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Sunday, May 29, 2005

[Book Watch] Summa Theologica

Summa Theologica by Saint Thomas Aquinas.

'Summa' means a comprehensive treatise on philosophy or theology (Find the word, its pronunciation at Dictionary.com)

He belonged to the thirteenth century and was expected to take up being an abbot according to family traditions. However, he took liking to the movement of 'Dominicans' which emphasized on removing 'heresy' through preaching. The family would not hear of such a thing and had him 'kidnapped' and tried to lure him away from this idea. However he persisted and finally the family relented.

This was his greatest work one among the great works on theology in history. The entire book is structured in the form of 'questions' which are the major components of the books. Each 'question' is subdivided into 'Articles'. Every 'article' is countered with 'objections' (arguments against the article - sometime not very convincing) as to why article can't be true and finally 'answered' and also 'reply-objections' to counter the objections.

Starting off by asking a question whether 'theology is science' the doctrine examines various topics including 'existence of God' and 'Will' 'Death' 'Good' 'Bad' etc. Some of the topics may be superfluous for 'non-academic' readers of theology.

Out of the many topics that interested me, two of them stood out. One, ofcourse was, 'existence of truth' (as part of existence of God).

For truth to not exist, the statement "truth does not exist" must be 'true'. So for truth to not exist, 'true' must exist, and hence truth exists


Second was about 'fate' or 'chance/luck'.

For instance, if two servants are sent by their master to the same place; the meeting of the two servants in regard to themselves is by chance; but as compared to the master, who had ordered it, it is directly intended.


The entire book is based on 'logical' attempts at solving problems-that do not have 'mathematical' existence. Whether or not one agrees to the conclusions arrived at by the use of logic, one must read it to understand the marvelous use of reasoning.

This is a must-read for people who love 'philosophy' but just to add a note of caution, the subject treatment is 'serious' stuff and the book is a long one by itself. Some of the 'questions' are quite passable, but unfortunately, some of the answers are based on 'articles' that have been already answered at which point in time you may have to switch to that 'article'.

Happy Reading.

And, if I may, one recommendation - 'Do consider the point of reading all the philosophy and how even a small (even 1%) percent of it can be incorporated into our lives, reducing the tension and countless worries we create for ourselves in day-to-day living'

It is pertinent to narrate the following incident. A mother used to always keep telling her child to make sure he does not spill the coffee on the carpet, literally everytime the child took the coffee to the living room. And one-day the child, in a calm voice remarked, 'Mom, I know that, you know that am not so stupid, to pour coffee onto the carpet. If the coffee still gets spilt, it is then called "accident". There are so many ways it can be remedied. We could clean the carpet ourselves. We could have some professional do it or as a last attempt, replace the entire carpet. The solution is so simple that it does not warrant you 'worrying' countless times everytime you give someone a cup of coffee. Just relax and let this not cause mental tension

One of my relatives narrated the above event. Without getting into the 'realities' of the story, if you can take away the essence that almost everything in life can be translated into $$$ terms, but never let your life to be expressed in $$$ terms :-)

Enough of the 'Ohh am so serious' topic..Let me get back onto some more music reviews ;)

4 comments:

ROBBIE said...

mm,
interesting dude! I am impressed with the amount of research you've done.
well done!

Arvind said...

Thanks Robbie...Please help yourself to the diverse topics on the blog

Happy Reading.

:-)

Kasthuri Srinivasan said...

You might be interested in reading Godel, Escher, Bach by Hofstader. Although, on the outset it looks like a book combining meta-math, art and music, it is extremely philosophical.

Arvind said...

Great, thanks for the references.