Ronnie Lee,
The Philosophy of Life: God, Wisdom & the World Psyche
(Outskirts, 2007)

Moment of truth time. This is the first time I have ever reviewed a book without having read it from front to back, cover to cover, at least once. I excuse myself on the basis that this book, The Philosophy of Life, tries to be just that -- a total philosophy of life, including the reasons we're alive, the laws governing the universe and the existence of God, all in 680 pages.

In poetry.

I'll repeat that: in poetry.

Actually, Ronnie Lee structures the whole thing as a series of logical syllogisms written in verse form. Here is a sample:

God however, when needed,
does make you adapt to reality better,
and makes you think of life more realistically,
in justice, truth, and morality,
thus these are the most real highest values,
in the universe,
thus makes you sense the true reality,
of the universe and life,
thus makes you adapt better,
thus is real, very real
in its stimulus and effect,
thus making God real and existence.

Did you follow that? If I read the passage correctly, it makes the following claim: God makes you adapt to reality better and when you adapt to reality better, you think about life, i.e., reality, more realistically, which somehow leads to truth, justice and morality, which in turn show us reality and all of this serves as proof of God's existence.

I'm a little confused. For a book that insists on the primacy of logic, The Philosophy of Life is more than a little illogical. It is awash in abstractions and, on the surface, at least, appears to accept declarations and repetitions as truth.

Since the book develops as a series of statements of that sort, and since each is dependent on the ones that precede it, as you get deeper into the book, you get deeper into cascading abstractions and maybe just a touch of confusion.

Frankly, I couldn't follow it. Maybe the fact that every single line in the book ends in a comma, thus (to use one of Lee's favorite words) making many of sentences incomprehensible, has something to do with the brain explosion I experienced.

review by
Michael Scott Cain

17 May 2008

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