My Favorite Books

The Walking Drum
Ender's Game
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Curse of Chalion
The Name of the Wind
Chronicles of the Black Company
The Faded Sun Trilogy
The Tar-Aiym Krang

Sunday, March 5, 2023

Review: Paradoxes of the Highest Science

Paradoxes of the Highest Science Paradoxes of the Highest Science by Éliphas Lévi
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Performance: **
Story: ****

The narration was a bit laconic for my taste and I found it a little difficult to stay focused. This seems to be the favored style for spiritual/mystical books, where this definitely sits. Organized in 10 unlabeled chapters over 4.5 hours, the first 7 cover the advertised paradoxes (aka oxymorons) that were fairly interesting given the confluence of christian theology and occult magic (not normally grouped together). In that respect, it really comes across as a pseudo-gnostic text that tries really hard to pivot away from literal translations of the christian new testament to provide a more allegorical interpretation (that apparently allows for magic). Even more surprising was the strong defense of Catholicism in chapter 9, which summed up the author’s 51 precepts, beginning with a statement that man only has two (2) means by which s/he may attain certainty: mathematics and common sense (something akin to natural philosophy/law). If you have he patience, there are a few hidden gems here that make it worth the effort.

Note: The term magic here is really more about metaphysics and mysticism; not spells or the like (which would be anathema to judeo-christian thought).

1. Religion is Magic Sanctioned by Authority
2. Liberty is Obedience to the Law
3. Love is he Realization of the Impossible
4. Knowledge is the Ignorance or Negation of Evil
5. Reason is God
6. The Imagination Realizes What It Invents
7. The Will Accomplishes Everything That It Does Not Desire

8. Synthetic Recapitulation: Magic and Mageism
9. Let Us Now Sum Up (51 Precepts)
10. The Great Secret of Magic

I was given this free advance review/listener copy (ARC) audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#ParadoxesOfTheHighestScience #FreeAudiobookCodes

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My Ratings Explained ...

  • [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
  • [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
  • [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
  • [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
  • [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.