Sunday, April 5, 2020

Book Review: 'Gita: Between the Unknowable and the Unreal' by J Joseph Kazden

Gita by J Joseph Kazden

Exploring the known and beyond

Author Joseph Kazden has embraced the sciences – mathematics, physics, chemistry, psychology, as well as the experiential disciplines of Yoga, Martial arts, Tai Chi Chuan, Zen Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, First Nations, non-western native cultures, and the study of altered states. The result – some of the most accessible and illuminating books on philosophy for both the erudite and the uninitiated!

GITA provides further adventures that began in TotIs, a novel that blended philosophy with mythology and opened the door to reimagining the known and the unknowable. His dignity of writing style is present in the Preface: “There is a saying, “it is easier to put on slippers than to carpet the world." In essence it is telling us that rather than trying to change circumstances of the world around us, which is nigh impossible, we can have a powerful effect on how we experience those circumstances by simply changing our own perceptions and attitudes. As an idea it speaks to the nature of what actually is and the kind of control we have over what actually is. In short it is reminding us that our most powerful form of control over the quality of our experience of life is self-control….TotIs reality, being “prime,” is the independent source of all, of all we observe and can’t observe, all we know and can’t know…’ And from that initiating core of thought, Joseph expands his philosophy, making the following novel even more impressive.

As with the same degree of philosophical involvement as encountered in TotIs, GITA: BETWEEN THE UNKNOWABLE AND THE UNREAL blossoms. ‘Gita, on the brink of a great battle to defend the city she is charged with protecting, feels a sense of futility as she contemplates the coming fratricidal slaughter, unable to justify the bloodshed in the name of victory. She seeks the counsel of her old mentor, Socrates, pleading for his help in finding her way back to her duty and purpose in life. Thus begins a life-changing discussion as Socrates calls upon the Bhagavad Gita and the Tao Te Ching to show Gita that Einstein was right: our conscious experience of reality is an illusion. Socrates unites ancient wisdom with the findings of modern physics to describe totIs reality, the true reality that is forever beyond our ability to experience. Socrates, using the insights of these ancient texts, helps Gita meet her destiny by proposing a way to live life in harmony with the contradiction that our experienced reality is a product of our consciousness, while true reality remains unmanifest to that consciousness.’

This is a fine introduction and/or review of philosophical, spiritual and cosmological concepts. Not only is the novel engrossing as entertainment and a revisiting of mythology but is also is a thought-provoking survey of philosophy – East and West!

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.