the French king, running away from the British and the Yankees, wars and all written from the point of view of those responsible for running the college.
If you are a woman and like novels with beautiful girls with flowing dresses in the arms of lovers on the book covers, you will love the stories of the Seven Sisters Colleges. It is a best bet for fun. If you are looking for some insight into what a woman's college is like, be you potential student, parent or just interested, this book is for you.


A History of the Jews
A History of the Jews
by Paul Johnson
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.21
212 used & new from $0.86

9 of 26 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Better than nothing, but not much, March 5, 2004
This review is from: A History of the Jews (Paperback)
Johnson has written a second-rate book on Jewish history. For a good popular history get "Jews, God and History" or for a good scholarly treatment go to a good university library and check out Jones' multi-volume "History of the Jews". If you are interested in Jewish ethics read a good summary of Maimonides' Michneh Torah and really read, say half a dozen times, book five of the Bible in whatever translation you prefer. Then, if you are still interested, read Hermann Cohen's great book "Religion of Reason: Out of the Origins (or Sources) of Judaism". When I read Johnson's book everything seemed either incorrect or something I already knew. Most treatments of Jewish ethical monotheism are just so much nonsense, as is every treatment I have ever heard of concerning anti-semitism: They are all written out of hatred for Jews or love or affection for Jews. A worthwhile treatment would read like an organic chemistry text. Benzene is interesting, but no-one seems either to hate or love it. The most totally silly is Sartre's "The Anti-Semite". It is not really loving or mean-spirited, just rediculous.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 20, 2011 2:26 PM PST


A Study of History, Vol. 1: Abridgement of Volumes I-VI
A Study of History, Vol. 1: Abridgement of Volumes I-VI
by Arnold Joseph Toynbee
Edition: Paperback
Price: $22.22
77 used & new from $4.07

28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting ideas, March 4, 2004
Toynbee has three major theories of the rise and fall of civilizations.
1. Challange and response. There must be a challange to the population in order for a civilization to rise. The challange must be just right. Too little and the civilization does not rise. Too great a challange and the civilization is destroyed before it gets a chance or rise or is destroyed soon thereafter.
2. Withdrawl and change. An element of the civilization withdraws in some manner from the central civilization and undergoes some sort of creative transformation which it then introduces to the greater body of the civilization. This is a mechanism for maintaining the civilization.
3. The Nemesis of Creativity: There is within a civilization a creative minority. If the creative minority lacks the opportunity to create, the civilization will die or stagnate. This can happen in two ways: The majority group, lacking the talent to create, gains enough power to create, but the creativity is second rate and the civilization dies or stagnates. On the other hand, an exogenous group may gain power over the avenues of creativity and the creativity produced is destructive to the civiliation.
Of the three basic ideas the Nemesis of Creativity notion seems the most insightful. The challange and response seems little more than the golden mean. Withdrawl and change seems more relevant. As far as the Nemesis of creativity is concerned, this can be visualized in a simple microcosm. Suppose, for example, government action were taken which prevented the highly talented minority from obtaining either an education or given a good education, this minority were prevented from getting prime jobs. If, say, the space program were afflicted with this sort of thing, second-rate engineers, managers, scientists and such would be in positions of responsibility. Their positions would promote failure. It would be better to give these people jobs with good pay and no decision-making powers.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 11, 2013 8:04 AM PST


The Book of Knowledge: From the Mishneh Torah of Maimonides
The Book of Knowledge: From the Mishneh Torah of Maimonides
by Moses Maimonides
Edition: Hardcover
5 used & new from $198.99

9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of Mishneh Torah, March 4, 2004
I must confess that I have not read this particular book. I have read all of Mishneh Torah. This review is based upon the totality of M-Torah.
Mishneh Torah is one of the master works of the world. Aside from the Torah itself, M-Torah by RAMBAM is the best Jewish book I have read, and I have read many. M-Torah is free of Maimonides' particular philosophy, which can be found in Guide of the Perplexed. GOTP is difficult reading. M-Torah is not.
It is clear-cut, quite simple to read and reflects classical Judaism devoid of Kantian or other influences. One who does not grasp the nature of Jewish ethics from the Bible may find M-Torah easier to understand. There is the wonderful prohibition against gambling: If one gambles with a fellow Jew and wins, it is stealing; if one gambles and wins or loses with a gentile, it is a waste of time, and it is, says RAMBAM, unfitting that a person should do anything which neither increases one's understanding nor contributes to the progress of civilization.
RAMBAM uses Jacob as the ethical model for Jewish behavior. He relates how Jacob approaches his brother, whom he cheated of his birthright, and as Jacob approaches he places his lesser wives and their children in the front of a long line, then his less favored wife and her children and then his favored wife with her sons.
RAMBAM demands that the Jew lie to a potential enemy to avoid the potential enemy's having an advantage. He bases this on the behavior of Jacob.
He prohibits Jews' selling weapons to gentiles except in the common defense. He states that a Jew must be treated by a Jewish physician unless it is a matter of immediate life-or-death, and the Jew who will die without immediate medical care must accept death rather than be treated by an apostate. This is most telling about the Jewish ethic: The long-term welfare of the Jewish people, living and of future generations, is the measure of what is ethical as opposed to what is unacceptable or sin. The ethno-centric quality of the ethical standard which has influence generations of Jews, but also Christians, is brought before the eyes of any reader willing to open his eyes.
M-Torah is one of the most important books in the history of man. I found it in a university library. Any good university library should have at least one copy.
It is perhaps telling that M-Torah was written in Hebrew, but Guide of the Perplexed was written in Arabic.
Some of the directions given in M-Torah may seem trivial, such as the rule that if a coin is on a table and its ownership in dispute, the coin belongs to the person whose edge of the table the coin is closest. Trivial it is not in reality, because it eliminates waste of time making decisions that have already been thought out and decided upon. This little rule points to Judaism as the antipodes of Christianity.
It is impossible to praise M-Torah too much. RAMBAM is perhaps the most under-rated genius of all time. At least by gentiles.


The Decline of the West, Vol. 2: Perspectives of World History
The Decline of the West, Vol. 2: Perspectives of World History
by Oswald Spengler
Edition: Hardcover
40 used & new from $0.98

27 of 37 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting contrast with our time, March 4, 2004
There is no doubt about how Spengler defined the West: In terms of race. Not religion or democracy or capitalism or any other sort of philosophy. On the TV and magazines and such of the 21st century "The West" is variously defined in terms of liberalism, democracy, sexual expression, multi-culturalism, fee-market economics--anything except Spengler's definition.
In the early 1920s, before Hitler was heard from and after WW I, Spengler wrote a little article in which he stated his definition of The West, gave an appraisal of its then current health and gave a prescription for its survival. He said in this article that the German defeat in the Great War (WW I of course) was the first great step in the decline of the West via its subordination to the "colored world". Spengler stated that the SINGLE hope for the survival of the West was "The Prussian spirit, not only in Germany but in other countries as well." He went on to say that the "next war" would determine whether the West lived or died.
It is, looking back, as if Spengler wrote the history of WW II in advance, with the ending he seems to have expected but not wanted, omitted. It is interesting to ask the degree to which Roosevelt, Churchill and Hitler were aware of themselves playing out roles in Spengler's vision, with hopes of saving or destroying the West as Spengler defined it. It is tempting to think so. British and American war policy, the fire-bombing of Dresden as the best bit of evidence, seems specifically bent upon destroying Spengler's West. It seems, on the other hand, that Hitler's extreme rish-taking was driven by a vision that now was the time to save the West, which would be soon destroyed if not now preserved for the years to come. Spengler's race-based view of decline appears to be the rotting away of the "Transendental Aesthetic" to use Kant's term.
The presence of large numbers of non-Europeans in London and Amsterdam today seems to support Spengler's argument in the article I cited, but as an overall theory about the decline of Civilizations Toynbee's "Nemesis of Creativity" (control over creativity being in hands not supportive of the civilization)seems more generally appealing than Spengler's biological model. Perhaps they are both right. Or both wrong.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 3, 2010 4:01 PM PST


The Major Works: Including The Prelude (Oxford World's Classics)
The Major Works: Including The Prelude (Oxford World's Classics)
by William Wordsworth
Edition: Paperback
34 used & new from $2.64

11 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Giant with flaws, February 21, 2004
Wordsworth's poem "Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood" is one of the master works of the English linguage. It is a poem which gives great pleasure and will greatly assist the reader in his or her own writing. Coleridge
writes in his famous literary biography that Wordsworth did not take seriously the Platonic philosophical heart of the poem. I
cannot know how accurate Coleridge's evaluation is.
I, personally, do not really like "The Prelude". It has informative points and tells something of Wordsworth's attitude. He seems quite pleased about the presence of "Negro Ladies" (his words) in London which may say something of his attitude toward race. If the poem were shorter, I should like it more I believe. Keats has a lot, usually unflattering, about Wordsworth's use of the first person in his poems.
The "Lucy" poems do not rank with "Intimations of Immortality". I find them works of great craftmanship rather than the genius that flows over in "Intimations of Immortality".
Coleridge goes into who wrote what lines in the Coleridge poem
of the Ancient Mariner, but the Wordsworth contribution is substantial.
"We Are Seven" is a look into the heart of a young child. It is
in keeping with "Intimations of Immortality" in that respect. "Intimations" is without doubt the finer poem.
Anyone who loves the English language or would master the language should read Wordsworth at his very best. "Intimations" in quality of language rises to the level of Shakespeare. Better can be said of no poetry. But, unlike Shakespeare, Wordsworth wrote a great deal of second or third rate poetry.
If you would see the English language at or near its best, read "Intimations". It may give you as it has given many lovers of poetry thoughts "too deep for tears".


Jews, God and History: Revised and Updated Edition
Jews, God and History: Revised and Updated Edition
by Max I. Dimont
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
70 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Popular History, February 8, 2004
Most history textbooks hardly mention Jew except as isolated individuals. I remember my old World History text called Judaism the oldest ethical religion, but hardly had a word about Jews until World War Two. This book fills in the gap well. It is very readable. It does not pretend to be impartial. (For an impartial, rather dry history, an interested person should read Jones' History, no doubt out of print for many years, but a good university library should have a copy.)
There is a good treatment of the schools of Hillel and Shammi.
On the other hand the origins of Jews in Russia are hardly mentioned. The reason why Jewish contributions to science or math do not begin until the 19th century is not addressed, which is to me a very large question, Judaism being in the thought process it induces so closely related to the processes of natural law. There are small bits which seem more like gossip than documented history. He mentions, for example, that during the Renaisance period half the brides were married pregnant. Now, how can he know that?
Still, I highly recommend this book.


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